Colony Ships, Cowboy Ghosts, and Jeeves and Wooster in Space: January-February Print SF Magazines

Colony Ships, Cowboy Ghosts, and Jeeves and Wooster in Space: January-February Print SF Magazines

January/February 2023 issues of Asimov’s Science Fiction, Analog Science Fiction & Fact, and
The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. Cover art by Shutterstock, Tomislav Tikulin, and Kent Bash

The big news for print SF mags over the past few months has been price increases. Asimov’s SF and Analog, both published by Dell Magazines, increased prices by a buck in July of last year, from $7.99 to $8.99 per issue. Subscriptions increased from $35.97 to $47.94 for six issues/one year. The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction increased from $9.99 per issue to $10.99 with the January/February issue, and subs jumped to $65.94 for one-year. Considering how much fiction and overall content you get per issue, all of the magazines remain a bargain.

Consider the January/February issues, for example. They contain brand new fiction from some of the biggest names in the biz, including Norman Spinrad, Alec Nevala-Lee, Robert Reed, James Van Pelt, David D. Levine, Maurice Broaddus, Mary Soon Lee, Bruce McAllister, Shane Tourtellotte, Dominica Phetteplace, Rudy Rucker, Tochi Onyebuchi, Genevieve Williams, Karen Heuler, and many others.

Victoria Silverwolf reviews the latest Asimov’s at Tangent Online, including tales of terraforming Mars, extraterrestrials on Earth, climate change, and futuristic versions of Bertie Wooster and Jeeves…

Two novellas serve as bookends for the magazine, with a pair of novelettes and half a dozen short stories between them.

In the lead novella “Up and Out” by veteran author Norman Spinrad, the narrator looks back on his life as a wealthy entrepreneur. His economic skills brought a breathable atmosphere to Mars and funded the development of human hibernation that allows for long-term voyages in space.

The narrator ponders whether to go into hibernation in order to await the arrival of an alien vessel, expected to reach Earth in a millennium, or to use the same technology to make a journey to the stars that will last for many thousands of years. Much of the story also deals with his relationship with a reporter, who is both lover and promoter. The author makes use of many concepts from space travel fiction, and the resulting work seems like a cry of encouragement for humanity to venture out into the universe…

The protagonist of “Alien Housing” by Karen Heuler works for extraterrestrials who arrived on Earth with their youngsters. Her job is to watch over the mischievous, shape-shifting adolescents. After a while, she discovers the real reason the aliens are here.

The author creates interesting extraterrestrials, and manages to make them seem truly alien. The protagonist’s relationship with her employer is intriguingly ambiguous. Readers may be able to predict the ending.

“Woman of the River” by Genevieve Williams takes place at a future time when people are working to restore the damage done by climate change. In particular, residents of the Seattle area act together to heal their waterways.

There is not much plot to this futuristic slice-of-life. The only conflict is a disagreement about what exactly should be done about the local river. The story is beautifully written, with a great deal of vivid sensory detail about the area’s ecology. Fans of so-called solarpunk or hopepunk are likely to appreciate this quiet portrait of a place the author obviously knows and loves…

Finishing the issue is the novella “My Year as a Boy” by David Ira Cleary. A sexless clone who has just entered early adulthood decides to be male. He takes a trip on an airship, trying to figure out how to be masculine along the way. At his side is his loyal robot servant, always available to help his clueless master out of his misadventures. If that sounds familiar, it’s because the author acknowledges the influence of P. G. Wodehouse; the young man and the robot are futuristic versions of Bertie Wooster and Jeeves…

Read Victoria’s complete review here.

Sam Tomaino digs into the latest Analog at SFRevu.

“EDIE” by James Dick

EDIE is the Europa Deep Ice Explorer and has reached Europa after a seven-year voyage. She has landed and is communicating with her mission control in Houston led by Wendy Sloan, the director of the project. Odd things begin happening as soon as she lands. First, dome-like structures appear on the surface and grow bigger, then stubby stalks rise from them. They are all equidistant from each other, Things get really strange when an ice sculpture of EDIE appears. What is doing this? Interesting stories with good characters.

“Ceres 7” by Lorraine Alden

Ruth and seven other women are the crew of a colony ship escaping an Earth that cults had made dangerous. When they hear no more from Earth, they know it’s gone. But they don’t have enough food and other supplies for all of them for the whole journey. They were supposed to get more from Earth. What will they do?

