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Editor’s Note for July/Aug 2016

The July/August issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction is now on sale! You can order a single copy from our website or buy an electronic edition from Amazon or AmazonUK. Or just subscribe now and never miss another issue!

This is the 726th issue of Fantasy & Science Fiction.

Fantasy & Science Fiction, July/Aug 2016, cover by Mondolithic StudiosMondolithic Studios, the team of Kenn Brown and Chris Wren, provided this month’s cover, which illustrates Gregor Hartmann’s story “Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful.” To see more work by this talented pair, visit their website at mondolithic.com.

“TRUSTWORTHY, LOYAL, HELPFUL”
BY GREGOR HARTMANN

Gregor Hartmann’s last cover story for F&SF appeared in our August 1991 issue for his fantasy tale, “Henry in the Trees.” After that one appeared, he took a short — well, for some, two decades is short — hiatus from writing to pursue his career as a translator of scientific patents. That knowledge and expertise shines in this new story, which is about both unexpected discoveries and unintended consequences.

MORE GREAT FICTION

This issue includes another anniversary story: 45 years ago, in our August 1971 issue, F&SF published “Born to Exile,” the first professional story with Phyllis Eisenstein’s solo byline. The story introduced Alaric the Minstrel, who has since appeared in two novels and numerous stories, many of them in these pages, making this the longest running series by a single author in F&SF’s history. Eisenstein’s new Alaric adventure includes fresh revelations about his world and character that shows there are still new twists for this familiar figure.

Other writers returning to our pages in this issue include Oliver Buckram, with “An Open Letter to the Person Who Took My Smoothie from the Break Room Fridge,” a story that shows how true evil arises from petty impulses as much as grand plans; Bruce McAllister, with “Killer,” a short piece that revisits his world where angels have appeared in Central Park; and David Prill, whose “Vishnu Summer” will evoke the smell of cut grass and the sound of county fair calliopes as it takes you on an unexpected journey.

We also introduce several new writers to the pages of F&SF. It includes a couple fantasy stories: Dominica Phetteplace makes her first appearance with “Spells Are Easy If You Have the Right Psychic Energy” and Betsy Philips joins us with her semi-autobiographical tale, “Jesus Has Forgiven Me, Why Can’t You?” K. B. Rylander brings us a science fiction story, “Last One Out” — there’s more on that below. And this month’s novella is an alternate history, “The Vanishing Kind,” by World Fantasy Award winner Lavie Tidhar. A Man Lies Dreaming, Tidhar’s noir novel about Nazis and British fascists, was published in the US in March to wide critical and popular acclaim. He tells us that the idea for “The Vanishing Kind” came to him shortly after he finished writing that novel. Both stories make their way like spies through the sordid, shadowed streets of a London that might have been.

Along with the fiction we have “Martian Garden,” a poem by John Philip Johnson, and “The London-Ehrenreich School of Applied Textual Fortitude,” a new Plumage From Pegasus piece by Paul Di Filippo. This issue closes with “The Thing on the Shelf,” a novelet by reader favorite David Gerrold. Be sure to read the Coming Attractions at the end of that story for an important announcement.

READ “LAST ONE OUT” FOR FREE

We promised you more. Every issue features one story that we also offer for download online, via our free electronic digest for Kindle. (The UK version is available here.) This month’s free story — which you can also find in the print edition — is “Last One Out” by K. B. Rylander. The Last Man On Earth is a classic science fiction trope given a fresh twist in K. B. Rylander’s first story in print.

Even if you don’t subscribe to the magazine – and why don’t you? – you can click on this link and read Rylander’s story and all the columns in the issue for free.

OH YES, THE COLUMNS AND FEATURES

Charles de Lint reviews new books by Patricia McKillip, Carolyne Larrington, Lev Grossman, Diana Pavlac Glyer, and Melissa F. Olson. James Sallis considers new short story collections by James Morrow, Mary Rickert, and Jeffrey Ford. Kathi Maio offers insights into three films, “10 Cloverfield Lane,” “Eye in the Sky,” and “Zootopia.” In our science column, Pat Murphy and Paul Doherty look at “Our Super Cool Solar System.” And for our Curiosities column, Robert Eldridge presents Star of the Unborn (1945) by Franz Werfel, the German exile’s posthumous science fiction novel.

LET US KNOW WHAT YOU THINK

After you read the issue, or even part of it, we hope you’ll share your thoughts with us. We can be found on:

In the meantime… enjoy!

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

Editor’s Note for May/June 2016

The May/June issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction is now on sale! You can order a single copy from our website or buy an electronic edition from Amazon or AmazonUK. Or just subscribe now and never miss another issue!

This is the 725th issue of Fantasy & Science Fiction.

Fantasy & Science Fiction, May/June 2016, cover by Max BertoliniMax Bertolini’s cover illustrates “The Stone War” by Ted Kosmatka. Bertolini is a multi-talented artist who did the chocolate bunny cover for our September 2005 issue that featured Kelly Link’s “Magic For Beginners.” His first cover for us illustrated our June 2004 issue, twelve years ago, and this issue marks his 12th cover for the magazine. Bertolini lives in Italy, but his work has appeared in comics and on covers of books and magazines around the world. You can find out more and see examples of his work at maxbertolini.com.

“THE STONE WAR” BY TED KOSMATKA

For the past few years, Ted Kosmatka has been busy writing video games and working on novels. His quantum physics driven thriller, The Flicker Men, was published last year to wide acclaim. With this new novelet for F&SF, Kosmatka shows his versatility, using the fantasy setting to explore some big thematic issues. It’s unlike anything we’ve read in quite some time.

MORE GREAT FICTION

This issue contains several other fantasy stories. Canadian author Charlotte Ashley debuted in F&SF last year with “La Héron,” a Dumas-inspired tale about dueling and broken vows that is currently a finalist for the Prix Aurora award. Ashley returns this month with “More Heat Than Light,” a new adventure set in a parallel world where the French Revolution comes to Quebec and revolutionaries take up arms against the English in the monster-ridden wilderness. In “Steamboat Gothic,” Albert E. Cowdrey returns to the fictional suburbs of St. Genevieve Parish, Louisana, previously visited with “The Private Eye” in our August 2009 issue. And “Ash” by Susan Palwick is a look at tiny houses, and the things we make room for in our lives and why.

Our science fiction this month includes “Last of the Sharkspeakers,” a novelet by Brian Trent that we can’t say too much about without spoiling some of the surprises. “The Nostalgia Calculator” by Rich Larson is wry science fiction satire by one of the field’s most energetic new young talents. “The Great Silence” was written by Ted Chiang for a video installation by artists Allora & Calzadilla at Philadelphia’s Fabric Workshop and Museum. We’re reprinting the text here for our readers who haven’t had the chance to read it. “Caribou: Documentary Fragments” by Joseph Tomaras is a look at biological behavioral controls – how they might work and how they might go wrong.

On the horror side, we offer “The Secret Mirror of Moriyama House” by Yukimi Ogawa, a multi-lingual writer living in Toyko who has published a small handful of outstanding stories over the past few years. This is her first appearance in F&SF.

This month’s novella, “Coyote Song” by Pat MacEwen, brings you a story at the intersection of horror, fantasy, science, and police procedurals. Regular readers of the magazine know Pat MacEwen for her fiction, most recently “The Lightness of the Movement” (March/April, 2014), which was a Tiptree Award finalist, but her work outside these pages is just as interesting. It includes a decade as a Crime Scene Investigator, war crimes investigations for the International Criminal Tribunal, and her current position as a consultant on archaeological matters involving human remains. Her new novella combines forensics with three traditions of magic – Cambodian, Native American, and Voudoun. We think it will surprise you.

