The theme of the story is humanity pulling in on itself, a turtle withdrawing it’s head into it’s shell (Irvine’s imagery), and it’s a good read.
Nice take on the Singularity, from the perspective of teen whose parents ‘Singled’ when he was a toddler.
Chris Piccinetti provides a wonderfully literal cover image to go with this story title. Fortunately the story doesn’t feature beachball-sized floating eyeballs staring at an unbothered bovine.
The difference between what is real, and what is dream, and who is doing the dreaming, and what it all means, becomes very, very blurred.
Short piece to start the Fermi Paradox themed collection, as we look inside one man’s mind, courtesy of his psychiatrist, at the relationship between intergalactic and interpersonal loneliness.
The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction finishes 2009 with an issue of their now standard bi-monthly size, but dated for a single month to enable a clean start in 2010 with a Jan/Feb issue. Alex Irvine. Dragon’s Teeth. Irvine’s ‘Wizard Six’ in F&SF June 2007 was a strong and dark fantasy story. In a… Continue reading The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, December 2009
Sean McMullen. The Twilight Year. A historical tale with the merest whiff of the fantastical. England in the mid-sixth century is the setting, with the populace struggling under the few remaining vestiges of Roman rule, and under the blanket of volcanic cloud spewed from the eruption of Krakatoa. In such times perhaps a mighty hero… Continue reading The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, January 2008
Matthew Hughes. Sweet Trap. Further adventures of Hengis Hapthorne, in a story previously in the limited edition of the first novel in which he appeared. Those of you who enjoy the Hapthorne tales will doubtless be looking forward to a further novel, The Spiral Labyrinth, which is due out shortly. Charles Coleman Finlay. An Eye… Continue reading The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, June 2007
Alex Irvine. Shambhala. The story was inspired by the illustration by Mark Evans which graces the cover, and is, like the cover, an excellent addition to a previously well covered trope. Irvine considers a future in which uploading to a virtual reality has been chosen by many, and looks at just how precarious that life… Continue reading The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, March 2006
Steven Popkes. The Great Caruso. A long-term smoker sources some dubious cigarettes, and finds that her lungs have been subtly changed by inhaled nano-tech. One of the beneficial side effects of the nanites is an improved singing voice, which she uses to good effect. When pneumonia finally takes her, she finds that the nanites have… Continue reading The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, May 2005
Alex Irvine. The Lorelei. A nice piece of writing about the fin-de-siecle New York art scene, in which an aspiring young artist travels to the city, and falls under the muse of an older artist, himself under the spell of another muse. Not much F&SF in it, though.. John G. McDaid. Keyboard Practice : consisting… Continue reading The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, January 2005
Mark W. Tiedemann. Rain from Another Country. Even after her death, Ann Myref is trying to seek closure on her broken relationship with Will. Travelling off-Earth, something she was simply too afraid to do whilst alive, is perversely less of a problem as she has arranged for a temporary upload of herself to travel to… Continue reading The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, September 2004
Matthew Hughes. Mastermindless. The protagonist realises with a start that his facial features and his intellectual capacity are suddenly less impressive than they usually are. Fortuantely his AI is still AOK, the I remaining an I rather than being reduced to i. Worse still, he is financially in reduced circumstances. Evidently transdimensional nefariousness is being… Continue reading The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, March 2004
Bret Bertholf. Alfred Bester Is Alive and Well and Living in Winterset, Iowa. A ‘doozy’ according to the editorial intro, and I concur. What is particularly refreshing is that Bertholf adds a variety of graphics (from Virgil Finlay to Dr Seuss) to an already psychedelic text that could come straight fromthe 1960s, as an AI… Continue reading The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, September 2003
Buy a copy from Amazon. M. Shayne Bell. Anomalous Structures of My Dreams. When the protagonist finds himself in a Medicare-funded shared hospital room suffering from an AIDS-related bout of pneumonia, things seems pretty low – he is lonely and cut off from friends and family. Things quickly go from bad to worse, as the… Continue reading The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, January 2003
Paul Di Filippo. The Short Ashy Afterlife of Hiram P. Dottle. The bookish Dottle finds his path from quiet middle age to the end of his life takes a rather strange, and shorter, turn when he meets an attractive young woman. His naivety prevents him from seeing that she is a gold-digger, and unfortunately for… Continue reading Fantasy and Science Fiction May 2002
Yesterday’s Tomorrows. Kate Wilhelm. Not a Kate Wilhelm Special Issue as it says on the cover, but a Special Kate Wilhelm Section as it says on the contents page, which includes this story, an appreciation by Gordon van Gelder, and a bibliography by William G. Contento. For three quarters of this story I was enthralled.… Continue reading Fantasy and Science Fiction September 2001
Have Not Have. Geoff Ryman. Classy stuff. The societal impact of technology is something that Ryman has written on before (‘Everywhere’ from Interzone and Dozois 17th being set in the NE of England). This story takes us to a remote Chinese village, providing an exquisite look at traditional lives of people who by todays/tomorrows standards… Continue reading Fantasy and Science Fiction April 2001
Alex Irvine. Shepherded by Galatea. A few pages in, with a lot more information about the chemistry in the upper stratosphere of Neptune than I could ever want to know, I did a quick check of the front cover to see if I was reading Analog. Nope, I was reading Asimovs, and to give Irvine… Continue reading Asimovs, March 2003
Stories by : Ted Chiang, Peter S. Beagle, Charles Stross, Greg Egan, Daryl Gregory, Jeffrey Ford, Holly Black, Ted Kosmatka, Alex Irvine, Daniel Abraham, Nancy Kress, Bruce Sterling, Theodore Goss, Neil Gaiman, Stephen Baxter, Ken Macleod, Susan Palwick, Michael Swanwick, M. Rickert, Tony Daniel, Elizabeth Hand, Chris Roberson, Elizabeth Bear, Kelly Link.
Overall, the quality of the stories is high, and a fine collection showcasing primarily British authors, although perhaps just a tad below the quality of last year’s ‘Constellations’.
Stories by : Alastair Reynolds, Alex Irvine, Bruce Sterling, Charles Coleman Finlay, Charles Stross, Chris Beckett, Eleanor Arnason, Geoff Ryman, Greg Egan, Gregory Benford, Ian McDonald, Ian R. Macleod, James Van Pelt, John Kessel, John Meaney, Kage Baker, Maureen F. McHugh, Michael Swanwick, Molly Gloss, Nancy Kress, Paul McAuley, Richard Wadholm, Robert Reed, Steven Popkes, Walter Jon Williams
All in all, an interesting varied collection, and well worth the shelf-space.