Science Fiction & Fantasy

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Aug. 2021 (Issue 135)

We have original science fiction by Andrea Chapela (translated by Emma Törzs) (“Now You Feel It”) and David Anaxagoras (“Anything Short of Death Is Survivable”). We also have a flash piece (“Before the Haze Devours You”) from Nelly Geraldine García Rosas, along with an SF reprint by Maurice Broaddus (“City of Refuge”). Plus, we have original fantasy by Justin C. Key (“Now You See Me”) and Tobi Ogundiran (“The Tale of Jaja and Canti”). We also have a flash piece (“My Sister Is a Scorpion”) from Isabel Cañas. Our fantasy reprints by Sheree Renée Thomas (“Ancestries”). 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 an excerpt from The All-Consuming World, the debut novel from Cassandra Khaw.

In This Issue: Aug. 2021 (Issue 135)

Editorial

Editorial, August 2021

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

Science Fiction

Before the Haze Devours You

If time can stop, this is how it feels. 01:32:03 PLSS WARNING: Abnormal temperature detected in EMU. Yunuen was born to be trapped in this moment. She has been looking at the same alert in her helmet’s heads-up display for a perpetual instant that has become her whole existence. One billion kilometers away from home, she lies in the purgatory that is the red glow of this warning message. In front of her eyes, these petrified uppercase letters have lost all their meaning. Time does not exist anymore.

Author Spotlight

Fantasy

Now You See Me

Good art changes you. And that was the point, right? That’s what the social media ad that caught my attention wanted me to believe: Our Shoes: You couldn’t understand our struggle . . . Until now. I had read the line over and over again during a rare downtime in the on-call room and was still mesmerized by it when Danny messaged our Allies 4 Life group. I got three tix to that new BLM exhibit in Brooklyn. Who’s rolling?

Science Fiction

Now You Feel It

Rivera had been weaving dreamscapes at Ibsen Spa for twelve hours when a new videolog came in, a back-of-the-neck buzz. Two blinks opened the message: Urgent work, it said, followed by a telephone number. Rivera had been about to go home, but this message changed everything. Finally, after a whole year gone: a new job. Here at Ibsen Spa, the work was easy, with no risk of being stuck in the vicious aftermath of mind-manipulation; but neither did the Spa offer any chance of exercising skill or talent.

Fantasy

Ancestries

In the beginning were the ancestors, gods of earth who breathed the air and walked in flesh. Their backs were straight and their temples tall. We carved the ancestors from the scented wood, before the fire and the poison water took them, too. We rubbed ebony-stained oil on their braided hair and placed them on the altars with the first harvest, the nuts and the fresh fruit. None would eat before the ancestors were fed, for it was through their blood and toil we emerged from the dark sea to be.

Author Spotlight

Nonfiction

Book Review: Seasons Between Us: Tales of Identities and Memories, edited by Susan Forest & Lucas K. Law

LaShawn M. Wanak celebrates short fiction about our identity in her review of the new anthology Seasons Between Us.

Science Fiction

City of Refuge

The world was ending, but Royal Parker still had to go through the motions of a job interview. He knew as soon as he sat down across from the manager—in his ridiculous red-and-white striped shirt and paper hat—that he wasn’t getting the job. Despite the assurances from the Liberation Investment Support Cooperative, the corporate entity controlling the state’s infrastructure, jobs were scarce. He hated that even part of him wanted this person’s approval.

Fantasy

The Tale of Jaja and Canti

Seated on the balcony of the house across the street is a man. He is slumped in his chair and has remained unmoving for several hours. The tattered frays of his agbada spreads about his person like an old sailcloth, snapping in the wind. His equally tattered hat is positioned on his head such that you cannot see his face. He has maintained this position for nigh on a day (which is much, much longer than you think). If you think him dead, then you’ll be wrong; if you think him alive, well . . .

Author Spotlight

Nonfiction

Book Review: King Bullet, by Richard Kadrey

It’s never easy to wrap up a series, but reviewer Chris Kluwe tells us why Richard Kadrey nails the finale of his Sandman Slim tales.

Nonfiction

Book Review: We’re Here, edited by C.L. Clark and Charles Payseur

How does the newest of the year’s best SF/F anthologies stack up? Let Arley Sorg tell you why you want to read this one!

Science Fiction

Anything Short of Death Is Survivable

Olive feared she might vomit which would be a really dumb and dangerous thing to do since her mouth was sealed off (along with the rest of her skin) against the vacuum of space. Basically, her insides had nowhere to go. She swallowed hard. Only little kids got space sick and she wasn’t a little kid, she was fourteen. As soon as the hatch had opened and she went rushing out into the empty, Olive’s skin crystalized—just like it was supposed to.

Fantasy

My Sister is a Scorpion

My baby sister didn’t used to be a scorpion, but she is one now. I don’t know if that sounds weird to you, but it doesn’t to me, because right after my sister was born, Abuelita turned into a white crane and flew away. She was so sad after we buried Abuelito, you know. One winter day, she stepped outside of the faded stucco church into bright sunshine, her Bible tucked under one arm. Maybe the touch of the sun was not enough to warm her after the shadows of the church.

Author Spotlight