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Editor’s Note for November/December 2017

Welcome to issue #734, the November/December 2017 edition of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction.

The new issue can be found in most Barnes & Noble stores, as well as many local independent booksellers. You can 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, Nov/Dec 2017, cover by Kent BashThis month’s cover illustrates “Attachments” by Kate Wilhelm. The artwork is by Kent Bash. To see more of his work, visit his website at http://kentbash.com/.

EVERYTHING HINGES…

Although she had already been publishing in the pulp magazines for several years, Kate Wilhelm first appeared in F&SF with the January 1962 issue. That story, “A Time to Keep,” was a psychologically fraught tale about a professor with repressed memories, and it showed the kind of character insights and close study of constrained lives that made her work so remarkable during the rest of the 1960s. In the following decades, Wilhelm went on to win two Hugo and several Nebula awards, most recently in 2006 and 2009 respectively, and in 2016 the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America renamed their Solstice Award — for outstanding contributions to the field — to the Kate Wilhelm Solstice Award.

Her most recent story for F&SF was “The Fullness of Time” in our July/August 2012 issue. Time has long been a theme in her work, and this one is no different. How can it be, when there are ghosts involved? Of all the different “Attachments” found in this new story, the most important one may belong to a person who once made hinges.

THE RETURN OF GORLEN THE BARD

If you’re not already familiar with the adventures of the bard Gorlen Vizenfirthe, all you need to know is that he’s been cursed — his hand replaced with the stone paw of a gargoyle named Spar, who is reciprocally afflicted. Together, the two of them search for a cure to their problem and frequently end up in fresh varieties of trouble.

Gorlen debuted in the October 1995 issue of F&SF with “Dankden” and has returned six times since, most recently with the cover story “Rooksnight” in our May/June 2014 issue. Marc Laidlaw, Gordon and Spar’s creator and chronicler, tells us that this new adventure may not be the conclusion of their story, but it is certainly a conclusion. If you’re a fan of sword and sorcery adventures, this novella is one you don’t want to miss.

MORE GREAT FICTION

We’ve told you about the ghost story and the fantasy adventure that highlight this issue, but don’t think we’ve neglected science fiction.

We have a trio of hard sf speculative stories to entertain you this month. “Carbo,” a new novelet by Nick Wolven, offers a fresh take on self-driving cars that we haven’t seen before. “By the Red Giant’s Light” is a new Known Space story from Larry Niven that takes place at the edge of our solar system near the end of our sun. And “Racing the Rings of Saturn” by newcomer Ingrid Garcia, a young writer from Spain, looks at extreme sports in a future where the stakes are political as well as personal. Joining these three, you’ll find “Marley and Marley” by J. R. Dawson, a thoughtful time travel tale about the things that can happen when an older version of ourselves meets a younger version.

We also have some terrific and memorable fantasy lined up for you.

Philip K. Dick Award winner Meg Elison makes her F&SF debut with “Big Girl,” a story about the realization that women are always the wrong size, sometimes astonishingly so. R. S. Benedict — whose first published story was the highly acclaimed “My English Name,” inspired in part by her time in China, in our May/June issue earlier this year — returns with “Water God’s Dog,” another unique and powerful story, this time inspired in equal parts by Sumerian literature and a frustrating job hunt. And David Erik Nelson, whose novella “There Was a Crooked Man, He Flipped a Crooked House” was the cover story in our July/August issue, moves from the city to the country with a disturbing road trip through the Midwest in “Whatever Comes After Calcutta.”

And finally we have a delightful new poem for you, “Down at the Goblin Boutique,” by the Irish poet and novelist John W. Sexton.

OUR REGULAR COLUMNS AND FEATURES

Charles de Lint recommends some Books to Look For by David Wiesner and Donna Jo Napoli, Dean Koontz, A. G. Carpenter, Alan Baxter, Grady Hendrix, Christopher Farnsworth, and Angie Stanton. In Musing on Books, Michelle West reviews new books by Elizabeth Bear, Tanya Huff, Linda Nagata, and graphic novels by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda. And in our monthly Curiosities column, rediscovering lost writers and books, David Langford turns out an early holiday treat by reviewing A Christmas Garland, a collection of seasonal parodies — whose targets included Kipling and H. G. Wells — by Max Beerbohm, originally published in 1912.

