Science Fiction & Fantasy

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Jan. 2022 (Issue 140)

We have original science fiction by Jendayi Brooks-Flemister (“Up Falling”) and Lincoln Michel (“Cale and Stardust Battle the Mud Gobblers of Hudson Valley”). We also have a flash piece (“Dissent: A Five-Course Meal (With Suggested Pairings)”) from Aimee Ogden, along with an SF reprint by Leah Cypess (“On the Ship”). Plus, we have original fantasy by Maria Dong (“In The Beginning of Me I Was A Bird”) and Vanessa Fogg (“An Address to the Newest Disciples of the Lost Words”). We also have a flash piece (“In the Cold, Dark Sea”) from Jenny Rae Rappaport. Our fantasy reprint is by N.K. Jemisin (“Give Me Cornbread or Give Me Death”). 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 Tochi Onyebuchi’s Goliath.

In This Issue: Jan. 2022 (Issue 140)

Editorial

Editorial: January 2022

It’s another terrific month—be sure to read the editorial for a run-down of all our terrific content!

Science Fiction

Dissent: A Five-Course Meal (With Suggested Pairings)

AMUSE-BOUCHE: A pungent sourness builds at the back of your throat, slowly at first and then with a crescendo of intensity as you flip through the authorized news streams. A string of smiling state-approved anchors informs you that everything is fine, that things are finally looking up, that there is nothing to worry about for those who have done nothing wrong.

Fantasy

In the Beginning of Me, I Was a Bird

In the beginning of me, I was a bird. A magpie, although I’ve since been a jay and a red-tailed hawk and even a big, black crow, crying tok-tok-tok at every passerby. But the magpie was special: on my first day, I saw those flashing blue wingtips, and I was myself. And every day after, I woke up and flew to a shiny window, just to admire my plumage. Birds don’t last. Their hearts beat so fast, the seeds burn them out.

Author Spotlight

Science Fiction

Up Falling

We’re at an abandoned Jumpbase somewhere in the Sahara east of Dakar. It used to be a checkpoint, probably some way of checking for diseases for people seeking sanctuary in one of the greatest scientific centers of the world. At least, that’s what Jumplead says. To me, it’s just a half-standing golden box with a massive rectangular entrance in the front that both welcomed us and made us targets for pillagers.

Fantasy

In the Cold, Dark Sea

We didn’t ask you to come, not here, not now. Not into the deep, where we didn’t want you. Nor into our other waters, where we didn’t want you either. But you came anyway, with your ships and your harpoons and your chanting tunes. And we watched you slaughter our kin and dim their songs, and still, we did nothing. Until their blood ran red, in the cold, dark sea, and our anger ran true.

Author Spotlight

Nonfiction

Book Review: Far From the Light of Heaven, by Tade Thompson

Is Tade Thompson’s Far From the Light of Heaven, a new locked room mystery set in space, the right read for you? Let reviewer Aigner Loren Wilson tell you why it just might be.

Science Fiction

On the Ship

On the ship, we sang and danced and drank champagne—yes, even the children. The adults were indulgent with us, shrugging off the ironclad rules I’d grown up with: no sweets before meals, no videos before bed, no caffeine or alcohol ever. None of that applied on the ship. It was as if they knew childhood was all we would ever have. I didn’t like champagne, and neither did Ava. But we sipped from the small crystal goblets, with their fragile stems and tiny bursting bubbles.

Fantasy

An Address to the Newest Disciples of the Lost Words

You are here because you ignored the words of your parents and elders, your more sensible peers. You have thrown away promising careers in sheepherding or law, trade or civil administration. You bribed your way here; you stole money for your passage; you broke promises and made new ones that you never meant to keep. You’ve sailed rivers and oceans, crossed mountains and plains, and now here you are at the edge of the desert.

Author Spotlight

Nonfiction

Book Review: The Misfit Soldier, by Michael Mammay

Reviewer Chris Kluwe compares The Misfit Soldier, a new military SF novel from Michael Mammay, to an explosive heist movie. Yep. You should read it!

Science Fiction

Cale and Stardust Battle the Mud Gobblers of Hudson Valley

Cale squirted a zigzag of avocado paste on his toast as the mud gobbler floated down the river. The mud gobbler was, thankfully, chewing on the other side of the river today. Mud gobbler is what Cale called them, although Stardust preferred dirt whale. “Fucking dirt whale,” Stardust said, walking up to the kitchen window. “I’d like to gut it like a fish!” Stardust’s belly was getting big now, swelling like a whale itself.

Author Spotlight

Fantasy

Give Me Cornbread or Give Me Death

The intel is good. It had better be; three women died to get it to us. I tuck away the binoculars and crawl back from the window long enough to hand-signal my girls. Fire team moves up, drop team on my mark, support to hold position and watch our flank. The enemy might have nothing but mercs for security, but their bullets punch holes same as real soldiers’, and some of ’em are hungry enough to be competent. We’re hungrier, though.

Nonfiction

Book Review: Trouble the Waters, edited by Sheree Renée Thomas, Pan Morigan, and Troy L. Wiggins

Start the new year with a powerful and important read. Arley Sorg tells you why you don’t want to miss Trouble the Waters, a new anthology from powerhouse team Sheree Renée Thomas, Pan Morigan, Troy L. Wiggins.