Science Fiction & Fantasy

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Apr. 2022 (Issue 143)

We have original science fiction by Izzy Wasserstein (“Everything the Sea Takes, it Returns”) and Phoebe Barton (“A Sword Has One Purpose”). We also have a flash piece (“It Came Gently”) from Aigner Loren Wilson, along with an SF reprint by Charlie Jane Anders (“The Day it All Ended”). Our original fantasy is a new novelette by Ashok K. Banker called “A History of Snakes,” which we’ll be serializing over the course of two weeks. We also have a flash piece (“The Fairy Godmother Advice Column”) from Leah Cypess. Our fantasy reprint is by Maurice Broaddus (“Dance of Bones”). All that, and of course we also have our usual assortment of author spotlights, along with book reviews from our terrific review team. Our ebook readers will also enjoy a book excerpt.

In This Issue: Apr. 2022 (Issue 143)

Editorial

Editorial: April 2022

Be sure to check out the editorial for a rundown of this month’s terrific content.

Science Fiction

Advice from the Civil Temporal Defense League

Do: Be Aware of Strangers Who Ask You What Day It It. Be Aware of Strangers Who Ask You What Year It Is. Be Aware of Stunned Looking Strangers Who Murmur “Mom?” in The Squeeze-In Diner When You Stop By After School For a Chocolate Malt, Though Clearly You Have Never Given Birth to Them or to Anyone At All, Thank You Very Much. Be Aware of Strangers Wearing Clothing, Footwear, or Accessories That Seem Just A Few Years Out of Fashion or Incongruent With the Season, Climate, or Weather Forecast, or Perhaps Not Gender Appropriate Because No Woman Needs to Wear Trousers Anyway.

Fantasy

A History of Snakes, Part I

Many years ago, in the Age of the Gods, there lived the Seed-Giver Drakka. He had two beautiful daughters, Kadrush and Vina’at. Drakka married both daughters to the Sage Kushir. One day, feeling generously disposed to his wives, Kushir told each of them that they could avail of any boon they desired. Both sisters were overjoyed. Kadrush was the first to ask for her boon and she demanded one thousand serpents as her sons, each fiercer than the other and equally splendid.

Author Spotlight

Science Fiction

The Day It All Ended

Bruce Grinnord parked aslant in his usual spot and ran inside the DiZi Corp. headquarters. Bruce didn’t check in with his team or even pause to glare at the beautiful young people having their toes stretched by robots while they sipped macrobiotic goji-berry shakes and tried to imagine ways to make the next generation of gadgets cooler looking and less useful. Instead, he sprinted for the executive suite. He took the stairs two or three at a time, until he was so breathless he feared he’d have a heart attack before he even finished throwing his career away.

Fantasy

A History of Snakes, Part II

Visshki, now the eldest and most senior of the Serpents, had heard of the curse pronounced by his own mother. He called a meeting with Airavata and all their other siblings. “Brothers, as you know our own mother has cursed us. Anyone who is cursed by his own mother has no hope of remedy. What is more, Brum himself was witness to this curse, which makes it immutable. Now, we are all doomed to die in the serpent satra of King Majaya which is but the same curse of our mother Kadrush brought to fruition.

Nonfiction

Book Review: Siren Queen, by Nghi Vo

Aigner Loren Wilson dives into a novel about a magical Hollywood: Nghi Vo’s Siren Queen. Find out whether it’s good casting for your bookshelf!

Science Fiction

Everything the Sea Takes, It Returns

Everything the sea takes, it gives back in its own way and its own time. That was what Jess’s grandmother believed, what she’d told Jess as they stood in the shadow of the giant red cedar that had washed ashore, its severed roots thicker than Jess’s body. It must have drifted for a thousand years or more to return to them in that moment. So, when the virus takes Jess’s grandmother, Jess steers her little solar-powered boat out past the Channel Islands and gives the body to the sea.

Author Spotlight

Fantasy

Dance of Bones

By the time Bose Roberds spied the lone, empty wagon, he got the nagging suspicion that he was meant to follow the stranger’s trail easily. The noon sun beat on him like a whip in a heavy hand. He’d followed the tracks across the plains for quite some time. Whoever he tracked could’ve traveled through thickets so dense that neither man nor horse could see for more than a few yards at a time. More than once, Bose feared that the man might lurk in the brush, hiding in the draws and canyons. The other cowhands lingered a few lengths behind him, more than a mite cranky.

Nonfiction

Book Review: Unlimited Futures, edited by Ismail and van Neerven

Arley Sorg is always lookng for the next great anthology, and Unlimited Futures, edited Rafeif Ismail & Ellen van Neerven, is definitely one of them.

Science Fiction

A Sword Has One Purpose

I had enough time to light a fresh cigarette before my office door told the client to come in. Smoke in the air didn’t make it any easier to oil a cutlass, but it made me look badass. Same with my leather jacket, tailored to fit comfortably over my smartsuit. I projected confidence so brightly that every once in a while I forgot what I hid beneath it. My client entered wearing fine high heels and the calm stability that came from long years in habitat gravity. My most interesting cases were from habbers, because habbers didn’t come my way until they figured out their problem was beyond them.

Fantasy

The Fairy Godmother Advice Column

Dear Fairy Godmother: I work as the housekeeper for a collective of seven men. It’s a non-normative living situation, but it works for me. (I am estranged from my family, due to my stepmother being crazy.) Lately, however, I’ve been harassed by a woman trying to sell me apples. She is constantly offering me free samples and acting hurt when I don’t buy. My employers have forbidden me from letting anyone into their home, and I value their trust. But I also know there are a lot of prejudices about old women who wander around forests selling apples, and I don’t want to play into that.

Author Spotlight

Nonfiction

Book Review: The Memory Librarian, by Janelle Monáe

Wait–isn’t The Memory Librarian, by Janelle Monáe, a musical album? Well, yes. But not THIS The Memory Librarian, by Janelle Monáe. It’s a short story collection, and Chris Kluwe is here to tell you why it’s a must-read.