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March 2009 issue

(124 posts)
  • Started 10 years ago by Gordon Van Gelder
  • Latest reply from Gordon Van Gelder

  1. Gordon Van Gelder
    Editor/Publisher

    THE MAGAZINE OF
    FANTASY & SCIENCE FICTION
    March • 60th Year of Publication

    NOVELETS
    THE CURANDERO AND THE SWEDE -6- Daniel Abraham
    THE UNSTRUNG ZITHER -40- Yoon Ha Lee
    QUICKSTONE -86- Marc Laidlaw
    SHADOW-BELOW -122- Robert Reed

    CLASSIC REPRINT
    THAT HELL-BOUND TRAIN -63- Robert Bloch

    DEPARTMENTS
    EDITORIAL -4- Gordon Van Gelder
    BOOKS TO LOOK FOR -30- Charles de Lint
    MUSING ON BOOKS -34- Michelle West
    PLUMAGE FROM PEGASUS: AN EDITOR DARKLY -82- Paul Di Filippo
    FILMS: WHAT’S MY MOTIVATION -116- Kathi Maio
    COMING ATTRACTIONS -160-
    CURIOSITIES -162- David Langford

    Cartoons: Arthur Masear (39), Bill Long (115).
    COVER: “GRAY DAWN” BY JILL BAUMAN

    Posted 10 years ago #
  2. Anonymous

    I'll bet I can guess what the editorial is about...

    Curt Phillips

    Posted 10 years ago #
  3. JeffreyBuford
    Member

    Looks tasty :)

    Posted 10 years ago #
  4. Gordon Van Gelder
    Editor/Publisher

    Review mentions: http://community.livejournal.com/lastshortstory/50039.html

    Posted 10 years ago #
  5. JordanHartnett
    Member

    Should be a good issue with both Robert Bloch and Robert Reed in it. I like the idea of the classic reprints in the magazine.

    Even after the anniversary year is over, I wouldn't mind seeing the occassional reprint in the magazine. How about some Asimov or Heinlein? Or some Edgar Allen Poe or H.P. Lovecraft?

    Mr. Van Gelder, I hope in the future you will dedicate more issues to single authors such as Philip K. Dick, and Barry B. Longyear. I think a PKD issue would be awesome. I would like to see a Robert Reed issue. His stories always have neat little twists I enjoy. In that issue, have the cartoons done exclusively by S. Harris. I think the two would get along!

    Also, how about some Harlan Ellison? He's the magazine's film editor but since subscribing to F&SF, I don't think I've seen a film review written by him.

    Still patiently waiting for the March Issue which should be arriving anytime in the mail...

    Posted 10 years ago #
  6. EThomas
    Member

    It looks like another great table of contents. I'm fond of many of Abraham's work.

    Jordan, in the past GVG has said that Harlan is welcome to contribute a film review, but that he gets to keep the honorary title even if he doesn't. <g>

    Posted 10 years ago #
  7. steffenwolf
    Member

    I have mixed feelings about a single-author issue. If it was PKD, I like his stories, but then again I have several PKD collections on my shelf, so I would feel like I was paying for something I already have.

    And some authors I just don't care for, even though everyone else seems to love them. If I have to skip past one story in a mag it's a shame, but it's understandable. If it was one of the authors I don't care for, I might end up skipping the whole magazine, and that would be sad.

    Posted 10 years ago #
  8. JordanHartnett
    Member

    PKD was only a suggestion. There are a lot of authors out there that would desrve a single issue in their honor. I just appreciate that Gordon Van Gelder is reprinting some of the classic stories from the past.

    Posted 10 years ago #
  9. steffenwolf
    Member

    I realize PKD was just a suggestion. But from my point of view, a single-author issue can still too easily disappoint if I don't like the particular author.

    Posted 10 years ago #
  10. JohnERogersJr
    Member

    Well, I finally subscribed - via Fictionwise, courtesy of the Kindle. Downloaded March last night. Great to be aboard.

    THE CURANDERO AND THE SWEDE
    By Daniel Abraham

    Read this instead of watching American Idol yesterday evening. Turns out I made the right choice. You know what this is? It's one of the great pocket volumes we used to get in grade school, a Tab book, or a Scholastic papercover, through those catalogues the teacher would hand out every few months - timeless treasures like Ripley's Believe It or Not, or Terrifying Campfire Stories - but upgraded for the literate, politically savvy adult. The tales that Abraham folds back upon one another have just that same flavor; supernatural wonderment mixed with a particular brand of pleasant uneasiness, fear, even. And it's all doubly mitigated by the backporch yarn-spinning "safe zone" Abraham deftly creates. Uncle Dab's eventual hard-truth-telling, and the global awareness that underlines (and underlies) his yarns, are what make the story grown-up. There's a welcome Big Fishiness to the message that it is the power of the story rather than the accuracy of the facts that counts.

