Science Fiction & Fantasy

TOR_Lightspeed_Stone_in_the_Skull_728x90

Advertisement

Dec. 2017 (Issue 91)

We have original science fiction by Rachael K. Jones (“The Greatest One-Star Restaurant in the Whole Quadrant”) and Cadwell Turnbull (“A Third of the Stars of Heaven”), along with SF reprints by Catherynne M. Valente (“Golubash, or Wine-Blood-War-Elegy”) and Robert Reed (“Blood Wedding”). Plus, we have original fantasy by A. Merc Rustad (“The House At the End of the Lane Is Dreaming”) and Mari Ness (“You Will Never Know What Opens”), and fantasy reprints by Tim Pratt (“A Wedding Night’s Dream”) and Sonya Taaffe (“The Boatman’s Cure”). 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 John Brunner’s novella “The Fullness of Time” and an excerpt from the novel The Tiger’s Daughter, by K. Arsenault Rivera.

In This Issue: Dec. 2017 (Issue 91)

Editorial

Editorial: December 2017

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

Science Fiction

The Greatest One-Star Restaurant in the Whole Quadrant

Engineer’s meat wept and squirmed and wriggled inside her steel organ cavity, so different from the stable purr of gears and circuit boards. You couldn’t count on meat. It lulled you with its warmth, the soft give of skin, the tug of muscle, the neurotransmitter snow fluttering down from neurons to her cyborg logic center. On other days, the meat sickened, swelled inside her steel shell, pressed into her joints. Putrid yellow meat-juices dripped all over her chassis, eroding away its chrome gloss. It contaminated everything.

Fantasy

A Wedding Night’s Dream

They gave me directions, not an address, and once I arrived, I could see why. There was no church here, no hall, no theater. I parked at the end of the dirt road by the lightning-blasted oak and peered toward the line of fir trees, fuzzed orange by the sinking sun beyond. I wondered, briefly, if this was a trick—lure the lady bartender out to the woods for nefarious purposes—but they’d paid half up front and the check had cleared, so I checked my professional demeanor in the rearview mirror, grabbed my bag, and got out of the car.

Author Spotlight

Science Fiction

Because Change Was the Ocean and We Lived By Her Mercy

We stood naked on the shore of Bernal and watched the candles float across the bay, swept by a lazy current off to the north, in the direction of Potrero Island. A dozen or so candles stayed afloat and alight after half a league, their tiny flames bobbing up and down, casting long yellow reflections on the dark water alongside the streaks of moonlight. At times I fancied the candlelight could filter down onto streets and buildings, the old automobiles and houses full of children’s toys, all the waterlogged treasures of long-gone people.

Fantasy

The House at the End of the Lane Is Dreaming

Your name is Alex and you live in a small town at the edge of the sea. You have a sister and two parents and no pets. In your town, everyone follows their destiny: They cross the street, cook endless meals, stand in the same room, deliver the same mail every day. You can’t remember most of their names. It’s the way it’s always been. You’re different. You wake up one morning and know something’s wrong. It’s an unsettled ache in your chest. Bad things will happen soon. Unfortunately, you can’t articulate these feelings. No one but you knows anything is different about today.

Author Spotlight

Nonfiction

Book Reviews: December 2017

This month, Amal El-Mohtar reviews the conclusion of Fran Wilde’s Bone Universe trilogy,Horizon. She also takes a look at the new novella The Only Harmless Great Thing, by Brooke Bolander.

Science Fiction

A Third of the Stars of Heaven

Henrietta followed the receptionist down the hall of Schneider Hospital. The woman’s keys jangled as she walked, mixing with the echoing clicks of Henrietta’s blue church shoes. No other noises greeted them. Henrietta watched her shadow stretch itself in each unlit room, her form made large by the ultra-bright fluorescent lights of the hallway. One of the lights in the hall blinked on and off. Henrietta pinched her eyes closed to ward off dizziness. Her lower belly throbbed and she stifled a groan.

A Third of the Stars of Heaven

Author Spotlight

Cadwell Turnbull

Fantasy

The Boatman’s Cure

The dead man was a nail-biter, tucked up in the back seat with old theater magazines and a water-stained Baedeker of Malta, his free hand still nearly white-knuckled around the haft of his oar. All the way from the North Shore, he had complained about her music until Delia popped the tape with a sigh and a protesting click of plastic and stopped the radio on the same alternative station she had spent her first few years out of college waking up to, and they passed the last few miles on I-95 peaceably enough on the White Stripes and the Black Keys and the Decemberists.

The Boatman’s Cure

Nonfiction

Movie Review: Geostorm

This month, Carrie Vaughn takes a critical look at Geostorm and the very idea of climate catastrophe as entertainment

Geostorm

Science Fiction

Blood Wedding

“Life is the only indulgence,” was the Ames motto, and today was meant to be the latest, grandest example of that philosophy: Fecundity given breath and shadow, with the promise of ludicrous profits tomorrow. The “I do’s” were to be held exactly at noon on the summer solstice. A thousand species of expertly crafted, first-of-their-kind foliage stood on the island’s highest hill, creating a church of pigmented cellulose, perfumes and pheromones and wet-earth stinks. The honored guests were carefully shaped and then firmed by regenerations.

Blood Wedding

Fantasy

You Will Never Know What Opens

One of the doors in the closet, behind the boxes, leads to a harsh desert world. The first time you stepped through, you didn’t bring water, and nearly died as you crouched beneath the sun, waiting for the door to open again. You were saved only by the unexpected appearance of someone draped in gray, who gave you water before showing you a mottled face of lizard skin. You screamed. By the time you returned, you could barely stand. Your head pounded; your skin was badly burnt.

You Will Never Know What Opens

Author Spotlight

Mari Ness

Nonfiction

Interview: Louise Erdrich

Louise Erdrich is the author of sixteen novels as well as volumes of poetry, children’s books, short stories, and a memoir. Her previous novel, LaRose, won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction. The Round House won the National Book Award for Fiction. The Plague of Doves won the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. She lives in Minnesota.

Louise Erdrich