Great story with a nice twist at the end. This is Alden’s first published story and it shows talent. She will be on my shortlist for an Astounding Award in 2024 .

“The Battle of Wanakena” by Meghan Hyland

In a future America, devastated by something that eats metal, opposing forces fight for control over a town. One force emphasizes cooperation, the other suspicion. Can they find a way to work together? Another good story.

“Gardens of Titan” by Erik M. Johnson

Bryce is still haunted by dreams, mourning the death of his wife when he finally agrees to go back to work piloting people from the space station to Titan. Things go okay at first but a quake puts his co-pilot and him in danger. Alone, he sees something familiar. Dark end to this one. This is Johnson’s first published story and it shows talent. He will also be on my shortlist for an Astounding Award in 2024.

The fiction concludes with the novelette, “Hothouse Orchids” by Harry Lang.

Detective Hector Kovack is tasked with solving the first murder on Mars. A woman’s body had been found in a box buried in a place that was being excavated. She was probably of mature years but her body was unidentifiable. She had been tortured. Kovack uncovers a plot by Martians against Earth and this had been a ritual murder of someone from Earth as part of an initiation. Kovack is almost assassinated at one point. His solving of the murder is a major plot twist. Great story. Hope to see more of these characters.

Read Sam’s complete review here.

Kevin P Hallett at Tangent Online examines the latest F&SF.

F&SF‘s January/February issue has ten first-publication stories, including one novella, three novelettes, and one flash story. This issue had many worthwhile tales to read as befits such a storied publication.

“Cowboy Ghost Dads Always Break Your Heart” by Stefan Slater

Few people notice the high school graduate in this short fantasy. That’s because his father was a ghost who his mother met in a deserted mining town in the desert. It hurts when people act as if he wasn’t there. So he goes to find the ghost town to see if he can find his father. Maybe he can learn something useful.

When he does find the old mining town, he finds his father full of ghostly stories while surrounded by supernatural friends. His ghost father is pleased to see him but isn’t forthcoming about the time with his mother. Still, it helps him adjust to being part ghost. This easy-to-read story zipped along, holding the reader’s interest.

“Floating on the Stream that Brings from the Fount” by Prashanth Srivatsa

Draupadi captains a spaceship seeking the Library in this SF novelette. Intra-galactic travel depends on the Engine, which is powered by stories. The caveat is the story must be original. But the galaxy’s writers are locked in writer’s block. So news of a mysterious library with a million original books galvanizes the Empire into sending a motley crew of five to find it and its three centuries of fuel for the Engine.

Draupadi must lead this sundry mix of people to the galaxy’s edge. Each crew member has their agenda, many of which don’t match the Empire’s interests. Despite a few hazards, the ship arrives at a strange double planet with a wooden cabin. How could this building contain a million books? Draupadi decides to ask the ever-friendly librarian…

“The Bucket Shop Job” by David D. Levine

The author sets this SF novelette on Titan, which is being mined for its various resources, methane being but one. Kane is a down-on-his-luck bouncer recruited by a group of con artists. He is to supply the muscle with a deadly machine gun during the con. He is meant to scare off the marks, so they leave behind the valuable contraband.

After some hard years as an enforcer for bad people, Kane is impressed with the smooth camaraderie of the grifters. His job seems simple, burst into the room as the swindlers make the deal and shoot up the con artists with blanks. In the melee, one of the team members will switch the mark’s case. Kane does his part, crashing into the room to attack the tricksters, claiming revenge for a bad deal. But the switching of the cases goes wrong, and the marks escape with their valuables. Kane must act quickly to save the con. This story was a smash-’em-up action story that was entertaining to read.

“Best, Last, Only” by Robert Reed

The Great Ship is circumnavigating the Milky Way in this epic SF novella. Containing thousands of square miles, the spaceship includes many sentient beings from the galaxy, including humans. One race, the Best, resembles Earth’s extinct pterodactyls. They named themselves the Best because they were the best flyers, the strongest people, and the most beautiful. The beings on the craft are immortal, with bioceramic brains.

