Hughes posits a novel method for transiting multiverses – the use of chanting. Bandar is a novice of the Institute of Historical Inquiry, wending his way, unseen, through historical incidents, in an attempt to win a bursary at the Institute. However, his best-laid plains are thrown into dangerous confusion as a rival for the award pulls a fast one and leaves him stranded. However, not only can Bandar chant his way out of trouble, he can also affect changes in the size of his bodily parts, a demonstration of which (ahem) with a well-greased matron (I kid you not) is a memorable scene, providing a climax (or several) before the story comes to a slightly flaccid end.
A.A. Attanasio. Zero’s Twin.
A mathematician obsessed with Dedekind domains, finds that his pursuit of zero place theorem brings love to him from the future in the form of a goddess seeking out her own creator (himself) in a complex closed-loop love affair. He is left with memories, and a perpetually warm mug from which she drank.
Joe Haldeman. Faces.
Cover story. An odd-couple on a planet circling Lalande stumble across colossal, ancient statues built by the indigenous race. However, these faces have a strange effect on humans, and the couple are only saved by the hypnotic trance by their unrequited love.
Kit Reed. Zombie Love.
Lying abed at night, Dana Graver is in deep despond due to a broken heart, but initially is of course less than overjoyed at the visitation from a zombie. However, after a lengthy conversation, she comes round to seeing the benefits of that which he offers.
Arthur Porges. By the Light of Day.
A short short by a Big Name, in which a medieval torturer-in-chief has to keep on his toes.
Ray Vukcevich. Glinky.
The pick of the issue for me. A story difficult to describe, suffice to say that a private eye finds the world he is in is suddenly somewhat, bizarrely, different.
Charles Coleman Finlay. After the Gaud Chrysalis.
The second adventure involving Vertir and Kuikin (the first in F&SF March 2003). Of that story I wrote : ‘A wry cod-fantasy yarn, in which a wise-cracking pair of thieves go a-robbing. Quite probably a treat if you like that kind of thing’. In this case replace ‘a-robbing’ with ‘a-retrieving’.
A reasonable issue, covering the spread of F&SF (&H) quite impressively.