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Editor’s Note for March-April 2019

It’s time for the changing of the seasons and the new issue of F&SF is full of transformations. The March/April issue of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction delivers 12 stories, 2 poems, and all our regular columns and features.

Most of our electronic and paper subscribers have already received their issues, 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, March/April, cover by Kent BashKent Bash‘s cover illustrates “Contagion’s Eve at the House Noctambulous” by Rich Larson.


Over the past six years, Rich Larson has been one of the most prolific and consistently excellent writers in the genre. 2018 saw the publication of his collection Tomorrow Factory as well as his first novel Annex. A sequel, Cypher, will be coming out later this year. We’re happy to welcome him back into the pages of F&SF with this month’s cover story, which paints a picture of the future that has some uncomfortable roots in the present.


R. S. Benedict is another new star of the genre. Her stories for F&SF over the past two years have included “My English Name,” her fiction debut, a story identity and otherness which was picked up for three Year’s Best collections and included in Gardner Dozois’s The Very Best of the Best: 30 Years of the Year’s Best Science Fiction, which was recently published. Her Summerian fantasy “Water God’s Dog” and her Philip K. Dickian time travel story “Morbier” have also been just as impressive to us.

She informs us that her new hard-to-classify novella “All of Me,” the longest story she’s written for us yet, was inspired by true events, ranging from the life of Rita Hayworth, born Margarita Cansino, an actress who underwent a grueling makeover to hide her ethnicity before she became a famous Hollywood sex symbol, to the history of Puerto Rico, where a U.S.-led eugenics campaign sterilized a third of the island’s women over the course of the 20th century without informing them that =la operación= could not be undone. (We’ll leave it to the reader to decide whether Matt Damon operates a clone farm.)


This issue’s fantasy includes “The Plot Against Fantucco’s Armor” by F&SF regular Matthew Hughes, another fun and fast-paced adventure featuring Baldemar, the unusually lucky wizard’s henchman. “The Mark of Cain” by John Kessel, another regular, is based on a fragment of writing he found in his files from the 1980s, so it’s a collaboration between his younger and older selves: he also admits that it contains the most offensive opening line and likely the most problematic character he has ever written. And newcomer Jerome Stueart makes his F&SF debut with “Postlude to the Afternoon of a Faun,” a story about music and love, history and healing. And Nick DiChario, who appeared just two issues ago with one of his Italian fairy tales, is back, this time with “Bella and the Blessed Stone,” which is a decidedly modern and very American fairy tale.

There’s also a generous serving of science fiction in this issue to go along with Rich Larson’s cover story. “The Unbearable Lightness of Bullets” by Gregor Hartmann returns to his loosely connected milieu of stories about humanity’s future in space spread across a thousand worlds divided along the Mainline and the Spur: here he returns to the remote Spur world of Zephyr and introduces us to Inspector Philippa Song who has to solve a murder before she ends up getting shot herself. S. Qiouyi Lu is a writer, editor, and translator making their first appearance in F&SF with “At Your Dream’s Edge,” a personal story about family and identity and the kind of desperate technological lengths one will go to when the two are in conflict. Tina Connolly returns to the magazine with “miscellaneous notes from the time an alien came to band camp disguised as my alto sax,” a piece of flash that isn’t much longer than the title and is as funny as you might expect if you’re familiar with Connolly’s work. Despite what you might think from the title, “The Free Orcs of Cascadia” by Margaret Killjoy is near future science fiction about heavy metal bands in the Pacific Northwest. And Paul Park has a story addressed to “Dear Sir or Madam,” written by a videographer who is approached by a client with a project that will utterly transform him.

We have poems by two of our regular poets, both with a science fiction turn: “In the Caverns of the Moon” by Mary Soon Lee will unfold a discovery that changes everything we think we know, and “Away” by Sophie M. White will introduce you to the crew of a starship that once blazed trails between the stars.

Finally, you’ll also find “Playscape,” a chilling story of quiet domestic horror, written by Diana Peterfreund, another author making her F&SF debut, one of four in this issue.


As always, Charles de Lint recommends some Books to Look For, this time by Stephen King, Andrew Katz, Richard Kadrey, and Jimmy Cajoleas, plus The Books of Earthsea: The Complete Illustrated Edition by Ursula K. Le Guin and Charles Vess and The Writer’s Map: An Atlas of Imaginary Lands by Huw Lewis-Jones. Michelle West is Musing on Books by Derek Künsken, Ben H. Winters, Elizabeth Bear, and Dale Bailey. And for our monthly Curiosities column, rediscovering lost writers and books, Graham Andrews reviews The Brontës Went to Woolworths by Rachel Ferguson (1931), about a peculiar haunting that happens to three sisters.

In our latest film column, David J. Skal stands on the edge of the latest Halloween reboot and stares into “The Yawning Abyss.” Jerry Oltion’s science column considers the possibility of alien contact and says “E.T. Shmee-T.” The print version of the magazine also offers up new cartoons by Nick Downes, Bill Long, Arthur Masear, and Danny Shanahan.


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

Happy reading!

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


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