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F&SF, September 2008 now on sale!

The September 2008 issue is now on sale. This issue includes the story “Picnic on Pentecost” by Rand B. Lee, so our free reprint this month is Lee’s “Coming of Age Day” (December 2003), which is set in the same universe. (This version has been revised and expanded from the original.)

Here’s the whole table of contents:


  • Arkfall – Carolyn Ives Gilman


  • Pump Six – Paolo Bacigalupi


  • Search Continues For Elderly Man  – Laura Kasischke
  • Picnic on Pentecost  – Rand B. Lee
  • Shed That Guilt! Double Your Productivity Overnight! – Michael Swanwick and Eileen Gunn
  • Salad for Two  – Robert Reed
  • Run! Run!  – Jim Aikin


  • Editorial – Gordon Van Gelder
  • Books to Look For – Charles de Lint, covering You Call This the Future? by Nick Sagan, Mark Frary, and Andy Walker; Echo, by Terry Moore; The Born Queen, by Greg Keyes.
  • Books – Elizabeth Hand, covering The Invention of Everything Else, by Samantha Hunt; Sway, by Zachary Lazar.
  • Coming Attractions 
  • Curiosities – Dave Truesdale, covering Letters on Demonology and Witchcraft, by Sir Walter Scott (1830).


  • Joseph Farris, Arthur Masear


  • Cory and Catska Ench for “Arkfall”

Interview: Charles Coleman Finlay on "The Political Prisoner"

Charles Coleman Finlay–author of “The Political Prisoner,” the cover story of our August 2008 issue–said in an interview that the story is about what happens to Maxim Nikomedes when he gets caught in the wheels of political repression he helped create. “Because genetic change and space colonization raise questions about who is and isn’t human anymore, Max is forced to deal with the underlying issue of his own humanity if he wants to survive,” Finlay said.

The story is a sequel to Finlay’s Hugo and Nebula Award-finalist “The Political Officer,” a space opera spy novella originally published in our April 2002 issue.  “Even before I finished the first story, I knew I wanted to write more about Max, but take it out of spaceships and down to the planet Jesusalem where he lived,” Finlay said. “What would a culture look like that feared change, trying to hold on to parts of the 20th century the same way the Amish hold on to the 17th century? Especially after the religious power structure breaks down.”

Read more

Top Ten SF Novels by Women

In the Guardian, Gwyneth Jones has a Top Ten list of SF novels written by women. It’s an interesting list, though I note that only two of them are from the 21st century. Which is fair enough, considering it’s a Top Ten of all-time sort of list. But seeing the list made me wonder: What would this top ten list look like if we restricted the timeframe to books published in 2000 or later? So let’s hear it: What’s in your top ten? (Keep in mind we’re specifically talking about SF here, not fantasy.)

Tor’s free ebooks

By now most of you will have noticed Tor’s shiny new website, which is chock full of geeky goodness. What you may not have noticed is that through July 27, you can go download all of the free ebooks that Tor had released via its Watch the Skies promotional newsletter over the course of the last several months. So go download before they’re gone forever!

The Plausibility of Batman

Scientific American has a cool (and spoiler-free) article about the plausibility of Batman. It’s presented as a Q&A with the author of Becoming Batman: The Possibility of a Superhero. It looks pretty cool–a shame, though, that it’s not coming out til October; they’re going to miss all this free publicity, though maybe The Dark Knight will be just about ready for DVD by then.

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