Science Fiction & Fantasy

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Apr. 2020 (Issue 119)

We’re starting the month with a brand-new short story from Veronica Roth! It’s called “The Least of These.” We also have an SF original by Andrew Dana Hudson (“Voice of Their Generation”), along with SF reprints by Yoon Ha Lee (“Always the Harvest”) and Vandana Singh (“A Subtle Web”). Plus, we have original fantasy by Celeste Rita Baker (“Glass Bottle Dancer”) and Rati Mehrotra (“The Witch Speaks”), and fantasy reprints by Caleb Wilson (“Bow Down Before the Snail King!”) and Fred Van Lente (“Neversleeps”). Our nonfiction team is bringing you our usual assortment of author spotlights, plus our book and media review columns. Our feature interview will be with Katie M. Flynn. Our ebook readers will also enjoy an all-new book excerpt from Veronica Roth’s Chosen Ones.

In This Issue: Apr. 2020 (Issue 119)

Editorial

Editorial: April 2020

Be sure to read the editorial for a rundown of this month’s exciting content, plus all our news and updates.

Science Fiction

The Least of These

Two women, Best and Least, woke in a bright room. Best did so as if surfacing in a pool of water, her eyes wide and observant. Least woke with a start, and immediately slammed her back against the wall behind her, her arms splayed. Where are we? asked Best. Who the fuck are you? demanded Least. Now, now, came a voice from the doorway. There’s no need to be coarse. A tall, graceful Being entered the room, diaphanous fabric afloat around its slender body.

Author Spotlight

Fantasy

Bow Down Before the Snail King!

There were only a dozen storks. But on that murky midnight, with the fire burning low and blue from the stink of vanished cities that bubbled up from beneath the plains, there might as well have been a hundred. Charops’ drab leather outfit was somewhat beak-resistant. Not enough to make her comfortable; the horror birds were known carriers of pestilence, so filthy that their diseases bore diseases. She jumped over the furrows of fallow civilizations, stabbing wildly with her long Strategist’s knife.

Science Fiction

Always the Harvest

Nissaea-of-the-Slant wasn’t even looking for an eye implant in the mazeway lode when she came across the half-smashed ocular. It was worthless in any case, and she gritted her teeth at her bad luck. A hand was what she needed, and this was her last chance. The sputtering confounders, the only ones she’d been able to afford, would give out sooner or later, and then she wouldn’t be able to hide her illegal implant-mining from the Watch.

Fantasy

Glass Bottle Dancer

When de words “glass bottle dancer” come to me as I was day-dreaming, listening to music on de radio, I thought it sounded like someting I’d like to see, didn’t tink it would change me whole life. I imagine it might mean taking a bunch of soda and beer bottles, laying dem on dey sides and stepping on dem widout having dem roll away. I thought a limbo dancer might do it to add someting special to dere act.

Author Spotlight

Nonfiction

Book Reviews: April 2020

This month Chris Kluwe takes a break from launching his new novel to review some books for us. Find out what he thinks about Tamsyn Muir’s new novel Harrow The Ninth, Emily B. Martin’s Sunshield, and  A Pale Light in The Black by K.B. Wagers.

Science Fiction

Voice of Their Generation

On their ninth rewrite of the third act of Detective Pikachu vs. Predator, it occurred to Thicket that they might just be the voice of their generation. In a fever, they swiped together the final epic speech where Detective Pikachu refutes Predator’s cynical attempts to turn him against his human partner, arguing that the Pokémon relationship with humanity was one not of servitude but of guardianship, for every Pokémon can see within each human the potential to rise above their flawed nature.

Author Spotlight

Fantasy

Neversleeps

There were three Pinkertons. There were always three. One was a white man, one was black, and the other was a Celestial. They may have been something else before, but now they were Pinkertons. Same brownish-grey tweed suits, same bowler hats, same obese-caterpillar mustaches lurking below their noses. Simon Leslie was playing hold-’em in the parlor car when the train slowed between two mesas in Monument Valley with a puff of steam and a sigh.

Nonfiction

Media Review: April 2020

Christopher East reviews AMC’s quirky series Lodge 49.

Science Fiction

A Subtle Web: A Tale From the Somadeva Chronicles

The Blue People of the desert continent on the Planet Miln have never been in space, as far as their ancestral memories go. Among the sand dunes and the whirling dust devils of the Southern Continent, they lead nomadic lives, content to traverse, generation after generation, the shifting pathways across the great desert. In all their remembered history, only one of them has ever traveled to the Northern Continent and beyond, never to return. The Blue People do not speak to the Northerners.

Fantasy

The Witch Speaks

As different as earth and sky. That is what they said about us. Yet even earth and sky meet at the horizon. Shade your eyes from the sun. Look, far in the distance. Do you see that line where brown merges into blue? I’m ready to walk there. But not before having told my story.

Author Spotlight

Nonfiction

Interview: Katie M. Flynn

Katie M. Flynn is a writer, editor, and educator based in San Francisco. Her short fiction has appeared in Colorado Review, Indiana Review, The Masters Review, Ninth Letter, Tin House, Witness Magazine, and many other publications. Katie has been awarded the Colorado Review’s Nelligan Prize for Short Fiction, a fellowship from the San Francisco Writers’ Grotto, and the Steinbeck Fellowship in Creative Writing.