Science Fiction & Fantasy

Beren & Luthien by J.R.R. Tolkien

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May 2017 (Issue 84)

We have original science fiction by Bruce McAllister (“This Is for You”) and Susan Jane Bigelow (“The Heart’s Cartography”), along with SF reprints by Tobias S. Buckell (“Ratcatcher”) and Seanan McGuire (“Dragonflies”). Plus, we have original fantasy by Adam-Troy Castro (“James, in the Golden Sunlight of the Hereafter”) and Kendra Fortmeyer (“Octopus vs. Bear”), as well as fantasy reprints by Greg Hrbek (“Paternity”) and Amal El-Mohtar (“Weialalalea”). All that, and of course we also have our usual assortment of author spotlights, along with our book and media review columns. We also have an interview with Steven Barnes. Our cover art is by Sam Schechter, and illustrates Adam-Troy Castro’s “James, in the Golden Sunlight of the Hereafter.” For our ebook readers, we also have a reprint of Rebecca Ore’s novella “Hypocaust & Bathysphere,” and an excerpt from from Hugh Howey’s Sand, due out soon from John Joseph Adams Books.

In This Issue: May 2017 (Issue 84)

Editorial

Editorial, May 2017

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

Science Fiction

Ratcatcher

Pepper’s vision fades slowly away in the empty midnight as he tumbles end over end. His eyes frost over, moisture crackling and icing over pupils, hardening against his eyelids. The pinpoint stars fracture behind the fractal cold of the ice, then shatter into a multitude of glittering refractions. Unseeing, he still stares wide-eyed into the vacuum.

Fantasy

James, In the Golden Sunlight of the Hereafter

It took James Washington forever, almost literally forever, to remember that his wife and children were as dead as he was. For a while, he barely even realized that he was dead himself. Heaven, for lack of a better word, is bliss, and as anybody who has known euphoria can tell you, bliss doesn’t always allow room for rational thought.

Author Spotlight

Science Fiction

This Is for You

There was one girl I really liked in school when I returned to Earth, but it took me three months to say hello. I wasn’t good with human beings. We’d just gotten back from Pitipek (a red-dwarf star system “just left” of Tau Ceti, as the joke goes). My father had been stationed there for two years with the TU’s Planetary Safety Agency, and living with the slow, enigmatic, bipedal Pitipeki—especially in one of their villages, and under those endless clouds—tends to make you lose your people skills.

Fantasy

Paternity

You have been trying to start a family. And failing. The problem, it will turn out, is with you. This is what they tell you at the fertility clinic at the medical center. The first thing, discovered during a physical exam, is that your testicles are smaller and softer than average. At the time of this revelation, your wife actually says to the urologist, in a tone of maternal defensiveness: “That’s strange, because I would say his penis is a little too big.”

Nonfiction

Book Reviews: May 2017

This month LaShawn M. Wanak reviews the first season of Tremontaine, a serial projected created by Ellen Kushner and freshly collected by Saga Press. She also dives into Maurice Broaddus’ new novella, Buffalo Soldier, and Ellen Klages’ Wicked Wonders.

Science Fiction

Dragonflies

The dragonfly hung in the thick, humid air like a jeweled miracle, wings beating so fast that they became a blur. Its body was an oil slick of shifting colors, greens and blues and purples, blending together in patterns that would have seemed garish if they hadn’t been natural. It had a cocker spaniel clutched in four of its six legs.

Author Spotlight

Fantasy

Octopus vs. Bear

You woke up female this morning, so now you have a choice: do what other people want, or be a bitch. It is a thing you know without precisely knowing it. The knowledge is built into the muscle memory of this miraculous new body; it is draped across the bones like a weight. You shudder, stretching your delicate female limbs beneath the unfamiliar, sun-drenched sheets. Female for a day, you think.

Author Spotlight

Nonfiction

TV Review: May 2017

But one of the network’s strongest offerings is the ambitious post-apocalyptic epic, The 100, now in its fourth season and renewed for a fifth. You might be sick of apocalypse stories. You might not want another grim show in your nightly lineup. Maybe you have something against teen protagonists. We’re here—as two people who rarely agree on what to watch—to tell you why you need to give it a try anyway.

Science Fiction

The Heart’s Cartography

Jade was the sort of backwoods girl who had a map of the countryside tattooed on her heart, and she could feel it in her bones when the pieces of her world shifted. So when the new family moved into the house across the road that late summer, she felt ripples of wrongness radiating out from them and their too-bright clothes, their bizarrely old-fashioned wood-paneled station wagon, and their rolling words.

The Heart’s Cartography

Fantasy

Weialalaleia

The Weialalaleia (Hirudo Threnophaga) is difficult to observe, and is more recognisable by the sound that accompanies its presence than by its shape. It floats on the air like a jellyfish in water, and, like a jellyfish, is translucent, although there is some debate within cryptohirudological circles about whether the Weialalaleia lacks pigment.

Weialalaleia

Author Spotlight

Susan Jane Bigelow

Nonfiction

Interview: Steven Barnes

Steven Barnes is a best selling, award-winning screenwriter and novelist from Los Angeles. He has written over twenty novels and worked on shows such as The Outer Limits, Stargate SG-1, and Baywatch. His true love is teaching balance and enhancing human performance in all forms: emotional, professional, and physical.

Steven Barnes by Jim C. Hines