    Great work!

    Posted 10 years ago #
  11. Gordon Van Gelder
    Editor/Publisher

    Review here: http://www.sfrevu.com/php/Review-id.php?id=8738

    Posted 10 years ago #
  12. Gordon Van Gelder
    Editor/Publisher

    By the way, I'm enjoying your review posts here and on the ASIMOV'S board, John Rogers.

    And Jordan, we don't have any single-author issues in the works right now, but I hope to do more.

    Posted 10 years ago #
  13. JohnERogersJr
    Member

    Thanks, Gordon. I'm glad you like them. I certainly enjoy writing them.

    Posted 10 years ago #
  14. JohnERogersJr
    Member

    The Unstrung Zither
    by Yoon Ha Lee

    Wow. Loved this one.

    It's actually fairly rare for a story to defy categorization. Most entries, while superficially unorthodox, or facially daring, when dissected, fit into one of the big standard classes. Not so here. This really is different. I mean deep down, in its blood, bones. Parts of it are as unfathomable as - say - something translated from an alien language.

    To be sure, the words are English. The dialogue follows the generally acknowledged patterns of human speech. Questions. Answers. Commentary. Explication. And there are recognizable artifacts -- doors, chairs, paintbrushes, musical instruments, asteroid belts, lanterns. But the similarity between ourselves and these people - humans, one supposes, probably distant sinochildren of this very planet - ends there. This fantastic place - where the engines of war must be harmonized by music to function properly - where gliders made of wood duel in near-space with metal dragons - where the arts act not as a refuge from the cold reality of life, but as the prima mobile of existence, permeating not just the thoughts, but the actions of the masses - where specific musical compositions directed against specific individuals squeeze truth from their souls - where the elements are at the command of children - where the hierarchy of those elements has a paper-rock-scissors ordering - makes the Predator homeworld seem like downtown Burbank. I get the Predators. Kill or be killed. Live or die. Eat, drink, fight, hunt, procreate. Simple. I could down a few beers with those guys. I wouldn’t know what to say to the Phoenix General if he asked me to share a pot of citron.

    I forget most stories I read within a month or two, almost all within a year. There's just too much crap to keep track of at work and in life. But I'm never going to forget this one. Trust me. This bears the stamp of brilliance. And, like most works of that ilk, it infuriates as much as it pleases, giving only enough to keep you fluttering around the candle flame, infatuated but terrified. Do I really understand it? No, definitely not. Could it even be explained to me? I doubt it. I am like a blind man who has been handed a trinket of dazzling complexity, full of rings and rods, levers, bells and whistles. I play with the trinket, listen to its alien songs, and take joy from it. Delight in it. But I will never be able to divine its true meaning. And for me that has to be enough.

    A truly superb piece.

    Posted 10 years ago #
  15. Gordon Van Gelder
    Editor/Publisher

    For reference, our subscription copies that we send for checking purposes arrived today (3 Feb. 2009).

    ---Gordon V.G.

    Posted 10 years ago #
  16. Gordon Van Gelder
    Editor/Publisher

    Issue reviewed by THE FIX here: http://thefix-online.com/reviews/fsf-march-2009/

    Posted 10 years ago #
  17. Badfish07
    Member

    'Yoon Ha Lee', it's *so* unfair to have a twenty-five cent byline.

    Posted 10 years ago #
  18. Gordon Van Gelder
    Editor/Publisher

    Last time I checked, Badfish, writers can choose a new byline if they don't like their given names.

    Posted 10 years ago #
  19. Gordon Van Gelder
    Editor/Publisher

    March issue reviewed by Lois Tilton at IROSF: http://irosf.com/q/zine/article/10515#fsf

    Posted 10 years ago #
  20. Badfish07
    Member

    GVG-

    I want my *real* given name on that title page & cover so bad I would never think of changing it or giving myself a pseudonym.

    I don't even want to go down the 'initials' path that many SF writers (in particular) use. Like J. G. Ballard, L. Frank Baum, or Arthur C. Clarke

    I don't care if people confuse me with the guy who used to make albums with Gil Scott Heron.

    <Ego Trip Alert>

    Posted 10 years ago #
  21. steffenwolf
    Member

    I'm the same way, Badfish. I think the biggest reward will be seeing my name in a magazine, so I haven't been submitting under bylines.

