Science Fiction & Fantasy

Null States

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Mar. 2016 (Issue 70)

We have original science fiction by Caroline M. Yoachim (“Welcome to the Medical Clinic at the Interplanetary Relay Station”) and Craig DeLancey (“RedKing”), along with SF reprints by Timons Esaias (“The Mars Convention”) and Aliette de Bodard (“The Waiting Stars”). Plus, we have original fantasy by Rich Larson (“Sparks Fly”) and Marie Vibbert (“Michael Doesn’t Hate His Mother”), and fantasy reprints by Andy Duncan (“The Premature Burials”) and Seanan McGuire (“Rat-Catcher”). All that, and of course we also have our usual assortment of author spotlights, along with our book and media review columns and a roundtable interview on the Star Wars canon. For our ebook readers, we also have an ebook-exclusive reprint Mark W. Tiedemann’s novella, “Miller’s Wife” and an excerpt from Hugh Howey’s novel, Shift.

In This Issue: Mar. 2016 (Issue 70)

Editorial

Editorial, March 2016

Be sure to check out the Editorial for all our news, as well as a rundown on this month’s content.

Science Fiction

Welcome to the Medical Clinic at the Interplanetary Relay Station | Hours Since the Last Patient Death: 0

You take a shortcut through the hydroponics bay on your way to work, and notice that the tomato plants are covered in tiny crawling insects that look like miniature beetles. One of the insects skitters up your leg, so you reach down and brush it off. It bites your hand. The area around the bite turns purple and swollen. You run down a long metal hallway to the Medical Clinic, grateful for the artificially generated gravity that defies the laws of physics and yet is surprisingly common in fictional space stations.

Author Spotlight

Fantasy

The Premature Burials

Looking up, Matthew saw pictures in the ripples and dimples of satin as if they were layers of clouds over Munson’s Hill. There, in the far corner: That drape looked like one of Mr. Venable’s cantankerous swans. And just overhead was the familiar lumpy profile of Mr. Krohn the wheelwright, mouth yawning wide. Matthew grinned at the thought of fat Mr. Krohn wedged into this narrow space.

Author Spotlight

Science Fiction

The Mars Convention

Gesta waddled through the lobby of the Charenton Hotel Mars, masking his revulsion as best he could. The whole place had that cheesy charm that humans had so adored. Mindless plants grew in containers here and there. A large excavation filled with water, a “swimming pool,” lapped gently at the edge of the registration slab, giving off a faint trace of chlorine. Not enough chlorine to intoxicate, but it did give the air a pleasant tang.

Author Spotlight

Fantasy

Sparks Fly

“There’s a dark side to sloths,” she said, using her straw to plumb the ice at the bottom of her glass, flicking red-blonde hair out of blue-blue eyes. “Sometimes they go to grab a branch, but accidentally grab their own arm, and then fall to their deaths.” “Because of the mossy fur?” I guessed, also guessing at the best way to put my hand onto hers on the bubbled-glass patio table. I could see her suntanned legs underneath and it put sparks under my skin.

Author Spotlight

Nonfiction

Movie Review: Deadpool

Have we reached peak superhero? Are we oversaturated? Might we in fact have too many superhero media adaptations? Given that the four movie posters at the entrance of my local theater right now are for Captain America: Civil War, Batman v. Superman, Suicide Squad, and X-Men: Apocalypse, one can certainly be forgiven for thinking we might just be a wee bit oversaturated. I for one love this state of affairs.

Science Fiction

RedKing

Tain held a pistol toward me. The black gel of the handle pulsed, waiting to be gripped. “Better take this,” she said. I shook my head. “I never use them.” We sat in an unmarked police cruiser, the steering wheel packed away in the dashboard. Tain’s face was a pale shimmer in the cool blue light of the car’s entertainment system. “Your file says you are weapons trained.” “Yeah,” I said, “I got one of those cannons at home, locked in my kitchen drawer.”

Fantasy

Rat-Catcher

I knew she was there. Lenet believed she was stealthy, and would perhaps have been correct, had I not been the cat of the Duke’s Theatre for four long years. All the sounds that grand old building could make were known to me . . . including the sound of a barefoot Cait Sidhe girl stalking the rafters like the ghost of Hamlet’s father. The footsteps stopped above my head. “Rand,” Lenet hissed, voice pitched low to keep it from carrying to the audience below.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight

Nonfiction

Book Reviews: March 2016

In this month’s column, Amal El-Mohtar takes a look at The Winged Histories by Sofia Samatar, The Assimilated Cuban’s Guide to Quantum Santeria by Carlos Hernandez, and a new poetry collection, Marginalia to Stone Bird by Rose Lemberg.

Science Fiction

The Waiting Stars

The derelict ship ward was in an isolated section of Outsider space, one of the numerous spots left blank on interstellar maps, no more or no less tantalising than its neighbouring quadrants. To most people, it would be just that: a boring part of a long journey to be avoided—skipped over by Mind-ships as they cut through deep space, passed around at low speeds by Outsider ships while their passengers slept in their hibernation cradles.

Author Spotlight

Fantasy

Michael Doesn’t Hate His Mother

At rest, coiled up, Michael’s mother is about the size of a riding mower. Michael’s living room is not much bigger than her.
With a shudder, she rises. Her little piston feet march, pulling her out of her coil. Lifters above the feet kick out like dancers in a line. She snakes into the kitchen. Julie shrieks in horrified delight. Their mother opens the refrigerator. Julie and Michael watch as she prepares them lunch. She nudges them into chairs at the table. They haven’t eaten at the table in a long time. Maybe she’s getting better.

Author Spotlight

Nonfiction

Interview: Chuck Wendig and Alexandra Bracken (Guide to the New Star Wars Canon)

Star Wars tie-in authors Chuck Wendig and Alexandra Bracken discuss some of the books set in the new Star Wars canon that help pave the way for Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens.