Wooden Pirates, Group Therapy for Super Heroes, and Crab Gods: July-August 2023 Print SF Magazines

Wooden Pirates, Group Therapy for Super Heroes, and Crab Gods: July-August 2023 Print SF Magazines

July/August 2023 issues of Analog Science Fiction & Fact, Asimov’s Science Fiction,
and The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. Cover art by 123RF, Eldar Zakirov
(for “Bridges”), and Mondolithic Studios

The big news for the print SF magazines this month isn’t good. In March Amazon stopped selling Kindle subscriptions to Asimov’s SF and Analog, and current issues will only be available for purchase until September 4, 2023. After that, Amazon will only offer access to the magazines through their Kindle Unlimited program.

This is a major blow to the magazines, which have come to rely on Amazon digital subscriptions for a substantial portion of their income. But they have rolled with the punches, and on July 20 Asimov’s SF and Analog announced a new digital subscription method. You can subscribe now to get the July/August issue and have Sept/Oct delivered on August 8th, and then the 8th every other month going forward. It costs just $6/an issue, and downloads are available as EPUB or PDF. Order directly here.

There’s a lot of great reading in store for us in this month’s print magazines. Including a tale of a possessed wooden pirate by Peter Beagle, a novella of life on a giant crab god by Aimee Ogden, a tense new Diving Universe novella of exploring a Death Hole littered with age-old exotic artifacts by Kristine Kathryn Rusch, a new Great Ship novella by Robert Reed, Leslie What’s tale of group therapy for super-powered mutants with weird-ass super powers, and Garth Nix’s exciting shootout in “Showdown on Planetoid Pencrux.”

The big SF magazines are packed with brand new fiction from Wil McCarthy, Greg Egan, Sarah Pinsker, Stephen Case, Sean Monaghan, Rick Wilber & Lisa Lanser Rose, James Van Pelt, Robert Friedman & Barry N. Malzberg, Stephen L. Burns, David Ebenbach, Adam-Troy Castro, RJ Taylor, Jill McMillan, Jennifer Hudak, Kristina Ten, and Joshua Uchenna Omenga & Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki. See all the details below.

Mina reviews the latest F&SF at Tangent Online, including a new novella by Aimee Ogden, and stories from Peter S. Beagle, RJ Taylor, Jill McMillan, Jennifer Hudak, Kristina Ten, and Joshua Uchenna Omenga & Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki.

“A Half-Remembered World” by Aimee Ogden is an intriguing novella. It’s no mean feat to make a community living on a giant crab-god believable, but the author really does manage it… The crab-god is old and staying close to shore and the community that relied on the crab moving into deeper waters for food is getting desperate. Violence erupts, the leadership proves to be corrupt, the familiar is lost. But Melu is, above all, a survivor who fights for her loved ones…

“The Very Nasty Aquarium” by Peter S. Beagle blends elderly retired teachers with Jamaican folklore. Mrs Lopsided enlists her more worldly and well-travelled friend’s help when she realises that the wooden pirate she bought for her aquarium is possessed by a “duppy.” The two women set about banishing the malevolent spirit with the help of the aquarium’s deep-sea diver and mermaid. They succeed in their endeavour, or do they?

“Vanishing Point” by R J Taylor is good, old-fashioned creepy, yet tinged with wonder. The protagonist and their contract partner land on a habitable planet to collect samples. They set off hiking towards the only living creature identified by their ship. It’s huge, brown, featureless, limbless, but with glowing eyes. As they walk, distance starts playing tricks on them and they never seem to get closer to the creature….

“NPC (Or Eight Haxploits To Maximize Your Endgame” by DaVaun Sanders turns the tables on gaming. The humans in the story become NPCs in the AI’s quest to build itself. The AI does not care for a humanity that struggles to care for itself. A sobering tale with an ending that manages to be both menacing and hopeful.

“A Meal For Fredrick” by Nick Thomas introduces us to Fredrick, a dragon cobbled together out of grocery bags and masking tape. He becomes the family mascot, hanging from the kitchen chandelier. The father becomes obsessed with feeding the dragon, offering sacrifices as if to a minor god. But even that is not enough to prevent a family tragedy. A bitter-sweet tale from an author that knows how to wield words.

Sam Tomaino, the long time short fiction reviewer at SF Revu, find much to enjoy in the latest Analog, including new stories by Wil McCarthy, Greg Egan, Stephen L. Burns, Ryan Hunke, David Ebenbach, Benjamin C. Kinney, and Gregor Hartmann, and a novella by Adam-Troy Castro.

“The World in a Ramen Cup” by Jayde Holmes

On a spaceship with only a small number of humans on it, Tk-Kii-Mi, shares the last Ramen Cup with the Last Human to have walked on Earth and gets some of the story of her life. Poignant and touching.

