Science Fiction & Fantasy

Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2017

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Dec. 2016 (Issue 79)

We have original science fiction by Rich Larson (“The Cyborg, the Tinman, the Merchant of Death”) and Joseph Allen Hill (“The Venus Effect”), along with SF reprints by Margo Lanagan (“The Fifth Star in the Southern Cross”) and Christie Yant (“This Is As I Wish To Be Restored”). Plus, we have original fantasy by Carlie St. George (“Every Day Is the Full Moon”) and Charles Payseur (“The Death of Paul Bunyan”), and fantasy reprints by William Alexander (“The War Between the Water and the Road”) and Shweta Narayan (“Daya and Dharma”). As usual, we’ve put together some terrific nonfiction, including an interview with award-winning author Nancy Kress, plus our usual author spotlight mini-interviews. Of course, our media and book review team has put together some sensational insights about what to read and watch, as well. For our ebook readers, we also have an ebook-exclusive novella reprint from Michael Bishop (“Twenty Lights to ‘The Land of Snow’”) and an excerpt from The Traitor Baru Cormorant.

In This Issue: Dec. 2016 (Issue 79)

Editorial

Editorial, December 2016

Be sure to check out the Editorial for a run-down of this month’s content and for all our news and updates.

Science Fiction

The Cyborg, the Tinman, the Merchant of Death

Sarge knew before I did, of course, but I still had to take him the transfer orders. I didn’t know how to feel on my way to the officers’ mess. I would miss my unit and I would miss my Sarge, but it was an honor, everyone said, to get shifted up to Incisive Maneuvers. To work with the Cyborg. The Tinman. The Merchant of Death.

Author Spotlight

Fantasy

The War Between the Water and the Road

Oliver’s father told him that the park across the street used to be a lake. The entire park, including the baseball field, the sledding hills, and the playgrounds, used to be underwater—everything except for the two sets of swings at the top of the hill. He said that highway construction had cut into secret, underground places and wounded the lake.

Author Spotlight

Science Fiction

The Fifth Star in the Southern Cross

I had bought half an hour with Malka and I was making the most of it. Lots of Off girls, there’s not much goes on, but these Polar City ones, especially if they’re fresh off the migration station, they seem to, almost, enjoy it? I don’t know if they really do. They don’t pitch and moan and fake it up or anything, but they seem to be there under you. They’re with you, you know?

Fantasy

Every Day Is the Full Moon

There are things you know and things you don’t know. You find it helpful to make lists. For example: THINGS YOU KNOW: — A Wrinkle in Time is bullshit. You don’t care if it’s Riley Chu’s favorite childhood book, because she also identifies with Holden Caulfield, and thinks spiders are adorable. Riley’s opinions are not to be trusted.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight

Nonfiction

Review: Arrival

The Inevitable Broken Heart If you’ve read the story Arrival is based on, “Story of Your Life” by Ted Chiang, you already know the alien language and you will understand everything about the movie from the first frame, you will know exactly how it’s going to unfold, and you will watch it all anyway, enthralled. […]

Science Fiction

The Venus Effect

This is 2015. A party on a westside roof, just before midnight. Some Mia or Mina or throwing it, the white girl with the jean jacket and the headband and the two-bumps-of-molly grin, flitting from friend circle to friend circle, laughing loudly and refilling any empty cup in her eyeline from a bottomless jug of sangria, Maenad Sicagi. There are three kegs, a table of wines and liquor, cake and nachos inside.

Author Spotlight

Fantasy

Daya and Dharma

Daya opens her eyes to the colors of dusk, though she smells and hears midday. Soft light picks out yellow and turquoise stones and the bright fire of Gul-Mohar flowers; but the heat is Surya at his fiercest, making all else pale before his glory. She turns over, dazed and sluggish, listening to the distant clash of copper pots, breathing in spices cooked in coconut oil.

Author Spotlight

Nonfiction

Book Reviews, December 2016

This month, Amal El-Mohtar digs deep to expose the skeleton of Fran Wilde’s Cloudbound.

Science Fiction

This Is as I Wish to Be Restored

Every night I come home and I drink. I trade away the hope, the guilt, the fear, even the love—I think it’s love, crazy as it seems. I trade them for oblivion, because otherwise I won’t sleep at all. I drink until there’s no life left in me, until I’m able to forget for just a little while the chrome vessel in the corner and what’s at stake. Sometimes I hope that I’ll dream of her.

Author Spotlight

Fantasy

The Death of Paul Bunyan

Paul Bunyan has died. Paul Bunyan has died and Johnny Appleseed is heading north. Not for vengeance, like Paul would have wanted. Not to beat the hills red or divert a river over those responsible for killing the legend, but because it finally seems time to revisit old scars, old pains. “We were the fire in the night,” Johnny remembers Paul saying one night, so long ago.

Author Spotlight

Nonfiction

Interview: Nancy Kress

Nancy Kress is the author of more than twenty novels, including the Probability series and the Green Tree series. She’s best known for her novella “Beggars in Spain,” which she later expanded into a novel of the same name about children who are genetically engineered to never have to sleep. That story, along with twenty […]