Science Fiction & Fantasy

Beren & Luthien by J.R.R. Tolkien

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Oct. 2014 (Issue 53)

We have original science fiction by Daniel José Older (“Dust”) and Marie Vibbert (“Jupiter Wrestlerama”), along with SF reprints by Zoran Živković (“The Puzzle”) and Rebecca Ore (“Scarey Rose in Deep History”). Plus, we have original fantasy by Steve Hockensmith (“The Herd”) and Megan Kurashige (“The Quality of Descent”), and fantasy reprints by Kelly Link (“Water Off a Black Dog’s Back”) and Ysabeau S. Wilce (“The Biography of a Bouncing Boy Terror!”). All that, and of course we also have our usual assortment of author and artist spotlights, along with feature interviews with bestselling author James S. A. Corey and physicist Lawrence Krauss. For our ebook readers, our ebook-exclusive novella reprint is “Jesus and the Eightfold Path” by Lavie Tidhar. For novel excerpts this month, we’ve got a sneak peek at Paolo Bacigalupi’s new novel, THE DOUBT FACTORY Factory, along with an excerpt from ANCILLARY SWORD — Ann Leckie’s sequel to her Nebula, Clarke, and Hugo award-winning debut novel ANCILLARY JUSTICE. Plus, we have an excerpt from the new Wild Cards mosaic novel, WILD CARDS: LOWBALL, from contributor Carrie Vaughn.

In This Issue: Oct. 2014 (Issue 53)

Editorial

Editorial, October 2014

Check out the Editorial for a run-down of all this month’s terrific content, and special news and announcements from our Editor.

Science Fiction

Dust

Very late at night, when the buzz of drill dozers has died out, I can hear her breathing. I know that sounds crazy. I don’t care. Tonight, I have to concentrate extra hard because there’s a man lying beside me; he’s snoring with the contented abandon of the well-fucked and all that panting has heavied up the air in my quarters.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Daniel José Older

Science fiction allows us to imagine both the best and worst of humanity. When we open our stories up to the realm of the fantastic, we bring a new creativity and freshness to the question of how to survive this twisted, complicated world with our souls intact. As a genre, science fiction hasn’t always been welcoming to different cultures and their answers to this question.

Fantasy

Water Off a Black Dog’s Back

Rachel Rook took Carroll home to meet her parents two months after she first slept with him. For a generous girl, a girl who took off her clothes with abandon, she was remarkably close-mouthed about some things. In two months Carroll had learned that her parents lived on a farm several miles outside of town; that they sold strawberries in summer, and Christmas trees in the winter.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Kelly Link

I was in my first year of the MFA program at University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and needed to turn something in to workshop for the first time. Someone I knew had told me the story about how as a teenager, they had masturbated into Kleenex, and then had the problem of their dog wanting to eat the Kleenex. I also wanted to write about a mother with a wooden leg, and a surplus of dogs. I liked the idea of an awkward dinner.

Science Fiction

Scarey Rose in Deep History

“History should not be ancestor worship,” Sarey Rose told them as she brought in the last of the time-viewer components and began to calculate how to form the microgates big enough for past light. Her hair was bound up for work. Whether or not she approved of the target, she was working.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Rebecca Ore

I was living in rural Virginia, where the fragments of slavery and interracial breeding were still swirling around — one of the people I knew was a guy whose male ancestor was either R.J. or Hardin Reynolds — [of the] Reynolds Tobacco family. We saw what had happened, but didn’t always understand why things had happened. The Reynolds family sold a slave, apparently because the other slaves hated him, and bought a piano with the money. I don’t know if that’s a true narrative or not …

Fantasy

The Herd

As long as we’re waiting, why don’t I tell you a little story? You look like the kind of man who could profit by it. Don’t take offense, now. I meant that as a compliment. You remind me of me, that’s all. I’m a cowhand myself. Or was, anyway. I’ve been up and down the Chisholm Trail so many times I could walk it blindfolded from Brownsville to Abilene.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Steve Hockensmith

I’ve written a mystery series set in the Old West — the Holmes on the Range novels — so I’ve done a ton of research into cowboy life and slang. One of the things I enjoyed most about writing the Holmes on the Range books was the chance to throw around a lot of colorful words and turns of phrase, so I did that in “The Herd,” too.

