Science Fiction & Fantasy

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Apr. 2014 (Issue 47)

This month we have original science fiction by Linda Nagata (“Codename: Delphi”) and Shaenon K. Garrity (“Francisca Montoya’s Almanac of Things That Can Kill You”), along with SF reprints by Ted Chiang (“Exhalation”) and the aforementioned story from Robot Uprisings, “Complex God,” by Scott Sigler. Plus, we have original fantasy by Carmen Maria Machado (“Observations About Eggs from the Man Sitting Next to Me on a Flight from Chicago, Illinois to Cedar Rapids, Iowa”) and Thomas Olde Heuvelt (“The Day the World Turned Upside Down”), and fantasy reprints by K J. Bishop (“Alsiso”) and C.J. Cherryh (“The Only Death in the City”). All that, and of course we also have our usual assortment of author and artist spotlights, along with feature interviews with Scott Sigler; and Pi, Black Swan, and Noah director Darren Aronofsky. For our ebook readers, we also have the novella reprint “The Autopsy” by Michael Shea, who tragically died suddenly in mid-February. In lieu of an author spotlight, which we were not able to conduct before Michael’s sudden passing, we have a brief tribute to his life and work by his friend and admirer, Laird Barron.
Also exclusive to our ebook edition, we’ll have our usual array of novel excerpts: This month, we have AFTERPARTY by Daryl Gregory and STELES OF THE SKY by Elizabeth Bear.

In This Issue: Apr. 2014 (Issue 47)

Editorial

Editorial, April 2014

This month, we have original science fiction by Linda Nagata (“Codename: Delphi”) and Shaenon K. Garrity (“Francisca Montoya’s Almanac of Things That Can Kill You”), along with SF reprints by Ted Chiang (“Exhalation”) and the aforementioned story from Robot Uprisings, “Complex God,” by Scott Sigler. Plus, we have original fantasy by Carmen Maria Machado (“Observations About Eggs from the Man Sitting Next to Me on a Flight from Chicago, Illinois to Cedar Rapids, Iowa”) and Thomas Olde Heuvelt (“The Day the World Turned Upside Down”), and fantasy reprints by K J. Bishop (“Alsiso”) and C.J. Cherryh (“The Only Death in the City”). All that, and of course we also have our usual assortment of author and artist spotlights, along with feature interviews with Scott Sigler and Pi, Black Swan, and Noah director Darren Aronofsky. For our ebook readers, we also have the novella reprint “The Autopsy” by Michael Shea, who tragically died suddenly in mid-February. In lieu of an author spotlight, which we were not able to conduct before Michael’s sudden passing, we have a brief tribute to his life and work by his friend and admirer, Laird Barron. Also exclusive to our ebook edition, we’ll have our usual array of novel excerpts: This month, we have AFTERPARTY by Daryl Gregory and STELES OF THE SKY by Elizabeth Bear.

Science Fiction

The Legend of RoboNinja

RoboNinja. A name for garbled tongues and garbled times. Interstate mudlarks peer at him from beneath grotty brows as he passes, eyes the size of headlamps reflecting the gelid glow of his visor. He once tried obscuring the light with handfuls of ash, smeared across LEDs and his shining silver carapace like the penitential marks of a sect long forgotten. It had worked for a time, until the monsoon came mocking once more.

Science Fiction

Complex God

Dr. Petra Prawatt pulled her jacket tighter and shivered against the cold of a Michigan winter. There wasn’t much left to block the icy, stiff breeze that whipped in off the river, not since the nuke had crushed most of the buildings in downtown Detroit.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Scott Sigler

I think that many of our great creators are fueled by hubris. For the people who come up with something truly revolutionary (those who are first with an idea that no one has had before), having the innate idea that you are special, unique, smarter than the average bear allows them to look beyond the accepted boundaries and limitations of what is possible. In “Complex God,” Petra has no doubt that she’s on another level.

Fantasy

Observations About Eggs from the Man Sitting Next to Me on a Flight from Chicago, Illinois to Cedar Rapids, Iowa

1. Lord, it’s hot in this cabin. I could hard-boil an egg inside my mouth. What’s your name?
2. Have you ever poached an egg? The trick is white vinegar. Everyone forgets the white vinegar, and the blasted thing falls apart, and then they miss one of the greatest wonders of the world.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Carmen Maria Machado

A few years back, I was poaching an egg and found myself staring into the pot and got a little lost. I made a note about the experience and then promptly forgot about it. Last summer, I spent some time writing in a cabin in the White Mountains, and I rediscovered that file on my computer. The story poured out of me after that.

Science Fiction

Codename: Delphi

“Valdez, you need to slow down,” Karin Larsen warned, each syllable crisply pronounced into a mic. “Stay behind the seekers. If you overrun them, you’re going to walk into a booby trap.”

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Linda Nagata

A lot of my stories have vague beginnings, making it hard to say specifically what inspired them, but “Codename: Delphi” is an exception—it was directly inspired by my novel THE RED: FIRST LIGHT. Delphi is an important character in that novel, but because TR:FL is told in first person from the point of view of a soldier in the field, we never have a chance to get inside Delphi’s head to experience war as she experiences it. So writing the short story gave me a chance to remedy that.

