Alien Scarecrows, Strange Restaurants, and Mystery in a Spaceport Morgue: March-April 2023 Print SF Magazines

Alien Scarecrows, Strange Restaurants, and Mystery in a Spaceport Morgue: March-April 2023 Print SF Magazines

March/April 2023 issues of Asimov’s Science Fiction, Analog Science Fiction & Fact,
and The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. Cover art by Dominic Harman
(for “Gravesend”), Shutterstock, and Mondolithic Studios/Jill Bauman (for “Mr. Catt)

It’s a bonanza of great fiction in the new print mags this month, with stories by some of the biggest names in the biz — including Peter S. Beagle, Greg Egan, Paul McAuley, Bruce Sterling and Paul Di Filippo, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Lavie Tidhar, Allen M. Steele, Carolyn Ives Gilman, Adam-Troy Castro, Howard V. Hendrix, Eleanor Arnason, Tade Thompson, Kathleen Jennings, Sheila Finch, Sam J. Miller, Rajnar Vajra, Buzz Dixon, E. Catherine Tobler, Gregory Feeley, Octavia Cade, Ray Nayler, Stanley Schmidt, and many more.

The fiction here covers the gamut modern SF, with tales set on Mars, a far-future Earth where mankind has been exterminated, an 8th grade math class taught by a witch, a restaurant run by an alien who sells off parts of his own body, an asteroid inhabited by giant ants, a mysterious house that sells ideas to science fiction writers, a department store that offers new bodies, a morgue on a spaceport, a climate-ravaged Europe, and more more. See all the details below.

Kevin P Hallett reviews the latest F&SF at Tangent Online, including tales of spookmen, weremice, and alien invasions…

“The Station Master” by Lavie Tidhar

This SF short is set on Mars, generations after humans first settled it. Djibril is the station master at Yaniv Town, a small dome-covered hamlet. Trains crisscross Mars, and some stop here on the way to or from the big city over the horizon. As the last four trains of the day come through his station, Djibril meets several interesting characters. Each of them has a different story, making a potpourri of existences in this isolated town, cocooned in its dome against the harsh atmosphere of Mars. Tidhar managed to bring to life Mars several generations after its initial exploration. It felt like a western town in the late 1800’s.

“Spookman” by Jonathan Louis Duckworth

Rood is a Spookman in this short fantasy, which means he can see and help the dead. It’s a lonely, thankless task, but it suits Rood, who avoids human contact. Still, he promises to go to the Painted Forest to find the runaway son of a powerful Zaamler. The Painted Forest is a dangerous place, with a pack of wolves that neither sword nor arrow can defeat. Further hindering Rood is Nif, a member of the Woodland folk, who pesters Roon. When Rood hears a boy calling for help, he risks approaching the wolves’ lair, only to find the wolves are mimicking the boy’s voice. Now Rood is trapped….

“The Weremouse of Millicent Bradley Middle School” by Peter S. Beagle

Millicent Bradley Middle School has a witch teaching 8th grade math in this fantasy novelette. And she has an unforgiving nature. So when Lucia tells the witch off for putting a hex on the class math genius, Lucia is cursed to switch into a brown mouse at random times. After the first few switches, Lucia should just apologize to get out of the curse, but she is obstinate too. So, it falls to her brother, Graham, to protect her from the cat whenever she switches. Finally, Graham visits a friend who knows something about witches. Graham doesn’t believe in all this but is desperate to help his little sister… a mysterious story that held the reader’s attention until the end.

“Mnemonic Longings” by Marlon Ortiz

This short SF story occurs in the future after the alien ‘Tenants’ take over human bodies leading to everyone’s death. Orbiting Earth is a dormant spaceship named Ship. Onboard is Sparrow, a hibernating female soldier. Four thousand years after the last human died, a chance space rock causes Ship to awaken, and it then awakens Sparrow. Needless to say, Sparrow isn’t happy to discover she’s awoken four millennia after the last of her species died. Still, she and Ship set out to find out what happened to the Tenants. The search takes them to Venus and a difficult voyage of self-discovery. This intriguing story overflowed with mystery that made for a wonderful read.

“Mr. Catt” by Eleanor Arnason

A six-foot talking cat is the protagonist in this light-hearted fantasy novelette. One day, Mr. Catt decides he wants a dragon but finds he can only get one through a shady dealer in the criminal part of the city. Against his better judgment, he takes a cab to the dealer’s shop. There, he finds a talking dragon of the wingless variety. However, when he pays for the dragon, the dealer sets her three sons on Mr. Catt, hoping to pocket the fee and add a talking cat to her collection. With help from the dragon, Mr.Catt escapes. Soon after his narrow escape, the cab driver warns him that the dealer’s three sons will be coming to teach him a lesson. Mr. Catt decides to stay in the mountains where the talking dragon once lived with its family. But Mr. Catt was naive to think he could escape the consequences of his actions, and soon things begin to catch up to him. The author told a curious and engaging story that provided light relief in these troubling times.

