September/October 2021 issues of Asimov’s Science Fiction, Analog Science Fiction & Fact, and The Magazine
of Fantasy & Science Fiction. Cover art by Eldar Zakirov, Kurt Huggins, and David A. Hardy
The September/October print magazines are still on sale for a few more days, which means there’s still time to grab them before the November/December issues push them off shelves. Here’s a few reasons to do that. We’ll start with Victoria Silverwolf’s Tangent Online review of the current Asimov’s.
“Sleep and the Soul” by Greg Egan takes place in the United States in the first half of the Nineteenth Century. In this version of the past, however, people do not sleep, and any form of unconsciousness is considered to be equivalent to death. The protagonist is knocked out in an accident and is buried. He manages to escape from his coffin, but finds out that his parents think of him as a demon wearing their dead son’s body. He leaves his home with the woman he loves, taking on a new identity in an attempt to avoid the mobs who would destroy him as a monster. He goes on to become involved with a showman and a dentist experimenting with anesthesia…
The narrator of “Shooting at Warner’s Bay” by Michèle Laframboise is an actress, with a role in a monster movie being filmed on a remote, uninhabited island. The place turns out to have its own weird dangers. This story about making a cheap horror film is, itself, similar to a B movie…
“Billie the Kid” by Rick Wilber offers a different version of the last days of World War Two. Although Germany has already surrendered to the Allies, and Japan is near defeat, a gigantic Japanese submarine equipped with airplanes approaches the California coast. Its mission is to drop the single atomic bomb built by the Nazis on Los Angeles. The title character is an athletic teenage girl, who not only becomes a professional baseball player, but aids a pair of time travelers as they struggle to prevent the destruction of the city…
“The Apocalypse and the Lake Mattamuskeet Gnat” by Peter Wood is set in an alternate version of the 1970’s. A part of North Carolina is cut off from the rest of the world by an unexplained force field. Those living inside survive by growing crops and scavenging, while facing a self-styled militia after their goods. Capture by the militia and the arrival of National Guard troops lead to the discovery of the cause of the phenomenon…
Goodreads has become a decent source of timely reviews of current SF magazines. Here’s snippet from Jeppe Larsen’s review of the latest Analog.
“The Silence Before I Sleep” by Adam-Troy Castro. Tells the story of a “problem solver consultant”, though her clients often refer to her as an assassin. She is called to a planet where two absurdly rich [people have] settled on separate sides of the planet. Apparently they were a couple once but now hate each other. The consultant is hired by the woman in this scenario and her task is basically to make the guy on the other side of the planet life a living hell, but not kill him… Castro provides us with a well written and well paced story, that seems like an action story on the surface – and there is plenty of action (and violence), but it is really about the depravity of insanely rich people and how miserable they can become.
“The Hunger” by Marco Frassetto is an interesting approach on an alien invasion. Very small drones are detected by a mining ship in space. They appear small and harmless, but the [researchers] are unsure whether they are a lifeform or machinery. However, the worry increases as it appears several billions of these are heading for Earth – and will likely destroy everything when they arrive a decade later. [An] old engineer is pulled out from retirement so she can help find a solution with the pooled resources of every country on the planet. It is an interesting concept fighting a swarm of relatively harmless drones, but their sheer number makes it a world ending event…
“Room to Live” by Marie Vibbert is one the shorter stories that worked for me. The story follows a woman working in a call center and her main job function seems to be the human whenever a customer insists on talking to a human, even though most of her responses are suggested by an AI. Even with pretty clever AI, the absurdity of customer call centers remains the same. Light in tone, but still a story with some weight.
And finally, here’s C.D. Lewis on the newest F&SF, at Tangent Online.
Brian Trent’s “The Scorpion and the Srinx” presents a fantasy set in a world in which Roman expansion reached the Americas. Historic facts like locals from occupied lands joining and advancing in Rome’s legions combine with alternate history to provide a Central American native armored as a Roman commander employing a Greek detective to solve a magical murder. Fans of alternate history will love the cultural mashups supported by the novel setting…
Matthew Hughes sets his detective story “The Forlorn” in a secondary fantasy world near a desert that bears the story’s name. Set on the trail of a missing apprentice, the investigator Cascor bribes and fights his way to his quarry where, naturally, things turn out to be very different than he or his employer expect. When Cascor finds the apprentice, his control over the story slips away: the forces at work about him end up shaping the denouement, which has the feel of an origin story. Readers with a background in roleplaying games will be entertained by spell names built from proper nouns and grandiloquent vocabulary into a send-up of Dungeons and Dragons…
Lincoln Michel’s comic urban fantasy “The Haunted Hills Community and Country Club” opens on a job interview: a brokerage needs the right agent to sell homes so haunted their prior neighbors paid to have them transported elsewhere—to a community with nothing but hellishly haunted houses. Ingrid gets the job—and a haunting by her own mother, who won’t stop giving her pedestrian advice about retirement contributions and criticism about her need to wear a sweater. The high-concept farce would have been fine without complication, but it’s a horror comedy and it turns out the urban part of the urban fantasy supports more horrible horror than the fantasy portions. Light fun, then delightfully dark.
Erin Barbeau’s science fiction short “Ice Fishing on Europa” is a delight. I don’t know why it helps to travel to a distant inhospitable world and become stranded without food or medicine to find humanity, but work like this is why science fiction exists. “Ice Fishing on Europa” opens on a space-suited human alone on the ice near a tiny research station, staring into the stars and imagining vanishing into the stellar void until jerked by alarms back to work… Barbeau really lays out the human condition. The story’s magic—okay, it’s not magic-magic, this is science fiction—is that despite all this the protagonist is not alone. And it’s beautiful. Highly recommended.
