Bigfoot, Uplifted Creatures, and the Largest Black Hole in the Universe: September/October Print SF Magazines

Bigfoot, Uplifted Creatures, and the Largest Black Hole in the Universe: September/October Print SF Magazines

Analog Science Fiction September October 2020-small Asimov's Science Fiction September October 2020-small The Magazone of Fantasy and Science Fiction September October 2020-small

Covers by Soo Lee, Maurizio Manzieri, and Bob Eggleton

When Illinois went into lockdown in March, and retail stores and movie theatres closed, life changed pretty quick. I thought an indefinite nationwide lockdown might be the death knell for the print magazines I’d been reading for decades, not to mention my local bookstores and comic shops. And yeah, I felt I little shallow for being preoccupied with that while tens of thousands of people were dying.

Nonetheless, I’m relieved to see that, with the pandemic (sorta?) under control and the hope of a vaccine on the horizon, stores in St. Charles are gradually re-opening, I can visit my local comic shop again, and the print magazines I love are back on the shelves.

I’m especially relieved because none of the steps I suggested back in April to worried readers worked at all. Chuck Timpko reported he was able to contact the Customer Service team at Asimov’s and Analog and order individual issues; I tried the same thing, but never saw any magazines. I vowed to support F&SF with a subscription, but I never saw that either. So I’m back to haunting the magazine racks at Barnes & Noble, wearing a face mask and furtively looking for the latest issues.

Barnes and Noble science fiction magazine rack September October 2020-small

The September magazine rack at Barnes & Noble in Geneva, Illinois

Of course, that’s had limited success. We are still in a pandemic, after all. Above is a pic I snapped of the magazine rack at my local Barnes & Noble last Saturday, August 29. It contained:

Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine — March/April 2020 issue
Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact — March/April 2020 issue
The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction — July/August 2020 issue
Asimov’s Science Fiction — September/October 2020 issue

I understand being an issue or two behind…. but six months behind? I suppose it’s helpful for folks looking for back issues, or those who weren’t able to sneak out to the bookstore during the height of the pandemic. But it’s a little frustrating for die-hard magazine fans (both of us).

Ah well. It’s better than a kick in the head, as they say. The magazines are still being published on time, even if distribution is (very) spotty, and they’re readily available in digital formats. Those of us who prefer print still have to hunt around… but let’s face it, we’re used to that.

The recent issues are well worth the hunt. This batch of magazines contains brand new stories by Tim Powers, Alan Dean Foster, Derek Künsken, Robert Reed, James Van Pelt, Rich Larson, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Ian Tregillis, Adam-Troy Castro, David Gerrold, Marc Laidlaw, M. Rickert, and Leah Cypress (twice!).

Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact

Analog continues its 90th anniversary year with an all-star issue that includes two Black Gate contributors (Derek Künsken and James Van Pelt), and Alan Dean Foster. Here’s all the details from editor Trevor Quachri.

And the anniversary year rolls on! We have a new novella from Adam-Troy Castro, the provocatively titled “Draiken Dies” — but you’ll actually find that anchoring the issue; our cover story is a bit shorter, but no less worthy — it’s a tale of a trio of tween girls with a knack for science and an eye for adventure, in the style of the best Heinlein Juveniles — it’s James Van Pelt’s “Minerva Girls.”

Derek Künsken’s House of Styx serial may have wrapped up, but we haven’t seen the last of the setting just yet, as Derek takes us behind the scenes to look at “The Science Behind The House of Styx,” our fact article for the issue.

We’ll also have the next in our series of retrospectives, this one from current Asimov’s editor and former Analog executive editor, Sheila Williams, plus something suitably seasonal yet lighthearted in Sarina Dorie’s “I, Bigfoot”; an SF-spin on a fairy tale in “The Chrysalis Pool” by Sean McMullen; the hunt for the future’s most valuable commodity in “The Treasure of The Lugar Morto” by Alan Dean Foster; the life and times of an enhanced boxer in “Home of the King” by Dan Reade; a city full of shifting timelines in “City” by Joel Richards; plus stories from Maggie Clark, Jay Werkheiser, Mary Soon Lee, James Sallis, Aimee Ogden, and more!

Get your copy now!


“Mimsy Were The Borogoves,” Lewis Padgett


“Draiken Dies,” Adam-Troy Castro


“Minerva Girls”, James Van Pelt
“Where There’s Life,” John J. Vester
“Seeding The Mountain,” M.l. Clark
“I, Bigfoot,” Sarina Dorie


“The Chrysalis Pool,” Sean McMullen
“A Skyful Of Wings,” Aimee Ogden
“Going Small,” Jacob C. Cockcroft
“True Colors,” Beth Goder
“Drive Safely,” Stephen S. Power
“Casualties Of The Quake, Wang Yuan,” translated By Andy Dudak
“The Home Of The King,”Dan Reade
“City,” Joel Richards
“The Writhing Tentacles Of History,” Jay Werkheiser
“He Treasure Of The Lugar Morto,” Alan Dean Foster
“Schools Of Thought,” James Sallis
“The Boy Who Went To Mars,” Mary Soon Lee


The Science Behind The House Of Styx, Derek Künsken


After National Geographic, Jason Kahler
Yes, Antimatter Is Real, Holly Lyn Walrath


Guest Editorial: And The Mome Raths Outgrabe, Sheila Williams
The Alternate View, John G. Cramer
In Times To Come
Guest Alternate View, Richard A. Lovett
The Reference Library, Don Sakers
Brass Tacks
Upcoming Events, Anthony Lewis


Asimov’s Science Fiction

It’s the slightly spooky Sept/Oct issue! Always one of my favorites.

