Science Fiction & Fantasy

Null States

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Aug. 2016 (Issue 75)

This month, we have original science fiction by Mercurio D. Rivera (“Those Brighter Stars”) and Jeremiah Tolbert (“Taste the Singularity at the Food Truck Circus”), along with SF reprints by Kameron Hurley (“The War of Heroes”) and Maureen F. McHugh (“Laika Comes Back Safe”). Plus, we have original fantasy by Adam-Troy Castro (“The Assassin’s Secret”) and Tristina Wright (“The Siren Son”), and fantasy reprints by duo Kevin J. Anderson and Sherrilyn Kenyon (“Trip Trap”) and Delia Sherman (“The Red Piano”).

All that, and of course we also have our usual assortment of author spotlights, along with our book and media review columns. For our ebook readers, we also have an ebook-exclusive reprint of the novella “The Bone Swans of Amandale,” by C. S. E. Cooney. For our book excerpt this month, we’re pleased to feature the introduction to THE BIG BOOK OF SCIENCE FICTION, edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer, out this month from Vintage Books.

In This Issue: Aug. 2016 (Issue 75)

Editorial

Editorial, August 2016

Be sure to check out the Editorial for a run-down of this month’s content and all of our exciting news.

Science Fiction

Those Brighter Stars

The call came through as I paced outside the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex, puffing on an e-cig and watching my breath turn to vapor in the chill. “Hello?” The bald, skeletal image of a stranger stared back at me on my phone. “Ava,” he whispered. “Oh, Ava.” It took me a few seconds to regain my composure. “Dad?” I said.

Author Spotlight

Fantasy

Trip Trap

He huddled under the bridge and hid from the world outside, as he had done for as long as he could remember . . . No, he could remember a time before that, but he didn’t like those thoughts, and he buried them away whenever they appeared.The bridge was old and unimpressive, long ago marred by spray-painted graffiti, mostly faded now.

Author Spotlight

Science Fiction

The War of Heroes

The Heroes left the man dying on the field, one of the thousands they pitched overboard from their silvery ships at the end of each battle with Yousra’s people. Yousra brought him home and had him castrated, to ensure he spread no contagion, and put him to work in the village. The Heroes’ men tended to eat little and work hard, and with so few people left in the village, his labor was welcome.

Author Spotlight

Fantasy

The Assassin’s Secret

The world’s greatest assassin lives on a private island. That’s so much a given that you must have known it already. You’ve seen all those movies about master thieves, brilliant scammers, unflappable secret agents, dangerous people who live on their own tropical islands and must be lured into one last job. He was the source of the cliché.

Author Spotlight

Nonfiction

Movie Review: Ghostbusters

“Safety Lights are for Dudes!” I had no idea what to expect going into this new Ghostbusters movie. The vitriol over it during the previous year has been exhausting. Never have I wanted so badly for a movie to be good, but had so little sign as to whether it actually would be. I’m happy […]

Science Fiction

Taste the Singularity at the Food Truck Circus

“There’s a stall in the new market where they cook just about anything on a stick.” These were the words, spoken by coworkers returning to the office from an early lunch, that drew me from my cubicle and onto the streets one late April afternoon. Everyone has their weaknesses, and mine has always been food. Anything? I thought. We’ll see about that.

Author Spotlight

Fantasy

The Red Piano

Among my University colleagues, I have a reputation for calm. Whatever the emotional upheaval around me, I can be counted on to keep my head, to make plans, to calculate the cost and consequences, and then to act. If they also say that I live too much in my head, that I lack passion and, perhaps, compassion, that is the price I must pay for being one of those still waters that runs much deeper than it appears.

Author Spotlight

Nonfiction

Book Reviews: August 2016

This month, reviewer Sunil Patel takes a look at Indra Das’ The Devourers, Sarah Kuhn’s Heroine Complex, Laura Lam’s False Hearts, and Emily Skrutskie’s The Abyss Surrounds Us.

Science Fiction

Laika Comes Back Safe

There was a special program when I was in fourth grade where this photographer came and taught us. It was called the Appalachian Art Project, and it was supposed to expose us to art. We all got these little plastic cameras called Dianas that didn’t have a flash or anything, and black and white film. The first week we took pictures of our family and then we developed them and picked one for our autobiography.

Author Spotlight

Fantasy

The Siren Son

The day the dragons came, Neal kissed a boy. This span of months would later be remembered as the Awakening and condensed to precisely three pages in a tenth-cycle history text. Those three pages would lie nestled between twelve pages on the War of the Sea (when the merfolk rose up and attacked the trade ships in retaliation for an attack against their king) and twenty-four pages on the Reconstruction Age.

Author Spotlight

Nonfiction

Interview: Tim Powers

Tim Powers is the author of such novels as The Anubis Gates, Last Call, and Declare. Along with his friends James Blaylock and K.W. Jeter, he’s considered one of the founders of the steampunk genre. He was also good friends with Philip K. Dick, who included a character based on Tim in his novel Valis. Tim’s pirate novel, On Stranger Tides, inspired the video game, The Secret of Monkey Island, and also provided the premise for the fourth Pirates of the Caribbean movie.