Science Fiction & Fantasy

Null States

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Sep. 2014 (Issue 52)

We have original science fiction by Saundra Mitchell (“Starfall”) and Sam J. Miller (“We Are the Cloud”), along with SF reprints from the new anthologies: Monstrous Affections (Holly Black’s “Ten Rules for Being an Intergalactic Smuggler (the Successful Kind)”) and the aforementioned The End is Now (Tananarive Due’s “Herd Immunity”). Plus, we have original fantasy by Sarah Pinsker (“No Lonely Seafarer”) and Matthew Hughes (“Under the Scab”), and fantasy reprints by Aliette de Bodard (“Prayers of Forges and Furnaces”) and Rhys Hughes (“Eternal Horizon”). All that, and of course we also have our usual assortment of author and artist spotlights, along with feature interviews with authors Mary Robinette Kowal and Diana Gabaldon. For our ebook readers, we also have a reprint of the novella “Giliad” by Gregory Feeley, and novel excerpts from THE BROTHERS CABAL by Jonathan L. Howard and THE NECROMANCER CANDLE by Randy McCharles.

In This Issue: Sep. 2014 (Issue 52)

Editorial

Editorial, September 2014

Check out the Editorial for a run-down of everything in this issue and some exciting news!

Science Fiction

Herd Immunity

A man was far ahead of her on the road. Walking and breathing. So far, so good. That he was a man, Nayima was certain. His silhouette against the horizon of the rising roadway showed his masculine height and the shadow of an unkempt beard.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Tananarive Due

I am very focused on mortality in my fiction. My first novel, The Between, was about a man who escaped death and had to face the consequences as death chased him. My African Immortals series that began with MY SOUL TO KEEP is about people who never age or die. I have been very aware of death since I was a child, and living with that awareness has been an important part of my life and growth.

Fantasy

No Lonely Seafarer

On the nights Mrs. Wainwright let me work in the barn instead of the tavern, I used to sing to the horses. They would greet me with their own murmurs, and swivel their ears to follow my voice as I readied their suppers. That was where Captain Smythe found me: in the barn, singing a song of my own making.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Sarah Pinsker

I love giving voice to characters who aren’t typically seen in SF, or fiction in general. That’s part of the beauty of all the projects in the last few years like LONG HIDDEN and FIERCE FAMILY and Women Destroy Science Fiction!: They show that these characters and these stories are wanted and needed. Characters and relationships that reflect the diversity and complexity of real people, even if they’re in fictional settings.

Science Fiction

Starfall

KV-62 went supernova today. Well, according to the news, it went supernova on March 14, 1592, but we’re just now finding out about it. Other things that happened on this day in history: Eli Whitney got a patent for the cotton gin, Charles I granted a royal charter to the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and I was fished out of a trash can in the Union Square subway station.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Saundra Mitchell

“Why You Want a Physicist to Speak at Your Funeral” [a eulogy written by NPR commentator Aaron Freeman] resonated with me. It haunted me from the moment I read it. Then I watched a documentary about supernovae. In 1604, there was one so brilliant it lasted for months in the daytime sky. Johannes Kepler tracked it for over a year, and wrote his observations—which is why most people call SN 1604 “Kepler’s Supernova.”

Fantasy

Prayers of Forges and Furnaces

The stranger came at dawn, walking out of the barren land like a mirage—gradually shimmering into existence beside the bronze line of the rails: a wide-brimmed hat, a long cloak, the glint that might have been a rifle or an obsidian-studded sword. Xochipil, who had been scavenging for tech at the mouth of Mictlan’s Well, caught that glint in her eyes—and stopped, watching the stranger approach, a growing hollow in her stomach.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Aliette de Bodard

I was doing some work for my Obsidian and Blood trilogy, and I had this very vivid image of a gunslinger coming to a mine—except I couldn’t really fit it anywhere into my novels. So I took the image, added the research I’d done into Aztec customs, and more or less made up the universe on the spot, throwing in a few references to not-quite-steampunk-y things (the god-machine is actually more a reference to Asimov’s positronic machines in his short stories, who end up ruling the world).

