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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.

GET RICH

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.

ALL OF YOU

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.)

MORE GREAT FICTION

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.

OUR OTHER COLUMNS AND FEATURES

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.

LET US KNOW WHAT YOU THINK

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.com | @fandsf

Editor’s Note for January-February 2019

A new issue for a new year. The January/February volume of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction begins 2019 with 11 new stories, plus 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, January/February, cover by Jill BaumanThis month’s cover illustrates “The City of Lost Desire” by Phyllis Eisenstein. The artwork is by the award-nominated artist Jill Bauman.

FULL CIRCLE

Alaric had been found on a hillside, a helpless newborn babe clothed only in blood. He was obviously a witch child, for a gory hand, raggedly severed just above the wrist, clutched his ankles in a deathlike grasp.

That’s a passage from “Born to Exile,” the story that introduced Alaric to F&SF readers back in August 1971.

Young Alaric, with his talent for teleportation, eventually became a reluctant thief and willing troubadour, who fell in love with a princess entangled in court intrigues that only his wit and supernatural abilities could help him survive. His original adventures in F&SF, published back in the 1970s, were those of a young man, with a young man’s passions and impulses. Much has happened to him over the years, and across many hundreds of pages since. Now he returns, much older and wiser, only to find himself caught up with another princess and a peril he cannot easily escape.

MORE GREAT FICTION

Once you leave “The City of Lost Desire,” you’ll find plenty of additional adventure. Carrie Vaugh takes us to “The Beautiful Shining Twilight,” a story about what happens after you return through the portal to another world. Andy Duncan regales us with “Joe Diabo’s Farewell,” a story about the Native Americans who built skyscrapers in New York in the early twentieth century, and the Native Americans who worked in the early film industry at the same time, and one moment when the two overlapped. Sean McMullen introduces us to “The Washer from the Ford,” about a man who can see what happens after an unexpected death. And Pip Coen shows us “The Fall from Griffin’s Peak,” a story about a hard life and aspirations for something better.

We also have a variety of science fiction stories to balance out the issue. Robert Reed will take us on a trip to “The Province of Saints,” where empathy has the power to connect people and also destroy them. Adam-Troy Castro remembers a “Survey” he took once in college, and looks for the sinister purpose it was hiding and that it may still hide. Leah Cypess’s new story is “Blue as Blood” and shows how we see the world affects how we fit into it. Marie Vibbert’s “Tactical Infantry Bot 37 Dreams of Trochees” in a story about the future of robots and war, survival and poetry. And Erin Cashier takes to a place “Fifteen Minutes from Now,” where doing wrong to serve right raises ethical questions that it leaves the reader to answer.

Tucked somewhere inside the issue, you’ll also find a wonderful piece of flash from Jenn Reese about “The Right Number of Cats,” a story of grief and healing. And in another installment of his Plumage from Pegasus column, Paul Di Filippo takes us for “A Walk on the Mild Side.”

OUR OTHER COLUMNS AND FEATURES

As always, Charles de Lint recommends some Books to Look For, this time by A. Lee Martinez, Seanan McGuire, and Lark Benobi, plus the graphic novel Calexit Vol. 1 by Matteo Pizzolo and Amancay Nahuelpan, and the new history of Astounding by Alec Nevala-Lee. Michelle West is Musing on Books by Stuart Turton, Rena Rossner, Andrew Katz, and Sherry Thomas. And for our monthly Curiosities column, rediscovering lost writers and books, Paul Di Filippo reviews Pink Furniture by A. E. Coppard(1930), a fantasy romp by an author who used to be a household name.

In our latest film column, E. G. Neil looks at superhero movies and how one in particular is “Venom, Us,” while Jerry Oltion’s science column explores what will happen “When Betelgeuse Blows.” The print version of the magazine also offers up a new cartoon by Arthur Masear.

LET US KNOW WHAT YOU THINK

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

Enjoy!

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

Editor’s Note for November-December 2018

Welcome to the 70th year of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. Our November/December 2018 issue carries on the tradition of excellence with eleven new stories and a poem, plus 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, November/December 2018, cover by Alan M. ClarkThis month’s cover illustrates “The Iconoclasma” by Hanuš Seiner. The artwork is by the award-winning artist Alan M. Clark.

THE ICONCLASMA

Our cover story this month is something special. The Czech Republic has a strong tradition of science fiction, including the writer Karel Čapek (1890-1938), who invented the word robot for his 1920 play “R.U.R.”, and Josef Nesvadba (1926-2005), who had several stories published in F&SF during the 1960s.

Hanuš Seiner and his translator Julie Novakova are two of the latest writers to continue this tradition. Seiner is a professor of applied physics at the Czech Academy of Sciences in Prague. His fiction frequently mixes hard sf and space opera. American readers may be more familiar with the work of Novakova, an award-winning Czech novelist and translator, whose English language stories have been published in Asimov’s, Analog, and other magazines.

“The Iconoclasma” originally appeared in the April 2013 issue of the excellent Czech science fiction and fantasy magazine XB-1. We are excited to share it now with you.

MORE GREAT FICTION

“The Iconoclasma” isn’t the only piece of science fiction we have for this month. Sean McMullen offers “Extreme,” a near future adventure about a thrill seeker who gets more than he bargained for. Geoff Ryman returns to the magazine with “This Constant Narrowing,” a dark and harrowing story about intolerance set in another possible near future. Nina Kiriki Hoffman gives you a chance to read “Other People’s Dreams,” a story set in the far future where dreams are an art form. J. R. Dawson wants to take you to outer space, “When We Flew Together Through the Ice.” And Bo Balder continues to explore the evolution and interdependency of humans in their environments with her new story, “The Island and Its Boy.”

We also have some fantastic fantasy for you. Our lead story for the issue is “Thanksgiving” by Jeffrey Ford. How well do you really know the people you share your holidays with? Y. M. Pang makes her F&SF debut with “The Lady of Butterflies,” an adventure about memory and transformation. Abra Staffin-Wiebe wants to inform you about the “Overwintering Habits of the North American Mermaid.” Robert Reed offers up another tale in his Raven series, this one exploring “Every Color of Invisible.” And Nick DiChario has written an Italian fairy tale for you titled “The Baron and His Floating Daughter.”

Poet Ruth Berman also returns to our pages with “Escaping the Ogre.”

OUR OTHER COLUMNS AND FEATURES

Charles de Lint recommends some Books to Look For by Martha Wells, Charlaine Harris, Bryan Fields, and Jane Yolen, plus an anthology edited by Irene Gallo and a new Tolkien biography by Catherine McIlwaine. In his Books column, James Sallis offers indepth reviews of Astounding: John W. Campbell, Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, L. Ron Hubbard, and the Golden Age of Science Fiction, by Alec Nevala-Lee and Figures Unseen: Selected Stories by Steve Rasnic Tem. And for our monthly Curiosities column, rediscovering lost writers and books, David Langford explores The Supernatural in Modern English Fiction by Dorothy Scarborough (1917).

In his latest film column, David J. Skal reviews “How to Talk to Girls at Parties,” based on the short story by Neil Gaiman that appeared in F&SF. In our science column, Jerry Oltion offers up a selection of “Space Drives: Real and Imaginary.” We have the winners of Competition #96, “Crime Blotter.” And the print version of the magazine also offers up cartoons by Nick Downes and Danny Shanahan.

LET US KNOW WHAT YOU THINK

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

Enjoy!

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

Editor’s Note for September-October 2018

Welcome to issue #739 of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, a prime number for another prime set of offerings. Our September/October 2018 volume celebrates the magazine’s 69th anniversary with eleven new stories and a poem, plus 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, September/October 2018, cover by Michael GarlandThis month’s cover illustrates “Powerless” by Harry Turtledove. The artwork is by the award-winning artist Michael Garland.

