The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, January 2009

Charles Coleman Finlay. The Minutemen’s Witch.

Adventure set against the American Revolution, with added witchcraft. Part of a series that includes three novels to be sold under the C C Finlay byline.

Carol Emshwiller. The Perfect Infestation.

Wry take on an alien attempt to take over the Earth through an unusual agent. Their agent proves loyal to mankind (which should come as no surprise), leaving the aliens barking mad.

Albert E. Cowdrey. Seafarer’s Blood.

Eric is at a low point in his life, sleeping in a futon in the spare room, he and his wife becoming increasingly distant. Eric is having trouble with his dreams, something he has had since childhood, but now taking him as an observer back to Viking times. However, things become extremely complicated when his link with the past becomes much more palpable, and indeed whilst he is seeing through the Viking’s eyes, it transpires that the Viking has been making use of Eric’s body. Eric has it seems, Viking DNA in him, and his wife is pleased to welcome the change in Eric’s personality.

Jerry Oltion. All in Fun.

Short wry story. Toby has been very sensible with his ability to have his wishes come true, limiting himself to a Christmas Day wish each year. However, despite his wishes having brought him pretty much everything a man could want, he just feels that he wants more … fun.

Patricia Ferrera. Rising Waters.

F&SF are running a monthly reprint of a classic story by way of celebrating their latest annivesary. This is a choice by one Anne Devereaux Jordan, a horror story from 1987 in which a young boy swims out in the local lake to a house who roof has just re-appeared. Once he gets closer to it, he finds he is drawn closer to it than he wants, and what he finds in the watery attic….

Barry B. Longyear. The Monopoly Man.

Cheri is rescued from a life on the streets, with a vicious pimp after her, by a gentleman who takes an interest in her and sets her up in a rehab centre. Cheri makes the most of the opportunity offered, and eventually solves the riddle of the mysterious benefactor.

Michael Meddor. The Boy Who Sang for Others.

A young boy in a rural community is kicked in the head by a horse, and suffers brain damage that renders him mute and withdrawn. However, once in Church he sings like… not like an angel, but like those now in the graveyard.

There is a difference of opinion in how to deal with this, but Granny from the mountains has her ways, and indeed she knows more about that which is possessing him.

Jim Aiken. An Elvish Sword of Great Antiquity.

A short fantasy in which the sword of the title takes unkindly to being handled.

Dean Whitlock. Changeling.

An effective contemporary fantasy in which a young man finds the homely waitress at the local restaurant can take him on a journey to an althogether different place.

Conclusion.

A goodly collection of fantasy, with those with a penchant for fantasy over science fiction doubtless getting more from the stories than I did. For my money, Meddor’s was the pick of the issue.

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