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Editor’s Note for January/February 2018

Happy New Year! And welcome to the January/February 2018 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, Jan/Feb 2018, cover by Mondolithic StudiosThis month’s cover illustrates “Galatea in Utopia” by Nick Wolven. The artwork is by Mondolithic Studios. To see more of their work, visit their website at


Nick Wolven is one of the most consistently inventive observers in contemporary science fiction, able to look at the news or at social trends and then extrapolate those ideas to logical extremes while always remaining deeply rooted in the lives of his characters. “Caspar D. Luckinbill, What Are You Going to Do?” — Wolven’s F&SF story about advertising and terrorism — was selected to appear in The Best American Science Fiction & Fantasy 2017 and was also reprinted by In “Carbo,” which appeared in our last issue (Nov/Dec 2017), he turned his sharp-eyed observations on the unexpected misogyny of self-driving cars. And in this month’s cover story, he once again brings us something new and entirely unexpected.


Matthew Hughes first introduced us to Baldemar, a wizard’s henchman, in “Ten Half-Pennies” (F&SF, January/February 2017), which described how a young scholar became the assistant to a rough-and-tumble debt collector with some dangerous clients. Baldemar’s adventures continued in “The Prognosticant” (F&SF, May/June 2017), in which his employer, the thaumaturge Thelerion the Incomparable, dispatched Baldemar on a mission to acquire a powerful magical artifact. In this month’s novella, “Jewel of the Heart,” Baldemar is sent someplace where his street smarts will be tested to their limits and he’ll face dangers unlike anything he’s ever seen before.


We have some great science fiction lined up for you this month besides Nick Wolven’s cover story. Vandana Singh offers “Widdam,” a story about climate change and poetry and machines destroying the world. Gardner Dozois returns to our pages with “Neanderthals,” a bit of science fiction adventure. And Robert Reed brings us “An Equation of State,” a story of diplomacy.

In addition to Hughes’s novella, we also have “Aurelia,” a dark fantasy story by F&SF regular Lisa Mason. And Mary Robinette Kowal returns to our pages with “A Feather in Her Cap,” possibly the first adventure ever to mix hat-making and assassination.

Two other writers make their F&SF debuts in this issue. Steven Fischer’s “A List of Forty-Nine Lies” is a flash piece that packs a powerful punch. And J. D. Moyer considers the scope of a life in “The Equationist.”

Finally, we close the issue with “The Donner Party,” a brand new horror story by Dale Bailey. Long-time readers of F&SF have read a lot of Dale Bailey’s stories in the magazine over the past twenty-five years, but we guarantee you’ve never read one like this.


The issue also includes a new Plumage From Pegasus column by Paul di Filippo. We think that “Toy Sorry” is going to be a great way to wrap up the holidays. And you’ll find two poems, “Creator” by Mary Soon Lee and “This Way” by Neal Wilgus.

Turning to our review columns, Charles de Lint recommends some Books to Look For by Alex Bledsoe, Claire North, and Marcus Sakey, and comic books by Matt Wagner and Terry Moore, and an art book by Mark Crilley. In her Books column, Liz Hand considers new work by JJ Amaworo Wilson, Karen Tidbeck, and Josh Malerman. And in our monthly Curiosities column, rediscovering lost writers and books, Graham Andrews takes us Up the Ladder of Gold, a 1931 techno-thriller by E. Phillips Oppenheim that includes a villain who inspired Ian Fleming and James Bond.

In her latest film column, Kathi Maio offers a thoughtful critical evaluation of “Mother!” with a focus on Jennifer Lawrence’s performance and the sometimes destructive power of religion. The print version of this issue also delivers fresh cartoons by Bill Long, Arthur Masear, and S. Harris.


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

More Important Things

Here’s a picture of the opening ceremonies of the 1966 Worldcon from the Eaton F&SF Archive at UC Riverside, taken by Jay Kay Klein. The young man in front is reading the April 1966 issue of F&SF instead of paying attention to the event.

We wonder if anyone recognize the authors sitting in the front row with him? Or if you want to take a guess at which story he’s reading?

