Science Fiction & Fantasy

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Mar. 2021 (Issue 130)

We have original science fiction by Claire Wrenwood (“Homecoming”) and Adam-Troy Castro (“And Now A Preview of Coming Attractions”), along with SF reprints by Ken Liu (“Dispatches from the Cradle: The Hermit—Forty-Eight Hours in the Sea of Massachusetts”) and Yoon Ha Lee (“The Empty Gun”). Plus, we have original fantasy by P H Lee (“The Bear Prince”) and Sarah Grey (“Brightly, Undiminished”), and fantasy reprints by Alyssa Wong (“Olivia’s Table”) and Amber Sparks (“A Place for Hiding Precious Things”). All that, and of course we also have our usual assortment of author spotlights, along with our book review columns. Our ebook readers will also enjoy an excerpt from Arkady Martine’s new novel, A Desolation Called Peace.

In This Issue: Mar. 2021 (Issue 130)

Editorial

Editorial: March 2021

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

Science Fiction

Homecoming

Only when Marlo and her mother have followed the attendants through the faux-marble foyer and into the room filled with diffusers and soft jazz and laid down on the massage tables covered in crisp, clean-smelling sheets; only when someone has placed a cool gel pack over Marlo’s eyes and set something against her skin that starts kneading, a familiar, needling motion that ignites a distant spark of recognition within her; only then does Marlo understand where her mother has taken her. She pushes back her eye mask and sits up.

Author Spotlight

Fantasy

Olivia’s Table

Olivia blew into town with the storm and headed straight for the Grand Silver Hotel. Pots and containers of sauces and marinades clattered in the trunk of her Toyota, packed in with the rest of the groceries she’d brought from Phoenix. The evening sky hung heavy with dark clouds, but the shrinking Arizona sun still burned her arms through the car windows. Bisden was one of those mining towns that had sprung up in the eighteen hundreds, flourished for a while, and then all but died once the silver ran out.

Science Fiction

Dispatches from the Cradle: The Hermit—Forty-Eight Hours in the Sea of Massachusetts

Before she became a hermit, Asa –π had been a managing director with JP Morgan Credit Suisse on Valentina Station, Venus. She would, of course, find this description small-minded and obtuse. “Call a woman a financial engineer or a man an agricultural systems analyst, and the world thinks they know something about them,” she wrote. “But what does the job a person has been channeled into have to do with who they are?” Nonetheless, I will tell you that she was responsible for United Planet’s public offering thirty years ago.

Fantasy

The Bear Prince

I have heard it on the rumors that when the tale-spinner’s guild gathers in their secret places a full half of them are sworn to never tell the truth, and the other half to never tell a lie, even if it mean their life. Being one of that trade myself, I can tell you that that’s more or less the shape of it, and I tell you so you’ll know that this tale I tell you is true, just as it happened and just as it was told to me, for I am one of the ones sworn to the truth. The name I’m called is Dusty Boots, I come from the valley of Erwhile, and I am in love with a girl that I can never have.

Author Spotlight

Nonfiction

Book Review: The Unbroken, by C.L. Clark

Do you like military fantasy? Will you like The Unbroken by C.L. Clarke? LaShawn M. Wanak reviews this new novel of colonialism and romance.

Science Fiction

And Now, A Preview of Coming Attractions

I have experienced some tastes of my afterlife as a crustacean. In it, I am one of many, on a beach with purple sand abutting a sea that could be water but might be some other liquid entirely, beneath stars that seem larger and brighter than any I see in the night sky now. The effect is very alien, but I have no idea whether the place really looks that strange, because I am looking at it with the eyes of a creature not human, which may be seeing it in spectra my human self cannot measure.

Author Spotlight

Fantasy

A Place for Hiding Precious Things

Once upon a time, in another part of now, there was a girl. She was graceful and talented and pretty as dawn—though no more than she ought to be—and she was lucky enough to be the daughter of a very minor king, rich but provincial, with few real responsibilities. She was delighted with life, and with her own way of living in it. She loved stories, and music, and most especially, painting. She loved to create small strange worlds on paper and had set up a gallery in several rooms of her home for her art: the royal version of the family refrigerator.

Nonfiction

Book Review: Escaping Exodus: Symbiosis, by Nicky Drayden

Chris Kluwe recommends this new novel by Nicky Drayden. Find out why!

Science Fiction

The Empty Gun

The bazaar on the moon that wandered Transitional Space did not meet Kestre sa Elaya’s exacting requirements for a safe transaction. In years past, as the duelist prime of House Elaya, she would have journeyed with an honor guard to the much-feted Gray Manse. Her meeting would have involved liquors imported from the Flower Worlds and delectable canapés and candies, some of which she would pocket to give to her nieces when she returned home.

Fantasy

Brightly, Undiminished

Witchcraft is a gift. Imelda would wave her steel spoon at Mercer and insist on this as he measured ingredients for her, whether she was boiling potions or a pot of farfalle pasta. Watch the salt, a teaspoon only, never pour too much. Don’t overheat the sauce. Bottle the hawks’ gizzards separate from the basilisks’Never half-ass a gift, Mercy. Her perpetual imperative. Mercer is alone now. His hands are unsteady—they’ve shaken like a drunkard’s since they held Imelda as she passed—and he is no witch.

Author Spotlight

Nonfiction

Book Review: Broken Fevers, by Tenea D. Johnson

Arley Sorg loves short fiction as much as you do. Let him recommend a new short fiction collection for your delectation!