Intelligent Lizards, Asteroid Mining, and Hardboiled Noir: November/December 2021 Print SF Magazines

Intelligent Lizards, Asteroid Mining, and Hardboiled Noir: November/December 2021 Print SF Magazines

November/December 2021 issues of Asimov’s Science Fiction, Analog Science Fiction & Fact, and The Magazine
of Fantasy & Science Fiction. Cover art by Maurizio Manzieri, Shutterstock, and Maurizio Manzieri (again)

The November/December print magazines have an impressive list of contributors, including Jack McDevitt, Nalo Hopkinson, Robert Reed, Eleanor Arnason, David Gerrold, Megan Lindholm, Bill Pronzini & Barry N. Malzberg, Jack Skillingstead, Sandra McDonald, Sheila Finch, R. Garcia y Robertson, Ray Nayler, Gregory Feeley, Shane Tourtellotte, Alice Towey, and many others.

Sam Tomaino at SFRevu has been covering science fiction magazines for over a decade. Here’s a few of his thoughts on the latest Analog.

“The Malady” by Shane Tourtelotte — The species on the planet Yehf have had to live with the effects if the Malady for many years. The Malady attacks both mind and body and limits intelligence. But due to a lucky accident, a cure has been found and people are becoming smarter. The story follows a family over the next fifty years and the fortunes of their country. They have made many technological breakthroughs. Now they want to go into space. But there is a risk involved.

It’s been nine years since Shane Tourtelotte has published a story and that’s nine years to long. This shows that he can still write great ones. I hope we see more.

“A Sports Story” by Brenda Kalt — Linsnrt Hrakt was a snrlgar champion until the extraterrestrial who looked like a “tentacled, trunkless elephant” had been taken captive by the humans and put on display. Now the war is over but he is weakened and out of shape. Can he make a comeback?

As the title implies, this is a classic sports story, well-told.

“Never to Happen Again” by Bill Pronzini and Barry N. Malzberg — Christopher has been director of the Museum of Epochal History for thirty years but that is at an end. A message from the Director of Cultural Affairs in the New Order has come down that the museum is to be closed immediately. The New Order has been in power since the end of the Final War more than forty years ago and is determined that war will not happen again.

Nice chill to this one, especially at the end.

“No Stranger to Native Shores” by Matt McHugh — On a planet with intelligent lizard-like people, a human scout ship had crashed. The man and woman on the ship died but their child, then about three survived. Years have gone by and she has been brought up by one of the species whose name is Betta. They call the girl Hopper and she does speak some English. Now, another human ship has arrived, with, amongst others, Hopper’s aunt who is a Senator. The natives had hidden the child’s existence from the authorities who had destroyed her parents’ ship. The authorities are approaching with hostile intent. Can things turn out happily for all concerned?

Great little tale with an ending that brought tears to my eyes.

“Wander On” by William Paul Jones — Babaka aka Bobby is one of the people mining asteroids and they have quite a fellowship. But one of them dies of cancer that she might have survived on Earth. That sets off Bobby’s friend Brent and he takes an action with deadly consequences. What will Bobby do?

Well-written, poignant tale.

Read Sam’s complete review here.

Mike Bickerdike covers the new F&SF at Tangent Online. Here’s the highlights.

“A Vast Silence” by T. R. Napper… With the style and impact of a hardboiled noir crime story, this was quite gripping and evocative. A petty criminal on the run in Australia takes a ride share with a student from Melbourne across the desolate Nullabor Plain. They are pulled over by a police cruiser, at which point their situation becomes life and death for reasons that only become apparent over time, but which are linked to the voice in the protagonist’s head. Despite quite spare descriptions of the outback and the principal characters, a clear mental picture of the scenario is developed, and the SF elements are well handled. Pacing is very good, and the story’s location and the ideas on show are interesting and engaging. This is a superior novelette…

“The Reckoning” by Alexander Glass features Christopher ‘Kit’ Marlowe, the Elizabethan playwright, who is being hunted in London, just before his famed and mysterious death at the hands of government agents. Here he meets up with his friend William Shakespeare, and the two discuss the danger to Marlowe’s life and his possible future. But this is a science-fantasy, and Will has a secret to tell that may help Marlowe, if he can believe him. It’s a jaunty and appealing tale, based on a background of real historical events. There have been many conspiracy theories over the years concerned with the lives and final days of both Shakespeare and Marlowe, and this science-fiction tale exploits and extends such speculations in an interesting way. An enjoyable read…