Keen is an undersized boy born of a Best leader. Quee Lee is a human woman, married to her eternal love Perri. Over thousands of years, Quee Lee and Keen become friends, as much as such a thing is possible when they may not see each other for centuries. At one point, the Best leave the ship to colonize a planet. But Keen stays behind, now the last of his race on the ship and a recluse. When the Great Ship passes through the Ink Blot nebula, a space monster attacks and effectively divides the ship into two parts with an impassable seal. Still, life goes on for the surviving immortals…

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

Asimov’s Science Fiction

Here’s Sheila’s summary of the latest issue of Asimov’s, from the website.

We’ve stuffed two huge novellas into Asimov’s January/February 2023 issue. Norman Spinrad elevates us into the “Up and Out” with a plan for taking humanity into interstellar space. David Ira Cleary returns us to Earth for a coming-of-age story about “My Year as a Boy.” These thoughtful tales contain vividly imagined futures. They are not to be missed!

Peter Wood recounts “The Less Than Divine Invasion”; an unusual therapist treats difficult patients in Tochi Onyebuchi’s “Jamais Vue”; well established, but new to Asimov’s, Karen Heuler offers us a disquieting look at “Alien Housing”; Ramsey Shehadeh, another author new to Asimov’s, offers a tricky tale about “Cigarettes and Coffee”; and our third new author, T.K. Rex, uncovers “The Roots in the Box and the Roots in the Bones”; Dominica Phetteplace reveals that “What We Call Science, They Call Treason”; Rudy Rucker plunges us into the wild world of the “Tooniverse Tele­marketer”: and Genevieve Williams’s lovely “Woman of the River” is a generations-spanning tale told in six pages. 

Robert Silverberg’s Reflections bids “Farewell to the Vinland Map”; James Patrick Kelly’s On the Net dishes on “Your Probable, Plausible, Possible Lunch”; Kelly Lagor’s Thought Experiment looks at “The Showing and Telling of Metropolis and Fritz Lang,” and Norman Spinrad’s On Books considers works “Outside the Tent” by Sequoia Nagamatsu, Andy Weir, John Elizabeth Stintzi, and Anthony Doerr. Plus we’ll have an array of poetry you’re sure to enjoy.

Here’s the complete Table of Contents.


“Up and Out” by Norman Spinrad
“My Year as a Boy” by David Ira Cleary


“The Roots in the Box and the Roots in the Bones” by T. K. Rex
“The Less than Divine Invasion” by Peter Wood


“Alien Housing” by Karen Heuler
“Woman of the River” by Genevieve Williams
“Cigarettes and Coffee” by Ramsey Shehadeh
“Jamais Vue” by Tochi Onyebuchi
“Tooniverse Telemarketer” by Rudy Rucker
“What We Call Science, They Call Treason” by Dominica Phetteplace


Argos, by Mary Soon Lee
Apocalypse, by Tyler James Russell
Pulsar, by James Arthur Anderson
Eumillipes persephone, by Dawn Macdonald
19 April 2021 (Kitty Hawk II), by Joe Haldeman
When Arthur, then a Boy, Came to Me, by Mary Soon Lee
The Next Step, by Timons Esaias


Editorial: Party! by Sheila Williams
Reflections: Farewell to the Vinland Map by Robert Silverberg
On the Net: Your Probable, Plausible, Possible Lunch by James Patrick Kelly
Thought Experiment: The Showing and Telling of Metropolis and Fritz Lang by Kelly Lagor
Next Issue
On Books by Norman Spinrad
Asimov’s Readers’ Award Ballot
2022 Index
The SF Conventional Calendar by Erwin S. Strauss

Analog Science Fiction & Science Fact

Editor Trevor Quachri gives us a tantalizing issue summary, as usual.

Another January/February issue is nearly upon us, and once again, we close out the old year and ring in the new with some top-notch stories.

First among them is our lead novella: it’s not unusual for a killer to have a personal motivation for a series of slayings, but it is unusual when the killer in question is an elephant. What’s more, when a doctor thinks he may be able to curb the animal’s murderous rages, the implications go much further than anyone expects. How far? Find out in “The Elephant Maker,” by Alec Nevala-Lee.

Then our fact article, “Life, But Not Quite as We Know It,” on some very unusual sorts of potential life forms, comes to us from Christina De La Rocha.

