The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Jan/Feb 2011


Pat MacEwen. Home Sweet Bi’Ome.

A gently humorous story with a very strong female protagonist and viewpoint. She suffers terribly from allergies, and has retreated to her own house in the quiet countryside, a house grown from her own DNA. It’s totally biological, non-synthetic, and attuned to her and her needs (and the soft furnishings and carpeting are … interesting).

However, MacEwen posits a fly in this ointment, as the house is at risk of infection as are the rest of us, as the house owner finds out. Help is at hand, although the techie who comes to diagnose the problem is a man who is not quite in tune with her worldview. However….

Kate Wilhelm. The Bird Cage.

A science thriller, although perhaps not as suspenseful as it might be.

There are side effects out of scientific research, funded by a multi-millionaire with a terminal illness. The crux of the story is initially what is happening to two adults, one the brother of, and the other, a school friend of, a man who has volunteered for that research. He is in an induced deep, long sleep, and his dreams are affecting this pair, who see flashbacks to childhood events with him, but from his perspective.

The story shifts, sometimes awkwardly, between their perspective and that of the head of the research team. The suspense is developed through them trying to find out his whereabouts, and to find out what exactly is going on. Once this happens, it’s a bit of an anti-climax, albeit with a major decision by the research, but that decision doesn’t have much of an impact on the reader on the basis of the rather two-dimensional nature of the character on whom the impact of that decision is felt.

Rick Norwood. Long Time.

Norwood gets biblical and mythological on our sorry asses with a longevity theme. You don’t have to be familiar with the fat fantasy novels ‘Bible’ and the more populist sequal ‘Bible II: This Time He Sent His Son’ on which the story draws, but it probably helps.

Chris Lawson. Canterbury Hollow.

A beautiful little SF love story. Strong SF setting, and gorgeously written by Lawson with a deft touch that stops the story slipping into mawkishness

James Stoddard. Christmas at Hostage Canyon.

A young boy finds out that there is a much, much darker side to Christmas Eve. Fortunately there is someone on hand to make sure that Christmas Day is a day of celebration, not mourning.

Jim Young. The Whirlwind.

Stuck in a simulation, with limited memory, Ben has to make sense of just what is happening – a whirlwind dispensing advice, and two companions – one very antagonistic male, and a woman.


Albert E. Cowdrey. The Bogle.

Chilling domestic horror – the elder son in the family, the apple of his mom’s eye, heads off to Korea, taking conscription ahead of juvenile penitentiary. Whilst his younger brother and the community at large are glad to see the troublemaker out of the way, his mother keeps a light burning in the window. One that she keeps lit longer after a fateful telegram. And her favourite son (in fact, the only one she recognises) is able to return to the her bosom, at great expense to the rest of the family.

Bill Pronzini and Barry N. Malzberg. Paradise Last.

Zombie lurve – proving that sex in the after life is not dead boring.

Richard A. Lupoff. 12:02 PM.

Back in Dec 1973, we are informed, Lupoff’s ’12:01 PM’ appeared in F&SF, subsequently turned into a tv movie.

Here he looks at someone trapped in a Groundhog Day – seemingly the only person in the world who is aware that they are endlessly repeating a single hour in time. With only an hour to play with each time, can he work out why it is happening and work out a fix?


Alan Dean Foster. Ghost Wind : a Mad Amos Malone Story.

A story featuring Mad Amos Malone and, I would guess, a wind of ghostly origin.

Matthew Corradi. The Ghilling Blade.

Fantasy novellete following Selestriian Dah’nok’s loss of the titular blade, and his involvement with wraiths, the water-witch of Sultantis, and the Obixx, which he reaches via Boroxis on the path to Erastiss, before he finds the Dinisistrii solution.

Not my cup of tea (or perhaps not my goblet of cha-ii).

Conclusion.

A strong issue, with plenty of high quality fiction across fantasy, science fiction, and horror, with a touch of humour by way of light relief.

One Response to The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Jan/Feb 2011

  1. Justin Reilly April 11, 2011 at 2:02 pm #

    To be fair, Norwood’s story was based on the Epic of Gilgamesh, not that later day fanfic we know as the Bible (complete with Yahweh, the ultimate Mary Sue stealing the spotlight from the original cast).

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