READ “THE LONG FALL UP” FOR FREE

Every issue features one story that we also offer for download online, via our free electronic digest for Kindle. (The UK version is available here.) This month’s free story — which you can also find in the print edition — is “The Long Fall Up” by William Ledbetter.

“The Long Fall Up” is a classic science fiction story that explores how humanity will bring forth new generations in microgravity? And what happens when the people who control access to gravity control reproductive rights? William Ledbetter has worked for almost thirty years in the aerospace industry, where he has designed aircraft components, and helped design rockets and parts of the International Space Station. Now he turns that expertise to fiction, and brings us a story about the ways people adapt technology to choose their own destinies.

Even if you don’t subscribe to the magazine – and why don’t you? – you can click on this link and read Ledbetter’s story and all the columns in the issue for free.

OH YES, THE COLUMNS

Charles de Lint reviews the Bookburners serials by Max Gladstone, Margaret Dunlap, Mur Lafferty, and Brian Francis Slattery, Nebula Awards Showcase 2015, edited by Greg Bear, the Never Never trilogy by Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher, a pair of genre-themed art books by Design Studio Press, and Here’s To My Sweet Satan by George Case. Elizabeth Hand reviews Interior Darkness: Selected Stories by Peter Straub, Good Girls by Glen Hirshberg, and The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle. David J. Skal reviews the first season of Amazon’s television series “The Man In The High Castle” based on the novel by Philip K. Dick. We share the winners from our F&SF Competition #91. And for our Curiosities column, Paul Di Filippo reads Twilight Stories by Rhonda Broughton, an 1872 collection of fantastic stories by one of the forgotten early masters of the genre.

LET US KNOW WHAT YOU THINK

After you read the issue, or even part of it, we hope you’ll share your thoughts with us. We can be found on:

In the meantime… enjoy!

C.C. Finlay
Editor
Fantasy & Science Fiction

Editor’s Note for Mar/Apr 2016

The March/April issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction is now on sale! You can order a single copy of the issue from our website or buy an electronic edition from Amazon or AmazonUK.

Fantasy & Science Fiction, Mar/Apr 2016, cover by Jason Van HollanderThis month’s cover art is by Jason Van Hollander, winner of the International Horror Guild Award for Art and two-time winner of the World Fantasy Award for best artist. In 2004, he contributed a Curiosities column about Josephine Pinckney to our pages, but this is his first cover for us. You can see more examples of his work at his website, jasonvanhollander.com, where we encourage you in particular to check out his Hell Stamps collection. That’s because this month’s cover illustrates Marc Laidlaw’s story “The Ghost Penny Post.”

THE GHOST PENNY POST

Marc Laidlaw is probably best known to readers of Fantasy & Science Fiction for his fantasy adventure tales of Gorlen Vizenfirth the bard and Spar the gargoyle, and the peculiar curse that binds them. The Gorlen and Spar stories have been appearing intermittently in our pages for twenty years, most recently with “Rooksnight,” our cover story for May/June 2014.

But few people know that Marc Laidlaw’s first appearance in F&SF came in the form of a Letter to the Editor back in our January 1977 issue, published when he was just 16 years old and neither email nor internet forums had yet displaced the time-tested system of setting one’s thoughts down on paper and transferring them across vast distances by the simple act of affixing a stamp and entrusting them to the care of the local postal service. That seems especially appropriate for this month’s cover story, a different kind of fantasy adventure that harkens back to those earlier, but most certainly not simpler, days.

MORE GREAT FICTION

We have other fantasy and horror-tinged stories in this issue. This month’s novella is “The Liar” by John Murphy, his first appearance in F&SF. If you’ve ever wondered what the result would be like if Garrison Keillor wrote a Stephen King story then look no further. Justin Barbeau introduced us to Nanabojou, the old trickster, in our November/December 2014 issue with “Nanabojou at the World’s Fair.” He returns this month to tackle “Nanabojou and the Race Question.” It’s been a few years since James Cambias last appeared in the magazine, but he comes back in monster-sized fashion with a monster movie inspired story, “Golden Gate Blues.”

But our magazine also promises science fiction, and we deliver that as well. Cat Rambo’s “Red in Tooth and Cog” is a story about a different kind of urban wildlife. Back in 1986, Nancy Kress won the Nebula Award for “Out of All Them Bright Stars,” which appeared in our pages. We’re glad to have her back with “Belief,” a thoughtful and thought-provoking story about science and faith. Sheila Finch’s Guild of Xenolinguist stories have been appearing in F&SF for more than twenty-five years. Juliette Wade has been exploring similar issues with stories set in her Allied Systems universe. This month the two of them collaborate to bring us a new Lingster story, “The Language of the Silent.” Chris DeVito brings a short piece of speculative baseball fiction with “Diamond.” And N.J. Schrock is a Ph.D. chemist who makes her fiction debut with “The Silver Strands of Alpha Crucis-d.”

READ “A MOTHER’S ARMS” FOR FREE

Every issue features one story that we also offer for free download online, via our free electronic digest for Kindle. (The UK version is available here.) This month’s free story — which you can also find in the print edition — is “A Mother’s Arms” by Sarina Dorie. Science fiction has a rich tradition of stories told from alien points-of-view. One of the most delightful and unexpected adventures we’ve read recently in this vein was Sarina Dorie’s “The Day of the Nuptial Flight” in our July/August 2014 issue. With this new story, Dorie returns to that unnamed planet and offers us another perspective on the recent human arrivals.

Even if you don’t subscribe to the magazine, you can click on this link and read Dorie’s story and all the columns in the issue for free.

OH YES, THE COLUMNS

In Books to Look For, Charles de Lint reviews Carry On and Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, Malediction and Boundary Lines by Melissa F. Olsen, Dead Heat and Shifting Shadows by Patricia Briggs, and The Year’s Best Science Fiction: Thirty-Second Annual Collection, edited by Gardner Dozois. For Musing On Books, Michelle West reviews An Ancient Peace by Tanya Huff, An Inheritance of Ashes by Leah Bobet, Slade House by David Mitchell, The Vagrant by Peter Newman, and Arkwright by Allen Steele. Kathi Maio takes a close look at movies about Mars and reviews The Martian, Paul Di Filippo brings us “The Prince and the Pulpster” in his latest Plumage from Pegasus, and Douglas Anderson’s Curiosities column considers Monk’s Magic, the 1931 novel by Alexander de Comeau.

LET US KNOW WHAT YOU THINK

After you read the issue, we hope you’ll share your thoughts on one of these sites:

In the meantime… enjoy!

C.C. Finlay
Editor
Fantasy & Science Fiction

Editor’s Note for Jan/Feb 2016

The January/February issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction is now on sale! You can order a single copy of the issue from our website or buy an electronic edition from Amazon or AmazonUK.

Fantasy & Science Fiction, Jan/Feb 2016, cover by Bob Eggleton
Usually we start with a story we love and commission a cover for it, but when Bob Eggleton sent us the Martian landscape that adorns this issue, we snatched up the illustration and went looking for stories to match. Eggleton did his first cover for F&SF in 1991 and won four Chesley Awards for his F&SF covers (May 1996, May 1998, August 1999, July 2003). It’s been a few years since we featured his work on the magazine and we’re glad to have him back.

THREE TALES OF MARS

We’re also excited to share the three stories that we’ve lined up for this issue to go with the cover. We start with discoveries: in addition to his many literary achievements, Gregory Benford is Professor Emeritus of Physics at the University of California, Irvine, has been an advisor to NASA, and has served on the board of the Mars Society, so he’s uniquely suited to write about Martian exploration. His novel The Martian Race (1999) and its sequel The Sunborn (2005), were about the first team of scientists-explorers to visit the fourth planet. With “Vortex” in this issue, Benford continues those Martian explorations. From beginning to ends: in our second Martian tale, “Number Nine Moon” by Alex Irvine, we have an adventure story about mankind’s final day on Mars. And how things might have been: most stories set on our neighboring planet take place in the future, but Mary Robinette Kowal won the 2014 Hugo Award for “The Lady Astronaut of Mars,” which is set in an alternate history where a Martian base was established in the 1950s using the technology available in that era. “Rockets Red” by Kowal is set in that same Bradburyian universe.

