Science Fiction & Fantasy

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Apr. 2018 (Issue 95)

Our cover art this month is from Elizabeth Leggett, illustrating an original science fiction short by Will McIntosh (“What is Eve?”). We also have new work from Timothy Mudie (“The Elephants’ Crematorium”), along with SF reprints by Steven Barnes (“Mozart on the Kalahari”) and Mary Anne Mohanraj (“Webs”). Plus, we have original fantasy by Adam-Troy Castro (“A Place Without Portals”) and Ruth Joffre (“Nitrate Nocturnes”), and fantasy reprints by Carmen Maria Machado (“The Old Women Who Were Skinned”) and Ken Liu (“The Snow Train”). All that, and of course we have our usual assortment of author spotlights, along with our book and media review columns. We also have a feature interview with Angus McIntyre. For our ebook readers, we also have our usual ebook-exclusive novella reprint (“Lazy Dog Out,” by Suzanne Palmer), and an excerpt from Bryan Camp’s new novel, The City of Lost Fortunes.

In This Issue: Apr. 2018 (Issue 95)

Editorial

Editorial: April 2018

Be sure to check out the Editorial for a rundown of this month’s content and to get all our updates.

Science Fiction

What Is Eve?

I’d never been on a quieter school bus. Kids were whispering to each other, looking scared as hell as the bus clipped stray branches from the endless forest pressing in on both sides of us. “This isn’t even a two-way road,” I murmured to Flora, the girl sitting beside me. She was chubby and had braces. “I know. Where is this school? My parents said this would be the greatest thing ever for my college applications, but I don’t know about this.”

Fantasy

The Old Women Who Were Skinned

There once were two sisters, close in age, who had been birthed and loved and became stooped and wise and were now old women together. They lived in a house in a courtyard surrounded by a tall stone wall, meant to keep out most children and all men, though starlings made their nests in the boughs of the elms. One day, the king—an old man himself—was walking by the wall when he heard the lilting voices of the sisters, who had become accomplished singers over their long years.

Author Spotlight

Science Fiction

Webs

The suns were setting over Ariel’s cliffs, a great blaze of crimson and gold, when the first pounding came at Anna’s door. The stories from old Earth talked about the glories of their sunsets, but they were nothing, nothing, to the drama of Ariel’s twin suns. And yet, it wasn’t the sunsets that brought people to Ariel, that had brought her and her husband, all those years ago. Bam-bam-bam! No polite neighbor knock, but desperation in the hammer of fist against metal.

Fantasy

A Place Without Portals

It was only then that she woke up in her nice warm bed and discovered that her entire adventure in the land of Nys had been nothing but a dream. Everything she had experienced from the very beginning, starting with the ancient soothsayer with the parchment skin and beclouded eyes appearing at her door to brush those gnarled fingers against her cheek and murmur, “Yes, you are the one, you are the chosen one, you are the one destined to defeat the great evil.”

Author Spotlight

Nonfiction

Book Reviews: April 2018

This month Christie Yant reviews fiction with an animal theme: Ka: Dar Oakley in the Ruin of Ymr, by John Crowley, and Blackfish City, by Sam J. Miller.

Science Fiction

The Elephants’ Crematorium

Liyana had seen elephants form into protective circles when calves were threatened, but this was different. These days, animal behavior was all but impossible to predict, of course—prey turning to predator; trees turning to stone in moonlight—but this didn’t feel random. There was intent in the way the elephants moved. The seven of them—she counted three juvenile males, two juvenile females, and two adult females—plodded into a loose formation.

Fantasy

The Snow Train

School was canceled; the governor announced a state of emergency in anticipation of the storm, and told everyone to stay home or go home early. “We don’t need to have cars stuck on the highways. Be safe.” Manoj’s foster mother was complaining again. “The landlord said he’s going to fine us if you don’t take that blanket down.” She was referring to the woven rectangle hanging over his window: dark blue, with red and yellow concentric diamonds formed from the weft yarn.

Author Spotlight

Nonfiction

Media Reviews: April 2018

This month, the review team doubles up to get iconic. Carrie Vaughn takes a look at Downsizing, a film giving a new spin to one of SF’s most classic tropes: shrinking. Christopher East, on the other hand, gives us a review of Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams, the small screen’s newest take on the worlds of SF icon Philip K. Dick.

Science Fiction

Mozart on the Kalahari

It took Michael “Meek” Prouder half an hour to magtube from Claremont to the Coachella Valley desert, near the Nestlé Reservoir entertainment pier. In this oasis of hot dogs, pinwheel fireworks, and whirlygigs, he could lounge and marinate himself, soak up rays as he listened to the music radiating from the dam wall, and sink under the rhythmic roar of artificial waves crashing against the artificial shore. He could walk out into the desert away from the city lights.

Fantasy

Nitrate Nocturnes

Fiona’s timer read 40 33 04 21 53 08. Years, weeks, days, hours, minutes, seconds. Her first girlfriend had done the math one day in bed. “You’ll be sixty-four when you meet your soul mate. I’ll be twenty-two,” the girl said with a gesture that revealed her frail, luminous wrist, which was lit from within, like a lightning bug. Fiona watched her own timer tick down through her girlfriend’s hair, feeling as though she were trying to catch up to the world.

Author Spotlight

Nonfiction

Interview: Angus McIntyre

Angus McIntyre was born in London and lived in Edinburgh, Milan, Brussels, and Paris before eventually finding his way to New York, where he now lives and works. A graduate of the 2013 Clarion Writers’ Workshop, his short fiction has been published in numerous anthologies and on Boing Boing. His background in computational and evolutionary linguistics and in artificial intelligence has given him a healthy respect for positive feedback loops.