We have original science fiction by An Owomoyela (“The Equations of the Dead”) and Rich Larson (“Complete Exhaustion of the Organism”), along with SF reprints by Seanan McGuire (“Swear Not by the Moon”) and Ray Nayler (“The Ocean Between the Leaves”). Plus, we’re serializing an original fantasy novelette by Ashok K. Banker: Readers can look forward to reading “The Giving One” in two parts spread across two weeks. We also have fantasy reprints by Ann Leckie (“The Justified”) and Genevieve Valentine (“Blood, Ash, Braids”). All that, and of course we also have our usual assortment of author spotlights, along with book reviews from our terrific review team.
In This Issue: Apr. 2021 (Issue 131)
Be sure to check out the editorial for a rundown of this month’s delightful content, and of course, all our news and updates.
The boyo working the transmitter doesn’t look like much, except his face is radiant. Radiant, like one of those pooka upworld adverts for neural templates. Dopamine-druggy, but lucid. Like he’s in love. Boyo also looks like he hasn’t spoken to a human in days, and like aside from the food allotments he doesn’t have a lick of capital. His clothes have that washed-while-wearing look, and they’re homespun; no fancy imported fabrics or styles. You’d walk away from this jondo in the market.
Het had eaten nothing for weeks but bony, gape-mawed fish—some of them full of neurotoxin. She’d had to alter herself so she could metabolize it safely, which had taken some doing. So when she ripped out the walsel’s throat and its blood spurted red onto the twilit ice, she stared, salivary glands aching, stomach growling. She didn’t wait to butcher her catch but sank her teeth into skin and fat and muscle, tearing a chunk away from its huge shoulder.
In the last decades of the Terrestrial Age, when humanity had figured out how to leave the planet of their birth but not quite why they’d want to bother, the majority of the world’s wealth was concentrated in the hands of very few. This was not, in and of itself, remarkable: this pattern had repeated, over and over again, throughout human history.
The great sage Jamarg was absorbed in his meditation when the calm of his hermitage was disturbed by the thunder of a thousand hooves. Frowning at being disturbed from his meditation, he rose and went to see why mounted men had come to this remote place. His wife Rukunyi was hurrying back from the river, bearing a heavy earthen pot filled with fresh water. Her face glowed with excitement. “It must be my father,” she said to Jamarg.
LaShawn M. Wanak says in her new review: “It’s been a while since I read something fun. Something joyous. Charlie Jane Anders’ first venture into the YA genre, Victories Greater Than Death, did not disappoint me in that regard.” Read her review to find out more!
The Ocean Between the Leaves
It began just like a fairy tale; an orphaned young woman pricked her finger on the thorn of a rose, and fell asleep. She had always loved to be outdoors, and so the job she had as gardener at one of the stately, ancient yalis along the shore of the Bosporus was perfect for her. The mansion looked out over the waters of the strait from the Asian side, where it widens to meet the Black Sea, just north of the border of Istanbul Protectorate. It was an investment owned by an Emirati family who was hardly ever there.
The Giving One (Part 2)
When Parsh returned home and found that his father’s calf had been stolen, and stolen by none other than the King of the very Stonak kingdom who had been slaughtering priests for decades, he did not hesitate. He took up his axe and set out on the road that led to Stonak City. He did not stop to think of the consequences of what he was about to do, nor of the odds against him. For while a priest caste’s disciplined meditation and learning compel him to consider carefully before embarking upon any venture, a Stonak’s very nature is predicated on swift reflexes and instinct.
Book Review: Spider King, by Justin C. Key
Reviewer Arley Sorg says: “Justin C. Key’s Spider King is a short, stirring read.” Want to find out what makes this serialized novella so worth reading? Check out Arley’s review!
Complete Exhaustion of the Organism
“It’s not a real baby,” Jain says flatly. “And we should kill it.” Another sunless morning in the Waste. She and Stromile have woken up to a gift: a canister of pepto-pink fluid with an infant inside it. The tiny figure is chubby and squirmy and perfect, and it’s only now that Stromile finally takes his eyes off the thing. “Kill it?” he echoes, rubbing his finger in the hollow of his collarbone. “You serious?” “Serious, yeah.” Jain nods her head at the canister. “This is them fucking with us, babe.”
Blood, Ash, Braids
It didn’t take them long to find a name for us; almost as soon as they knew it was women inside the rickety biplanes they couldn’t catch, the Germans called us witches. It was because of the sounds our idling planes made from the ground, the story went, as if the German soldiers had spent a lot of time with brooms and knew what they sounded like, engineless and gliding fifty feet above them in the dark. (The wires holding the wings in place made the whistle.)
Book Review: The Bone Maker, by Sarah Beth Durst
This month Chris Kluwe jumps into a world of bone magic and heroism. Did he like Sarah Best Durst’s new novel The Bone Maker? Better read his review and find out!