An updating of the classic fairytale, with a princess held incommunicado under a repressive political regime.
Gentle Pratchettian fantasy funny featuring an elderly wizard with powers somewhat on the wane, and his familiar, an invisible chair.
Another excellent semi-autobiographical tale from Bowes. Put a Velvet Underground LP on (CDs and mp3s won’t cut it) and step back in time 40 years.
A group of young kids in the 1950s head out into the desert. It’s a convincingly, and lovingly told horror story, with details that ring true.
Neat little love story set in a broken, bureaucratic post-something society just a little skew-whiff.
[April 16th 2010] Jetse de Vries’ ‘Shine’ anthology popped on my doormat courtesy of Amazon.
[April 16th 2010] Rejigged the box above the Quicklinks to highlight the reviews currently in
Either an excellent pastiche of Analog-style SF, or an Analog-style story that doesn’t sit well in F&SF.
Watery southern horrors in Cowdrey’s inimitable style.
Stories by Shane Tourtellotte, Christopher L. Bennett, Carl Frederick, Bud Sparhawk, Brad Aiken, David A. Simons
In a dusty old frontier town a dessicated corpse swings in the breeze, the word ‘shame’ scrawled against the gallows, testament to the folly of the rough justice dispensed by the townsfolks.
A teenage girl with a terminally ill twin finds something magical. But not magical enough. Classy writing.
I started this issue expecting Rusch and Jablokov to supply the stronger stories, but in fact it is Zumsteg and Ludwigsten who tickled my fancy the most. Who’da thunk it?
A beautifully told story of a young girl living in remote, bucolic splendour, who finally gets a glimpse of the larger world out there.
A story that could equally, or perhaps, better have been placed in a historical or a crime fiction magazine.
Written in the form of a 8th Grade Science paper, we follow one teenage girl’s thought processes following on from the idea that events in dreams happen at an accelerated rate
There’s a cannibalistic half-leopardess pirate, lots of swashbuckling, cthulhian monsters in the deep, and a sense of it being but one adventure in the life of its protagonists, and clearly a closer link to space opera than you might think, me hearties.
Post-zombie-apocalypse, with one of the survivors relating the slow encroachment of the zombie invasion, and postulating a more scientific and much bigger picture rationale.
A dark, disturbing glimpse of a near future, which starts with an almost Eraserhead-ish grotesquery.
An entertaining gonzo-ish yarn, with some clever touches for someone new to writing SF.
A warts and all take on the traditional sword and sorcery fantasy milieu, but with the heroicism removed.
Short wry piece in which aliens now controlling Earth have the misfortune to come up against the ticketing regime for public transport – in Germany of all places.
An unsettling view of how it is possible to be blind to what is happening around us.
A detailed look at the impact of near-future climate and economic downturn on the individual. There’s a subtle interplay of relationships, a contrast between the haves and havenots, and the choices people have to make in this new world order.
A siren gifts a musician with a voice of her own.
Sterling ponders whether space opera is at all feasible – do we have the wherewithal and the desire to reach out to the distant stars? The answer is yes, but the starting point is an interesting one.
this story of a woman visiting relatives in Nigeria and coming across some powerful local magic/evil similarly doesn’t really go far enough in exploring new places or situations or characters to be a standout.
A strong issue, with stories by Jason Sanford, Rebecca J. Payne, Colin Harvey, Lavie Tidhar, Shannon Page and Jay Lake.
High quality writing, subtly poetic, and giving the impression that you’re watching one part of a long, long story with real characters.
For my money, several nautical miles behind Elizabeth Bear and Sarah Monette’s ‘Boojum’ from the same collection, chosen by both Dozois and Hartwell/Cramer for their Year’s Best volumes.
Suffers a tiny bit through being the third story in a row that opens the volume with a relatively contemporary setting and light touch in terms of the SF/F elements, leaving this reader still waiting to properly take off.
A young girl in the 1950s with a knack for maths is pleased to find out from a visiting professor that numbers can have practical uses, and that they can even be magical.
It’s set in space, and there’s a bit of drama, and, erm, that’s really about it, in a fairly routine story.