“Laki” by Eleanor Arneson is an enjoyable fantasy novelette set in late 18th century Iceland during the famous Laki volcanic eruption that occurred at that time. A family is forced to leave their sheep farm in southern Iceland to escape the eruption’s poisonous air and ash, and they are aided in this by their weather-wise ewe, “One-Eye.” On their journey they encounter trolls — a common feature of Icelandic mythology — presenting a fantastical and rich tale of adventure. The story is presented as a contemporary translation of the story recorded by the daughter of the farmer. The approach is a clever one, as it combines the immediacy of the girl’s narration with the historical perspective of the modern-day translator, which together manage to imbue the story with the sense of a genuine Icelandic myth. The simple and direct style of the ‘translated’ prose reads well, and further adds to the acceptance of truth in the tale, despite its fantastic nature. Highly recommended…

And the always reliable Victoria Silverwolf takes a close look at Asimov’s, also at Tangent Online.

“Hānai” by Gregory Norman Bossert is set in the independent nation of Hawaii at a time in the future when several aliens have contacted Earth. The protagonist is an anthropologist, disgraced when she performed what she believed to be a moral duty while examining an extraterrestrial fresco. The last surviving member of an alien species comes to Earth in order to perform a final dance with her, blending its own traditions with those of hula. Their collaboration draws the cryptic, and possibly hostile, attention of other aliens, as well as that of human organizations. The performance leads to a strange transformation.

The author manages to create a complex background that is never confusing. The characters, human or alien, are richly developed. Hawaiian culture is depicted in a vivid and convincing manner. The presence of alien starships with unknown motivations adds a true sense of wonder…

In “Bread and Circuits” by Misha Lenau, household devices equipped with artificial intelligence sometimes acquire full sentience and are discarded by their owners. The narrator adopts these machines, caring for them as best as possible. A baking machine shows up, and the narrator develops a close relationship with the lonely appliance.

The whimsical premise may remind one of “The Brave Little Toaster” by Thomas M. Disch and the animated film adapted from it. The human and mechanical characters are likable, and the narrator’s struggle with fibromyalgia adds poignancy….

We leave Earth for the far reaches of the Solar System in “Daydream Believer” by R. Garcia y Robertson. A teenage girl works on a help line on a colony ship bound for Saturn. She becomes deeply involved in a space war, leading to adventures both in the real world and virtual reality.

This brief synopsis offers only a hint of the story’s complicated and somewhat confusing plot. The space war involves multiple factions, and it is not always clear who is fighting whom. The connections among dreams, virtual reality, and the real world are unclear as well. Certain events that seem to violate the rules of this universe are left unexplained, dismissed by the characters as magic. Readers may be swept away by this fast-moving space opera, which is likely to appeal best to young adults.

“La Terrienne” by John Richard Trtek is this issue’s only novella. The main character is the sole human being on a distant planet, working for one group of aliens who compete with others. He sees what seems to be a human woman. She turns out to be an alien who has been given false memories of her life on Earth. The protagonist soon encounters the real human woman who served as a model for the imitation and becomes involved in a web of deception.

As the introductory blurb suggests, this tale of adventure on an exotic alien world has the flavor of a story by Jack Vance. Vancean elements seen here are a roguish hero, whose duties include theft from competing aliens; plots and counterplots; detailed descriptions of alien cultures; and a calm, often decadent mood, even when violence is involved…

Here’s all the details on the latest SF print mags.

Asimov’s Science Fiction

Here’s the complete Table of Contents.