THE POWER OF THE POWERLESS

“While life, in its essence, moves toward plurality, diversity, independent self-constitution, and self organization, in short, toward the fulfillment of its own freedom, the post-totalitarian system demands conformity, uniformity, and discipline.”
– Vaclav Havel, “The Power of the Powerless”

It’s been more than a decade since Harry Turtledove appeared in our pages, and we’re glad to welcome him back with “Powerless,” a novelet inspired by Vaclav Havel’s famous essay dissecting “government by bureaucracy” and its tools of oppression. This alternate history may be set in Red Southern California instead of Cold War Eastern Europe, but that’s only because, as you’ll see, totalitarian systems can arise anywhere, at anytime… and so can resistance.

MORE GREAT FICTION

Our fantasy this month includes “Shooting Iron,” by Cassandra Khaw and Jonathan Howard, a story that takes everything you think you know about Western tropes and turns them on their heads. We fell in love the gunslinger Jenny Lim, and we think you will too. Yukimi Ogawa returns to our pages with “Taste of Opal,” an adventure story unlike any other we’ve read recently. We also thought it was a great example of the kishōtenketsu plot structure that has been reaching new audiences in recent years. Geoff Ryman brings us “Blessed,” a contemporary fantasy that takes place in Abeokuta, Nigeria, where the Aké Literary Festivals, named for the birthplace of Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka, are held. And Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam, a Tiptree Award Honorable Mention and Nebula Award finalist, makes her F&SF debut with “The Men Who Come From Flowers,” a story that might disturb you but one that will definitely make you think.

This month’s selection of science fiction spans the spectrum of the genre. Regular F&SF contributor Brian Trent takes us to the near future and introduces us to “The Memorybox Vultures,” a twisty thriller that asks who owns our social media identities and what happens to them after we die. Jeremiah Tolbert makes his F&SF debut with “We Mete Justice With Beak and Talon,” another near future story where AI-equipped eagles hunt illegal drones. In “Suicide Watch,” Susan Emshwiller takes us to a future where companies offer Death Tours to profit from despair. And Sarina Dories returns to our pages with “Impossible Male Pregnancy: Click to Read Full Story,” a humorous tale ripped right from the clickbait headlines. But we also head off to outer space. Brenda Kalt shows us “The Gallian Revolt as Seen from the Sama-Sama Laundrobath” – everything you need to know is right there in the title. And Gregor Hartmann returns to the magazine accompanied by “Emissaries from the Skirts of Heaven,” a life-spanning story that’s part of his on-going series set around the planet Zephyr.

Poet Jeff Crandall also drops by to describe “What Loves You.”

OUR OTHER COLUMNS AND FEATURES

Charles de Lint recommends some Books to Look For by Juliet E. McKenna, Izzy Robertson, Alex Bledsoe, and Melissa F. Olson, and reviews Barry M. Malzberg’s new essay collection and A.D. Jameson’s I Find Your Lack of Faith Disturbing, about Star Wars and the triumph of Geek Culture. In her Books column, Elizabeth Hand offers indepth reviews of The Mere Wife by Maria Dahvana Headley and Strange Stars: David Bowie, Pop Music, and the Decade Sci-Fi Exploded by Jason Heller. And for our monthly Curiosities column, rediscovering lost writers and books, Mike Ashley visits A Prisoner in Fairyland by Algernon Blackwood, the 1913 novel that introduced the idea of the Starlight Express.

In his latest television column, Tim Pratt reviews the first two seasons of “The Good Place” before Season 3 premieres at the end of September. And in our science column, Jerry Oltion pokes at “The Telltale Vein,” exploring blood tests, how they work, and everything they can reveal. The print version of the magazine also offers up cartoons by Bill Long, Arthur Masear, and Kendra Allenby.

LET US KNOW WHAT YOU THINK

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

Enjoy!

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

Editor’s Note for July/August 2018

Welcome to issue #738. The July/August volume of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction enlivens your summer reading with ten brand new stories and a poem, plus all our regular columns. It’s perfect to take to the beach, to read on your train or flight, or simply to enjoy while lying in a hammock in your own back yard.