Read Kevin’s excellent review here.

Mike Bickerdike digs into the latest Analog at Tangent Online.

“The Tinker and the Timestream” by Carolyn Ives Gilman is an old-fashioned novella in a positive sense, harking back to the style and adventuresome space operas of the ‘golden age’. A small colony on a far flung world lives in constant fear that their sun is soon likely to undergo supernova. The colonists are visited by travelling aliens, who agree to help them explore possible alternate worlds in exchange for a dog. While the style and feel of the piece is grounded in the golden age, the author’s grasp and speculations on astrophysics are good and quite convincing. The aliens see the world differently to humans, regarding ‘spacetime’ as ‘timespace’ and their reversed perspective enables them to exploit natures laws in interesting ways. Overall, this is an interesting and enjoyable story, with decent characterisation and a fun plot.

“Meat” by Leonard Richardson is a story of an alien’s takeaway restaurant, ‘Meat’. The alien himself, some sort of tentacular species, is also called Meat, and he prepares the food from himself. A visiting health inspector causes Meat some concern. The story is rather different from the norm, and for that alone it must attract praise. Indeed, albeit rather short, this is just the kind of story Ellison would have selected for a volume of Dangerous Visions.

“Death Spiral” by Kate MacLeod starts in a slightly pedestrian fashion but becomes more interesting as it progresses. Humans co-exist on an asteroid in our solar system with an ant-like alien species that communicates through smell, not sound. The aliens insist on the presence of only female human workers on the asteroid, as male pheromones would adversely affect them. The speculations here are quite intriguing, and generally it all works quite well. The apparently normal gravity on a small asteroid is rather a misstep from a hard SF perspective, however.

“The House on Infinity Street” by Allen M. Steele is an interesting novelette with a unique structural idea. Steele presents the story from the perspective of recounting a real discussion he had with a fellow SF writer at a convention in the ‘90’s. Steele’s appearance at the panel at Albacon really happened, but he has invented Shelby Weinberg and his story. In the tale, Weinberg tells Steele that during the ‘golden age’ there was a company you could write to in Deerfield, Massachusetts, to obtain SF ideas in the event one gets writer’s block. This is a play on Harlan Ellison’s joke about getting his ideas from Schenectady. But in this case, it was real; where did the ideas actually come from? To learn more, Weinberg investigated the address of the mystery company in 1939. It’s a fun conceit Steele has come up with and it’s written in a very engaging manner. Those who enjoy the history and fandom of SF will especially enjoy the tale, and it is recommended reading.

“The Problem with Bargain Bodies” by Sarina Dorie is very short, and in some senses it’s a joke tale, but it’s also rather good, with some depth and reflection. The protagonist takes her latest body back to the cheap department store where she got it, to trade it in for one that works better, only to be told she can only replace it with one from the bargain rack. Drawing parallels between how we view and discard clothes with how we view and manage our bodies, the tale offers reflection of what we deem important and unimportant in our physical makeup. Recommended.

“Immune Response” by Robert R. Chase is a great novelette. Chase has been writing SF for Analog for some decades now, and he’s usually pretty reliable. In this story, a young theoretical physicist is still smarting from being dropped by his erstwhile academic supervisor, when he hears the professor has died. Upon receipt of some papers from the late professor, the protagonist starts to unearth a mystery surrounding the premature death of other significant academics. The strength of the tale is in its novel idea, and its exploration of whether certain questions in physics even should be asked. Expertly told, this superior tale is the highlight of the magazine this month and is highly recommended.

Read Mike’s complete review here.

Sam Tomaino at SFRevu examines the latest Asimov’s SF.

“The Nameless Dead” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Our narrator had run out on her husband and son many years ago. She signed a contract for a long voyage across the galaxy. Time dilation meant her husband and son died 100 years ago. Nowadays, she is a sort of detective in the spaceport she had wound up on. Her clients are people who did not understand the time dilation and want to know what happened to their loved ones. Her latest client is the city coroner who wants help identifying bodies. Most are easy but two lead her to a conclusion that shatters her world. Another great story from one of the best in the field.

“Planetstruck” by Sam J. Miller

Aran is a sex worker and intelligence gatherer. He had left his home planet and his family years ago. Then, anti-off-worlders blew up the travel gates on his home world and he was cut off from his family forever. He finds a coin from his home world after the cutoff. The man who had used it is a nasty off-worlder but says he will take him back for a price that will put his brother in danger. What will he do? Good story!

