Science Fiction & Fantasy


Feb. 2015 (Issue 57)

We have original science fiction by Brooke Bolander (“And You Shall Know Her by the Trail of Dead”) and Caroline M. Yoachim (“Red Planet”), along with SF reprints by John Kessel (“Buffalo”) and David Barr Kirtley (“Veil of Ignorance”).
Plus, we have original fantasy by Maria Dahvana Headley (“And the Winners Will Be Swept Out to Sea”) and Will Kaufman (“Things You Can Buy for a Penny”), and fantasy reprints by Mary Rickert (“The Girl Who Ate Butterflies”) and Adam-Troy Castro (“Cerile and the Journeyer”).
All that, and of course we also have our usual assortment of author and artist spotlights, a feature interview with Ann Leckie, and our review column, this month written by Sunil Patel.
For our ebook readers, we also have an ebook-exclusive novella reprint of “In the House of Aryaman, A Lonely Signal Burns,” by Elizabeth Bear. We’re also delighted to share an excerpt from Elizabeth Bear’s new novel, Karen Memory, and an excerpt from Gemini Cell, Myke Cole’s latest book.

In This Issue: Feb. 2015 (Issue 57)


Editorial, February 2015

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

Science Fiction

And You Shall Know Her By The Trail Of Dead

The mobster has a gun pressed to Rack’s forehead. The mobster has a god-shitting GUN pressed to her partner’s fucking forehead, and the only thing Rhye can do is watch and scream as the man smiles at her and pulls the trigger and blows Rack’s perfect brains out from between his ears.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Brooke Bolander

Culturally there is a push against angry women. You’re a bitch; you’re an ice queen; you’re oversensitive; you’re a psychotic prima donna who needs to “stop being so shrill” and chill out. You’re Courtney Love. The male-driven world is forever threatened by a pissed-off lady. And hey, you know what? FUCK THAT.


The Girl Who Ate Butterflies

Her mother carved angels in the backyard. The largest was six feet tall and had the face of her mother’s first lover, killed in a car accident when they were still in their teens. It took eighteen months to sway the purple and blue webbed stone into wings and skin, to release the wisp of feathers from the metallic clasp. She carved through the seasons, the easy spring, the heat of summer.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Mary Rickert

Yes, of course my fiction springs from what is observed, whether externally or internally. What I recall of the process of writing this story is that I went to the library and collected a pile of books on things that interested me such as butterflies and mythology. The writing was a process of discovery. Nothing was planned.

Science Fiction


In April of 1934, H. G. Wells traveled to the United States, where he visited Washington, D.C. and met with President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Wells, sixty-eight years old, hoped the New Deal might herald a revolutionary change in the U.S. economy, a step forward in an “Open Conspiracy” of rational thinkers that would culminate in a world socialist state.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: John Kessel

Art can change the world, though we can’t count on that as much as we would like it to. Still, that moment when you hear a song that speaks to you, or lose yourself in a book, or laugh out loud at a movie — what’s better than that? It’s worth working hard in order to create those moments for people.


And the Winners Will Be Swept Out to Sea

I’m in your house, wearing one of your shirts. I’m sitting on your floor, with all the drawers of every desk and dresser open. I have them poured out and I’m looking at what you’ve kept. Your old laptops and love letters, your hard drives full of photos and emails, your string and wire tangled into little knots, hard and tiny, twisted so tightly that I can’t crush them more than they’ve already been crushed.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Maria Davana Headley

I write a lot about love, of course, and it’s always about how damn complicated it is, whether between the parties in love, or between them and the world. I’m particularly interested in love between flawed equals. The main character in this story is hundreds, perhaps thousands of years old, and she’s been alone for much of that time, never meeting her match. The story was an exploration of that theme, the possibility of constricting oneself to loneliness for too long, and then being wrested from it by impossible love.

Artist Showcase

Artist Showcase: Julie Dillon

When given the choice, I definitely prefer to do something more hopeful overall. There is enough cynicism in the world as it is, and I want to try to make sure that I’m putting positive things out into the world instead of adding to the cynicism. When I do draw something darker or sadder or violent, I try to have a thematic or narrative purpose, and not make something dark just for the sake of being dark.

Science Fiction

Red Planet

Tara sat in the back of her marine biology class and read the news on her braille tablet. One hundred eighty-seven countries had recognized Mars as the first off-planet country, much to the consternation of the as-yet-unrecognized lunar colonies. The Martian flag was blue with a red circle. Like Mars itself, the flag was inaccessible to Tara.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Caroline Yoachim

I find psychology fascinating. How do people process sensory information? How do we react to adversity, or to opportunity? Which aspects of our lives are most important to our identity?


Cerile and the Journeyer

The journeyer was still a young man when he embarked on his search for the all-powerful witch Cerile. He was bent and gray-haired a lifetime later when he found a map to her home in the tomb of the forgotten kings. The map directed him halfway across the world, over the Souleater mountains, through the Curtains of Night, past the scars of the Eternal War, and across a great grassy plain, to the outskirts of Cerile’s Desert.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Adam-Troy Castro

This was one of those very rare and very blessed cases of a story coming out in one writing session of less than two hours, though I gave it a second pass one day later; the deadline for the anthology in question was imminent, and I began composition knowing what I wanted the story to be like.


Book Reviews: February 2015

This month, Sunil Patel reviews works by V.E. Schwab, Karen Lord, Greg van Eekhout, and duo Rachel Manija Brown and Sherwood Smith.

Science Fiction

Veil of Ignorance

Something strange is happening to me. We’re at Conrad’s vacation house, a sprawling mansion that orbits the gas giant Hades-3. (His father owns both the house and the planet.) Conrad is in the living room watching sports. His girlfriend Alyssa is standing by the mirror in the bathroom, fixing her hair. Her friend Kat is sitting near the bay windows, watching the stars and the roiling vermeil clouds on the world below.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: David Barr Kirtley

I have two themes that I seem to return to over and over. One is characters with good intentions who somehow find themselves having created a horrible mess and who are now seen as villains or monsters. The other is the idea that reality is not what we perceive it to be, that one day we’ll suddenly find that impossible things are happening to us, because we were ignorant of the bigger picture. Many of my favorite stories deal with that idea of upending reality.


Things You Can Buy for a Penny

“Don’t go down to the well,” said Theo to his son. So, of course, Tim went to the well. He was thirteen, and his father told him not to. There was no magic to it. To get to the well — and not the well in the center of the village, because everyone knows where that well is, and no one has any stories about it except for whose grandfather dug it and how soon it’s going to go dry.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Will Kaufman

I sort of pictured the narrator as a bit of an extension of the wet gentleman himself. He gets some satisfaction from the fear, uncertainty, and suffering of the characters in his story, and the wet gentleman’s victory is his victory. All that bonhomie is part of his shtick. He’s the kind to get you to buy him a drink in a way that makes you think he’s doing you a favor.


Interview: Ann Leckie

Ann Leckie is the author of ANCILLARY JUSTICE, one of last year’s most popular books. It won numerous awards, including the Hugo, the Nebula, the Arthur C. Clarke Award, and the British Science Fiction Association Award. A sequel, ANCILLARY SWORD, is out now. This interview first appeared on’s The Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast