Science Fiction & Fantasy

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Feb. 2020 (Issue 117)

We have original science fiction by Brenda Peynado (“How We Burn”) and JT Petty (“The Gamecocks”), along with SF reprints by Victor LaValle (“Ark of Light”) and Maria Romasco Moore (“Dying Light”). Plus, we have original fantasy by Kij Johnson (“Noah’s Raven”) and Alexander Weinstein (“Toxic Destinations”), and fantasy reprints by Daniel José Older (“A Stranger at the Bochinche”) and Theodora Goss (“A Statement in the Case”). Our interview this month is with debut novelist Nino Cipri. All that, and of course we also have our usual assortment of author spotlights, along with our book and media review columns. Plus, our ebook readers will also enjoy an excerpt from A.K. Larkwood’s new novel, The Unspoken Name.

In This Issue: Feb. 2020 (Issue 117)

Editorial

Editorial: February 2020

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

Science Fiction

Ark of Light

“Bones?” “What about them?” “Our data suggests you’ll feel a great deal of pain in them after you transmit.” “Oh? Like how much, a lot?” She shifted where she stood and I sensed she was annoyed with me. It’s funny how much you can understand from body language. I couldn’t really tell from looking at her face, since the room was almost entirely dark. “All of this is covered in the manual. Didn’t you read it?” I didn’t answer her because the answer was obvious. Instead I started taking off my clothes.

Fantasy

Noah’s Raven

Ten months after the ark first floated, and forty days after its keel snagged on a drowned mountain peak, Noah released a raven to look for land. Her name was ungraspable by humans, but might be translated as Bessary, plus a term ravens used for the taste of three-day-dead goat when the temperatures have stayed just above freezing, plus a color at the 327-nanometer wavelength, plus a sensation along the rictal bristles in a particular sort of cool air. Her feathers rustled like silk.

Author Spotlight

Science Fiction

How We Burn

Look at how bright we burn. I’m driving my spaceship with a hacked joystick and my friends in the side-seats: Tiger, Grizzly Bear, and Joshua Tree, my boyfriend. And me, Sequoia—all named after extinct species, as if our light could bring them back. The spaceship is an older model we stole from a junkyard, souped up and kept at an abandoned building in the Park Zone so our parents wouldn’t confiscate it when they saw all the mods. I’m sitting backwards, straddling the inward-facing seat.

Fantasy

A Statement in the Case

Sure, I know István Horvath. We met about a year before Eva died. That’s my wife, Eva. You knew that? Yeah, I figured you were pretty thorough. It was the year of the blizzard, when snow covered the cars parked on the streets and even the Post Office shut down. I didn’t have to go to work for a week. So one night, I think it was Thursday, Eva says, “Mike, I only have one of the blue pills left.” This was when we still thought the chemo was doing something.

Author Spotlight

Nonfiction

Book Reviews: February 2020

This month, our reviewer takes a look at Juliette Wade’s Mazes of Power, Nino Cipri’s Finna, and the new graphic novel adaptation of Octavia E. Butler’s Parable of the Sower.

Science Fiction

Dying Light

She was using an ice-cream scoop this time. I came home to find her slumped in the deck chair out back, scoop in one hand, other hand holding open the skin of her abdomen. “That is disgusting,” I told her. She scooped out a lump of guts and dropped it onto the tiles beside her chair. Already there was a significant mound of the stuff, coiled like pale snakes. Blood seeped out and trickled along the grooves between the tiles.

Fantasy

Toxic Destinations

Since the discovery of the Eighth continent, your Tour Guide writers have received many letters from travelers and concerned individuals. We have heard, for instance, from the embattled New Zealand geologists who have long attempted to gain traction for their theory of the unrecognized continent of Zealandia. These hardworking scientists argue that the collection of partly submerged fragments off the coast of New Zealand comprise a much larger landmass, claiming this fits within standard definitions of continental attributes.

Author Spotlight

Nonfiction

Media Review: February 2020

This month, our reviewer digs into Control, a new action-adventure video game about weird (okay, Weird) mysteries. Should you play it, too?

Science Fiction

The Gamecocks

Leslie Anne Moore had known Hardy Devine since second grade, when he had bloodied her nose in a game of dodgeball and then the other boys caught him crying about it and beat him pissy. By the end of the school year, Hardy had picked a fight with each one of those boys individually and found more satisfactory results. He didn’t look Leslie-Anne square in the eye again until seventh grade when he asked her to the Boone County Middle School Homecoming Dance and she said no.

Author Spotlight

Fantasy

A Stranger at the Bochinche

Gather, my children, I have a story. This was many years ago, before the Four Corners War, before steel towers devoured the sky, back when Brooklyn’s gaslit avenues dipped and curved around great oak trees, and long-necked sauropods loped glumly in the East River, dangling steel rails from their harnesses for the brand-new suspension bridge. These were days of revelry and masquerades burning through the wide-open nights, when we were flickering shadows burgeoning along the dawn streets.

Nonfiction

Interview: Nino Cipri

Nino Cipri is a queer and trans/nonbinary writer, editor, and educator. They are a graduate of the Clarion Writing Workshop and the University of Kansas’s MFA program. Their award-winning debut fiction collection, Homesick, came out from Dzanc Books in 2019, and their novella Finna will be published by Tor.com in the spring of 2020. Nino has also written plays, poetry, and radio features; performed as a dancer, actor, and puppeteer; and worked as a stagehand, bookseller, bike mechanic, and labor organizer.