Science Fiction & Fantasy

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Apr. 2019 (Issue 107)

We have original science fiction by Caroline M. Yoachim (“The Archronology of Love”) and Matthew Corradi (“Gundark Island, or Tars Tarkas Needs Your Help”), along with SF reprints by Cory Doctorow (“To Market, To Market: The Branding of Billy Bailey”) and Michael Swanwick (“The She-Wolf’s Hidden Grin”). Plus, we have original fantasy by Ashok K. Banker (“The Seeds of War”) and Shweta Adhyam (“A Conch-Shell’s Notes”), and fantasy reprints by Carmen Maria Machado (“Blur”) and Carrie Vaughn (“The Lady of Shalott”). 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 Rebecca Roanhorse. For our ebook readers, we are reprinting the novella “The Speed of Belief,” by Robert Reed. You can also enjoy an excerpt from the novel Upon a Burning Throne by Ashok K. Banker.

In This Issue: Apr. 2019 (Issue 107)

Editorial

Editorial: April 2019

Be sure to check out the editorial for all our news, updates, and a rundown of this month’s content.

Science Fiction

The Archronology of Love

This is a love story, the last of a series of moments when we meet. Saki Jones leaned into the viewport window until her nose nearly touched the glass, staring at the colony planet below. New Mars. From this distance, she could pretend that things were going according to plan—that M.J. was waiting for her in one of the domed cities. A shuttle would take her down to the surface and she and her lifelove would pursue their dream of studying a grand alien civilization. It had been such a beautiful plan.

Fantasy

Blur

En route to visit my girlfriend in Indiana, I pull over at a rest stop in Illinois to wash my face. It is not my first mistake of the day, but it is the biggest. The bathroom is full of people. I see them before I place my glasses on the sink. I realize I am flinching after my body is already tight with worry; she will be enraged if I am late again. Children with juice-stained mouths are at the sinks on either side of me. A middle-aged woman with a deflated handbag scolds them. They scream, she screams, all of it rising above the rush of the tap. The water smells vaguely sulfurous, like the Fountain of Youth.

Author Spotlight

Science Fiction

To Market, To Market: The Branding of Billy Bailey

Billy and Principal Andrew Alty went all the way back to kindergarten, when Billy had convinced Mitchell McCoy that the green fingerpaint was Shamrock Shake, and watched with glee as the little babyface had scarfed it all down. Billy knew that Andrew Alty knew his style: refined, controlled, and above all, personal. Billy never would’ve dropped a dozen M-80s down the girls’ toilet. His stuff was always one-on-one, and possessed of a degree of charm and subtlety. But nevertheless, here was Billy, along with the sixth-grade bumper-crop of nasty-come-latelies, called on the carpet in front of Andrew Alty’s massive desk.

Fantasy

The Seeds of War

Hastinaga was ablaze with word of Vrath’s amazing feat. Vrath’s stepmother, Dowager Empress Jilana, while taken aback at the manner in which it had been done, nevertheless bit her tongue when she saw what he had accomplished. That the two daughters of the king of Serapi were beautiful there was no doubt. At the wedding, they were the envy of every woman in the court. Tall, with full heads of thick, lustrous blue-black hair, fingernails and toenails painted blood red, heavy of hip and breast, heart-faced with a glow to rival the moon, they walked like queens already.

Author Spotlight

Nonfiction

Book Reviews: April 2019

Reviewer Chris Kluwe takes a look at a trio of novels that explore self-awareness: The Deepest Blue, by Sarah Beth Durst, A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World (by C. A. Fletcher) and Max Gladstone’s Empress of Forever.

Science Fiction

Gundark Island, or, Tars Tarkas Needs Your Help

When Tommy Burke took me out to Gundark Island to see the alien, I wasn’t really expecting much. Maybe I was just going because I thought it would be cool to take a ride in Tommy’s canoe. Or maybe I was just hoping Tommy might turn out to be a friend. If there really was an alien there, too, then all the better. After passing a hand-painted sign that said “Please Don’t Feed the Alien,” we came to a clearing in the middle of the island where I saw a lump in the ground. At first it looked like a small boulder, except that it had a grayish-purple tint to it. Upon closer inspection it vaguely appeared to have scales.

Fantasy

The Lady of Shalott

As far as she could remember, the Lady had never been outside the tower. She might have been born here. She assumed she had been born, but maybe not. Maybe she just appeared, her complete adult self, flowing red hair and porcelain skin, dressed in a gown of blue trimmed with gold, with no memory of anything outside these rounded walls. All day, every day, she wove a tapestry set on a loom against the wall. She might have been weaving forever, and she didn’t know if she would ever finish.

Author Spotlight

Nonfiction

Media Review: April 2019

Reviewer Christopher East unpacks the many layers of Netflix’s Russian Doll.

Science Fiction

The She-Wolf’s Hidden Grin

When I was a girl, my sister Susanna and I had to get up early whether we were rested or not. In winter particularly, our day often began before sunrise; and because our dormitory was in the south wing of the house, with narrow windows facing the central courtyard and thus facing north, the lurid, pinkish light sometimes was hours late in arriving and we would wash and dress while we were still uncertain whether we were awake or not. Groggy and only half coherent, we would tell each other our dreams.

Fantasy

A Conch-Shell’s Notes

This is the story of a conch-shell, and the man who answered its call to adventure. The powerful and mysterious conch resided in a seaside temple on the outskirts of Peacetown. Whenever a resident of the town found themselves at life’s crossroads, wondering which path to take, notes from the conch-shell sounded in their ears and sang of what lay ahead in each direction. When danger lay in the town’s future, it called one of its young men, bright of mind and clean of limb, to fight it. That evening, it sounded in the ears of Kwa, a citrus-seller who was piling fruit upon fruit into neat pyramids, turning the best faces outwards.

Author Spotlight

Nonfiction

Interview: Rebecca Roanhorse

Rebecca Roanhorse is a Nebula and Hugo Award-winning speculative fiction writer and the recipient of the 2018 Campbell Award for Best New Writer. Her short fiction has also been a finalist for the Sturgeon, Locus, and World Fantasy awards. Her novel, Trail of Lightning, was selected as one of the Amazon, B&N, Library Journal, and NRP Best Books of 2018, among others, and is a 2019 Nebula Finalist. Her short fiction can be found in Apex Magazine, New Suns, and various other anthologies. She lives in Northern New Mexico with her husband, daughter, and pug.