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Editor’s Note for May/June 2018

Welcome to issue #737. The May/June volume of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction takes off with eleven brand new stories, all our regular columns, and the winners of the latest F&SF Competition. You won’t want to miss it.

If you’re a subscriber… well, you’re probably already reading the issue by now! But if you’re looking for a copy, you can find us in most Barnes & Noble stores, as well as many local independent booksellers. You can also order a single copy from our website or buy an electronic edition from Amazon, AmazonUK, and — now, available worldwide and in every electronic format — through Weightless Books.

Fantasy & Science Fiction, May/June 2018, cover by Alan M. ClarkThis month’s cover illustrates “The Barrens” by Stephanie Feldman. The artwork is by the World Fantasy Award winning illustrator Alan M. Clark, his first piece for F&SF. To see more of his work, visit his website at


Stephanie Feldman won the Crawford Award for her debut novel, The Angel of Losses, published by Ecco in 2014. She has recently started writing short fiction as well, and “The Barrens” marks her first appearance in this magazine. She tells us that her story is what happens when you mix four years of being a DJ for your college radio station with a decade of reading Weird NJ magazine and a lifetime of watching horror movies. We think you’re going to enjoy this twisty tale.


Over the past year and a half, Baldemar has quickly become our favorite wizard’s henchman… even though his master Thelerion is no one’s favorite wizard (except perhaps his own). Matthew Hughes introduced us to the streetwise young Baldemar in “Ten Half-Pennies” in our March/April 2017 issue, and gave him bigger problems to solve when he came face-to-face with “The Prognosticant” in our May/June 2017 volume. In “Jewel of the Heart,” which appeared earlier this year, Baldemar’s encounter with the Helm of Sagacity saw him rewarded with the gift of luck. Now in his latest adventure, “Argent and Sable,” Baldemar’s about to find out that maybe not all that luck is good.


Our science fiction this month includes “Crash-Site,” an outer space adventure set in the War Hero universe by Brian Trent, who’s beginning to become a regular in the magazine. Lisa Mason has appeared recently in these page with tales of dark fantasy, but this month she brings us “The Bicycle Whisperer,” a near future story about bicycles, freedom, and forgiveness. And Nina Kiriki Hoffman asks us to explore “The Properties of Shadow,” a far future story about art, an artist’s assistant, and the secret shadow selves that all of us hide.

Nor have we neglected the fantasy portion of our title. Gardner Dozois brings us “Unstoppable,” a fairy tale about a king’s use – and misuse – of magic. Can those who abuse their power ever be stopped? Dare Segun Falowo, an extraordinary young Nigerian writer who debuted with “We Are Born” in our September/October issue last year, returns this month to the village of Àlá (which means dream in his traditional Yoruba) with “Ku’gbo,” a story about change and growth. And Albert E. Cowdrey asks us to “Behold the Child,” a reminder that perhaps, as Hemingway observed, all truly wicked things start from innocence.

In addition to the familiar faces, we also welcome three young authors making their first appearance in the magazine. Amman Sabet introduces us to “Tender Loving Plastics,” a near future science fiction story about the foster care system. In “Inquisitive,” Pip Coen relates the experience of Saffi, a young neuroatypical girl who struggles to find her way in a very rigid society. And Melanie West gives us “What You Pass For,” a historical fantasy inspired by the life of Janet Collins, an African American dancer in the 1930s who was offered a position with a prestigious ballet company on one condition, that she paint her skin white before appearing on stage.


For the third time in three issues, Paul Di Filippo is ready to tickle your fancy with more “Plumage from Pegaus.” This time he considers that those who “Live by the Word, Die by the Word.”

Charles de Lint recommends some Books to Look For by Kij Johnson, Craig Schaefer, and Carolyn Turgeon, along with two new books celebrating the twenty-year anniversary of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. With “Tourists and Native Speakers,” James Sallis provides a thoughtful and critical perspective on recent science fiction, literary, and mainstream fiction. And for our monthly Curiosities column, rediscovering lost writers and books, Phoenix Alexander introduces us to the work of George Schuyler and The Beast of Broadhurst Avenue, a rare early example of African American science fiction.

In her latest film column, Kathi Maio considers some of the big problems and small triumphs of “Downsizing,” the latest in a long tradition of films about shrinking people. And in their final science column for the magazine after more than twenty years, Pat Murphy and Paul Doherty are “Asking Questions.” And the print version of the magazine also offers up fresh cartoons by Kendra Allenby, Arthur Masear, and Nick Downes.

We also announce the winners of F&SF Competition #95, “Titles the Rearrange,” and welcome everyone to participate in Competition #96, “Crime Blotter,” for a chance to win some pretty cool prizes, including subscriptions to the magazine.


We hope you’ll share your thoughts about the issue with us. We can be found on:

So grab a copy in your favorite format and treat yourself to this month’s fabulous stories and features.

C.C. Finlay, Editor
Fantasy & Science Fiction | @fandsf


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