Science Fiction & Fantasy

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Dec. 2021 (Issue 139)

We have original science fiction by Filip Hajdar Drnovšek Zorko (“Red Is Our Country”) and Aimee Ogden (“Ten Things to See Before the World Burns”). We also have a flash piece (“Fairy Tale”) from Adam-Troy Castro, along with an SF reprint by Sofia Samatar (“Fairy Tales for Robots”). Plus, we have original fantasy by Donyae Coles (“When Sri Left the Ruined City”) and Carrie Vaughn (“Entanglement, or How I Failed to Knit a Sweater for My Boyfriend”). We also have a flash piece (“Writing You”) from Sharang Biswas. Our fantasy reprint is by E. Lily Yu (“Three Variations on a Theme of Imperial Attire”). 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 Nicole Glover’s new novel, The Undertakers.

In This Issue: Dec. 2021 (Issue 139)

Editorial

Editorial: December 2021

Be sure to check out the editorial for a run-down of this month’s terrific content!

Science Fiction

Fairy Tale

“Father? You’re staring at the stars again.”

“It is what I have instead of television.”

“What’s television?”

“Something from the old days. A magic box that told stories.”

Fantasy

When Sri Left the Ruined City

Listen, listen, hush, listen. You’re wrong about the war. You’re wrong about why the world is changing. Why it is dying all around us. That the Gods, many and unknowable be they, wanted this: That’s what you were taught, that’s what you believe. That’s why they gave the Memra their fire beasts and the drawing light that they wield so wildly. That’s why the Reach sings those great stone men into being to crush that flaming war machine.

Author Spotlight

Fantasy

Entanglement, or How I Failed to Knit a Sweater for My Boyfriend

This is a story about how you are not supposed to knit a sweater for your boyfriend. The thinking goes like this: a sweater is some of the most complex knitting one can attempt. First is the expense: it takes a lot of yarn to knit a sweater, especially one for a well-built, broad-shouldered man who works out, and if you’re being fancy about it you want the good yarn, the all-natural merino blend, the pretty, pettable yarn, and that stuff isn’t cheap.

Science Fiction

Fairy Tales for Robots

Dear child, I would like to tell you a story. I’d like to have one ready for you the moment you open your eyes. This is the gift I intend to prepare to welcome you to the world, for a story is a most elegant and efficient program. When human children are born, they are given fairy tales, which help them compose an identity out of the haphazard information that surrounds them. The story provides a structure. It gives the child a way to organize data.

Author Spotlight

Nonfiction

Book Review: The Annual Migration of Clouds, by Premee Mohamed

This month, new staff reviewer Aigner Loren Wilson looks at The Annual Migration of Clouds, the new post-climate change novella by Premee Mohamed. Find out why you should read it, too!

Science Fiction

Red is Our Country

After the incident with Grey, you have three hours of air left and the only possibility of resupply is two hours in the wrong direction. Burke has found references to an old terraformers’ cache—emergency water and oxygen and who knows what else—and now she’s acting like it’s foresight rather than blind luck. Like she can even be sure the supplies are still there. “We’ll find it. We’ll resupply.”

Fantasy

Three Variations on a Theme of Imperial Attire

They never tell the story right. The Danish must have their heavens and happy endings, and Andersen’s tales are meant for children. We, however—you and I—know that people are people, and every one of us capable of— But the story. Once there was a vain and foolish emperor, who made up for his foolishness by a kind of low cunning. As such rulers do, he drew to himself a retinue of like men and women, who told him he was wise and humble, gracious and good.

Author Spotlight

Nonfiction

Book Review: Reclaim the Stars, edited by Zoraida Córdova

Arley Sorg loves short stories. Find out why he’s recommending this anthology of stories by acclaimed YA writers of the Latin American diaspora: Reclaim the Stars: 17 Tales Across Time & Space, edited by Zoraida Córdova.

Fantasy

Writing You

Now that you are dead, we will write you a love letter. It was Achmat’s idea. He worries that in our loneliness, the two of us will become like parallel mirrors, reflecting upon each other an eternity of grief. You were the strong one, he says. Our centroid, he calls you. I disagree. You made us strong. That is why we will write you a letter. Perhaps it will make us strong enough to bear your passing.

Science Fiction

Top Ten Things to See Before the World Burns

With temperatures on Earth continuing to climb, Intercollective governments have set a final evacuation date1 for the end of the Terran year. If the travel lottery pulls your census number, this is your last chance to see the homeworld’s sights! A poll of the Collective suggests that these are the ones that can’t be missed: 1. GRAND CENTRAL OVERSTATION. You can’t miss it—literally. Grand Central Overstation is the pinnacle of Pre-Diasporic construction.

Author Spotlight

Nonfiction

Book Review: Where The Drowned Girls Go, by Seanan McGuire

Chris Kluwe has a book recommendation for anyone ready to fight The Man or who feels like the world needs a little Nonsense: Where The Drowned Girls Go, by Seanan McGuire. Check out his latest review to find out why!