Here’s the Table of Contents for the issue, courtesy of isfdb:

4 • We Can Remember It for You Wholesale • novelette by Philip K. Dick
24 • Cartoon: “There’s that funny noise again!” • interior artwork by Gahan Wilson
25 • Appoggiatura • short story by A. M. Marple
31 • Books (F&SF, April 1966) • [Books (F&SF)] • essay by Judith Merril
41 • But Soft, What Light … • short story by Carol Emshwiller
45 • The Sudden Silence • short story by J. T. McIntosh
62 • Injected Memory • [The Science Springboard] • essay by Theodore L. Thomas
63 • The Octopus • poem by Doris Pitkin Buck
64 • The Face Is Familiar • short story by Gilbert Thomas
75 • The Space Twins • short story by James Pulley
79 • The Sorcerer Pharesm • [Dying Earth] • novelette by Jack Vance
101 • The Nobelmen of Science • [Asimov’s Essays: F&SF] • essay by Isaac Asimov
112 • Bordered in Black • short story by Larry Niven

Editor’s Note for March/April 2017

New stories by Eleanor Arnason, Richard Chwedyk, Matthew Hughes and more!

The March/April 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.

Fantasy & Science Fiction, Mar/Apr 2017, cover by Bryn BarnardThis month’s cover is by Bryn Barnard, illustrating “The Man Who Put the Bomp” by Richard Chwedyk. To see more of his work, visit his website at


In “The Measure of All Things,” published in the January 2001 issue of F&SF, Richard Chwedyk introduced us to the “saurs,” genetically engineered intelligent toy companions who looked like tiny versions of dinosaurs. Like many other pets, the saurs sometimes ended up neglected and abandoned, but there was a house where rescued saurs could be safe . . . and get into new kinds of trouble. The saurs have appeared three more times, in “Bronte’s Egg” (August 2002), “In Tibor’s Cardboard Castle” (Oct/Nov 2004), and “Orfy” (Sept/Oct 2010). The series has been incredibly popular, garnering numerous award nominations and winning a Nebula Award for “Bronte’s Egg.”

Now, at long last, the saurs return in an all-new novella, “The Man Who Put the Bomp” — brace yourself for VOOM!


We have other great science fiction in this issue. Robert Grossbach considers a possible future for self-driving cars in “Driverless.” Eleanor Arnason solves a mystery that involves our interaction with other intelligent species in “Daisy.” And poet Ruth Berman takes us across vast distances of space and time with her poem “Spacemail Only.”

There are also several varieties of fantasy to enjoy. Matthew Hughes introduces us to a new character in his Archonate universe — Baldemar, a would-be wizard’s henchman, makes his debut in “Ten Half-Pennies.” Albert E. Cowdrey takes us to New Orleans and acquaints us with William Warlock, a professional problem solver with supernatural assistance, in “The Avenger.” And James Sallis brings us a story music and a different kind of magic in “Miss Cruz.”

Cat Hellisen (“The Girls Who Go Below,” F&SF Jul/Aug 2014) returns to the magazine with another dark, horror-tinged fantasy, giving us “A Green Silk Dress and a Wedding Death.”

And we’re also pleased to introduce you to the work of Arundhati Hazra, an Indian writer who makes her genre fiction debut in this issue with the delightful story, “The Toymaker’s Daughter.”


Charles de Lint suggests Books to Look For by Amber Lynn Natusch, Jasmine Walt and Rebecca Hamilton, Andrew Vachss, Jen Blood, Rodney Jones, Kevin Hearne, and he takes a look at Spectrum 23: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art. In Musing on Books, Michelle West considers new books by Cixin Liu, Aliette de Bodard, and Peter S. Beagle, along with the anthology The Starlit Wood: New Fairy Tales, edited by Dominik Parisien and Navah Wolfe. In our film column, Kathi Maio reviews Arrival, the movie based on Ted Chiang’s “Story of Your Life.” And for our Curiosities column, David Langford takes us to A Beleaguered City, an 1879 story of the supernatural by Mrs. Oliphant, the name under which Margaret Oliphant published her many popular works.

As we announced in January, the Science Column by Pat Murphy and Paul Doherty has returned to every issue. This month continues their exploration of robotics with wearable technology and “Robots In Your Pants”.


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

In the meantime… enjoy!

