The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, March 2007

Fred Chappell. Dance of Shadows.

If you like your fantasy wordy and with loquacious characters using verbose and flowery language, and with a mystery to be solved, you’ll enjoy this story.

Robert Reed. Magic With Thirteen-Year-Old Boys.

Of late Reed has a production-line going of stories which feel like they’re drawn from a small piece of personal history or observation. Here a gang of boys stumble across a stash of porn in the woods, but there is something strange about the photographs. What Reed is a master at is adding that something a little special to the story, which here is the narrator, whose telling of the history, with a twist in the tale, is subtle and well handled.

Having said that, it does feel like a little while since Reed produced a real mind-boggler of a story.

Matthew Hughes. The Helper and His Hero. Pt II.

A substantial second part to the conclusion of this cycle of Guth Bandar’s adventures.

M. Rickert. Memoir of a Deer Woman.

A short story with a palpable sense of regret and longing in the few pages it takes up telling of a woman who has to leave her husband due to a change in her very self.

Ron Goulart. The Devil Bats Will Be A Little Late This Year.

A horror screenwriter finds the line between fantasy and reality blurs after a panicked call from his ex-wife : it appears a ghost has been trying to put the willies up her.

Conclusion.

Not having bothered with the lengthy Hughes story, as is my wont, there wasn’t a huge amount to get to grips with, with Reed, Rickert and Goulart all providing stories of the ilk that they regularly provide for F&SF ie well written and OK for what they are, but none of them a humdinger.

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