“La Terrienne” by John Richard Trtek


“Hanai” by Gregory Norman Bossert
“Dream Interpretation” by Jack Skillingstead
“The Gem of Newfoundland” by Sandra McDonald
“Czerny at Midnight” by Sheila Finch
“From the Fire” by Leah Cypess
“Daydream Believer” by R. Garcia y Robertson


“Muallim” by Ray Nayler
“And the Raucous Depths Abide” by Sam Schreiber
“Striding The Blast” by Gregory Feeley
“Bread and Circuits” by Misha Lenau
“The Ones Who Walk Away from the Ones Who Walk Away” by David Gerrold
“Tau Ceti Said What?” by Jack McDevitt


I Am Apple Orchard by Mark C. Childs
Tracks by Bruce Boston
Disrupted Patterns by Jennifer Crow
Chalk and Carbon by Marissa Lingen
Your Memories Are Sponsored by a Fossil Fuel Company by Matt Thompson
A Separate Resonance by P M F Johnson
The Tsuchinoko Always Lies by Megan Branning


Editorial: Thirty-Fifth Annual Readers’ Awards’ Results by Sheila Williams
Reflections: A Bad Day for the Dinosaurs by Robert Silverberg
On the Net: Super! by James Patrick Kelly
Next Issue
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, Conclusion, Jay Werkheiser


“The Malady,” Shane Tourtellotte
“No Stranger To Native Shores,” Matt Mchugh

Short Stories

“A Sports Story,” Brenda Kalt
“From The Maintenance Reports Of Perseverance Colony,” Year 12, Jo Miles
“An Hour To Ames,” Dan Reade
“Never To Happen Again,” Bill Pronzini & Barry N. Malzberg
“The Transparent World,” Robert Reed
“The Kindness Of Jaguars,” Monica Joyce Evans
“The Water Beneath Our Feet,” Alice Towey
“Wander On,” William Paul Jones
“Caoimhe’s Water Music,” Mjke Wood
“Moon Unit,” Bill Frank

Flash Fiction

“Ars Brevis Est,” Anatoly Belilovsky
“The Library At Ecbatana,” Timons Esaias
“Constellating The Darkness,” Howard V. Hendrix

Science Fact

Will Nuclear Power Save Us From Global Warming?, Christina De La Rocha


Mare Cognitum, Josh Pearce
What We Forget, Bruce Mcallister

Reader’s Departments

Guest Editorial: Population And Genius, Howard V. Hendrix
Biolog: Dan Reade, Richard A. Lovett
The Alternate View, John G. Cramer
In Times To Come
Brass Tacks
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 November/December 2021 issue is on sale now!

It’s the end of the year and I hope you all of you are doing well and in good spirits. This is my fifth issue as the new editor of F&SF, and I am honored to continue the new journey with such wonderful writers. I am also pleased to share these new stories, poems, columns, and cartoons with such a beautiful cover to send the year off! We also have the winners and finalists for the new humor contest.

It’s an awesome issue, with original cover art by the award-winning, 2021 Hugo Award-nominated illustrator Maurizio Manzieri ( Please know that our publisher Gordon Van Gelder and our dedicated F&SF team worked very hard on this issue, and we hope you love it as much as we do!

And here’s the Table of Contents.


“Mad Milk” by Natalia Theodoridou


“Broad Dutty Water: A Sunken Story” by Nalo Hopkinson
“A Vast Silence” by T. R. Napper
“Castellia” by Graham Edwards
“Laki” by Eleanor Arnason

Short Stories

“A Dime” by Megan Lindholm
“What Makes You Forget” by Victor Pseftakis
“The Reckoning” by Alexander Glass
“Lajos and his Bees” by K. A. Teryna, translated by Alex Shvartsman
“The Black Dog Gone Gray” by Hayley Stone
“A Demon’s Christmas Carol” by Jennie Goloboy


“How to Hear the Stars” by Mary Soon Lee
“How to Count Astronomically” by Mary Soon Lee
“Ways of the Multiverse” by Vincent Miskell


“Editorial: Gathering Light” by Sheree Renée Thomas
“Books To Look For” by Charles de Lint
“Books” by James Sallis
“Films: Worth the Wait?” by David J. Skal
“Science: Telescopes in Fact and Fiction” by Jerry Oltion
“Competition #102”
“Competition #103”
“Index to Volumes 140 & 141, January-December 2021”
“Curiosities” by Paul Di Filippo
“Coming Attractions”


By Mark Heath, Arthur Masear, and Nick Downes

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

The November/December issues of Asimov’s and Analog are on sale until December 14; F&SF until December 27. See our coverage of September/October print SF here, and all our recent magazine coverage here.

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