MORE GREAT FICTION

But the issue isn’t all about outer space and other planets. “Smooth Stones and Empty Bones” in the debut story by Bennett North, a tale that skirts the borders of fantasy and horror to explore love and loss. That’s followed by “The White Piano” a ghost story by David Gerrold, who last appeared in our September/October issue with his vampire story, “Monsieur.”

We follow that with a group of science fiction stories that take place here on Earth, starting with “Caspar D. Luckinbill, What Are You Going to Do?” by Nick Wolven. Wolven’s previous story for F&SFF&SF. “Robot From The Future,” this issue’s contribution, offers exactly what the title promises… and more. Leo Vladimirksy debuted in F&SF with the grim near future story “Collar” (March/April, 2014). He returns to that same desperate possible future in this issue with “Squidtown.”

The issue also includes a generous helping of fantasy, set on other worlds and our own. “Touch Me All Over” by Betsy James is her second story for F&SF, following “Paradise and Trout” (July/August, 2015). She tells us that it began when she imagined a knife so sharp it would cut through anything humans could create. In recent years, one of the most popular series with our readers has been Matthew Hughes’s tales from the Archonate universe. Of all the colorful Archonate personalities to traverse these pages – Guth Bandar, aspiring academic; Henghis Hapthorn, freelance discriminator; Luff Imbry, master criminal – perhaps none have been as welcome as Raffalon the Thief, who returns in this issue with “Telltale.” Albert E. Cowdrey’s stories can often be difficult to classify, which is just one of the reasons we love them. “The Visionaries” in this issue is one of those stories which straddles genre boundaries, but is very specific in its final effect.

The issue ends with “Braid of Days and Wake of Nights” by E. Lily Yu, who dedicates it in part to Jay Lake. Lake was one of the most prolific and promising young writers of the decade that stretched from 2004, when he won the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer in Science Fiction, to 2014, when cancer cut his life prematurely short. Like Lake, Yu is a winner of the John W. Campbell Award, taking home the trophy in 2012. This is her first story for F&SF.

That’s 12 stories and over 80,000 words of fiction!

READ “VORTEX” FOR FREE

Every issue features one story that we also offer for free download online, via our free electronic digest for Kindle. (The UK version is available here.) This month’s free story — which you can also find in the print edition — is “Vortex” by Gregory Benford. Even if you don’t subscribe to the magazine, you can click on this link and read Benford’s story and all the columns in the issue for free.

OH YES, THE COLUMNS

Charles de Lint reviews Mr. Mercedes and Finders Keepers by Stephen King, The Land Beyond All Dreams and Dragon’s Luck by Bryan Fields, the Spirit Caller series by Krista D. Ball, and Hilo: The Boy Who Crashed to Earth by Judd Winnick. James Sallis reviews two new story collections, The End of the End of Everything by Dale Bailey and Ghost Summer: Stories by Tananarive Due. David J. Skal reviews the films “Air” and “Z for Zachariah.” In our science column, Pat Murphy and Paul Doherty discuss terraforming Earth to address the effects of runaway carbon and global climate change. And in our Curiosities column, Graham Andrews takes a look at The Truth About Wilson, a 1962 novel about sports, war, and the fantastic by W. S. K. Webb.

LET US KNOW WHAT YOU THINK

After you read the issue, or even part of it, we hope you’ll share your thoughts on one of these sites:

In the meantime… enjoy!

C.C. Finlay
Editor
Fantasy & Science Fiction

Editor’s Note for Nov/Dec 2015

The November/December of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction is now on sale! You can order a single copy of the issue from our website or buy an electronic edition from Amazon or AmazonUK.