“The Case of the Blood-Stained Tower” by Ray Nayler

Our narrator had been a soldier, felled in battle in ancient Persia. He is treated and cured by a man calling himself Qadir who makes him his scribe. He tells of Qadir solving a mystery of a girl seemingly thrown from the minaret of the Great Mosque of the city. Great story. I hope we see these characters again.

“Wanton Gods” by Sheila Finch

Marisol is thirteen years old and lives in a horrifying future. The place she had lived with her grandparents and father had been destroyed by the creatures she called scarecrows. Only Marisol and her father survived. They had been living in a cave. Her father has now disappeared and she must find a way to survive. She gets an unusual ally for a while. A grim but well-written tale from an old pro.

The issue concludes with the novella, “Gravesend, or, Everyday Life in the Anthropocene” by Paul McAuley.

This is in a future that is the setting of McAuley’s novel, about a time when regular life largely collapsed due to climate change. Rose had been in the army but had some permanent mental impairment after being near a psych bomb, causing illusions of people she called ghosts, She was invalided out and is now in a community called the Reach run by a charismatic leader. She has learned of a clinic in the Czech Republic that might have a treatment for her but it’s expensive. In the town near the Reach, she hears a story about a woman who claimed she could communicate with the dead and had, herself, died… Things go in a surprising direction. The story starts out slow but picks up with a good conclusion.

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’re excited to be publishing a lovely new novella by Paul J. McAuley in Asimov’s March/April 2023 issue! “Gravesend, or, Everyday Life in the Anthropocene” transports us to a future Britain where a young woman comes of age while coping with the effects of climate change. It’s a lyrical and imaginative tale that is not to be missed.

In “The Case of the Blood-Stained Tower,” Ray Nayler provides us with another lyrical tale, this time in the deep and mysterious past; Greg Egan considers the benefits and costs of “Night Running”; Octavia Cade enthralls us with a post apocalyptic  tale about a ghost and “Ernestine”; Sam J. Miller’s poignant story lets us know what it means to be “Planetstuck”; Gregory Feeley composes a mad song about “The Breaking of Vessels”; Sheila Finch exposes some “Wanton Gods”: a  dangerous situ­ation confronts a technician in “The Repair” by new author Mark D. Jacobsen; an equally dire situation occurs on K.A. Teryna’s generation spaceship “The Errata”; Paul Di Filippo & Bruce Sterling introduce us to “The Queen of Rhode Island”; and Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s researcher uncovers more than one painful truth while investigating “The Nameless Dead.”

Robert Silverberg’s Reflections again investigates a hoax — in this case “The Kensington Stone”; James Patrick Kelly’s On the Net dis­cusses the unlikelihood of “Resurrections”; and Peter Heck’s On Books reviews works by Charles Stross, Harry Turtledove, Jane Lindskold, Mercedes Lackey, Silvia Moreno-Garcia, and others. Plus we’ll have an array of poetry you’re sure to enjoy.

Here’s the complete Table of Contents.


“Gravesend, or, Everyday Life in the Anthropocene” by Paul McAuley


“The Nameless Dead” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
“Planetstuck” by Sam J. Miller
“Night Running” by Greg Egan
“Ernestine” by Octavia Cade
“The Case of the Blood-Stained Tower” by Ray Nayler
“The Queen of Rhode Island” by Bruce Sterling & Paul Di Filippo


“The Errata” by K.A. Teryna (Translated by Alex Shvartsman)
“The Repair” by Mark D. Jacobsen
“Wanton Gods” by Sheila Finch
“The Breaking of the Vessels” by Gregory Feeley


Your Clone When Paired, by Robert Frazier
What Binds Me to You, to Everything, by Robert Frazier
The Treachery of Image,s by Mary Soon Lee


Editorial: Visiting 1983, by Sheila Williams
Reflections: The Kensington Stone, by Robert Silverberg
On the Net: Resurrections, by James Patrick Kelly
Next Issue
On Books, by Norman Spinrad
The SF Conventional Calendar, by Erwin S. Strauss

Analog Science Fiction & Science Fact

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

When a humble tinker’s apprentice in a failing colony has a chance at the adventure of a lifetime (or more), it may also mean leaving his home behind to face its fate; what choice can he make? Find out in our lead story, “The Tinker and the Timestream,” by Carolyn Ives Gilman.

Then we present a pair of fact articles for your enjoyment: a deep dive into planetary formation from Kevin Walsh, in “Why are the Keplerians so Different?” as well as a “Big Ideas” piece about extinc­tions and the Fermi Paradox from Howard Hendrix, “The Passenger Pigeon and the Great Filter.”

