Science Fiction & Fantasy

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Aug. 2019 (Issue 111)

We have original science fiction by Dominica Phetteplace (“Robot Country”) and Kendra Fortmeyer (“No Matter”), along with SF reprints by Sam J. Miller (“Calved”) and Carlos Hernandez (“The Macrobe Conservation Project”). Plus, we have original fantasy by Scott Sigler (“The Final Blow”) and Cassandra Khaw (“A Leash of Foxes, Their Stories Like Barter”), and fantasy reprints by Brenda Peynado (“The Rock Eaters”) and Kai Ashante Wilson (“«Légendaire.»”). All that, and of course we also have our usual assortment of author spotlights, along with our book and media review columns. If you’re reading our ebook edition, we also have an exclusive excerpt from Susan Forest’s new novel, Bursts of Fire.

In This Issue: Aug. 2019 (Issue 111)

Editorial

Editorial: August 2019

Be sure to check out the editorial for a run-down of this month’s content, plus news and updates.

Science Fiction

One Thousand Beetles in a Jumpsuit

Isla didn’t consider herself much of an outdoor person, but after five layoffs and a breakup, she found herself in a drone warehouse at the border of the barren wasteland known as Robot Country. She consulted the map on her tablet. To the west was the Gila National Forest. So, trees. She clicked on the forest icon and up popped some names of trees. Arizona sycamore, Douglas fir, Aspen. To the south was desert and the Mexican border. To the east was an even more extreme kind of desert, the White Sands National Monument, where atomic bombs had been tested in the previous century.

Author Spotlight

Fantasy

The Rock Eaters

We were the first generation to leave that island country. We were the ones who on the day we came of age developed a distinct float to our walk, soon enough hovering inches above the ground, afterwards somersaulting with the clouds, finally discovering we could fly as far as we’d ever wanted, and so we left. Decades later, we brought our children back to see that country. That year, we all decided we were ready to return. We jackknifed through clouds and dodged large birds. We held tight our children, who still had not learned to fly. Behind us trailed rope lines of suitcases bursting with gifts from abroad. We wondered who would remember us.

Science Fiction

Calved

My son’s eyes were broken. Emptied out. Frozen over. None of the joy or gladness was there. None of the tears. Normally I’d return from a job and his face would split down the middle with happiness, seeing me for the first time in three months. Now it stayed flat as ice. His eyes leapt away the instant they met mine. His shoulders were broader and his arms more sturdy, and lone hairs now stood on his upper lip, but his eyes were all I saw. “Thede,” I said, grabbing him. He let himself be hugged. His arms hung limply at his sides. My lungs could not fill.

Fantasy

The Final Blow

Like the Isle of Lenas upon which it sat, the town of Lodorest had been dying for decades. The final blow, however, came all at once. Outside of his father’s home, Manil shivered in the night air. He heard shouts and cries and screams, the roar of burning houses. Other sounds, too, drifting up the dirt streets, coming from the shadows as if the darkness itself was a monster feasting on the town: laughter; barking commands; angry bellows from deep-voiced men. Manil stood with his mother and his uncle. Manil barely came up to Uncle Janeed’s hip.

Author Spotlight

Nonfiction

Book Reviews: August 2019

This month, LaShawn peeks at letters in This is How You Lose the Time War, gets steamy in Pimp My Airship, and enjoys a heaping serving of revenge in The Rage of Dragons.

Science Fiction

No Matter

First, I want to give you this moment. You will understand why in the end. We were walking on the trail, the way we did on Sundays: the sun-washed gully, the open air, the shadows of last night’s rain staining the earth dark and slick beneath our boots. At the river’s edge, I caught my husband’s hand and pointed at a stack of topaz-eyed turtles that had piled themselves ancient and precarious as a cairn. Here are the shapes and shades that colored my life, before. Then we looked up and saw you.

Author Spotlight

Fantasy

Card Sharp

By the time Quentin reached the Ketterly Riverboat, he was down to thirty-seven cards, not counting the two Jokers. He ran his index finger along the edge of the deck, tucked securely in his waistcoat pocket. He was unarmed, not the kind of man who ever felt comfortable with a pistol, though he had once regularly carried a knife on his hip. Back then, his playing cards had been as disposable as everything else in his life: his women, his possessions, his inheritance.

Nonfiction

Media Review: August 2019

This month, reviewer Christopher East takes a close look at the existential Swedish filmAniara.

Science Fiction

The Macrobe Conservation Project

My asiMom was okay. She was like a pillow, a walking talking pillow. But she gave good hugs and smelled right. They did a good job with her: Sometimes when she hugged me and I closed my eyes it felt like it’s supposed to feel and I forgot that she’s not my real mom. I saw her in the shower a few times. She didn’t care. She took showers every day exactly at 5:45 p.m., even if I messed up every clock in the house, because her inside clock was always right. She didn’t even need to shower because she was just a robot, but she did anyway. My dad said that that made her more realistic.

Fantasy

A Leash of Foxes, Their Stories Like Barter

Lady Mary was young and Lady Mary was fair, and she had brothers who loved her and lovers who adored her. But she was savvy, sly as a vixen, with hair like the color of the butchered sun. And of all the people she knew, of all the people who’d pledged their heart to her pleasure, she cared for only one: Mr. Fox. Mr. Fox, of course, had ginger locks and sharp white teeth, freckles like a map across his fair face and when he smiled sometimes, it wasn’t hard to see why they called him Mr. Fox and not Edgar, or Edward, or Egan.

Author Spotlight

Nonfiction

Interview: Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Silvia Moreno-Garcia is the author of Signal to Noise, named one of the best books of the year by BookRiot, Tordotcom, BuzzFeed, io9, and other publications; Certain Dark Things, one of NPR’s best books of the year, a Publishers Weekly top ten, and a VOYA “Perfect Ten”; the fantasy of manners The Beautiful Ones; and the science fiction novella Prime Meridian. She has also edited several anthologies, including the World Fantasy Award-winning She Walks in Shadows (aka Cthulhu’s Daughters). She lives in Vancouver, British Columbia.