Artist Showcase

Artist Showcase: Rovina Cai

Rovina Cai was born in 1988 in Australia. She received a degree in Communication Design from RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, then completed an MFA in Illustration at the School of Visual Arts in New York. Her work has been featured in publications including Spectrum Fantastic Art. She currently works as an illustrator based in New York City. Her website is www.rovinacai.com.

Science Fiction

Jupiter Wrestlerama

Two-Ton Tony had a hard body, and though Karen knew the facts of life cold and backward by the time she got her chance to push him against a wall, she’d never had anything so sweet. Biceps like boulders, arms to swing on and hips to ride: a body like a playground. She’d held on to him and never quite believed her luck that he let her.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Marie Vibbert

I was walking in Niagara Falls, Canada, far from the strip, with my husband. We had gotten lost and ended up on a residential street — all these tiny bungalows so close to massive hotels. I wondered what it was like to live in a small town that was also a huge tourist attraction. I wanted to write a story that took place on a space station as the ultimate closed community — an exaggeration of the trapped feeling of living in a small town, juxtaposed against the freely mobile wealthy visitors.

Fantasy

The Biography of a Bouncing Boy Terror!

Once upon a time, my little waffles, far across the pale eastern sands, a baby boy bounced from his mother’s womb into a dark and dangerous world, into a land well full of hardship, turmoil, and empty handball courts. This boy, starting tiny and growing huge, would one day become a legend in the minds of his minions, a hero in the hearts of his hobbledehoys, the fanciest lad of them all: Springheel Jack!

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Ysabeau S. Wilce

I wrote this story while I was at Clarion West. The whole thing — character, voice, action — just sort of sprang, as it were, completely out of nowhere. I stole the name Springheel Jack from the notorious early nineteenth-century monster, but the shiny red boots were a riff on the fairy tale of the red shoes. Instead of making you dance until you drop, these boots make you steal until you drop.

Nonfiction

Interview: James S.A. Corey

Ty Franck, together with Daniel Abraham, who we interviewed back in episode 35, writes the Expanse series of space adventure novels under the penname James S.A. Corey. The fourth book, CIBOLA BURN, is out now. The series is also being adapted for television by the Syfy channel. This interview first appeared on Wired.com’s The Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast.

Science Fiction

The Puzzle

Mr. Adam only started to paint late in life, after his retirement. It happened quite unexpectedly. For the first sixty-five years of his life he had never shown any predisposition towards painting, for which he had neither talent nor interest. The arts in general attracted him very little. The only exception might have been music, […]

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Zoran Živković

“The Puzzle” is a part of SEVEN TOUCHES OF MUSIC, one of my ten mosaic novels. It is a book about how music occasionally offers us glimpses into deeper levels of reality. The idea seemed very inspirational indeed, so I have written as much as seven variations of the basic theme.

Fantasy

The Quality of Descent

The trick begins like this: The magician throws an egg up into the air, where it flies — small and white and full of import — up and up, high into the black reaches of the proscenium. We await the descent, holding our breaths, expecting at any moment the crash of slapstick hilarity, exploding like a bomb. But the egg simply vanishes.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Megan Kurashige

I’m a little obsessed with the physical act of falling. There’s something about it that’s beautifully, dreadfully naked. It’s hard to maintain any sort of mask or fakery when you’re taking a surprise plunge toward the ground. My sister, Shannon, and I once filmed a few of our friends as they pretended to be shot. The most interesting part was when they fell down. No matter how cheesy or slapstick or dramatic they made it, something about their fall was a reflection of their personalities.

Nonfiction

Interview: Lawrence Krauss

Physicist Lawrence Krauss is the author of such books as A UNIVERSE FROM NOTHING and THE PHYSICS OF STAR TREK. The new documentary film, THEUNBELIEVERS, follows him and Richard Dawkins as they travel the world arguing in favor of atheism. This interview first appeared on Wired.com’s The Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast.