We have original science fiction by Gene Doucette (“Memoranda from the End of the World”) and Yang-Yang Wang (“Every Single Brian”). We also have a flash piece (“Those Who Went”) from E. Catherine Tobler, along with an SF reprint by Rich Larson (“Tidings”). Our fantasy original is a new novelette by P H Lee (“The Ash-Girl and the Salmon Prince”), which we’ll be serializing in two parts. We also have a flash piece (“The Right Dragon”) from Coral Alejandra Moore. Our fantasy reprint is by Endria Isa Richardson (“The Black Menagerie”). 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 Ryka Aoki’s new novel: Light from Uncommon Stars.
In This Issue: Oct. 2021 (Issue 137)
Be sure to check out the editorial for a rundown of this month’s terrific content.
Attached, please find your personal company-issued Breathing Apparatus, for immediate use within all corporate campus unfiltered air locations! This includes all outdoor locations, such as: the parking lots; the parking garage; the smoker’s hut; the paths between the buildings; the shuttlebus waiting area; the tennis court; and the corporate golf course.
Alta owns the Menagerie: a twin-gabled, brown shingled colossus. The whole house sits on the eastern edge of a square green park on Larkin Street, and is teethed with a row of white windows that overlook the street where Alta stands, having walked this early morning from North Beach to Russian Hill. Her reflection gleams in oiled blacks and white, caught in a larger dormer window.
“It’s not working,” Tsayaba says. She shakes her head in disgust. “Kai!” “Just wait,” Ouma says, adjusting her scarf with shivering hands. “Yi hankali. Give it a minute.” It’s a cold, dusty day—harmattan season is so unpredictable now, even with the weather drones they balloon up from Zinder and Niamey. The sky is choked gray, so full of dust that the sun is a smeary yellow blob that makes Ouma think of a lemon candy.
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’s more or less the shape of it, and I tell you so that you will know that the tale I tell you now is true, just as it happened and just as it was told to me.
Reviewer LaShawn M. Wanak delves into Jennifer Marie Brissett’s new novel Destroyer of Light—a retelling of the myth of Persephone. Find out why you’ll want to check this one out.
Those Who Went
The wide yawning sky. We stare at unfamiliar stars, seeking familiar patterns in their strange configurations. Here is a cup and there a bear. A queen reclined and all the fish in the endless seas. The universe is more boundless than we know. Maybe than we can know. We left everything behind for this, everything. We won’t return home—can’t return home.
The Ash-Girl and the Salmon Prince, Part II
Gather round while Dusty Boots continues this tale from the Great Sweet Sea.
Book Review: The Year’s Best African Speculative Fiction (2021), edited by Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki
We get it: there are a lot of Year’s Best anthologies! So let Arley Sorg tell you why this one—The Year’s Best African Speculative Fiction (2021), edited by Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki—is such a good one to read.
Every Single Brian
This Brian has blue eyes. It’s too bad, because everything else is the same—the dark wavy hair and high cheekbones, the slight wrinkle under his right eye. Even his beard is combed in the same neat, identical rows. He was so close. So, so close. For a moment, I fantasize about choosing this Brian. He’s almost perfect. Hell, I even prefer blue eyes over brown ones.
The Right Dragon
Marisol stared into the cave, breathing in the stomach-turning scent of decay that meant a dragon’s den was inside. I held my handkerchief over my nose and mouth so that I wouldn’t gag. “You’re sure this is the one?” “Definitely.” She scratched the stub of her left arm where it tucked into the metal hinge, just above where her elbow had once been.
Book Review: How High We Go in The Dark, by Sequoia Nagamatsu
Chris Kluwe reviews Sequoia Nagamatsu’s new novel, How High We Go in The Dark. If climate fiction is your jam, you should definitely see what Chris thinks of this book.