Science Fiction & Fantasy

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July 2017 (Issue 86)

This month, our cover art is by Reiko Murakami, illustrating a new science fiction story by John Grant (“The Law of Conservation of Data”). We also have a new one from E. Catherine Tobler (“Mix Tapes from Dead Boys”), along with SF reprints by Chris Beckett (“Marcher”) and James Tiptree, Jr. (“The Last Flight of Doctor Ain”). Plus, we have original fantasy by Alvaro Zinos-Amaro & Adam-Troy Castro (“A Touch of Heart”) and Debbie Urbanski (“How to Find a Portal”), and fantasy reprints by A.G. Howard (“Stitches”) and Will Ludwigsen (“Acres of Perhaps”). Our nonfiction department is serving up our monthly book review column, as well as Carrie Vaughn’s assessment of the new Wonder Woman movie. Speaking of Carrie, we’re also giving our readers a chance to really get to know her, as she’s the subject of this month’s feature interview—and if you’re an ebook reader, you can get a little taste of her new novel, Bannerless, out this month. Our ebook edition also has a reprint of the novella “From Whence You Came,” by Laura Anne Gilman. Plus, you’ll get a bonus novel excerpt from An Oath of Dogs, by our own Wendy N. Wagner.

In This Issue: July 2017 (Issue 86)

Editorial

Editorial, July 2017

Be sure to check out the Editorial for all our news, updates, and of course a run-down of this month’s exciting content.

Science Fiction

The Law of Conservation of Data

“Slots Palace,” says Suze. You all stare at her. Staring at her is worth doing. She’s moved into a new bod since coming here, and the change has been a big improvement. There wasn’t exactly anything wrong with the one she initially adopted for the pentagon’s pre-consensuality union, but she became dissatisfied with it and the dissatisfaction affected the rest of you—especially Kagura, who said it reminded him in all the wrong ways of a past consensual of his who turned out badly.

Author Spotlight

Fantasy

Stitches

The first time the wrens sang at night was three years ago, when I used a rusty saw to cut off Pa’s left foot. The birds drowned out his screams. Wrens don’t normally sing after sunset, but I wasn’t surprised by it. Birds are known as spirit carriers in mountain lore. When someone dies, birds of all kinds carry them back and forth between this world and the afterlife, so folk can keep watch over their living loved ones, even after they’re gone.

Science Fiction

Marcher

“It seemed to me that it was too easy to disparage jobs of that kind. Mickey over there, for example . . .” (Huw pointed to a university lecturer with tousled hair), “or Susan there. They are always having a go at me about the iniquities of forcing people to go home when they want to stay here. ‘No-one leaves their own country except for a very good reason,’ Mickey always says. But what I always ask him is this: Is he saying that there should be no immigration controls at all?”

Fantasy

A Touch of Heart

Many years ago, in Shangdong Province, there lived an unfortunate farmer by the name of Dou Zhuo. Like most of us who walk this teeming Earth, he was trapped in the circumstances that fortune had provided him. He owned a patch of land that supported crops only after backbreaking effort, and then with results that betrayed its resentment of the demands he put on it. His cucumbers were bitter, his cowpeas difficult to boil, his leeks over-pungent, his pak choi stiff, and his edible amaranth hardly deserving of its name.

Author Spotlight

Nonfiction

Book Reviews: July 2017

This month, Andrew Liptak takes a look at Skullsworn, by Brian Staveley, and Spellbreaker, by Blake Charlton.

Science Fiction

Mix Tapes From Dead Boys

The derelict hangs in Neptune’s blue orbit, a chip of shadowy flint from a distance. Up close, it’s old and rusting, myriad old systems cobbled together, and Hadley swallows her nervous and exhilarated heart a dozen times as she latches the pod to its belly, makes a hard seal at the airlock, and geckos her team inside. The exterior of their spatulae suits—hands and knees and hips—permits them freedom of movement even in zero gee. Especially in zero gee. She glances back at their pod once.

Author Spotlight

Fantasy

Acres of Perhaps

If you were a certain kind of person with a certain kind of schedule in the early sixties, you probably saw a show that some friends of mine and I worked on called Acres of Perhaps. By “certain kind of person,” I mean insomniac or alcoholic; by “certain kind of schedule,” I mean awake at 11:30 at night with only your flickering gray-eyed television for company. With any luck, it left you feeling that however weird your life was, it could always be weirder.

Nonfiction

Movie Review: July 2017

This month Carrie Vaughn reviews Wonder Woman.

Science Fiction

The Last Flight of Doctor Ain

Dr. Ain was recognized on the Omaha-Chicago flight. A biologist colleague from Pasadena came out of the toilet and saw Ain in an aisle seat. Five years before, this man had been jealous of Ain’s huge grants. Now he nodded coldly and was surprised at the intensity of Ain’s response. He almost turned back to speak, but he felt too tired; like nearly everyone, he was fighting the flu. The stewardess handing out coats after they landed remembered Ain, too: a tall, thin, nondescript man with rusty hair.

The Last Flight of Doctor Ain

Fantasy

How to Find a Portal

I remember as children we were warned about the women who drove the unmarked white vans that circled around our neighborhood during those long hot summers, in particular creeping slowly down the boulevard which ran alongside the park, where if you positioned yourself at the right angle, I suppose in front of the swings, you might be able to see a flash of a child’s private yellow underwear as they pumped their legs upward.

How to Find a Portal

Author Spotlight

Debbie Urbanski

Nonfiction

Interview: Carrie Vaughn

Carrie Vaughn is best known for her New York Times bestselling series of novels about a werewolf named Kitty. Her most recent novels include a near-Earth space opera, Martians Abroad, from Tor Books, and a post-apocalyptic murder mystery, Bannerless, from John Joseph Adams Books. She’s written several other contemporary fantasy novels, as well as eighty-plus short stories. 

Carrie Vaughn