Science Fiction & Fantasy

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Mar. 2022 (Issue 142)

We have original science fiction by Daniel David Froid (“An Exegesis of the Socioreligious Ramifications of the Collection of Peribi”) and Julianna Baggott (“The Historiography of Loss”). We also have a flash piece (“The Heaven That They Never Knew”) from Merc Fenn Wolfmoor, along with an SF reprint by Robert Reed (“Parables of Infinity”). Plus, we have original fantasy by Shiv Ramdas (“Nine-Tenths of the Law”) and Maria Dong (“Nine Tails of a Soap Empire”). We also have a flash piece (“Hood Alchemy”) from Nicole D. Sconiers. Our fantasy reprint is by Alyssa Wong (“All the Time We’ve Left to Spend”). 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 of Maurice Broaddus’s new novel, A Sweep of Stars.

In This Issue: Mar. 2022 (Issue 142)

Editorial

Editorial: March 2022

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

Science Fiction

The Heaven That They Never Knew

Ginger clings to the skin of Heaven, wrapped in deep, cold vacuum. She’s a speck in the void and her breath trembles inside her helmet. No sound in space. So she breathes. She has to stay grounded, keep her thoughts from shaking and drifting to hostile sensors. Heaven’s skin is a smooth, shimmering membrane enclosing the angelships. Heaven: a bubble the size of a small moon, seeded with egg-like metallic beings that chew and swallow and reap. Locusts with a taste for spirits; nothing holy in those devourers.

Fantasy

Bhatia, P.I.

It’s a few minutes before seven on a cold October evening and I’m just reaching into the bottom drawer of my desk for the Old Monk and my well-thumbed copy of The Big Sleep when I hear footsteps hurrying up the stairs. A new case, has to be. I sigh, give the drawer a regretful look and shut it again. I sit up, awaiting the knock. It never comes. Instead the door swings open, slamming into the wall, sending plaster chips flying everywhere. Then I see her standing in the doorway.

Author Spotlight

Science Fiction

An Exegesis of the Socioreligious Ramifications of the Collection of Peribi

One day when all of humanity is gone and the old Earth rolls through the dark all alone, a day will come when it is chanced upon by some intrepid visitors from another, more respectable planet—a planet whose denizens did not see fit to destroy themselves as quickly and as thoroughly as possible. Those visitors will descend upon the steaming hot void and may ask themselves, may ask each other, what happened. They will roam across the deep and, no doubt very soon in their journey, will discover what they will take to be obvious signs of recent habitation.

Author Spotlight

Fantasy

Hood Alchemy

You remember when those rappers robbed a bank and killed a cop, that summer the girls from Wing turned green? I didn’t think it was connected then—the robbery, the gold, and the hordes of teens who were rotting from the inside. But I know better now. Back in the day, we thought anyone signed to a record label was rich. We eyed the expensive Fila sneakers and trunk jewelry and thought of new money. We peeped the shiny album covers in Funk-O-Mart, heard Jazzy Jill’s song “Money, Mics & Madness” blaring from passing cars, and thought of mansions.

Nonfiction

Book Review: The Blood Trials by N.E. Davenport

The Blood Trials, N.E. Davenport’s SF debut, really lives up to its name. Let Aigner Loren Wilson tell you why this new novel is more than just blood and violence–and why you might just love it.

Science Fiction

Parables of Infinity

There were better workers aboard the Great Ship. Virtuous entities with proven resumes reaching back across the aeons. But the timetable was inflexible, the circumstances brutal. Seventeen hours, six minutes, and two breaths. The job had to be completed within that impossible span, beginning now. Now. The client was among the weakest citizens of the galaxy, reasonably healthy one moment, and in the next, passing out of life. What wasn’t a home and wasn’t a shell had to be rebuilt from scratch. If the client perished, nobody was paid.

Fantasy

Nine Tails of a Soap Empire

Byeong-Woo strides through the door. His face says I’m in trouble. Hopefully, it’s the delicious, sweaty kind. I step forward and push into him, ready to embrace his flesh, his taste—but he becomes a mountain, still and immutable. I step back. “We should talk,” he says. Fine. I’m good at talk. I’ve known for a whole moon what he’s going to say, and I won’t change my mind. I gesture at the low table, the only furnishing besides the thin mattress in the corner. This sparseness is intentional; a reminder that I won’t stay here, that my resources are for other things.

Author Spotlight

Nonfiction

Book Review: Screams From the Dark, edited by Ellen Datlow

Every Ellen Datlow anthology is a hit. Let Arley Sorg tell you why her newest, Screams from the Dark, is really cool.

Science Fiction

The Historiography of Loss

I didn’t expect the trailer to feel so small and that some of the blood would still be wet. But I must have expected some blood because I cuffed my jeans before going in. And I didn’t expect the cats would have come back—a window was open, its screen clawed loose. I didn’t expect how they pawed through the blood. Dotting the counters with their small footprints. I didn’t expect the trailer to feel so densely packed—a family had lived here, a mother, a father, a twelve-year-old son, and all of their stuff.

Author Spotlight

Fantasy

All the Time We’ve Left to Spend

When she got to Yume’s room, the first thing Ruriko did was slip off her mask and remove her prosthetic jaw. There was an ache in her fake bottom teeth. It was going to rain, although one look at the sky could have told her that. Across the room, Yume dimmed the lights and sat on the edge of the coverlet. The bed was obscenely red, round and mounted on a rotatable platform, as one could expect from a pay-by-the-hour love hotel. Yume’s pale, gauzy skirt rode up her thighs as she shifted positions.

Nonfiction

Book Review: Hunt The Stars, by Jessie Mihalik

Chris Kluwe is here to tell you: if you’re looking for a space opera with combat armor, intrigue, touching relationships, and an adorable telepathic creature, Hunt the Stars by Jessie Mihalik is just what you’ve been hunting for.