Asimov’s slightly spooky September/October 2020 may not be as terrifying as the real-world Covid-19, but it’s full of entertaining and absorbing fiction. As I write this, it’s March and I’m working from home in my New York City apartment. I hope you’re all safe and healthy, and I’m so glad that our wonderful authors have provided all of us with hours of reading pleasure. Our cover story by Robert Reed imagines a far future where humans send their bodies home to Earth and uplifted creatures tend to “The Ossuary Passenger.” In her thrilling new novella, Kristine Kathryn Rusch plunges us into the “Maelstrom.” Don’t miss it!

Jason Sanford scales great heights to offer us a fearful encounter among “The Eight Thousanders”; new to Asimov’s, Y.M. Pang brings us the deeply unsettling “Mangy White Dog”; in his first Asimov’s tale, Ian Tregillis reveals what happens “When God Sits in Your Lap”; Cadwell Turnbull returns with “The Shock of Birth”; Gregory Frost takes us “Traveling On”; Rich Larson imagines “The Conceptual Shark”; Michael Libling freaks us out as we view “Robyn in Her Shiny Blue Coffin”; Leah Cypess captures a ghostly tale in “A Sideways Slant of Light”; “A Vengeful Revenant” visits M. Bennardo; while intrigue on the Moon occurs in Gray Rinehart’s “Flareshack”; and we happily find ourselves “Escaping Real Time”; with R. Garcia y Robertson.

Robert Silverberg’s Reflections ponders “The Road Not Taken”; James Patrick Kelly’s On the Net reconsiders “What Information Wants”; plus Peter Heck’s On Books opines on works by Ken Liu, Lois McMaster Bujold, Cadwell Turnbull, Silvia Moreno-Garcia, and others.

Get your copy now!


“Maelstrom” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch


“When God Sits in Your Lap” by Ian Tregillis
“Escaping Real Time” by R. Garcia y Robertson
“Flare Shack” by Gray Rinehart


“A Sideways Slant of Light” by Leah Cypess
“The Ossuary’s Passenger” by Robert Reed
“Shock of Birth” by Cadwell Turnbull
“The Eight-Thousanders” by Jason Sanford
“A Vengeful Revenant” by M. Bennardo
“Robyn in Her Shiny Blue Coffin” by Michael Libling
“Mangy White Dog” by Y. M. Pang
“Traveling On” by Gregory Frost
“The Conceptual Shark” by Rich Larson


Gretel’s Bone by Jane Yolen
Photograph #51 by Robert Frazier
Incomplete Adaptation by Bruce Boston
A Rare and Wondrous Thing by David C. Kopaska-Merkel
In Horror Movies, Whenever Someone Gets their Soul Sucked Out by Michael Meyerhofer
Self-Assembly Required by Josh Pearce
Dawn Fiddler by Fred D. White
Cavall by Mary Soon Lee


Editorial: Thirty-Fourth Annual Readers’ Awards’ Results by Sheila Williams
Reflections: The Road Not Taken by Robert Silverberg
On the Net: Meet Your Subliminal Self by James Patrick Kelly
Next Issue
On Books by Peter Heck
The SF Conventional Calendar by Erwin S. Strauss


The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction

Editor C.C. Finlay publishes issue summaries on Facebook, which has the advantage of preserving the old ones (unlike the editor summaries for Asimov’s and Analog, which vanish from the web the moment the issue goes off sale), but does make them a little harder to find (i.e. it involves a lot of scrolling on Facebook). Here’s the summary for the Sept/Oct issue.

Our September/October issue is now on sale!

Bob Eggleton’s cover art illustrates “The Shadows of Alexandrium” by David Gerrold, which headlines an issue with eleven stories, plus poetry, columns on Books, Games, Science, and Television, some Plumage from Pegasus, and, if you buy the paper copy, a few great cartoons.

Here’s this month’s fiction…

“The Shadows of Alexandrium” by David Gerrold – The Alexandrium sits perched on the event horizon of the largest black hole in the universe, but don’t call it a Library, at least not to the Proctor — it’s so much more than that. This month’s cover story is a meditation on creativity.

“Of Them All” by Leah Cypess – Other princesses are blessed at their christenings, or else they are cursed. But her fairy godmother had to be clever. Would she grow up to be more clever still? This month’s novella is a fairy tale adventure with some twists.

