Science Fiction & Fantasy

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June 2017 (Issue 85)

We have original science fiction by Scott Dalrymple (“Marcel Proust, Incorporated”) and Matthew Kressel (“Love Engine Optimization”), along with SF reprints by Vandana Singh (“Yakshantariksh”) and Elizabeth Bear (“The Heart’s Filthy Lesson”). Plus, we have original fantasy by Shweta Narayan (“World of the Three”) and Pat Murphy (“Crossing the Threshold”), and fantasy reprints by Carlos Hernandez (“The Magical Properties of Unicorn Ivory”) and Ben Hoffman (“Substitutes”). All that, and we also have our usual assortment of author spotlights, along with our book and media review columns. Our cover art is by Randy Gallegos, illustrating Shweta Narayan’s “World of the Three.” For our ebook readers, we also have an ebook-exclusive reprint of Yoon Ha Lee’s novella “Iseul’s Lexicon” and an excerpt from the latest novel by Seanan McGuire, Down Among the Sticks and Bones, as well as a bonus excerpt from Never Now Always by Desirina Boskovich.

In This Issue: June 2017 (Issue 85)

Editorial

Editorial, June 2017

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

Science Fiction

Yakshantariksh

The Yakshantariksh is beyond one’s imagination, yet that is where its existence is made manifest. It is a being so real that it can only be sensed by that most intangible of organs: the mind! What a delightful paradox! And yet it is so. It was discovered in a dream—supporting evidence came later. Thus a tick living on the body of an elephant may never realize the elephant exists, unless, perhaps, the elephant speaks to it mind to mind. So it is with the Yakshantariksh, which is as vast, perhaps vaster than galaxies.

Fantasy

World of the Three

Then the Bird of A Hundred and Eight Names gathered together her three new children, and she said, “You have passed our people’s tests and joined our ranks, and may leave if you wish. But leaving will take you among the Alabar, who collect salt in their bare hands and have no fear of rust, and call themselves merely people. Some among us speak slightingly of them, for their lives are short and easily ended, and they don’t protect one another as we do. You should be more wary.”

Author Spotlight

Science Fiction

Marcel Proust, Incorporated

It’s 12:15, and Monica West is late for our lunch. We’re meeting at a trendy Greenwich Village bistro, one of the few to survive the depression that bankrupted the City, and so many of its residents, nearly two decades ago. There are few reminders of those trying times here now. The place is packed with the young power elite, the air thick with talk of mergers and screenplays and spring designer collections. I order a glass of Cabernet and wait.

Fantasy

The Magical Properties of Unicorn Ivory

Vocations don’t grant vacations. I’m supposedly on holiday in London when I get an offer no reporter could refuse: to see a unicorn in the wild. I’m with my friend Samantha, hanging out at her Dad’s pub after a long night’s clubbing, still wearing our dance-rumpled dresses, dying to get out of our heels. Sam’s father, Will, is tending bar tonight, so it’s the perfect spot for late-night chips and hair-of-the-dog nightcaps. Plus, most of the clientele is over fifty. We wouldn’t have to spend all evening judo-throwing chirpsers.

Author Spotlight

Nonfiction

Book Review: June 2017

The month, Amal El-Mohtar gives an in-depth look at Lara Donnelly’s novel Amberlough.

Science Fiction

The Heart’s Filthy Lesson

The sun burned through the clouds around noon on the long Cytherean day, and Dharthi happened to be awake and in a position to see it. She was alone in the highlands of Ishtar Terra on a research trip, five sleeps out from Butler base camp, and—despite the nagging desire to keep traveling—had decided to take a rest break for an hour or two. Noon at this latitude was close enough to the one hundredth solar dieiversary of her birth that she’d broken out her little hoard of shelf-stable cake to celebrate.

Fantasy

Crossing the Threshold

I was walking to my car from San Francisco’s 22nd Street Train Station when I first saw the old man. He was on the wrong side of the chain-link fence that separated the sidewalk from the steep rocky slope that led down to the train tracks. The station was an asphalt platform beside the train tracks, set at the bottom of a ravine. Steps from the platform led up to the street, but no steps led where the old man was walking. The only way to reach that particular spot was to climb a six-foot concrete block wall.

Author Spotlight

Nonfiction

Movie Review: June 2017

This month, Carrie Vaughn reviews the monsters and mayhem of Colossal.

Science Fiction

Love Engine Optimization

I rooted her system on the first day. It was the only way to be sure. Sure that she’d love me. Step by matching step, I walk her under the boughs of great elms in Prospect Park, while the slanting sun passes through the tangled mesh of leaves to dapple her smiling face. When her heart rate spikes, I know she’s excited. When it slows, she’s bored.

Author Spotlight

Fantasy

Substitutes

When Claudia’s six-year-old daughter Jane disappeared, Claudia was making love to a man who was not her husband. All her life she’d made mistakes and here was one more, worse than the others. This was in the house of Jane’s friend Magda. Magda and Jane were downstairs playing an aggressive doll game they’d invented; Claudia and Magda’s father were in the guest bedroom. He’d steered Claudia away from the master bedroom, the way he might any old house guest on a tour of the upstairs.

Nonfiction

Interview: Yoon Ha Lee

Yoon Ha Lee is a writer and mathematician from Houston, Texas, whose work has appeared in Clarkesworld, Lightspeed, and The Magazine Of Fantasy and Science Fiction. He has published over forty short stories, and his critically acclaimed collection, Conservation of Shadows, was released in 2013. He lives in Louisiana with his family and an extremely lazy cat, and has not yet been eaten by gators.