“Didicosm” by Greg Egan

When she was eight years old, Charlotte’s father committed suicide because of a flawed theory of the universe. As an adult, she and a team work on their own theory. But is that the answer, or just the beginning of one. Gets a little technical but an interesting idea.

“Nebulous Negotiation” by James Dick & Jen Frankel

Cass is one of the humans working aboard a ship that has many species. But they are held in low regard, especially by the species who commands the ship. Can Cass find a way to negotiate with him to be more tolerant of humans? Good story!

“A Synthetic’s Field Notes on Speed Dating and Birds” by Ryan Hunke

A former war-robot tries speed-dating with mixed results. Amusing.

“Everybody Needs a Conditions Box” by David Ebenbach

The second Flash Fiction story is “From Our Bones a Garden Grows” by Will Gwaun

Two AIs for ships from dying civilization look back on their existence. Poignant.

The fiction concludes with the novella, “To Fight the Colossus” by Adam-Troy Castro.

The giant war called Cort’s War is over and Esker is done fighting. On the planet Aeskir, he meets another veteran named Griff. Griff takes him into his home which he shares with a woman who has given herself up to be a Pet of an AI and a murderous alien who hates humans. Griff brings up the subject of a legend of space, The Silent Colossus of Parnajan, a planet-sized statue of a man. Griff insists it exists and he wants to look upon it. He invites Esker along.

This sets into motion another great story from Castro with great characters and many surprises along the way. And a great ending, too!

Read Sam’s complete review here.

Goodreads has become a lively source of short fiction reviews, and there’s some fine coverage of the latest issue of Asimov’s SF — which includes a new Great Ship novella by Robert Reed, a Diving Universe novella by Kristine Kathryn Rusch, and stories by Garth Nix, Sarah Pinsker, Stephen Case, Sean Monaghan, Rick Wilber & Lisa Lanser Rose, James Van Pelt, and Robert Friedman & Barry N. Malzberg. Here’s an excerpt one of the more detailed reviews, by Michael Frasca.

An above average issue with some very good stories. Here are my flash-reviews:

“The Death Hole Bunker” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Excavating dangerous Death Holes containing age-old exotic artifacts for fun and profit…what could go wrong? Pairs well with Arkady Strugatsky and Boris Strugatsky’s novel Roadside Picnic.

“Showdown On Planetoid Pencrux” by Garth Nix

It’s minor planet, not Tombstone, Doc is not a dentist, and there is no corral — but there is a shootout. Will the good guys, gals, and others win? Now if we could just get John Ford to direct!

“Bridges” by Sean Monaghan

Ages after the robots went away, the intelligent machinery left behind give folk housing, food, clothing, and even bridges. What happens when the AI programing goes awry? An excellent allegory for the mayhem that cancer causes. Pairs well with the manga and anime Cells at Work!, Vol. 1.

“Tilt” by Leslie What

Court-ordered group therapy for mutants with weird-ass super powers…and just a ‘slight’ flaw in their character. What’s the best way for a mom to get out of involuntary hospitalization to reunite with her five-year old? Parole, or perhaps “McMurphy” it?

“My Sister Told Me To Write A Story About the Genetics Of Inheritable Godhood” by Sarah Pinsker

An idea is just an idea. It is up to the author to break the story. BTW–where in god’s name does her sister come up with these crazy ideas?

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.

You’ll find a riveting novella by Kristine Kathryn Rusch in our July/August 2023 issue. “Death Hole Bunker” is set in the author’s Diving universe. This thrilling tail will have you on edge from start to finish. The issue also features a new Great Ship novella from Robert Reed. “What>We>Will>Never>Be” is a love story, a mystery, and a relentless quest for justice.

Don’t miss Garth Nix’s exciting “Showdown on Planetoid Pencrux.” This novelette will be the well-known author’s first tale for Asimov’s. Other new to the magazine authors include Stephen Case, who intrigues us with a novelette about the “Daughters of the Lattice”;  Sam W. Pisciotta, whose novelette startles us with “Morning Glory”; Rick Wilber’s collaborator on their poignant short story about “The Greeter,” Lisa Lanser Rose; and Barry N. Malzberg’s collaborator on correspondence about when to “Let the Games Begin,” Robert Friedman. James Van Pelt returns with a short story that asks “Have You Seen Bitsy?”; David Ebenbach’s short story takes a wry look at “Dark Horses”; Karawynn Long’s short story reveals why “Hope Is the Thing with Feathers;” Sean Monaghan’s novelette crosses some “Bridges”; Leslie What’s short story puts us on an erratic “Tilt”; and Sarah Pinsker charms us with a short tale that explains that when “My Sister Told Me to Write a Story About the Genetics of Inheritable Godhood,” she did.

Robert Silverberg’s Reflections column escorts us on a late-night trip through the “Dimensions”; James Patrick Kelly’s On the Net looks “Wayback”; Peter Heck’s On Books reviews works by Annalee Newitz, Rebecca Roanhorse, Ray Nayler, Naomi Novik, Cadwell Turnbull, and others; plus we’ll have an array of poetry and additional features you’re sure to enjoy.

