Science Fiction & Fantasy

THE ROBOTS OF GOTHAM

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Feb. 2018 (Issue 93)

We have original science fiction by Ashok K. Banker (“The Goddess Has Many Faces”) and Bogi Takács (“Four-Point Affective Calibration”), along with SF reprints by David Brin (“The Crystal Spheres”) and Nalo Hopkinson writing with Nisi Shawl (“Jamaica Ginger”). Plus, we have original fantasy by Cassandra Khaw and A. Maus (“The Quiet Like a Homecoming”) and Rahul Kanakia (“A Coward’s Death”), and fantasy reprints by Jeffrey Ford (“The Seventh Expression of the Robot General”) and Malinda Lo (“One True Love”). All that, and of course we also have our usual assortment of author spotlights, along with our book and media review columns, and an interview with Carmen Maria Machado. For our ebook readers, we also have our usual ebook-exclusive novella reprint (“The Charge and the Storm,” by An Owomoyela) and an excerpt from R.A. Salvatore’s new novel, Child of a Mad God.

In This Issue: Feb. 2018 (Issue 93)

Editorial

Editorial: February 2018

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

Science Fiction

Zen and the Art of Starship Maintenance

After battle with the Fleet of Honest Representation, after seven hundred seconds of sheer terror and uncertainty, and after our shared triumph in the acquisition of the greatest prize seizure in three hundred years, we cautiously approached the massive black hole that Purth-Anaget orbited. The many rotating rings, filaments, and infrastructures bounded within the fields that were the entirety of our ship, With All Sincerity, were flush with a sense of victory.

Fantasy

The Quiet Like a Homecoming

Travel to Scandinavia if you can, the older cats told me, the queens in their raftered kingdoms. The coffee there, they said, is bitter as an old lie. The Norsemen are beautiful, their women even more sublime, but most importantly, they are quiet. Preoccupied only with Nordic things, disinterested in the outside world. This is crucial. This is what makes them safe. But this is not the only reason I am here.

Author Spotlight

Science Fiction

Four-Point Affective Calibration

Of course I can be angry. But I wear a headscarf. The moment I’m angry, you put me in your mental box labeled “TERRORIST” in neat, tidy small capitals. You store me under “Potential Danger” in the warehouse of your mind. When I cross the parking lot to the grocery store, sometimes people hit the gas, not the brakes. And this is a university town, supposedly liberal—or is it? I’m not a Muslim, but it’s not like most people around here can spot the difference.

Fantasy

The Seventh Expression of the Robot General

In his later years, when he spoke, a faint whirring came from his lower jaw. His mouth opened and closed rhythmically, accurately, displaying a full set of human teeth gleaned from fallen comrades and the stitched tube of plush leather that was his tongue. The metal mustache and eyebrows were ridiculously fake, but the eyes were the most beautiful glass facsimiles, creamy white with irises like dark blue flowers. Instead of hair, his scalp was sandpaper.

Author Spotlight

Nonfiction

Book Reviews: February 2018

This month, LaShawn M. Wanak reviews the short story collection Starlings by Jo Walton, the novella collection The Tangled Lands by Paolo Bacigalupi and Tobias S. Buckell, and the novel The Fairies of Sadieville by Alex Bledsoe.

Science Fiction

Jamaica Ginger

“Damn and blast it!” Plaquette let herself in through the showroom door of the watchmaker’s that morning to hear Msieur blistering the air of his shop with his swearing. The hulking clockwork man he’d been working on was high-stepping around the workroom floor in a clumsy lurch. It lifted its knees comically high, its body listing to one side and its feet coming down in the wrong order; toe, then heel.

Fantasy

A Coward’s Death

Well, the 101,201st Emperor needed some levies to build a huge statue of himself, so he said, “Okay, all of my recently subjugated peoples: If you’ve got at least two sons, you need to give me your first-born. But don’t worry, I’ll give him back, assuming he can survive ten years of lifting these big heavy stones.” In some places, people weren’t happy about this. The city of Yashar revolted, and in response the Emperor’s legions killed the men, castrated the boys, and sold all the survivors into slavery.

Author Spotlight

Nonfiction

Media Reviews: February 2018

Carrie Vaughn reviews The Shape of Water, The Man Who Invented Christmas, and Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

Science Fiction

The Goddess Has Many Faces

Pillai expected Kali border security to be much tighter than it was. All he got was a body search that was routinely thorough, and a few old-fashioned tests and checks. It reminded him of a visit he had made as a very young rightwing Hindu activist to an Indian nuclear weapon testing facility back in 1998, after the Pokhran atomic tests. His briefings had been correct in this respect: Kali did not seem to have much use for twenty-first-century Safe Care.

Author Spotlight

Fantasy

One True Love

It is never lucky for a child to kill her mother in the course of her own birth. Perhaps for this reason, the soothsayer who attended the naming ceremony for Princess Essylt was not a celebrated one. Haidis had barely finished his own apprenticeship when the summons came. He knew that delivering the prophecy for this princess was a thankless job, because no soothsayer in his right mind would attempt to foretell the life of a girl-child born out of death.

Nonfiction

Interview: Carmen Maria Machado

Carmen Maria Machado holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and is currently the artist in residence at the University of Pennsylvania. Her fiction and nonfiction have appeared in the New Yorker, Granta, Tin House, Years Best Weird Fiction, and Best Women’s Erotica. Her debut book is a short story collection called Her Body and Other Parties.