Nonetheless, I’m proud to be able to support the magazine. Ever since it switched to a bimonthly format in April 2009, six double issues a year, the huge 256-page issues have felt more like anthologies than a magazine. Editor Gordon van Gelder maintains a nice mix of SF and fantasy — including the occasional sword & sorcery piece — the only major magazine to dare to blend genres.
Colleen Chen reviewed the issue at Tangent Online:
“Baba Makosh” by M. K. Hobson is my favorite story of this issue. Three Comrades, fighting for the Red Army in the Russian civil war, are sent as a squad to seek Hell… Baba Makosh leads them to a village and a great building made of twisted roots, inside which they meet her sons, who look like stags but walk like men, and her husband — whom only Pudovkin sees is the horned god Veles. His companions are too busy gorging on cheese to notice. Pudovkin begins to question the post-revolutionary principles of the Red Army — principles he has supported until now — as Veles and Baba Makosh show through their words and actions that the traditions his grandfather loved, cruel though they may seem, have a strength and a rationale for existence that cannot be controlled nor defeated.
This piece offers beautiful, lush writing, a unique plot, strong characters, and folklore intertwined with history so skillfully that the whole takes on a magical quality that transports the reader completely to this new reality. The story is worth dissecting and even more worth reading as a whole — it’s rich in theme, with every word and line placed with purpose.
The issue also includes a novella by Michael Blumlein and novelettes and stories by Matthew Hughes, James Patrick Kelly, Albert E. Cowdrey, Tim Sullivan, and others. Here’s the complete Table of Contents.
- “Success” – Michael Blumlein
- “Through Mud One Picks a Way” – Tim Sullivan
- “Hell for Company” – Albert E. Cowdrey
- “The Soul in the Bell Jar” – KJ Kabza
- “Stones and Glass” – Matthew Hughes
- “Baba Makosh” – M.K. Hobson
- “Hard Stars” – Brendan DuBois
- “Sing, Pilgrim!” – James Patrick Kelly
Departments this issue include book reviews by Charles de Lint and Chris Moriarty, film reviews by Kathu Maio, Paul Di Filippo’s Plumage From Pegasus column, Coming Attractions, a new F&SF Competition (#87), and a Curiosities entry by Douglas A. Anderson.
The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction is edited by Gordon van Gelder. The cover price is $7.99 for a thick 258 pages. This issue’s cover is by Modolithic Studios. Check out the complete TOC and additional free content at the F&SF website.
We last covered F&SF here with the September/October issue.