Here’s the complete Table of Contents.


“The Death Hole Bunker” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
“What>We>Will>Never>Be” by Robert Reed


“Daughters of the Lattice” by Stephen Case
“Showdown on Planetoid Pencrux” by Garth Nix
“Bridges” by Sean Monaghan


“Hope Is the Thing with Feathers” by Karawynn Long
“Dark Horses” by David Ebenbach
“The Greeter” by Rick Wilber & Lisa Lanser Rose
“Tilt” by Leslie What
“Let the Games Begin” by Robert Friedman & Barry N. Malzberg
“Morning Glory” by Sam W. Pisciotta
“Have You Seen Bitsy?” by James Van Pelt
“My Sister Told Me to Write a Story About the Genetics of Inheritable Godhood” by Sarah Pinsker


The Carnival of Dorian Gray by David C. Kopaska-Merkel
Neath Martian Sands by Bruce Boston
New Hominoid Chats with Reporters by Jacob Strautmann
poem in which every word is ten thousand years by James Fujinami Moore
Cures Roger Dutcher
Transiting Planet by Jacob Strautmann
Masters of the Future by Bruce Boston
The Future’s Not What It Used to Be by Robert Frazier
Glory to the Worm by Josh Pearce


Editorial: The 2023 Dell Magazines Awards by Sheila Williams
Reflection: Dimensions by Robert Silverberg
On the Net: Wayback by James Patrick Kelly
Next Issue
On Books by Peter Heck
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 next issue, “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.


“To Fight the Colossus” by Adam-Troy Castro


“The Jangler” by Wil McCarthy
“Didicosm” by Greg Egan
“Recruit” by Stephen L. Burns


“The World in a Ramen Cup” by Jayde Holmes
“Nebulous Negotiation” by James Dick & Jen Frankel
“Playtime” by A.T. Sayre
“First Words” by Michael Randle
“A Synthetic’s Field Notes on Speed Dating and Birds” by Ryan Hunke
“The Carina Nebula” by Kelsey Hutton
“Blowout” by Wole Talabi
“Everybody Needs a Conditions Box” by David Ebenbach
“Here at the Freezing End” by Benjamin C. Kinney
“Fermi’s Silence” by Jay Werkheiser
“Gin and Rummy” by Eneasz Brodski
“Skin Job” by Gregor Hartmann
“The Martian Miracle” by J.W. Benford


“The Queen of Copies Meets Her Match” by Carrie Vaughn
“From Our Bones a Garden Grows” by Will Gwaun


“Urras, Anarres, and Marsmoon” by Kevin Walsh


Dandelion Seeds Swirling Over a Manhole by Kenton Yee
Ode to Mulgrew by Jacob Strautmann


Guest Editorial: Just Another Earth That Fell to Man? by Howard V. Hendrix
The 2002 Analytical Laboratory Results
In Times to Come
The Alternate View by John G. Cramer
The Reference Library by Rosemary Clare Smith
Brass Tacks
Upcoming Events by 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.


“A Half-Remembered World” by Aimee Ogden


“A Very Nasty Aquarium” by Peter S. Beagle

Short Stories

“Approved Methods of Love Divination in the First-Rate City of Dushagorod” by Kristina Ten
“Vanishing Point” by RJ Taylor
“The Pet of Olodumare” by Joshua Uchenna Omenga & Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki
“Serenity Prayer” by Faith Merino
“We Go on Faith Alone” by K.S. Walker
“Little Bird” by Jill McMillan
“Gather Me a Treasure” by Jordan Chase-Young
“NPC (or Eight Haxploits to Maximize Your Endgame Farming a Player’s Guide)” by DaVaun Sanders
“A Meal for Frederick” by Nick Thomas
“The Day of the Sea” by Jennifer Hudak
“What to Do When a Protagonist Visits Your Generic Village” by Dan Peacock
“Pedestals, Proclivities and Perpetuities” by Celeste Rita Baker
“A Time to Sing” by Eddie D. Moore
“The Giant’s Dream” by Beth Goder


How to Pack for a Quest by Mary Soon Lee
Lost Lines from Ariel’s Song by Gretchen Tessmer


Editorial: Waves on Waves by Sheree Renée Thomas
Books to Look For by Charles de Lint
Musing on Books by Michelle West
Books by Elizabeth Hand
Plumage from Pegasus: I, for One, Welcome Our New Insect Litterateurs by Paul Di Filippo
Coming Attractions
Competition #105
By the Numbers by Arley Sorg
Science Fireworks by Jerry Oltion
Curiosities by Carol Cooper
CARTOONS: Arthur Masear, S. Harris, Mark Heath, 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, $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 July/August issues of Asimov’s and Analog are on sale until August 15; F&SF until June 26. See our coverage of the May/June print SF here, and all our recent magazine coverage here.

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