And beyond books? In his latest film column, David J. Skal provides a critical evaluation of Universal’s newest version of “The Mummy” and their monster movie strategy in general. The print version of this issue also offers up fresh cartoons by Bill Long, Danny Shanahan, Nick Downes, Arthur Masear, and S. Harris. Plus we bring you the winners of F&SF Competition #94, “Explain a Plot Badly,” and invite you to participate in our next competition — “Titles the Rearrange.”

THE SCIENCE COLUMN

At the beginning of this year, the F&SF Science Column by Pat Murphy and Paul Doherty went from being a twice-yearly occurrence to a monthly feature. Murphy and Doherty had been writing the column for twenty years, it’s very popular with readers, and the change just seemed to make sense. The first full year of their column concludes with “The Science of Invisibility,” which looks closely at our eyes and what we can and can’t see.

We are saddened to report that, as we were going to press with this issue, Paul Doherty passed away following a brief battle with cancer. As a result, this month’s science column concludes with a short remembrance of him written by his friend and colleague Pat Murphy. While there will be no science column in our January/February issue, Pat will return in March/April 2018 with the last piece they were working on together and a longer tribute.

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 enjoy.

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

Editor’s Note for September/October 2017

Welcome to the 68th anniversary issue of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction!

The September/October issue can be found in most Barnes & Noble stores, as well as many local independent booksellers. You can order a single copy from our website or buy an electronic edition from Amazon, AmazonUK, and — now, available worldwide and in every format — through Weightless Books.

Fantasy & Science Fiction, Sept/Oct 2017, cover by Maurizio ManzieriThis month’s stunning cover is by Italian artist Maurizio Manzieri, illustrating “Starlight Express” by Michael Swanwick. Manzieri also illustrated our May/June issue. To see more of his work, visit his website at http://www.manzieri.com/.

F&SF‘S 68TH ANNIVERSARY
and STARLIGHT EXPRESS

The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction — titled simply The Magazine of Fantasy for that first issue although it contained a couple science fiction stories by Theodore Sturgeon and others — debuted in October 1949. Sixty-eight years and 733 issues later, here we are!

Our cover story for this issue, “Starlight Express” by Michael Swanwick, is, in some ways, a good example of how much the industry has changed over the past sixty-eight years. Swanwick is a winner of the Hugo, Nebula, Sturgeon, and World Fantasy Awards — none of which existed when the magazine was founded.

But, more importantly, this story shows how interconnected and international the world has become in the intervening decades. (Something you’ll see reflected elsewhere in this issue too.) Swanwick originally wrote this story to be translated for the most recent reboot of Esli magazine in Russia (Если, which is Russian for “If”). Then he sold it to Science Fiction World — which has the largest circulation of any science fiction magazine in the world — in China, where a translation appeared earlier this year.

But this is the story’s first publication in English, and we’re very happy to share it with you.

“THE HERMIT OF HOUSTON” BY SAMUEL R. DELANY

Our genre’s most prestigious award is the Grand Master, given by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. It’s been ten years since SFWA Grand Master Samuel R. Delany published a new science fiction story, and his last appearance in these pages was exactly forty years ago, for our 28th anniversary issue in 1977.

Throughout his career, Delany’s work has pushed the boundaries of sf to make it address more adult situations and issues, particularly at the intersections of language and memory, sexuality and society. He returns to these themes in this new story, which takes place in a near future where the current Mexican-American border no longer exists.

We think fans of the genre are going to enjoy it.

MORE GREAT FICTION

Because this is an anniversary issue, we’ve packed it full of great fiction for you, including a lot of names that will be recognized by our regular readers.

Our lead story for this issue is “Evil Opposite,” a parallel worlds story by Naomi Kritzer, who won the Hugo Award for Best Short Story in 2016. Robert Reed offers us another view of our future with “Leash on a Man” — we happen to think this is one of the best and most memorable stories he’s written in a long time. Lisa Mason returns to our pages with “Riddle,” a tale of the supernatural set in North Beach, her old stomping ground in San Francisco. British writer Jeremy Minton makes a reappearance with “The Care of House Plants,” a story with some dark and unexpected twists. And humorist Oliver Buckram introduces us to “Hollywood Squid,” taking us to an Oscar ceremony we’re not likely to soon forget.