Fantasy & Science Fiction, Nov/Dec 2015, cover by David HardyThis is also a great time of year to subscribe or renew your subscription. And, with the holidays coming up, you might take a look at our discounted gift subscriptions.

But let’s talk about the issue!

WHERE HAVE YOU BHEN

David Hardy’s cover for this month’s issue features the return of Bhen. The mischievous green alien has been having fun with NASA’s toys for forty years. His very first appearance was with the Viking Lander on the November 1975 issue of F&SF. It seems only fitting that he celebrates the anniversary by showing up on Mars again, this time with ESA’s ExoMars rover, due to land in 2018.

Later this week, we’ll be posting a retrospective of all of David Hardy’s Bhen covers for F&SF from the past four decades, as well as an interview with the alien himself. If you must have more Hardy now, you can visit his website at www.astroart.org.

“GYPSY” BY CARTER SCHOLZ

This month’s novella goes with the cover’s theme of space exploration.

Although Carter Scholz has been writing science fiction for decades, this is the first time he has turned his attention to the very hard problem of interstellar travel.  Even though this story is set only twenty-five years into the future, it’s meticulously grounded in current science and research.

Gardner Dozois has called it “perhaps the best SF novella of the year.”Gypsy is also available in book form from PM Press, as part of Terry Bisson’s Outspoken Authors series.

MORE GREAT FICTION

The issue opens with “The Winter Wraith” by Jeffrey Ford, a haunting holiday story set in the bleak Ohio countryside. Tim Sullivan returns to the heavy gravity millieu of Cet Four with “Hob’s Choice: (seen previously in “The Nambu Egg” in F&SF, Jul/Aug 2013). “The Thirteen Mercies” by Maria Dahvana Headley’s is first appearance in F&SF. It’s a dark fantasy with crocodiles and war magic.

KJ Kabza gives a short, thoughtful fantasy with “Her Echo.” Harvey Jacobs lightens up the issue with “The Fabulous Follicle.” Bruce McAllister offers up “Dreampet,” a science fiction story that began life as a Hollywood move pitch. And Naomi Kritzer returns to these pages with “Cleanout,” her first new story not set in the Seastead universe.

The issue closes with “It’s All Relative at the Space-Time Café” by Norman Birnbach, which is a short celebration of the 100th anniversary of the publication of Einstein’s “Theory of General Relativity” in 1915. And then Lisa Mason explores the fate of all time and space with her new novelet, “Tomorrow is a Lovely Day.”

You’ll also find “Phases,” a new poem by Sophie White, and…

REED IT FOR FREE

Every issue features one story that we also offer for free download online, via our free electronic digest for Kindle. This month’s free story — which you can also find in the print edition — is “The City of Your Soul” by Robert Reed. Even if you don’t subscribe to the magazine, you can click on this link and read Reed’s story and all the columns in the issue for free.

OH YES, THE COLUMNS

Charles de Lint tells you why you should read new books by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff, Melissa F. Olson, Hayley Campbell, and A. G. Riddle.

Michelle West reviews new work by Mark Z. Danielewski, Clive Barker, and Neal Stephenson.

Elizabeth Hand considers Stories for Chip: A Tribute to Samuel R. Delany, edited by Nisi Shawl and Bill Campbell, and Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements, edited by Walidah Imarisha and adrienne maree brown, along with David Nicholson’s debut collection.

Film and television critic Kathi Maio reviews “Self/Less” and “Advantageous,” and offers her thoughts on the Netflix series “Sense8.”

And in our regular “Curiosities” column, Douglas A. Anderson reconsiders The Capture of Nina Carroll by Arthur Thrush, published in 1924.

We also publish the winners to Reader Competition #90, “Game of Prose,” and introduce Competition #91, “It’s All Relative.”

* * *

We think it’s another great issue. We hope you’ll read it and share your thoughts about it on one of these sites:

In the meantime… enjoy!

C.C. Finlay
Editor
Fantasy & Science Fiction

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