Fantasy

Alsiso

The first Alsiso was a gift from Lord Grastiac’s murderer. The word came from the lexicon of a dead language—a language which had gone to the scaffold laughing three hundred years ago, with “alsiso” being one of its last words. The assassin wrote “alsiso” on the pale carpet in the nobleman’s blood, balancing the death of the man with the resurrection of one word.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: K.J. Bishop

Alsiso may be out there waiting to get his/her revenge on me. Maybe I’ll be turned into a toaster oven or something. I’m fascinated by the rise and fall of mythic figures—ancestors and heroes becoming gods, gods becoming another culture’s demons, the modern mythologies around products. I don’t think our belief in magic has died…

Artist Showcase

Artist Showcase: Rémi Le Capon

Rémi Le Capon was born in 1973 in Grenoble, France. He attended drawing school in Lyon. He works as a freelance illustrator for role playing games, other games projects, and private illustration commissions. He also works as a colorist for comics. Despite his training in classical drawing, he mostly works in digital media.

Science Fiction

Francisca Montoya’s Almanac of Things That Can Kill You

If you get ill after eating or touching something that didn’t make anyone else sick, you may be allergic to it. Especially if there’s a rash. Allergies are caused by your body rejecting substances it doesn’t like. There is no treatment but to avoid those substances. Fortunately, only a few types of allergies can kill you.

Author Spotlight

Author spotlight: Shaenon K. Garrity

My friend Pancha loves to read about plagues, natural disasters, and historical events like the Donner Party—basically, anything about extreme survival situations. We always joke that she’d be the best person to have on hand in a global-scale disaster, because she knows all the ways people can die. But she also has severe fibromyalgia. I wanted to write about a character like that surviving in a post-apocalyptic world through knowledge.

Fantasy

The Only Death in the City

It was named the City of Lights. It had known other names in the long history of Earth, in the years before the sun turned wan and plague-ridden, before the moon hung vast and lurid in the sky, before the ships from the stars grew few and the reasons for ambition grew fewer still. It stretched as far as the eye could see . . . if one saw it from the outside, as the inhabitants never did.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: C.J. Cherryh

I began doing a series of stories set at the end of planet Earth, a kind of a slow decline, for a book called Sunfall. And the story of Paris, which is one of Europe’s oldest cities, dating back to old Lutetia, and its relationship to the Seine, and the melancholy of a lot of French literature, conjured a city enclosed, many-tiered, in which the Seine cascades as a waterfall. I then saw one lone figure standing poised for self-destruction on that brink.

Nonfiction

Interview: Scott Sigler

Scott Sigler was the first author to start podcasting novels, and built up a huge online following that led to a five-book deal with Crown Random House. Two of his books are currently in development as TV shows. His new novel, PANDEMIC, the third book in the Infected trilogy, is out now.

Science Fiction

Exhalation

It has long been said that air (which others call argon) is the source of life. This is not in fact the case, and I engrave these words to describe how I came to understand the true source of life and, as a corollary, the means by which life will one day end.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Ted Chiang

The idea that robots don’t feel emotions is even older than the word “robot”; Tik-Tok, the mechanical man of Baum’s Oz, predates Čapek’s work by many years, and Tik-Tok was described as being incapable of emotion. I think it might be because we associate the coldness of metal with emotional coldness; I’d bet that the earliest stories of rag dolls coming to life didn’t portray them as being unemotional. I don’t think the characters in “Exhalation” behave in a particularly robotic manner.

Fantasy

The Day the World Turned Upside Down

That day, the world turned upside down. We didn’t know why it happened. Some of us wondered whether it was our fault. Whether we had been praying to the wrong gods, or whether we had said the wrong things. But it wasn’t like that—the world simply turned upside down.

Nonfiction

The Myth of Everyman

What we’re looking at here is the power of the neutral position: the right to stand in for all people, to be “everyman.” From the neutral position, you can experience the whole range of human emotion and possibility, and you can communicate your experience to others. You’re the myth-maker; you create the story of the world. In implying that only white actors can do this, Handel’s saying the opposite of what he thinks he’s saying. He’s saying that the race of the individuals does matter. It matters enormously. It matters so much that Noah wound up with an all-white cast.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Thomas Olde Heuvelt

As a lover of horror fiction, I’ve always said that fear is the strongest human emotion, but it’s not. Grief is. If you ever felt lovesick, you know what I mean. When it happened to me, I curled up on the couch literally for weeks.

Nonfiction

Interview: Darren Aronofsky

Darren Aronofsky is no stranger to difficult films. From his hallucinatory feature debut PI to his metaphysical triptych fantasy THE FOUNTAIN, his cinematic worlds are often a hopeless personal struggle against overwhelming, even cosmic odds. The other theme to which he most often returns is that of all-consuming passion (be it ballet or wrestling, or—if you want to give in and get really dark—addiction).