NEW VOICES

In his column for the very first issue of this magazine, back in 1949, publisher Lawrence E. Spivak praised editors Anthony Boucher and J. Francis McComas for seeking out fresh voices and including “…the first published story by a distinctive new fantasy writer.” (He was referring to “In the Days of Our Fathers” by Winona McClintic, who went on to become a frequent contributor to the magazine.) Right from the very beginning, finding and developing new writers has been part of the Fantasy & Science Fiction tradition.

In this anniversary issue, we’re proud to introduce the world to the work of two such new voices. Dare Segun Falowo, a young writer from Lagos, Nigeria, brings us “We Are Born,” a fantasy set in the village of Ala and inspired by Yoruba traditions. We also present you with “Children of Xanadu” by Juan Paulo Rafols, a promising new writer from the Philippines, who was inspired to write this near future science fiction story by news articles about the harsh treatment experienced by children sent to internet addiction boot camps.

In addition, we bring you stories by several writers who may already be familiar to you, but who are new to the magazine.

Gwendolyn Clare delivers “Tasting Notes on the Varietals of the Southern Coast,” a brief fantasy with great intensity and depth of flavor, marked by hints of irony. Canadian writer Rebecca Campbell takes us for a ride “On Highway 18” in a ghost story about small towns and teenagers, independence and vulnerability. Amy Griswold gives us a glimpse at the future and provides some pointed social commentary with “Still Tomorrow’s Going to Be Another Working Day.” Rahul Kanakia uses an alien perspective to hold up a mirror to our own culture with “Bodythoughts.” And Tina Connolly invites us to dance “The Two-Choice Foxtrot of Chapham County” — a delightful fantasy about ordinary people choosing to change.

OUR REGULAR COLUMNS AND FEATURES

From very early on, Fantasy & Science Fiction has been distinguished by its columns and columnists. This issue is no different.

Charles de Lint recommends some Books to Look For by Seanan McGuire, A. G. Carpenter, John Crowley, Christopher Eliopoulos, R. J. Blain, and Melissa F. Olson. James Sallis reviews new Books by Paul La Farge and Deepak Unnikrishnan. In her film column, Kathi Maio meditates “On Finding Her Inner Kaiju” — a review of Anne Hathaway’s “delightfully offbeat” film “Colossal.” The Science Column by Pat Murphy and Paul Doherty pulls a “Vanishing Act” as it considers the technology for invisibility cloaks. And for our Curiosities column, Robert Eldridge reconsiders The Great Demonstration, originally published in 1920, and written by the talented and unjustly forgotten writer, Katharine Metcalf Roof.

The print version of this issue also offers up fresh cartoons by Danny Shanahan, Nick Downes, Arthur Masear, and S. Harris.

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 enjoy.

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

F&SF, July 1991

Over the past couple years, we’ve been doing an irregular series of #TBT (Throw Back Thursday) features here on the F&SF blog, where they can easily be found under the “F&SF History” tag. We also share them on the F&SF Twitter account and Facebook page.

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Fantasy & Science Fiction, July 1991 art by Malgorzata Rapnicka#TBT to the July 1991 issue of F&SF. Malgorzata Rapnicka’s cover illustrates “Autumn Mist” by Nancy Springer.

This was Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s first issue as editor. Rusch begins the issue with an editorial, which would become a hallmark of her term as editor — she wrote more of them than anyone else, before or since. “I feel the weight of history tonight,” she writes near the beginning, and describes that history in both general and personal terms. She ends by calling F&SF “a magazine that has always shown us the future while letting us keep everything that is precious about our past.”

The intro for Springer’s cover story picks up the same theme and discusses how it “ties together the motifs of the issue: the need for change, for preserving the past, and the effect we have on our environment.”

The issue also includes stories by Michael Cassutt, Larry Tritten, Tony Daniel, Elizabeth Engstrom, Esther M. Friesner, and Kathe Koja. Rusch would become known for introducing many new writers to readers of F&SF: here, it’s with “Fetch Felix,” the first published story by Sally Caves, who also wrote a couple episodes for Star Trek — “Hollow Pursuits” on The Next Generation and “Babel” for Deep Space Nine.

The issue is rounded out with book reviews by Budrys and Card, a science column by Asimov, an F&SF competition, and several cartoons. The perfect mix of old and new, beginning a new era for the magazine.

F&SF, July 1958

Over the past couple years, we’ve been doing an irregular series of #TBT (Throw Back Thursday) features here on the F&SF blog, where they can easily be found under the “F&SF History” tag. We also share them on the F&SF Twitter account and Facebook page.

* * *

Fantasy & Science Fiction, July 1958 art by Barry Waldman#TBT to the July 1958 F&SF. Barry Waldman’s cover is for Ron Goulart’s story “The Katy Dialogues” about a robot actress and a slimy PR guy stranded in space.

The main story, and the last story in the issue, is “Theory of Rocketry” by C. M. Kornbluth, who died of a heart attack in March 1958 on his way to a job interview at F&SF. Kornbluth had been tapped to replace Anthony Boucher as editor of the magazine. He was only 34 years old. “Theory of Rocketry” was a Hugo finalist in 1959, along with 2 other Kornbluth stories. But this wasn’t his last published work: Kornbluth was so prolific that new stories, many finished by Frederik Pohl, continued to be published from his files until 1988. The full-page introduction to the story functions as a memorial to Kornbluth. A bibliography of his work replaces the usual books column. The bibliographer opines that: “Cyril Kornbluth’s short stories may never be completely identified. C. M. KornbluthIn his prolific teens, he was writing under 18 or 19 pseudonyms at once.” Kornbluth’s loss was keenly felt by those at the magazine.

The lead story in the issue is the Odyssean-inspired space adventure “Brother Charlie” by Gordon R. Dickson.

In the intro to “The Reign of Tarquin the Tall” by Kit Reed, the editor notes that it’s a difficult story to classify. He writes that it’s one of those stories in F&SF which “are not, strictly speaking, either fantasy or science fiction, but simply strange stories, commercially unsuited to virtually any other markets.” He adds: “It would be handy to a have a term for such off-beat stories.” Today Reed’s tale would be probably be called slipstream or weird fiction by critics (and it would still have a place in the magazine).

F&SF has a long history of translated stories. This issue includes the first English version of “Gil Braltar” by Jules Verne, trans. by I. O. Evans.

The rest of the issue has the usual variety you expect from F&SF. “The Day of the Green Velvet Cloak” by Mildred Clingerman is a curiosity shop story with a twist of time travel. “The Up-to-Date Sorcerer” by Isaac Asimov is, despite the title, a science fiction story that’s full of Gilbert and Sullivan puns. “The Vandals” by Stephen Barr, and two reprints, “The Eighth Lamp” by Roy Vickers and “The Blue-Eyed Horse” by Michael Fessier, along with a science column by William Morrison, round out the issue.

F&SF Electronic Submissions Will Be Temporarily Closed

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The electronic submissions form for Fantasy & Science Fiction will be closed temporarily from 12:01 A.M., Pacific Time, U.S.A., on Tuesday, July 18, 2017, until 11:59 P.M., Pacific Time, U.S.A., on Friday, August 11, 2017.

F&SF’s editor, C.C. Finlay, will be teaching the final two weeks at the Clarion Writers Workshop at the University of California, San Diego, this year and won’t be available to keep up with new submissions.

Because of the temporary closing there is currently no waiting period between submissions.

Paper submissions via the postal service will still be open, but since there won’t be anyone in the office to answer them, it’ll be faster to wait for the online form to reopen.

When it comes to paper submissions vs. electronic submissions, our editor strongly prefers for writers to use the online form whenever possible. The online system is free to use and it means that you don’t need to worry about the cost of postage or stamps. In addition, using the online form will give you a tracking number, so you can follow the progress of your story through our system. On our end, it lets us keep all correspondence about a story in one place while putting the submission on our to-do list every day until we reply. Electronic submissions take about a quarter of the time to handle administratively, giving us more time to read the stories and pay attention to the writing. And the first thing we have to do when we buy something sent by snail mail is contact the writer and ask them to send us an electronic file! Our current median response time for online submissions is about 4 days, so the turnaround is also usually going to be faster for online submissions.

A reminder that our online submission form is available at: https://ccfinlay.moksha.io/publication/fsf

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