Subscribers are already receiving 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, May/June 2018, cover by Bob EggletonThis month’s cover shows “Big Mars.” The artwork is by the Hugo Award winning artist Bob Eggleton.

THE MOONS OF MARS

Sometimes, when you publish a fantasy and science fiction magazine, Bob Eggleton paints a picture of the moons of Mars and you snap it up for your cover and then you go looking for stories and a poem to match.

If you’re smart, one of the first people you go to is Mary Robinette Kowal. “The Lady Astronaut of Mars,” her alternate history of space exploration, won the Hugo Award in 2014, and she revisited that world in “Rockets Red,” which appeared in our January/February 2016 issue. Now she has two books coming out that are set in the same universe. “The Phobos Experience” is a standalone adventure that takes place in a past where we’ve already sent people to the red planet and its larger moon, and we think it perfectly matches the retro spirit of this month’s cover art.

If you’re really smart, you might also turn to William Ledbetter, not just because he’s a bona fide rocket scientist, but because he’s already written so many entertaining space adventures, published in these pages and elsewhere. “Broken Wings,” much like “The Long Fall Up,” his Nebula Award winning novelet from our May/June 2016 issue, features regular people put into situations that test their mettle and push them to the limits of their abilities.

We also turned to one of our most favorite and versatile poets, Mary Soon Lee, who brings us “Red Rising,” if space rebels are your thing.

“FREEZING RAIN, A CHANCE OF FALLING”

This issue’s memorable novella quickly brings us back down to Earth. L. X. Beckett makes her F&SF debut with a story that explores what happens when social capital collides with the gig economy and holds our livelihoods and even our lives in the balance. This is the first story we’ve seen across our transom that imagines a near future where these trends are pushed to their potential extremes, and we think the issues here are worth exploring.

MORE GREAT FICTION

Our other science fiction this month includes “Morbier” by R. S. Benedict, who debuted last year in F&SF with “My English Name” and “Water God’s Dog.” It takes place in the unlikely setting of a country club in Connecticut. And James Sallis brings us “Bedtime Story,” a flash piece about an alien invasion that won’t help you sleep any easier.

The issue also has plenty of fantasy served up. “The Queen of the Peri Takes Her Time” by Corey Flintoff is based in part on his experiences as a foreign correspondent who frequently traveled through Dubai. Rachel Pollack returns to our pages with “Visible Cities,” which presents the origin story of Jack Shade’s lover and fellow Traveler, Carolien Hounstra. “Hainted” by Ashley Blooms, who is making her first appearance in the magazine, is set in the coal-mining hills of Eastern Kentucky. And “The Adjunct” by Cassandra Rose Clarke will take you back to school and teach you a few things you didn’t know about universities and the universe.

OUR OTHER COLUMNS AND FEATURES

Charles de Lint recommends some Books to Look For by Steven Brust, Ken Grimwood, Patricia Briggs, Brian Andrews, and D. N. Erikson, and takes a close look at A Lit Fuse: The Provocative Life of Harlan Ellison, the new biography by Nat Segaloff. Michelle West is Musing on Books by Tanya Huff, Aliette de Bodard, Hannu Rajaniemi, K. R. Richardson, Robert V. S. Redick, and Ursula Vernon. And for our monthly Curiosities column, rediscovering lost writers and books, Paul Di Filippo explores The Wreck of the Titan, or Futility, by Morgan Robertson, a 1912 novel that seems to predict the fate of the Titanic.

In his latest film column, David J. Skal goes to Netflix and looks in the queue at “The Ritual,” “The Frankenstein Chronicles,” and “Altered Carbon,” which he recommends, and “Mute,” which he does not. And in our science column, Jerry Oltion explains “Why Do Kites Fly.” The print version of the magazine also offers up fresh cartoons by Nick Downes, Bill Long, and Danny Shanahan.

LET US KNOW WHAT YOU THINK

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 take a reading vacation. Enjoy!

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

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