Science Fiction & Fantasy

Moreno-Garcia_The-Beautiful-Ones-Lightspeed-728x90

Advertisement

Dec. 2020 (Issue 127)

We have original science fiction by writing duo Andrew Dana Hudson and C.Y. Ballard (“You Mind Is the Superfund Site”) and Ben H. Winters (“PARTY TIME!”), along with SF reprints by Jennifer Marie Brisset (“The Executioner”) and S.L. Huang (“The Woman Who Destroyed Us”). Plus, we have original fantasy by Kali Wallace (“The Salt Warrior”) and P H Lee (“Ann-of-Rags”), and fantasy reprints by Maurice Broaddus (“Ah Been Buked”) and Sofia Samatar (“An Account of the Land of Witches”). All that, and of course we also have our usual assortment of author spotlights, along with our book and media review columns. Our feature interview is with E. Lily Yu. Our ebook readers will also enjoy a book excerpt from Sam J. Miller’s new novel The Blade Between.

In This Issue: Dec. 2020 (Issue 127)

Editorial

Editorial: December 2020

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

Science Fiction

Your Mind is the Superfund Site

“Ever consider killing yourself?” the gecko said. “It’ll save you one hundred percent on your car insurance.” I was alone, but not. I tried to step on the creature, but my foot wasn’t there. I clenched my teeth, which felt like water. Alleyah’s Southie accent crackled a reminder of radio. “Tracey, are you paralucid yet? Need another poke of DMT?” I was back in high school—or somebody’s high school. The classrooms were vintage Sears catalogs and a spruce tree that grew sideways—not in a directional sense but just with a profound association with the concept of sideways. I climbed the tree and then fell.

Fantasy

Ah Been Buked

It’s best to leave some things forgotten. Lord have mercy on my soul. Have mercy, have mercy, have mercy. I don’t know why you want me to talk about all this in the first place. This here’s a spirit stone, and I come out here to make sure it ain’t been covered up. Things need tending to. No, I suppose not all things ought to be forgotten. Feels like I done been around here some thousand years or some such; moving, settling down, and moving again. ’Course I ain’t been around quite that long, it just seemed that way when I got to thinking back.

Author Spotlight

Science Fiction

The Executioner

The day of the execution was the first and only time I’d ever been in a prison. It was a lot bigger than I expected it to be. There was more light in it, too. I thought it would be a dark place with screaming inmates yelling at me as I passed through. But that’s not how it was at all. Everyone fell silent when they saw me. My path opened like Moses parting the Red Sea as people moved out of my way. There were guards on every side of me as I walked through the prison. They guided my way to the death house in the backyard.

Fantasy

The Salt Warrior

Angela found the saint at the base of the cliffs beneath the old watchtower. She had followed his trail from the village: a line of footprints braided with the chaotic, black-stained tracks of the raiders, leading to the cliffs. There he must have fallen, or leapt away in fear. The crumbling stones of the watchtower were marred with scars from the raiders’ lashing claws and teeth, striped with their fetid black ichor, but there was no sign of them on the switchbacks that wound down to the beach.

Author Spotlight

Nonfiction

Book Reviews: December 2020

This month, Arley Sorg reviews two anthologies: A Universe of Wishes (edited by Dhonielle Clayton) and Glitter + Ashes (edited by dave ring). He also checks out Rebecca Roanhorse’s new novel Black Sun.

Science Fiction

PARTY TIME!

All I wanted to do, at the end of the day, was make sure Larry had a nice birthday. I know, I know: Nobody likes Larry. But honestly? I’ve always felt like the fellas down in Dissident Thought Suppression get kind of a bad rap, you know what I mean? Okay, so Larry isn’t the smiliest face around the water cooler, but geez Louise—if you spent all your time scissoring open other folks’ mail in search of words or phrases indicative of anti-Party thought patterns, would you be Little Miss Sally Gumdrops?

Fantasy

An Account of the Land of Witches

I arrived in the Land of Witches at the end of the season of furs. The sun shone, banks of chilly foam lay piled up in the streets, and the river emitted groans day and night as the ice broke into pieces, setting free the witches’ colorful winged boats. My master took a room in the Lean Hotel. This building consists of a single spire that twists up into the greenish, iridescent sky. Ascending to our room presented no difficulties, however, for the steps were endowed with a charm that eroded time. This shaping of time is one of the marvels of the Land of Witches.

Author Spotlight

Nonfiction

Media Reviews: December 2020

Carrie Vaughn reviews some streaming fun: Enola Holmes and the show For All Mankind. You deserve a break—turn on the tv!

Science Fiction

The Woman Who Destroyed Us

I know what they say. They say she was a pioneer. They say she helped millions of people live a normal life. They say she created the next stage of evolution for humanityI need you to understand how wrong that is. To understand what she is: a killerShe’s destroying people’s minds, molding them into her image of what the human brain should be. And none of them complain afterward, because of course they wouldn’t. Their brains are made to be happy—and so they are. She’s washing out the human species into mindless automatons.

Fantasy

Ann-of-Rags

I have heard it on the rumors that when the tale-spinner’s guild gathers in their secret places, a full half of them are sworn to never tell the truth, and the other half to never tell a lie, even if it mean their life. Being one of that trade myself, I can tell you that that’s more or less the shape of it, and I tell you so you’ll know that this tale I tell you is true, just as I heard it and just as it happened, for I am one of the ones sworn to the truth. The name I’m called is Dusty Boots, I come from the valley of Erwhile, and I am in love with a girl that I can never have.

Author Spotlight

Nonfiction

Interview: E. Lily Yu

E. Lily Yu received the Artist Trust / LaSalle Storyteller Award in 2017 and the Astounding Award for Best New Writer in 2012. She is a writer and narrative designer whose stories appear in venues from McSweeney’s to Tor.com and in eleven best-of-the-year anthologies, and have been finalists for the Hugo, Nebula, Locus, Sturgeon, and World Fantasy Awards.