Science Fiction & Fantasy

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June 2021 (Issue 133)

We have original science fiction by Timothy Mudie (“Different People”) and Endria Richardson (“Do Nothing”), along with SF reprints by Sam J. Miller (“The Nation of the Sick”) and Nalo Hopkinson (“Inselberg”). Plus, we have original fantasy by Adam-Troy Castro (“A Tableau of Things That Are”) and Adam R. Shannon (“When You Die on the Radio”), and fantasy reprints by Sofia Samatar (“Wolf Tones”) and Theodora Goss (“How to Become a Witch-Queen”). 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 Katherine Addison’s The Witness for the Dead.

In This Issue: June 2021 (Issue 133)

Editorial

Editorial: June 2021

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

Science Fiction

The Nation of the Sick

Try to picture the scene, Cybil, the same way I did when I got the call. Christmas Eve; two cops standing in a stinking motel room. Blood on bare white sheets, and a broken syringe, and a man. My brother. Whatever sounds he made, that got the neighbors to call the cops, they’re done now. The overdose is over. He hasn’t died. He won’t, tonight. He’s sick, crying, begging—probably wishing he had died, now that two cops are standing over him.

Fantasy

A Tableau of Things That Are

When they ordered me down off my pedestal, I had nowhere else to go. Life as a statue is easy. They make you ascend the pedestal, turn you to stone, remove your ability to move, and leave you to watch the turn of the seasons in a world you cannot touch or care about, anymore. You can only stand in the public garden where all the convicted are placed, and you watch with dull and distant interest at the visitors who stroll past.

Author Spotlight

Science Fiction

Different People

You never expect to meet one of the refugees. You aren’t a scientist or a politician, you’re a middle school history teacher. The story of the refugees from a destroyed parallel Earth—security camera footage of dozens of bedraggled people appearing through a shimmering section of air not far from Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado—should fade into the background of your life like every other major news story and tragedy, present but mostly forgotten.

Author Spotlight

Fantasy

Wolf Tones

. . . and then the second tone enters, high and fierce, the waves rising, a sudden spasm of hail scattering across the deck like a shower of pearls . . . a tone like a moan that vibrates through the ship, down through the cabins lined in red like satin jewelry boxes, those elegant little coffins, and down again through the vessel’s bowels and down through the vast imponderable weight of water its icy knifelike blackness just on the edge of freezing . . . 

Nonfiction

Book Review: Bacchanal, by Veronica G. Henry

LaShawn M. Wanak takes a trip to the carnival in Bacchanal, a new novel by Veronica G. Henry.

Science Fiction

Inselberg

Everybody gather round the bus, now! Thank you please. Sir, beg you, don’t try to pick the trumpet flowers. You might cause damage. Yes, sir; me know say you paid for an all-inclusive tropical vacation here on the little nipple of mountain top that is all left of my country, but trust me. Some things you don’t want all-included. Not since the sea uprise and change everything. Things like trumpet flower bushes.

Fantasy

When You Die on the Radio

Everyone hears Hunger die on the radio, and no one can do anything about it. His mayday is admirably calm for someone who is burning. He’s breathing heavily, but he doesn’t betray any fear. It’s a textbook radio transmission, the kind the other firefighters hope they could make if they were trapped and blind in […]

Author Spotlight

Nonfiction

Book Review: Day Zero, by C. Robert Cargill

In this month’s review, Chris Kluwe would like to point your attention towards Day Zero, a stand-alone novel by C. Robert Cargill that tackles weighty topics like the philosophy of self, free-will versus predestination, and just what is that teddy bear doing with a minigun???

Book Reviews

Science Fiction

Do Nothing

From where she lay on her back, on the grass of the Presidio in San Francisco, the Golden Gate Bridge with all its painted trusses strung from tower to tower seemed most like a red haired boy running along a jetty. She tried, objectively, to see it as they might. A span or a wing. It connected two land masses; of course it would be seen as connective. But there was no ‘of course.’ However they perceived the thing—anchored and cabled and suspended; material hung from more material—would not be objective.

Fantasy

How to Become a Witch-Queen

You look at the coffin as it is lowered into the rectangular opening in the cathedral floor, that was made specifically to contain it. Inside is your husband, the man to whom you have been married for more than twenty years, you’ve forgotten exactly how many. The man with whom you have three children. The oldest, Gerhard, will inherit the throne. He will be called Gerhard IV after his grandfather, who was Gerhard III or, to his enemies, Gerhard the Drunkard.

Author Spotlight

Nonfiction

Book Review: Sword Stone Table: Old Legends, New Voices, edited by Swapna Krishna and Jenn Northington

Arley Sorg reviews new anthology Sword Stone Table: Old Legends, NewVoices, edited by Swapna Krishna and Jenn Northington. Did he really say it leaves “hella cool” in the dust? Read his review and find out!

Book Reviews