Artist Showcase

Artist Showcase: Steve Tung

Steve Tung was born in Taipei in 1994. He studied at Fu-Hsin Trade and Art School. He is currently a freelance artist and animation student at National Yunlin University of Science and Technology. His website is www.o-fon.deviantart.com.

Science Fiction

Ten Rules for Being an Intergalactic Smuggler (the Successful Kind)

1. THERE ARE NO RULES. That’s what your uncle tells you, after he finds you stowing away in his transport ship, the Celeris, which you used to call the Celery when you were growing up, back when you only dreamed of getting off the crappy planet your parents brought you to as a baby.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Holly Black

The story actually started with the rules. I’d been reading a lot of Karin Lowachee and Lois McMaster Bujold and I wanted to experiment with writing science fiction of the sort I’ve read a bunch of, but never written. As I was thinking through the story I wanted to tell, I thought of a few of the rules and wondered if I could play with them as structural markers.

Fantasy

Under the Scab

It was too late in the day to start back to Indoberia. Kaslo tried to find ways to busy himself about the castle, but his thoughts would not leave him alone. Finally, he went up to the flat roof of one of the larger towers and leaned against the parapet as the planet’s sun sank below a horizon no longer broken by the Commune’s skyline. In the opposite direction, the stars were coming out, but Kaslo saw only a handful of the glittering orbitals that used to stretch in a sparkling, glinting arc across the night sky.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Matthew Hughes

I like a good (i.e., unanachronistic) historical, like Patrick O’Brien’s masterful Aubrey/Maturin tales, and I read a lot of crime fiction. People who are familiar with my work will know that I’m actually a crime writer trapped in a science-fiction author’s career.

Nonfiction

Interview: Mary Robinette Kowal

Mary Robinette Kowal’s Glamourist series has been described as “Jane Austen with magic.” The fourth book, VALOUR AND VANITY, is out now. This interview first appeared on Wired.com’s The Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast, which is hosted by David Barr Kirtley.

Science Fiction

We Are the Cloud

Me and Case met when someone slammed his head against my door, so hard I heard it with my earphones in and my Game Boy cranked up loud. Sad music from Mega Man 2 filled my head and then there was this thud like the world stopped spinning for a second. I turned the thing off and flipped it shut, felt its warmth between my hands. Slipped it under my pillow.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Sam J. Miller

“We Are the Cloud” extrapolates from the very real and interconnected systems of exploitation that I was seeing up close through my work with homeless people. The people I met at soup kitchens had aged out of foster care; the moms I met in shelters had lost kids to the foster care system. The boys I saw hanging out in Morningside Park in Harlem were the ones who got arrested and fed into the prison system by cops looking to fill their quotas;

Fantasy

Eternal Horizon

Suddenly the horizon gave birth. There were effects. I was affected by them. I sat with my goddess on my knee. She didn’t need me, nor I her. So everything was equal and free. We were in love.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Rhys Hughes

Sometimes ideas bubble and percolate through unknown passageways in my mind for many years before they finally find expression in a story, but in the case of “Eternal Horizon,” everything developed very quickly indeed. I was walking along a remote beach and looking out to sea and a submerged sandbank halfway to the horizon made a line of surf that looked like another horizon nearer to shore. On the way back home all the elements came together from this single observation.

Nonfiction

Interview: Diana Gabaldon

Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series has been called “The smartest set of science fiction, adventure romances ever written by a science PhD with a background in scripting Scrooge McDuck comic books.” The series is currently being adapted for TV by Battlestar Galactica’s Ron Moore and premiered on Starz on August 9, 2014.
This interview first appeared on Wired.com’s The Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast, which is hosted by David Barr Kirtley.