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Editor’s Note for July/August 2017

New stories, new writers, new worlds… and one old house.

The July/August issue of the magazine 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.

This month’s cover is by Nicholas Grunas, illustrating “There Was a Crooked Man, He Flipped a Crooked House” by David Erik Nelson. To see more work by this Detroit artist, visit his FineArtAmerica page at https://fineartamerica.com/profiles/djjustnick08.html.

HE FLIPPED A CROOKED HOUSE

Fantasy & Science Fiction, July/August 2017, cover by Nicholas GrunasThe story’s not over when someone builds a crooked house… eventually, the neighborhood declines, the house gets neglected and repurposed for other uses, and then someone comes along with a plan to buy it cheap and flip it for profit.

Take, for example, the David Whitney House, a monumental Romanesque mansion made of pink jasper and Tiffany windows built in Detroit during the city’s early heyday in the 1890s. Less than a hundred years later, by the early 1980s, it had been divided into a labyrinth of low-rent offices. One of those offices was occupied by young David Erik Nelson’s father…

Those are some of the raw materials for this month’s novella as Nelson gives us a modern variation on a classic premise with “There Was a Crooked Man, He Flipped a Crooked House.”

MORE GREAT FICTION

In May, William Ledbetter won the Nebula Award for his hard science fiction novelette “The Long Fall Up,” published in the May/June 2016 issue of F&SF. He leads off this month’s issue with a brand new space adventure, “In a Wide Sky, Hidden.” We also bring you the F&SF debut of G. V. Anderson. Her story “I Am Not I” may at some turns remind you of Sarah Waters’ Fingersmith and at others of China Miéville’s Perdido Street Station; either way, we think it will impress you.

We have a wide variety of great fantasy in this issue. Auston Habershaw introduces us to some delightful characters in his adventure of murder and manners, “The Masochist’s Assistant.” Robin Furth, who some of you may previously know as the author of The Dark Tower: The Complete Concordance or The Dark Tower graphic novels, makes her F&SF debut with a very unsettling story, “The Bride in Sea-Green Velvet.” Gardner Dozois offers us a short tale closer to home with “A Dog’s Story.” And Marissa Lingen returns to our pages with another thoughtful fantasy as she explores “An Unearned Death.”

Two other authors make their F&SF debuts (and first pro sales) in this issue. Justin Key — or rather Dr. Justin Key (he wrote this story while he was finishing med school) — brings us an alternate history of the American South with “Afiya’s Song.” And Sean Adams offers up “An Obstruction to Delivery,” a story that’s difficult to classify but not to enjoy.

OUR REGULAR COLUMNS AND FEATURES

Charles de Lint recommends some Books to Look For by P. L. Winn, Nathan Van Coops, Patricia Briggs, and James E. Coplin, along with a new illustrated edition of Goblin Market by Christina Rossetti and Omar Rayyan and Gods & Goddesses: The Fantasy Illustration Library Volume Two edited by Malcolm R. Phifer and Michael C. Phifer. In Musing on Books, Michelle West reviews new books by Megan Whelan Turner, Peter S. Beagle, and Frances Hardinge. In our film column, David J. Skal considers “Ghouls, Ghosties, Beasties” — a review of Disney’s new version and “Beauty and the Beast.” The Science Column by Pat Murphy and Paul Doherty has “The Best of Intentions” as it describes the perilous fate of bees. And for our Curiosities column, Paul Di Filippo returns to A Report from Group 17 by Robert C. O’Brien (1972).

The issue also offers up a new poem by Sophie M. White and a cartoon by Nick Downes.

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 on your way to the beach, and enjoy some great summer reading.

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

F&SF, June 1997

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, June 1997 art by Stephen Gervais#TBT to the June 1997 issue of F&SF. The Stephen Gervais cover illustrates Robert Reed’s story “Graffiti.”

Last week’s #TBT cover was Ed Ferman’s last issue as editor; this week marks Gordon Van Gelder’s first. (In July we’ll get to Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s debut.)

Van Gelder lays out his vision for the magazine in his first editorial: “my goal is to bring you the most entertaining magazine possible each month — the best blend of fiction, the most interesting columns, and a surprise or three to keep you on your toes. I sort of envision this magazine’s appearance each month in your mailbox as being like a visit from an old friend bearing gifts.” This first issue lives up to that goal, with a wide variety of stories, columns, and more.

Reed’s cover story mixes a painter, a small town, and a dark secret. Robert Reed is followed by Kit Reed and her story “Rajmahal,” a story about an American woman’s affair with a rebel in India. M. Shayne Bell offers “Bright, New Skies,” about an ozone-free earth. It began as a play for teaching English to scientists from Siberia. “The Pipes of Pan” by Brian Stableford blends Greek myth with Neverland. It was picked up by Dozois and Hartwell for their respecitve Year’s Bests. “Jelly Bones” by Robin Aurelian (aka Nina Kiriki Hoffman) begins: “Sometimes bones are just an inconvenience. I melted mine.” Then it gets weird. “The Macklin Gift” by Pat McEwen is a disturbing story about a family with strange powers. It was her first appearance in the magazine. Ron Goulart closes the issue with “Why I Never Went Steady With Heather Moon,” the first of his Heather Moon stories.