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

Editor’s Note for Jan/Feb 2017

It’s a new year and a new issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, with brand new stories by Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Marc Laidlaw, Rachel Pollack, Robert Reed, Wole Talabi, and many more. We also have an important announcement about our science column.

The January/February edition 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.

Fantasy & Science Fiction, Jan/Feb 2017, cover by Charles VessThis month’s cover is by Charles Vess, illustrating “Vinegar and Cinnamon” by Nina Kiriki Hoffman. To see more of his work, visit his website at


Nina Kiriki Hoffman first appeared in the pages of Fantasy & Science Fiction in 1993 with “God Rest Ye, Merry Gentle Ghosts” and in the years since, we’ve been fortunate to share many of her stories with you. She returns this month with a new tale of family and magic, a story of “Vinegar and Cinnamon.”


Rachel Pollack brings us “Homecoming,” a new novella with Jack Shade — private investigator, occultist, and shaman. Jack Shade appeared previously in our pages with “Jack Shade in the Forest of Souls” (Jul/Aug 2012), “The Queen of Eyes” (Sept/Oct 2013), and “Johnny Rev” (July/Aug 2015). We also have a new novelet by Marc Laidlaw, who takes us to Castaway Books in Hawaii and open the pages on “Wetherfell’s Reef Runics” on a mystery that may be better left undisturbed.

The new year also begins with a wealth of science fiction. Nigerian-born writer and engineer Wole Talabi makes his F&SF debut with “The Regression Test,” a near future story about intelligences, both artificial and real. Gregor Hartmann takes us to outer space and “A Gathering on Gravity’s Shore,” another entry in the adventures of the writer Franden on the planet Zephyr. Rick Norwood brings us back to earth with a story about scientists discovering a new source of energy — an invention that can only go “One Way.” And Monica Byrne takes us on a long journey across time to “Alexandria.”

We also have two stories that skirt the edges of several genres. Debbie Urbanski makes her F&SF debut with a story “On the Problem of Replacement Children: Prevention, Coping, and Other Practical Strategies.” And reader favorite Robert Reed brings an unsettling story about “Dunnage for the Soul.”


Charles de Lint offers books to look for by Richard Kadrey, J. K. Rowling, Mark Henwick, Ursula K. Le Guin, and the interesting Uncollected Anthology project. James Sallis considers a new biography of Shirley Jackson. In our television column, Tim Pratt reviews the Netflix series “Stranger Things.” And for our Curiosities column, David Langford rediscovers Elmer Rice’s A Voyage to Purilia. There’s a new poem by Mary Soon Lee. Plus, flip through the pages and you’ll discover a pair of cartoons by Arthur Masear and Bill Long.


Pat Murphy and Paul Doherty have been writing their Science column for F&SF since 1997. Since 2002, the column has been running twice a year. Beginning with this issue, the F&SF Science column will run in every issue again, just like Isaac Asimov’s original science column. This is going to be a change in frequency but not total content: instead of running two 4,500 word columns every year, we’ll be running six 1,500 word columns instead.

We’re making the change for several reasons. Part of this is due to reader response — the feedback that we’ve received the past few years indicates that our readers really enjoy the science columns. Part of it is to allow Pat and Paul more flexibility: they’ll still be able to tackle some subjects in depth, by spreading out the topics over several issues, but they’ll also be able to do shorter columns on other topics when that’s appropriate too. And it’s a reaffirmation of F&SF‘s roots with Asimov’s original columns and a reflection of our commitment to fact-based reasoning and the importance of science in our culture.

The first few science columns from Pat and Paul in 2017 will cover some of the more unusual recent developments in robotics. In this issue, “Brainless Robots Stroll the Beach”.


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

In the meantime… enjoy!

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

Editor’s Note for Sept/Oct 2015

One of the things that I love about The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction is that it’s a beautiful physical object. The September/October issue — available today! — is a perfect example, with its cover featuring an epic dragon illustrated by the team of Cory and Catska Ench. If you don’t have a copy yet, you can subscribe here or order a single copy here.

