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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A subtle, clever story – does the new world require that even the most heroic of heroes are required to stand up and be counted, even deep into retirement?
An unsettling story. One to sleep on perhaps. Perchance to dream…
Tongue-in-cheek superhero fun in Tel Aviv.
A second story in in this issue of greater length than you often get in small press magazine, and also SF rather than contemporary speculative.
Short urban fantasy in which a young girl living rough on the streets is enraptured by a young man she meets.
A grim read, with some unsympathetic characters, and a mashup vision of a Broken Britain from right-wing tabloids, and of state-oppression from the libertarians.
A promising debut.
An intriguing setting and setup, from an author I’m not that familiar with.
Six-pager in which the mystery of the Punctuality Drive is revealed to a potential Empress, who realises that she may however have a more hands-on role to play in the maintenance of the Drive.
A beautifully written story – an angel is sent to take on the role of the artist’s muse.
After a fantasy story and some verse, Gud #5 provides some solid SF, in the shape of a story that looks from the perspectives of the indigenous race and the visting humans who are intent on terraforming their world for human settlers already en route.
Tale of interspecies conflict – the tone of the story doesn’t work for me, and the story as a whole doesn’t convince and doesn’t engage.
Set in the same ‘post-Mistake’ setting of Lake’s ‘Torquing Vacuum’, which appeared in Clarkesworld Magazine a few weeks back, and which impressed me.
Another good story from Sandford, to add to his growing IZ ouvre.
Rus(c)hed through at breakneck speed, with little mystery, as things happen very quickly and progress the story with almost indecent haste.
Does the ghostly whistle of a late night train, with no railway nearby, offer an opportunity to escape?
A young man, struggling with his girlfriend’s infedility, finds things get much, much worse as the dark, undead canine horrors lurking underneath the streets of Albany close in.
Short, not very subtle blackly humorous take on nano-meds.
A clever story with matrioshka-type realities in play.
A lighter tone from Doctorow to the opening stories in this volume, in a homage to Star Trek (The Original Series), its tropes and characters..
Five traditional fairy tales through the wry lens of modern (in)sensibilities, as is F&SF’s regular wont.
A story that requires, and rewards. the reader’s close attention.
Further adventures of Gorlen Vizenfirthe, for afficionadoes of fantasy featuring bards.
The story reads somewhat like one I’d expect to see from a new writer, produced for a workshop. There are several ideas in there, but it’s never clear what is the author’s focus or intention
Short fantasy in a world where when the hunting season opens, the game that is being chased are goblins, faeries and all manner of fantastical creatures.
Tight drama with an interesting background.
L’empereur est mort. Vive L’empereur!
Baxter concludes his XeeLee timeline. What strange forces have been at work so that during a couple of days taken as leave from work, I end up reading Baxter’s ‘Starfall’, which has been sitting on my laptop as a PDF for a year, and this story from Analog, which has been sitting on my ‘to be read’ shelf for about six months, in an afternoon sitting?
Star-spanning combat, part of the XeeLee sequence.
I have to own up to much preferring Baxter’s SF to his alternate history – oh for the XeeLee days!
The backdrop, hinted at on a galactic level (they’re in a ‘post-Mistake’ universe), with genetic modification, and privilege and status to contend with, is a mature one. The same sex relationship is a refreshing change, and it’s an altogether satisfying read.
Watts gets into the mind of the creature that was John Carpenter’s ‘The Thing’ (via Richard Matheson’s original story).
Good to see another author being given a chance in Asimovs, and certainly the best of the few of her stories that I’ve read. I look forward to seeing more – hopefully with her moving on to even more alien landscapes,
An engagingly told story, with an interesting background, partially glimpsed from a vantage point behind the bushes outside the dancehall.
A ghost story set in Italy after the Second World War.
Ultra-hard SF, ultra-far future.
Broderick suckers the reader into thinking his dyspeptic dystopian view is a wry comment on our current society, until…
Low on tech, high on humanity, an excellent Asimovs debut. (And ruminations on Avatar and The War Horse).
A powerful and human story from someone at the top of their form.
The storytelling is handled well in the mannered style of the 1930s.
Embracing the wilds, a man eschews that which he has left behind, to become one with the land on which he lives.
Clever reflection on the current issues with the Iranian nuclear bomb-building programme. Reed postulates a world in which the USA keeps a very firm stranglehold on its nuclear bomb technology..
The story introduction refers to an inspiration for this story being ‘Men of Tomorrow’, a
A deceptively affecting short story from Tem.
For a new writer, it’s a well-handled story. The main characters are portrayed well, and perhaps only a slight issue with the dramatic resolution – although in the limited space, perhaps little option for the author. I’ll look forward to more stories from Shoulders.
Landis gets the signal honour of being the first story to be reviewed on the new-improved Best SF. Who needs a Hugo or Nebula when you’ve got an honour like this!
Stationary on a motorway for 30 minutes. Doh! But wait, I have my new itouch, and I have some SF stories stored on it. What to read?
If you haven’t read it yet, click here to read it. I’d much rather you
This story will stick in the mind, with Joyce creating some eminently solid three-dimensional characters.
This is a fascinating novella, although difficult to classify as genre.
Hamilton provides a breathtaking novella, which covers a couple of centuries, and a quantum leap for humanity.
Ryman continues PS Publishing’s run of high quality novellas.
Richard Calder’s purple (at times turgidly so) prose featured regularly in UK magazine Interzone with