    Though I do have a couple bylines chosen if I ever change my mind. They're so cheesy they could be from a pulp detective novel. :)

    Posted 10 years ago #
  22. JohnERogersJr
    Member

    SHADOW-BELOW
    by Robert Reed

    This reads a bit like a lost (and admittedly futuristic) chapter from Larry McMurtry's Berrybender Narratives. It's got the same feelings of little people struggling under an inconceivably vast sky; of tremendous, uncaring vistas, and of invisible, implacable forces - perhaps spiritual, perhaps manmade, perhaps a little of both - at work, just beyond the range of vision. I kept thinking we'd run into Sin Killer out there on those winter-browned prairies, dressed in mountain fringe, leading the hunting party's wagon train. Maybe he and Shadow-Below could join forces. After all, Shadow-Below's gonna need all the help he can muster in the days to come, right?

    Raven reminded me a bit of the feral boomerang boy in The Road Warrior, the one who went on the lead the Great Northern Tribe. Filthy but noble. Loosely linked to a very reluctant teacher-hero. Also, a touch of Whale Rider - with the failed One grudingly stepping in to guide the true One, under the stern (but distant) gaze of the waning Elder. Really, when you think about it, Cliff Curtis would be damn good Shadow-Below if this thing ever got filmed.

    Joining a long running short story series midway through, which is where this story must be, is always daunting. This actually seems like a novel - being written in two year increments. Here, the challenge is doubled: first, I don't know the Bounty backstory, and second, I'm not exactly sure of the significance of certain key developments in the story itself.

    But - despite all that - this is one damn cool story.

    Reed's got the instincts of a Victorian parlor magician. He never actually pulls the rabbit from the hat. We know the rabbit is in the hat. The rabbit must be in the hat. We even glimpse its ears. Or we think we do. We are focused on the rabbit. The rabbit. But, at the end of Reed's flourish, we see to our shock, that it is a dove, released from his sleeve, winging across the stage and out of sight. The hat is empty. Has always been empty. When we go back and examine the facts, we find that, incredibly, the hat had to be empty.

    Posted 10 years ago #
  23. JohnERogersJr
    Member

    Oops - make that "grudgingly" up there. Sorry.

    Posted 10 years ago #
  24. Gordon Van Gelder
    Editor/Publisher

  25. JohnERogersJr
    Member

    I pretty much agree with the gists of the reviewer's blurbs on the three stories I've read so far: Curandero, Zither, and Shadow.

    However:

    On Curandero, I felt that "the big gift box opening down to gradually smaller boxes, ending at a black felt case with sparkling diamond in it" quality was attractive rather than distractive.

    On Zither, it's true that the mechanics of the storyline were perhaps a touch obvious. But plot is secondary in a tale like this. It's the brain-tilting combination of magic elementalism, the penetrating power of music and art, and children's bedtime story themes, that makes the story soar.

    On Shadow, I think we'd all agree there's an interstitial feel to the work. It's as if we're stuck between two great poles - each glowing with electromagnetic power - at the head and the mouth of the Dismal. The pole to our rear is the story that has been. The pole before us is the story yet to come. The energy thrown off by the former pushes us downstream - like a wind at our backs. The energy emanating from the latter draws us in - like the current of the Dismal itself - pulling us inexorably into the future.

    Posted 10 years ago #
  26. JordanHartnett
    Member

    I liked the cover of the issue so I thought I would Google the artist. Here's her website if anyone is interested.

    http://jillbauman.com/

    Posted 10 years ago #
  27. JohnERogersJr
    Member

    Neat stuff.

    The Judas Rose is a bit unsettling. You know, if you look carefully, the only hint of menace in the entire picture is in the little girl's expression. Something in her eyes. Your instinctive assumption is that the nanny-bug is scary, when in reality, it's utterly harmless.

    It's the girl who's emanating threat.

    Posted 10 years ago #
  28. Badfish07
    Member

    Man, I was fascinated by William Tenn's intro to the Bloch story.

    Actually, I've been fascinated by the intros to all of the reprints.

    You guys ought to do a special issue of the magazine devoted *entirely* to behind-the-scenes recollections of the past & present crews that ran the ship over the years.

    A 'making-of' issue?

    Posted 10 years ago #
  29. Gordon Van Gelder
    Editor/Publisher

    A blogger's entry on this issue: http://garbledsignals.wordpress.com/2009/02/15/fsf-march-2009/

    Posted 10 years ago #
  30. JohnERogersJr
    Member

    Wow - his statement that The Unstrung Zither was the most conventional story in the issue floored me. I must be profoundly out of the loop on this stuff. To me, it was breathtakingly unorthodox.

    Posted 10 years ago #

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