E.A. Bourland’s “To the Honorable and Esteemed Monsters under My Bed” is a comic fantasy formed from purple prose that recalls—or lampoons—classic fantasy or perhaps the eighteenth-century epistolary works it more closely resembles. This is so glorious a comedy that mere words fail… Find and read this.
Here’s all the details on the latest SF print mags.
Asimov’s Science Fiction
Here’s the complete Table of Contents.
“Sleep and the Soul” by Greg Egan
“A Blessing of Unicorns” by Elizabeth Bear
“Billie the Kid” by Rick Wilber
“The Dust of Giant Radioactive Lizards” by Jason Sanford
“Singular Days” by James Gunn
“Shooting at Warner’s Bay” by Michèle Laframboise
“Filaments” by Mercurio D. Rivera
“An Arc of Electric Skin” by Wole Talabi
“The Apocalypse and the Lake Mattamuskeet Gnat” by Peter Wood
“Your Luminous Heart, Bound in Red” by S. Qiouyi Lu
“The Bahnhof Drive-In” by James Van Pelt
“Matriphagy” by Naomi Kanakia
June Lockhart’s Recurring Nightmare, by David C. Kopaska-Merkel
In the Library Annex, by Bruce Boston
Ikaria, by Joel Richards
Helen Taussig (1898-1986), by Jessy Randall
Editorial: Monstrous by Sheila Williams
Reflections: Roc of Ages by Robert Silverberg
On the Net: Dismal by James Patrick Kelly
In Memoriam: Breakfast with Jim, Kij Johnson
On Books by Norman Spinrad
The SF Conventional Calendar by Erwin S. Strauss
Analog Science Fiction & Science Fact
Here’s the full TOC.
Kepler’s Laws, Part 1, Jay Werkheiser
“The Silence Before I Sleep” by Adam-Troy Castro
“The Book Keepers” by J.T. Sharrah
“The Hunger” by Marco Frassetto
“Extrasolar Redundancy in the Nova Tortuga Model of Preservation for Dermchochelys coriacea” by Bianca Sayan
“Quieter Songs Inland” by Marissa Lingen
“Last Dance at the Gunrunners’ Ball” by Joel Richards
“When Ada Is” by Holly Schofield
“Room to Live” by Marie Vibbert
“The Soul is Ten Thousand Parts” by Chelsea Obodoechina
“To Feed the Animals” by John J. Vester
“Timing” by Robert Scherrer
Orbital Nuclear Power System (ONPS): The Foundation of an Interplanetary Civilization, by Donald Wilkins
The Maestro’s Final Work, by Alan Ira Gordon
Quantum Entanglement, by Ken Poyner
Guest Editorial: The “New Normal” Trap, Stanley Schmidt
The Alternate View, John G. Cramer
In Times To Come
In Memoriam: Don Sakers
Upcoming Events, Anthony Lewis
The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction
F&SF editor is Sheree Renée Thomas; she posts her thoughts on the issue to Facebook. Here’s her letter to readers for the latest issue.
Greetings!The September/October 2021 issue is on sale September 1!Featuring David A. Hardy’s original cover art, “Jupiter in Half-Phase, Seen from Io,” this new issue features “The Abomination,” a haunting novella by Nuzo Onoh, her F&SF debut, two thrilling novelets by Matthew Hughes and Brian Trent, seven short stories you’re going to love, and three great poems, as well as our usual insightful columns and features.You can order single copies of this issue by clicking on the links below the Table of Contents. If you’d like to support the magazine and the work we do, please consider subscribing. Hope you enjoy and as always,Thanks and All Best,Sheree Renée Thomas
And here’s the Table of Contents.
“The Abomination” by Nuzo Onoh
“The Scorpion and the Syrinx” by Brian Trent
“The Forlorn” by Matthew Hughes
“The Haunted Hills Community and Country Club” by Lincoln Michel
“Ice Fishing on Europa” by Erin Barbeau
“Seedling” by Octavia Cade
“To the Honorable and Esteemed Monsters under My Bed” by E.A. Bourland
“Split the Baby” by Carl Taylor
“And in Rain, Blank Pages” by Lora Gray
“Her Dragon” by Amal Singh
The Conqueror Worm(Hole) by Linda D. Addison
Sonnet — To Meta-Science, by Linda D. Addison
The Changing Season, Ali Trotta
Editorial: Transform You — Sheree Renée Thomas
Books To Look For – Charles de Lint
Books – Elizabeth Hand
Films: Love, Robots and Death 2 – Karin Lowachee
Science: String Theory – The Musical Kind – Jerry Oltion
Plumage From Pegasus: Speaker to Scribes – Paul Di Filippo
Curiosities – Aurelius Raines II
Analog, Asimov’s Science Fiction and The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction are available wherever magazines are sold, and at various online outlets. Buy single issues and subscriptions at the links below.
Asimov’s Science Fiction (208 pages, $7.99 per issue, one year sub $35.97 in the US) — edited by Sheila Williams
Analog Science Fiction and Fact (208 pages, $7.99 per issue, one year sub $35.97 in the US) — edited by Trevor Quachri
The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction (256 pages, $9.99 per issue, one year sub $39.97 in the US) — edited by Sheree Renée Thomas