And of course we have plenty of other stories, like “EDIE,” a tale with some of the aforementioned unusual life, by James Dick; a pleasantly hardboiled SF yarn in “Hothouse Orchids” by Harry Lang; a look at harmless vacation fun from the other side of the ledger, in “The Bends” by Rajan Khanna; and a clash of values in a quiet little (post-apocalyptic) town upstate, in “The Battle of Wanakena,” by Megan Hyland, as well as much more, including seasonal offerings like “Christmas at Albert’s” by Mark W. Tiedemann, and “A Real Snow Day” by M. Bennardo, and stories both sad and hopeful, as befits the end of one thing and the beginning of another, from authors including Marie Vibbert, Shane Tourtellotte, James Van Pelt, Victoria Navarra, Erik Johnson, Tom R. Pike, Matt McHugh, Lorraine Alden, and more.

Here’s the full TOC.


“The Elephant Maker,” Alec Nevala-Lee


“The Bends,” Rajan Khanna
“Edie,” James Dick
“The Battle Of Wanakena,” Meghan Hyland
“Hothouse Orchids,” Harry Lang

Short Stories

“Cornflower,” Victoria Navarra
“The Area Under The Curve,” Matt McHugh
“Direct Message,” Tom Pike
“A Real Snow Day,” M. Bennardo
“Party On,” James Van Pelt
“Ceres 7,” Lorraine Alden
“Misplaced,” Shane Tourtellotte
“The Echo Of A Will,” Marie Vibbert
“Gardens Of Titan,” Erik M. Johnson

Flash Fiction

“Mom,” Bruce McAllister
“Octo-drabbles,” Mary Soon Lee
“Lem,” Daniel Peterson

Science Fact

Life, But Not Quite As We Know It?, Christina De La Rocha
Probability Zero
Christmas At Albert’s, Mark W. Tiedemann


I Dreamt An Alien Was In Love With My Ex-girlfriend, Don Raymond
Iodine, Drew Pisarra

Reader’s Departments

Guest Editorial: The Great Brain Cover-Up, Howard V. Hendrix
In Times to Come
The Alternate View, John G. Cramer
The Reference Library, Sean Cw Korsgaard
Brass Tacks
2022 Index
Analytical Laboratory Ballot
Upcoming Events, Anthony Lewis

The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction

F&SF’s editor is Sheree Renée Thomas; she usually posts her thoughts on the issue to Facebook, though no sign of that this month.

Here’s the Table of Contents.


“Best, Last, Only” by Robert Reed


“A Creation of Birds” by Teegan Moore
“Floating on the Stream that Brings from the Fount” by Prashanth Srivatsa
“The Bucket Shop Job” by David D. Levine

Short Stories

“Cowboy Ghost Dads Always Break Your Heart” by Stefan Slater
“The Past Is a Dream (The Launch of a Blacktopia)” by Maurice Broaddus
“To Give Moon Milk to a Lover” by Madalena Daleziou
“Oracle” by Morgan L. Ventura
“Off the Map” by Dane Kuttler
“Persephone’s Children” by C. B. Channell


Dzherelo (The Source), by R.B. Lemberg
Two Poems: 1. The Deal 2. Lucky Shot, by Beth Cato & Rhonda Parrish
Sis’ Bouki: The Hyena Gifts, Rob Cameron
Save Me, Sister, You Said, Gerri Leen


Editorial: Transport, Transform: the Soul of Setting, by Sheree Renée Thomas
Books to Look For, by Charles de Lint
Television: Boldly Go with The Orville, by Karin Lowachee
Films: Getting Out, Looking Up, by David J. Skal
Coming Attractions
Plumage From Pegasus: The Big Front Vrbo, by Paul Di Filippo
Competition #104
Science: The Measure of a Year, by Jerry Oltion
Curiosities, by Paul Di Filippo
Cartoons: Arthur Masear

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, $8.99 per issue, one year sub $47.97 in the US) — edited by Sheila Williams
Analog Science Fiction and Fact (208 pages, $8.99 per issue, one year sub $47.97 in the US) — edited by Trevor Quachri
The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction (256 pages, $10.99 per issue, one year sub $65.94  in the US) — edited by Sheree Renée Thomas

The January/February issues of Asimov’s and Analog are on sale until February 14; F&SF until February 20. See our coverage of the November/December print SF here, and all our recent magazine coverage here.

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Chuck Timpko

Thanks for the heads-up, John. My local B&N is a bit hit and miss when it comes to the SF magazines, but found Asimov’s and F&SF today. No Analog. Which is unusual since they usually have Asimov’s and Analog and no F&SF.

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