And of course we have a bunch of material thematically-appro­priate for the April Fool’s Day season, including the answer to a classic SF question in “The House on Infinity Street,” by Allen M. Steele; the truth about “What Women Want,” from Katherine Tunning; a quest for lost love upended in “Incommunicado” by Andrej Kokoulin; the most caveating an emptor can do when considering “The Problem with Bargain Bodies” by Sarina Dorie; a failed health inspection that works out for everyone in Leonard Richardson’s “Meat”; and much more, from Robert R. Chase, Rajnar Vajra, Shane Tourtellotte, Stanley Schmidt, Aubry Kae Andersen, Adam-Troy Castro, and then some.

Here’s the full TOC.


“The Tinker and the Timestream,” Carolyn Ives Gilman


“Ice Ageless,” Rajnar Vajra
“The House on Infinity Street,” Allen M. Steele
“Immune Response,” Robert R. Chase
“Defense Reactions,” Shane Tourtellotte


“Incommunicado,” Andrej Kokoulin, Translated By Alex Shvartsman
“An Inconvenient Man,” Adam-troy Castro
“Citizen Science,” Naomi Kanakia
“Judgment Day,” Stanley Schmidt
“A Most Humble Innovation,” Howard V. Hendrix
“The Five Stages,” Aubry Kae Andersen
“Meat,” Leonard Richardson
“Death Spiral,” Kate Macleod
“What Women Want,” Katherine Tunning
“The Problem with Bargain Bodies,” Sarina Dorie
“Memory’s Bullet,” Aaron Fox-lerner
“A Noble Figure, Out of the Sky,” Mark W. Tiedemann
“Aalund’s Final Mission,” Raymund Eich
“Kept Man,” Louis Evans


“Aerobraking,” Jonathan Sherwood
“This Story is Plagiarized,” Buzz Dixon


“Why Are the Keplerians so Different?,” Kevin Walsh
“The Passenger Pigeon and the Great Filter,” Howard V. Hendrix


“Is There a Problem, Officer?,” Galen T. Pickett


The Precursors, Don Raymond
The Observer, Bruce Boston


Guest Editorial: Don’t Slow Down, Richard A. Lovett
In Times To Come
The Alternate View, John G. Cramer
The Reference Library, Rosemary Claire Smith
Brass Tacks
Upcoming Events, Anthony Lewis

The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction

F&SF’s editor is Sheree Renée Thomas. Last year she would post her thoughts on each issue to Facebook, though there’s no sign of her continuing that trend in 2023.

Here’s the Table of Contents.


“The Weremouse of Millicent Bradley Middle School” by Peter S. Beagle
“Mr. Catt” by Eleanor Arnason

Short Stories

“The Sweet in the Empty” by Tade Thompson
“The Station Master” by Lavie Tidhar
“Spookman” by Jonathan Louis Duckworth
“Piggyback Girl” by M. H. Ayinde
“Mnemonic Longings” by Marlon Ortiz
“Moonlight, Wing-Wake in Fog” by Rick Hollon
“The Madding” by Nuzo Onoh
“Escape Velocity” by Amanda Dier
“Pantoum on a Generation Ship” by Lauren Bajek
“The Subway Algorithm is Half-Constructed” by Marie Vibbert
“Solar Boy” by K. C. Ahia
“Ouroboros” by Mathew Lebowitz
“The Five Lazy Sisters” by Kathleen Jennings
“Remembered Salt” by E. Catherine Tobler


The Nomad, by Marge Simon
Paradise Lost Redux, by Marge Simon
One Generation After the Last Flower, by Marisca Pichette
The Reluctant Ambassador, by Michael Meyerhoffer
Why Our Parents Never Left Earth, by Michael Meyerhoffer
Elegy Over Red Sands, by Robert L. Jones III
Falling into the Black Hole, by Michael Meyerhoffer
White Holes, by Michael Meyerhoffer


Editorial: Solaris, by Sheree Renée Thomas
Books to Look For, by Charles de Lint
Musing on Books, by Michelle West
Television: Again, the Vampire Talks, by David J. Skal
Coming Attractions
By the Number 7, by Arley Sorg
Science: The Science of Love, by Jerry Oltion
Curiosities, by Carol Cooper
Cartoons by Mark Heath, Ali Solomon, Arthur Masear, and Nick Downes
Cover art by Jill Bauman for Eleanor Arnason’s “Mr. Catt”

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 March/April issues of Asimov’s and Analog are on sale until April 18; F&SF until April 24. See our coverage of the January/February print SF here, and all our recent magazine coverage here.

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