Fantasy & Science Fiction, Sept/Oct 2015, cover by Cory and Catska EnchThe Enches have done many covers for F&SF over the past decade. (The very first cover they ever did for the magazine was the illustration for my story “A Democracy of Trolls” back in Oct/Nov of 2002 — something I didn’t know until just now!) You can see more of their work, together and individually, at their website:

The cover illustrates this month’s novella, “The Lord of Ragnarök” by Albert E. Cowdrey. Regular readers of F&SF will be familiar with Cowdrey’s work and his range as a writer. But few may know that before he turned his attention to fiction he served as Chief of the Special History Branch in the U.S. Army, and published several non-fiction books on the history of medical service in the army as well as the environmental history of the U.S. south. Cowdrey won the World Fantasy Award in 2003 for his short story “Queen for a Day” and was a finalist again in 2009 for his novella “The Overseer.” We think this new novella is among his best work.

The story in this month’s free electronic digest for Kindle is “The Bone War” by Elizabeth Bear. This story marks the first fiction appearance by the multiple Hugo Award winning author in the pages of F&SF. (Bear’s first professional SF sale was the poem “ee ‘doc’ cummings” in the March 2003 issue of F&SF.) “The Bone War” takes place in the world of Bear’s Eternal Sky series. Fans who’ve read Bone and Jewel Creatures and Book of Iron will immediately recognize Bijou the Artificier. Everyone else is in for a new treat. Even if you don’t subscribe to the magazine, you can click on this link and read Bear’s story and all the columns in the issue for free.

The rest of the issue contains a mixture of new and familiar names.

Nick Wolven has published a half dozen stories in Asimov’s Science Fiction but his contemporary science fiction satire “We’re So Very Sorry For Your Recent Tragic Loss” marks his first appearance in this magazine. “Ten Stamps Viewed Under Water,” a fantasy inspired by her grandfather’s stamp collection, also marks the F&SF debut of the prolific Marissa Lingen. And we are excited to introduce you to Bo Balder, a multilingual writer from the Netherlands who is a two-time winner of the Paul Harland Prize for best original Dutch science fiction, fantasy, or horror. “A House of Her Own” is her first professional English short fiction publication. It’s a thought-provoking story about a far future where humans and aliens are connected in unexpected and revealing ways.

We’re happy to see other writers return to these pages with new stories. Paolo Bacigalupi’s “A Hot Day’s Night” originally appeared in a special issue of High Country News (where Bacigalupi once worked) devoted to the future of environmental ideas. We don’t think many genre readers will have seen it there, so we’re excited to share it and give a glimpse into the drought-plagued world of his new novel The Water Knife. “Don’t Move” by Dennis Etchison is a chilling tale from the three-time winner of both the British Fantasy and World Fantasy Awards. And David Gerrold, recent World Science Fiction Convention guest of honor and Hugo Awards ceremony co-emcee, along with Tananarive Due, returns to these pages with a horror story, “Monsieur.”

We also have two new tales from recent series. “The Adventure of the Clockwork Men” by Ron Goulart marks the return of the Victorian supernatural sleuth Harry Challenge, who previously appeared in F&SF to uncover “The Secret of the City of Gold” (Jan/Feb, 2012) and solve “The Problem of the Elusive Cracksman” (Nov/Dec 2012). And “Rascal Saturday” is the latest story in Richard Bowes’s The Big Arena cycle, centered around a future, climate-changed eastern United States. The first tale in the series, “Sleep Walking, Now and Then,” was a finalist for this year’s Nebula Award. But you don’t need to be familiar with the earlier stories in either series to appreciate these.

The magazine also has some great columns this month.

Charles de Lint tells you why you should read new books by Laura Bickle, Seanan McGuire, Eva Darrow, F.R. Mahler, and Andrew Klavan. David J. Skal offers his analysis of the film Ex Machina. In our regular “Curiosities” column, Phoenix Alexander discusses a forgotten classic of early 20th century African-American science fiction. And Chris Moriarty uses four recent anthologies — Mothership: Tales from Afro-Futurism and Beyond, Carbide Tipped Pens: Seventeen Tales of Hard Science Fiction, Twelve Tomorrows, and Hieroglyph: Stories and Visions for a Better Future — as a jumping off point for an essay on women currently writing hard SF.

If that doesn’t make you want to read the issue, I don’t know what else to add. F&SF has never been a better bargain. You can order print or digital copies of the issue here: Enjoy!

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