“My Name Was Tom” by Tim Powers – Sometimes an ocean liner is just an ocean liner, and sometimes it’s something much weirder. And who knows then where the journey will take you? Tim Powers returns to F&SF with a story worth waiting for.

“The Fairy Egg” by R.S. Benedict – Bridget sells eggs to make ends meet. But ever since Mike’s accident, the leghorn has laid nothing but fart eggs, little dark things with no yolks. Some people call them fairy eggs and under the right circumstances, a fairy egg can hatch a monster.

“Weeper” by Marc Laidlaw – The falling star screamed as it fell, brought down by greedy sky poachers. When the stone-handed bard Gorlen Vizenfirthe and his companions Plenth and the gargoyle Spar find it first, they’re faced with dangers and choices they never expected.

“Do AIs Dream of Perfect Games?” by Angie Peng – When a baseball fan steals a hitter’s favorite bat, it leads to a pitcher’s perfect game… and reveals deeper imperfections in her larger world. A delightful debut by a brand new writer.

“The Martian Water War: Notes Found in an Airlock” by Peter Gleick – Human habitation on Mars is threatened by conflicts over access to fresh water, and a teenager records the terrible costs. A glimpse of the coming conflicts we face on Earth, distilled by the stark circumstances of colonization on Mars. The first published story by one of our leading climate scientists.

“Little and Less” by Ashley Blooms – When society falls apart and she can’t save the people she loves, Laurel saves animals instead. But even the wilderness will not let her stay alone forever. A story that sits at the intersection of hope and horror.

“The Cry of Evening Birds” by James Sallis – A couple coping with a terrible tragedy faces a chance to start over. Or do they? A subtle and wrenching piece of flash fiction.

“The Dog and the Ferryman” by Brian Trent – Buster is a Good Dog, but he needs special help to find his way home again. But the world has changed so much, he may not have a home any more. This is a story that surprised and delighted us with its mix of myth and science fiction.

“This World Is Made for Monsters” by M. Rickert – When the spaceship landed, the whole town turned out to see it. M. Rickert brings her unique voice and vision to a story about the things we bring to the world, and the things it gives us in return.

Let us know what you think!

C.C. Finlay, Editor
Fantasy & Science Fiction


“Of Them All” – Leah Cypess


“The Shadows of Alexandrium” – David Gerrold
“My Name Was Tom” – Tim Powers
“The Fairy Egg” – R.S. Benedict


“Weeper” – Marc Laidlaw
“Do AIs Dream of Perfect Games?” – Angie Peng
“The Martian Water War: Notes Found in an Airlock” – Peter Gleick
“Little and Less” – Ashley Blooms
“The Cry of Evening Birds” – James Sallis
“The Dog and the Ferryman” – Brian Trent
“This World Is Made for Monsters” – M. Rickert


The Writing of Science Fiction – Timons Esaias


Books to Look For – Charles de Lint
Games – Marc Laidlaw
Plumage from Pegasus: Keeping Up with the ISBNs – Paul Di Filippo
Television: The Devil in Devs – Karin Lowachee
Science: The Science of Printing – Jerry Oltion
Coming Attractions –
Curiosities – Paul Di Filippo


Arthur Masear, Mark Heath, Nick Downes, Bill Long.


Bob Eggleton for “the Shadows of Alexandrium”

Analog, Asimov’s Science Fiction and F&SF are available wherever magazines are sold, and at various online outlets. Buy subscriptions at the links below.

Asimov’s Science Fiction (208 pages, $7.99 per issue, one year sub $47.94 in the US) — edited by Sheila Williams
Analog Science Fiction and Fact (208 pages, $7.99 per issue, one year sub $47.94 in the US) — edited by Trevor Quachri
The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction (256 pages, $8.99 per issue, one year sub $39.97 in the US) — edited C.C. Finlay

The current issues of Asimov’s and Analog are on sale until October 20, and F&SF until November 2. See our previous coverage of print SF here, and all our recent magazine coverage here.

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Is that a Vargr from the Traveller RPG on the cover of Asimov’s? Sure looks it.

Chuck Timpko

Well, that’s discouraging ! After a month of waiting I did get the MAR/APR and MAY/JUNE issues of each magazine from the publisher. However, the two local B&N’s in my area still only have the MAR/APR issues on the shelves, so I was planning to order the JUL/AUG and SEP/OCT issues from the publisher again. I’ll let you know how it goes. The JUL/AUG issue of F&SF was available at B&N.

Gabe Dybing

>Is that a Vargr from the Traveller RPG on the cover of Asimov’s? Sure looks it.


I finished reading this issue. I don’t mean to disappoint, but that cover is for Robert Reed’s “The Ossuary’s Passenger”. Both the mammal and the creature on its shoulder are genetically modified animals, poetically chosen to tend to the dead. Reed writes from the perspective of the “Vargr,”

“Somewhere in the deep past, this creature’s ancestors were genuine necrophila beetles, while my parents were spotted hyenas crunching down antelope bones.”

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