Reflecting Van Gelder’s interest in books — and his belief that there’s not enough discussion about them — the issue has four book columns. Add in a film column by Kathi Maio, four cartoons, and the announcement of the new science column by Pat Murphy and Paul Doherty, and you can see both the continuity with the past and the distinctive mark of the new editor on the magazine.

F&SF, June 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.

* * *

Fantasy & Science Fiction, June 1991 art by Stephen Gervais#TBT to the June 1991 issue of F&SF. Stephen Gervais’s cover illustrates “The Blessed/Damned Thornston Emerald” by Grania Davis.

This was Edward L. Ferman’s last issue as editor of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction and contains one of only 3 editorials that he contributed during his remarkable 25 year run. In it, he wrote: “There is the usual large pile of submissions across the room. Most of these stories aren’t very good, and I admit to a considerable sense of relief that when I finish this pile, there won’t be any others. But what about that small surge of pleasure when I find something special? I’ll miss that, I know.”

Ed Ferman was very good at finding “something special.” Altogether, he edited 306 issues (or 319, if you count those he edited for the year and a month that Joseph Ferman’s name led the masthead), and he won 8 Hugo and 3 World Fantasy awards — among many other recognitions — for his work. The stories and writers he edited and developed won even more.

This last issue shows the range and depth of his tastes as editor. The lead story is “The Dark” by Karen Joy Fowler, a 1992 Nebula finalist. Ferman describes the next story, “Wordworld” by Carolyn Ives Gilman, as “an extraordinary linguistic leap of imagination.” It’s a fun, smart piece of writing, typical of the kind of story you’d find during his editorship. “Deuce” by Henry Slesar belongs to the tiny subgenre of fantasy stories about the sport of tennis.

To these stories, he added some “big names.” “Better Morphosis” by Brian W. Aldiss is a lighthearted reprint from the Nasacon II program book and the IAFA Conference of 1990, a rare reprint in F&SF but typical in that it’s the kind of story that appeared someplace where the magazine’s readers might not normally see it. “Vacuum Cleaner” by Ben Bova is another entry is his astronaut-entrepreneur Sam Gunn series, this time focused on orbital junk. “The Day They All Came Back” by Avram Davidson is a clever piece of flash written by the former F&SF editor that Ferman replaced.

F&SF has always published new writers and non-US writers, and the last issue of Ferman’s leadership is no different. “Blue Angel” by Norwegian author Wennicke Eide is her first — and ended up being her only — story in F&SF. Ferman described the writing as “powerful and disturbing… the work of a major talent.” She also published one story each in Amazing, Asimov’s, and a Tor anthology. We did a quick search to find out what happened to her and her writing after that, but couldn’t find anything. So it goes.

The issue closes with “The Blessed/Damned Thorston Emerald” by Grania Davis, a story involving an inheritance and some adventures.

Ferman celebrated his 80th birthday in March of this year. He still reads F&SF — he let us know that he liked the recent Plumage from Pegasus column by Paul Di Filippo. So today’s #TBT is a tribute to Edward L. Ferman, his long tenure at Fantasy & Science Fiction, and all his contributions to the genre. Thanks, Ed.

“The Long Fall Up” Wins the Nebula Award for Best Novelette

Congratulations to all the winners and honorees at this year’s Nebula Award Ceremony hosted by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. Those of us here at the magazine offer special congratulations to William Ledbetter, who won the Nebula for Best Novelette for his story “The Long Fall Up,” which originally appeared in the May/June 2016 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction.

Locus Magazine lists all the winners here: http://www.locusmag.com/News/2017/05/12490/

This picture of him accepting the award is courtesy of the Twitter feed for @sfwa.

William Ledbetter accepting the Nebula Award for Best Novelette.

William Ledbetter accepting the Nebula Award for Best Novelette for “The Long Fall Up.”

F&SF is Wikipedia’s Featured Article for May 15, 2017

Today’s Featured Article on Wikipedia is The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. Almost 68 years of great and groundbreaking stories.

Weightless Books is celebrating by running a one-day subscription special. 50% off the current issue and 25% off any subscription. But you’ll need to act fast!

To take advantage of the Weightless promotion: https://weightlessbooks.com/updates/wikipedia-1-day-fsf-special/

To read the full article on the magazine’s history and highlights, visit Wikipedia at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Magazine_of_Fantasy_%26_Science_Fiction

Wikipedia's article on The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction

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