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Editor’s Note for the September-October Issue

Cover, for The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, September-October 2020, by Bob EggletonBob Eggleton’s cover art illustrates “The Shadows of Alexandrium” by David Gerrold, a story that spans space and time on a visit to a library that is so much larger on the inside than it appears from without. In all, this issue brings you eleven new stories from some of our favorite writers and friends, spanning the full range of the genre from fairy tale to hard science fiction. Regular readers of the magazine and fans of sword and sorcery will be happy to see the return of the bard Gorlen Vizenfirthe and his traveling companion, the gargoyle Spar. And there’s a baseball story just in time for the end of this (very strange) season. The issue also includes two promising writers making their short fiction debuts. Plus we have poetry, columns on Books, Games, Science, and Television, some Plumage from Pegasus, and, if you buy the paper copy, a few great cartoons.

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“Of Them All” by Leah Cypess – Other princesses are blessed at their christenings, or else they are cursed. But her fairy godmother had to be clever. Would she grow up to be more clever still? This month’s novella is a fairy tale adventure with some twists.

“The Shadows of Alexandrium” by David Gerrold – The Alexandrium sits perched on the event horizon of the largest black hole in the universe, but don’t call it a Library, at least not to the Proctor — it’s so much more than that. This month’s cover story is a meditation on creativity.

“My Name Was Tom” by Tim Powers – Sometimes an ocean liner is just an ocean liner, and sometimes it’s something much weirder. And who knows then where the journey will take you? Tim Powers returns to F&SF with a story worth waiting for.

“The Fairy Egg” by R.S. Benedict – Bridget sells eggs to make ends meet. But ever since Mike’s accident, the leghorn has laid nothing but fart eggs, little dark things with no yolks. Some people call them fairy eggs and under the right circumstances, a fairy egg can hatch a monster.

“Weeper” by Marc Laidlaw – The falling star screamed as it fell, brought down by greedy sky poachers. When the stone-handed bard Gorlen Vizenfirthe and his companions Plenth and the gargoyle Spar find it first, they’re faced with dangers and choices they never expected.

“Do AIs Dream of Perfect Games?” by Angie Peng – When a baseball fan steals a hitter’s favorite bat, it leads to a pitcher’s perfect game… and reveals deeper imperfections in her larger world. A delightful debut by a brand new writer.

“The Martian Water War: Notes Found in an Airlock” by Peter Gleick – Human habitation on Mars is threatened by conflicts over access to fresh water, and a teenager records the terrible costs. A glimpse of the coming conflicts we face on Earth, distilled by the stark circumstances of colonization on Mars. The first published story by one of our leading climate scientists.

“Little and Less” by Ashley Blooms – When society falls apart and she can’t save the people she loves, Laurel saves animals instead. But even the wilderness will not let her stay alone forever. A story that sits at the intersection of hope and horror.

“The Cry of Evening Birds” by James Sallis – A couple coping with a terrible tragedy faces a chance to start over. Or do they? A subtle and wrenching piece of flash fiction.

“The Dog and the Ferryman” by Brian Trent – Buster is a Good Dog, but he needs special help to find his way home again. But the world has changed so much, he may not have a home any more. This is a story that surprised and delighted us with its mix of myth and science fiction.

“This World Is Made for Monsters” by M. Rickert – When the spaceship landed, the whole town turned out to see it. M. Rickert brings her unique voice and vision to a story about the things we bring to the world, and the things it gives us in return.


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


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

71st Year of Publication


Of Them All – Leah Cypess


The Shadows of Alexandrium – David Gerrold
My Name Was Tom – Tim Powers
The Fairy Egg – R.S. Benedict


Weeper – Marc Laidlaw
Do AIs Dream of Perfect Games? – Angie Peng
The Martian Water War: Notes Found in an Airlock – Peter Gleick
Little and Less – Ashley Blooms
The Cry of Evening Birds – James Sallis
The Dog and the Ferryman – Brian Trent
This World Is Made for Monsters – M. Rickert


The Writing of Science Fiction – Timons Esaias


Books to Look For – Charles de Lint
Games – Marc Laidlaw
Plumage from Pegasus: Keeping Up with the ISBNs – Paul Di Filippo
Television: The Devil in Devs – Karin Lowachee
Science: The Science of Printing – Jerry Oltion
Curiosities – Paul Di Filippo

Cartoons: Arthur Masear, Mark Heath, Nick Downes, Bill Long
Cover: Bob Eggleton for “The Shadows of Alexandrium”

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