Science Fiction & Fantasy

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Jan. 2018 (Issue 92)

Our cover art this month is by Alan Bao, illustrating a new science fiction short by Adam-Troy Castro (“The Streets of Babel”). Susan Jane Bigelow gives us our other piece of original SF (“The Eyes of the Flood”). We also have with SF reprints by Catherynne M. Valente (“Golubash, or Wine-Blood-War-Elegy”) and James Patrick Kelly (“Someday”). Our fantasy originals are from José Pablo Iriarte (“The Substance of My Lives, The Accidents of Our Birth”) and Sarah Pinsker (“The Court Magician”). Our fantasy reprints are by Joanna Ruocco (“Auburn”) and Roger Zelazny (“Divine Madness”). All that, and of course we also have our usual assortment of author spotlights, along with our book and media review columns, and an interview with author Fonda Lee. For our ebook readers, our exclusive novella is by Will McIntosh (“A Thousand Nights Till Morning”). And of course we have a book excerpt just for our ebook readers, too—it’s a snippet from The Night Market, by Jonathan Moore.

In This Issue: Jan. 2018 (Issue 92)

Editorial

Editorial: January 2018

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

Science Fiction

The Streets of Babel

The city surrounded him while he slept. He had been fleeing it for four days. Long before its walls became visible, it was a grayish smudge on the horizon, beneath which the air shimmered in silent testimony of its radiant heat. It was one of about ten living cities he knew of and he had avoided it for as long as he could, staying out of their usual migratory paths, contenting himself with the company of the small tribes who had also managed to keep out of the reach of the cities, living on roots and the small animals that fell to his bow.

Fantasy

Auburn

The unhappily married Lady Abergavenny sat alone at the banquet table waiting for her husband. Her husband, of course, was Lord Abergavenny. The big, brave, handsome Lord Abergavenny. The night was dark. Supper had gotten a bad chill on the banquet table. The goose had goose bumps (this was unsurprising), but so did the potatoes and the turnips and the hunks of dark, sour bread, the region’s specialty. “Ghastly,” said Lady Abergavenny.

Author Spotlight

Science Fiction

Golubash, Or Wine-Blood-War-Elegy

The difficulties of transporting wine over interstellar distances are manifold. Wine is, after all, like a child. It can bruise. It can suffer trauma—sometimes the poor creature can recover; sometimes it must be locked up in a cellar until it learns to behave itself. Sometimes it is irredeemable. I ask that you greet the seven glasses before you tonight not as simple fermented grapes, but as the living creatures they are, well-brought up, indulged but not coddled, punished when necessary, shyly seeking your approval with clasped hands and slicked hair.

Fantasy

The Substance of My Lives, the Accidents of Our Births

I seem to make an outcast of myself every time I’m a teenager. Which is fine, I guess. I’ll take one good dog and one good friend over being a phony and fitting in. Alicia points. “There he is, Jamie!” A couple hundred feet away, our trailer park’s newest resident grabs a box from the van parked in front of his single-wide. He’s gray-haired and buff, like if The Rock were an old man. Alicia and I are sprawled on top of a wooden picnic table in the park’s rusted old playground.

Author Spotlight

Nonfiction

Book Reviews: January 2018

This month Christie Yant reviews new novellas from Tor.com, including Beneath the Sugar Sky, by Seanan McGuire, Mandelbrot the Magnificent, by Liz Ziemskaand, and The Murders of Molly Southbourne, by Tade Thompson.

Science Fiction

The Eyes of the Flood

The river’s in flood again, and it feels like a blessing from God. You emerge from your home, built with wood and plastic scraps of ancient towns, and stand on the green hill high above the rushing waters. You remember from when you were young that the river would spill over its banks every year, submerging the low-lying land, turning fields that had lain fallow through the darkness and bitter cold of winter into lakes of rushing, wild water. And then when the waters had drained away, the corn could be planted in the deep sediments left behind.

Author Spotlight

Fantasy

Divine Madness

He blew smoke through the cigarette and it grew longer. He glanced at the clock and realized that its hands were moving backwards. The clock told him it was 10:33, going on 10:32 in the p.m. Then came the thing like despair, for he knew there was not a thing he could do about it. He was trapped, moving in reverse through the sequence of actions past. Somehow, he had missed the warning. Usually, there was a prism-effect, a flash of pink static, a drowsiness, then a moment of heightened perception . . .

Nonfiction

Media Reviews: January 2018

Reviewer Christopher East digs into comedies with a fantastical bent: Netflix’s BoJack Horseman and NBC’s The Good Place.

Science Fiction

Someday

Daya had been in no hurry to become a mother. In the two years since she’d reached childbearing age, she’d built a modular from parts she’d fabbed herself, thrown her boots into the volcano, and served as blood judge. The village elders all said she was one of the quickest girls they had ever seen—except when it came to choosing fathers for her firstborn. Maybe that was because she was too quick for a sleepy village like Third Landing. When her mother, Tajana, had come of age, she’d left for the blue city to find fathers for her baby.

Fantasy

The Court Magician

The boy who will become court magician this time is not a cruel child. Not like the last one, or the one before her. He never stole money from Blind Carel’s cup, or thrashed a smaller child for sweets, or kicked a dog. This boy is a market rat, which sets him apart from the last several, all from highborn or merchant families. This isn’t about lineage, or even talent. He watches the street magicians every day, with a hunger in his eyes that says he knows he could do what they do.

Author Spotlight

Nonfiction

Interview: Fonda Lee

Fonda Lee is the award-winning author of the YA science fiction novels Zeroboxer and Exo. Born and raised in Canada, Lee is a black belt martial artist, a former corporate strategist, and action movie aficionado who now lives in Portland, Oregon with her family. Jade City is her adult debut.