Science Fiction & Fantasy

Beren & Luthien by J.R.R. Tolkien

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May 2015 (Issue 60)

We have original science fiction by C. C. Finlay (“Time Bomb Time”) and Seanan McGuire (“The Myth of Rain”), along with SF reprints by Annie Bellet (“Goodnight Earth,” from The End Has Come) and Sean Williams (“Ghosts of the Fall”). Plus, we have original fantasy by Helena Bell (“Mouth”) and Matthew Hughes (“The Blood of a Dragon”), and fantasy reprints by Merrie Haskell (“Sun’s East, Moon’s West”) and R.C. Loenen-Ruiz (“Breaking the Spell”). All that, and of course we also have our usual assortment of author and artist spotlights, along with our latest book review column and a feature interview with award-winning author James Morrow.
For our ebook readers, we also have “The Mill” by Paul Di Filippo as our novella reprint, along with novel excerpts from THE WATER KNIFE by Paolo Bacigalupi and MAGONIA by Maria Dahvana Headley.

In This Issue: May 2015 (Issue 60)

Editorial

Editorial, May 2015

For a run-down of this month’s content and all our news and updates, be sure to read the Editorial.

Science Fiction

Time Bomb Time

-pop- The sharp scent of ozone — sudden like heartbreak, raw as a panic attack — filled Hannah’s dorm room, from the paper-swamped desk across her rumpled bed to the window overlooking the quad. The lights flickered. Her heart skipped a beat. “God damn it.” She prodded Nolon’s foot with the toe of her shoe. She wanted […]

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: C.C. Finlay

We need more inclusiveness and representation in genre fiction as an accurate reflection of our world, not just as it is now, but the way it’s been and the way it’s going to be. Fighting against inclusiveness not only puts you on the wrong side of history, it also puts you on the wrong side of wrong.

Fantasy

Sun’s East, Moon’s West

I shot the sparrow because I was starving. Though truthfully, I was aiming at a pheasant; the silver snow and the silver birches played tricks with the light, and as if by magic, pheasant turned into sparrow. When I saw what my arrow had done, I cried with empty eyes, too dry to make tears.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Merrie Haskell

My parents were divorced when I was very young, and for a long time, I considered that rift in our family the central crisis of my life. I was fascinated with the process of falling in love and getting married and starting a family. I imagine lots of people are, and that’s why romance novels are so popular. I didn’t really believe in romantic love the way it was presented in stories. I spent a lot of time wondering if an arranged marriage (sort of epitomized by Beauty and the Beast) was better than marrying for love.

Science Fiction

Goodnight Earth

Karron leaned over the rail of her boat, the Tarik, and watched the meteor shower from its reflection in the river below. The bright streaks of light looked like underwater fireflies and the Ring more like a soft blue disk, a monochromatic rainbow that ruled their lives in constant reminder of how broken the world was. “Water, water, everywhere,” she murmured to herself.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Annie Bellet

Looking at loosely realistic projections of what might happen if the moon exploded, I realized it was possible for the weather and oceans to be very volatile. The American South seemed like it would be a dangerous, but potentially still better-than-other-places location to live. And I liked the Mississippi river, since it is such a main artery for the USA. I could picture new settlements and old surviving cities returning to using shipping to get people and goods moved around.

Fantasy

Mouth

When Ann was only five years old, she took her brother’s mouth. He’d been sleeping, or crying, it’s hard for Ann to remember now, but she remembers the way her hand stung as it came full against his cheek, and the rattle his teeth made as his mouth flew off his face and hit the side of his crib. She thought about putting it back, but he was quiet again (yes, he must have been crying, why else would she have slapped him?) and so she picked up his once-familiar mouth with the sleeve of her nightgown and stuck it in her jewelry box.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Helena Bell

“A face like an imperfectly shaven tennis ball”: Many years ago a friend of mine sent me a link to something called “The Surrealist Compliment Generator” and that was one of the compliments. It stuck with me and eventually, somehow, in that sideways way the brain works, it managed to turn itself into a story about a girl whose body disassembled itself once a month.

Nonfiction

Interview: James Morrow

The Washington Post calls James Morrow the “Most provocative satiric voice in science fiction,” and The Denver Post has hailed him as “Christianity’s Salman Rushdie, only funnier and more sacrilegious.” His books include Towing Jehovah, Only Begotten Daughter, and Bible Stories for Adults. His latest book is called Galápagos Regained.

Science Fiction

The Myth of Rain

Female spotted owls have a call that doesn’t sound like it should come from a bird of prey. It’s high-pitched and unrealistic, like a squeaky toy that’s being squeezed just a little bit too hard. Lots of people who hear them in the woods don’t even realize that they’ve heard an owl. They assume it’s a bug, or a dog running wild through the evergreens, beloved chewy bone clenched tightly in its jaws.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Seanan McGuire

My best friend lives in the Pacific Northwest, and all logical projections of sea level increase and weather pattern changes highlight it as one of the areas where things will remain very much the same — which is why they’re likely to get flooded by those of us not lucky enough to already live there. I much prefer Northern California, but we’re already toast.

Fantasy

Breaking the Spell

There’s this legend your father tells you. It’s about a girl who sleeps in the center of a sphere. She floats in the air, tossed above the waves, destined to remain fast asleep until awakened by a kiss. You laugh when your father tells this story. You’ve heard all the stories before. Most of these stories involve handsome princes on white chargers. You’re not a prince, and you don’t have a white charger.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: R.C. Loenen-Ruiz

I believe that speculative fiction is not only about ideas or about technology, but is how society and people interact with ideas and with technology. Advancements in science change us, movements in society change and transform existing structures, conflict arises from these changes; how do we deal with these things? Do we become tougher? Do we become harder? How do we continue to hold fast to human connections in a world that dehumanizes so many of us?

Nonfiction

Book Reviews: May 2015

In this month’s installment of our Book Review column, Sunil Patel explores new novels from Delilah S. Dawson, Genevieve Valentine, Sabaa Tahir, and Andrea Phillips.

Science Fiction

Ghosts of the Fall

A warm current rolled in overnight, bringing with it the stench of death. When I awoke at dawn, my nose and mouth were thick with foul-tasting mucus. Gagging, I rolled over and reached for my stained filtermask. When it was in place, I struggled from my hammock and squinted from the arbour of my room. The sun, eclipsed by the shadowy bulk of a vine-tangled building, was feeble and brown, but enough of its light filtered between the towers to allow a rough study.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Sean Williams

It’s so odd to sit here, remembering my half-self writing characters like Kris and Max, who seemed impossibly ancient then but now feel like contemporaries. It’s more depressing to see how many of the themes of this story are still current: the consequences of environmental degradation and war, patriarchy and the violent means it pursues to retain power, the costs of survival . . . I guess it’s the last that has stuck with me down the years, from the older Hogarth’s perspective.

Fantasy

The Blood of a Dragon

The moment Erm Kaslo’s flesh touched the substance of the entity, he understood everything — but only for that moment. Then it turned out that everything was far, far too much for a human brain to take in all at once. He felt as if his skull was straining not to burst its seams, and as if the mind it housed was a thimble into which someone had crammed a barrel’s worth of knowledge. Just sorting all the information into gross categories would be the work of several lifetimes; subdividing it into manageable portions would take millennia.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Matthew Hughes

Since I was quite young, I have had this sense that the fourth-dimensional universe we inhabit is a kind of conjuror’s trick, especially the part about sequential time. If we could see reality as it is, rather than how we’re merely wired to experience it, we’d say, “Oh, well, of course.” Back when I used to take LSD, that sense was reinforced, because I got to see mundane objects in all their actual splendor. The feeling has stuck with me for almost fifty years now.

Artist Showcase

Artist Showcase: Li Shuxing

Li Shuxing was born in 1983 in Cangzhou, Hebei Province, China. He graduated from East China Normal University. He works as a videogame concept artist and illustrator. He currently lives and works in Shanghai, China. Visit blog.sina.com.cn/u/1771750633 to view more of his works.