Karen Burnham Reviews Short Fiction: Clarkesworld, Apex, Capricious, Apparition, and Aurealis

Clarkesworld 4/19 Apex 3/19 Capricious SF #11 Apparition #5 Aurealis #119

April’s Clarkesworld brings us the first in a planned run of stories translated from Korean, starting with “The Flowering” by Soyeon Jong (translated by Jihyun Park & Gord Sellar). This is a sly story told in interview style, with the sister of a known subversive who’s been working to literally ‘plant’ organic biotech routers to get ...Read More

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Karen Burnham Reviews Short Fiction: Lightspeed, Clarkesworld, Strange Horizons, and Tor.com

Lightspeed 4/19 Clarkesworld 3/19 Strange Horizons 3/19 Tor.com 2/19, 3/19

The strongest story in April’s Lightspeed magazine is Caroline M. Yoachim‘s “The Archronology of Love“. In the space of a short novelette, Yoachim does three things and does them very well: introduce a complicated new concept, develop a mystery plot, and portray a woman almost broken by grief over the death of her partner. The new concept ...Read More

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Karen Burnham Reviews Short Fiction: BCS, Mithila, Diabolical Plots, and Mad Scientist Journal

Beneath Ceaseless Skies #273, #274 Mithila Review #10 Diabolical Plots #47, #48 Mad Scientist Journal Winter 2019

Beneath Ceaseless Skies #273 brings us two coming-of-age stories, although they’re very different. “Through the Doorways, Whiskey Chile” by S.H. Mansouri is told in a twisted landscape of weirdo magic and a moonshiner Whiskey King. Brady Nokes is the king’s son; his Momma died when he was young and his father ...Read More

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Karen Burnham Reviews Short Fiction: Fiyah, Lightspeed, Future Tense, Abyss & Apex, and Cosmic Roots

Fiyah Winter ’19 Lightspeed 3/19 Future Tense 1/19 Abyss & Apex 1st Quarter ’19 Cosmic Roots and Eldritch Shores 1/19

Fiyah has its first unthemed issue with #9, which also marks a transition as founding editor Justina Ireland moves on and DaVaun Sanders joins Troy L. Wiggins on the editorial team. The stories here are all over the genre landscape, from fantasy to SF with more than a little surrealism ...Read More

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Karen Burnham Reviews Short Fiction: Tor.com, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and Clarkesworld

Tor.com 1/23/19, 1/30/19, 1/31/19 Beneath Ceaseless Skies 2/14/19, 2/28/19 Clarkesworld 2/19

Tor.com continues its strong January with stories from Mimi Mondal, JY Yang, and Elizabeth Bear. Mondal’s story “His Footsteps, Through Darkness and Light” tells of a circus traveling in India. Binu is a trapeze master deeply in love with a jinni, Shehzad Marid. When they perform at a lavish wedding, a devidasi (a woman ...Read More

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Karen Burnham Reviews Short Fiction: Lightspeed, See the Elephant, and Future Science Fiction

Lightspeed 1/19, 2/19 See the Elephant #4 Future Science Fiction Digest #1

January’s Lightspeed opens with a mythic science fictional novelette by A. Merc Rustad, “With Teeth Unmake the Sun“. It features war between immortal godlike beings, one of whom commands a wolf who can unmake planets, stars, and solar systems. While it is an agent of destruction, it has its own yearnings (and its own very ...Read More

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Karen Burnham Reviews Short Fiction: Tor.com, Clarkesworld, Strange Horizons, and Beneath Ceaseless Skies

Tor.com 1/14/19, 1/16/19 Clarkesworld 1/19 Strange Horizons 1/19, 2/19 Beneath Ceaseless Skies #270

After a hiatus in December, Tor.com returns in strength with a pair of stories by two great authors. “The Last Voyage of Skidbladnir” by Karin Tidbeck (her first new story in a while) gives us living starships who inhabit skyscrapers like hermit-crab shells. Saga is a crewmember on the ship Skidbladnir when it needs to ...Read More

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Karen Burnham Reviews Short Fiction: Strange Horizons, Clarkesworld, and Beneath Ceaseless Skies

Strange Horizons 12/18 Clarkesworld 12/18 Beneath Ceaseless Skies 12/6/18, 12/20/18, 1/3/19, 1/17/19

Strange Horizons starts December with a unique tale of imprisonment. In “How Pleasant the Red Bloom” by Lucy Har­low, the narrative literally wars with itself, as a well-mannered voice that writes in complete and elaborate sentences is edited and interrupted by a voice that seems deranged. It becomes clear that the first speaker is incarcerated ...Read More

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Karen Burnham Reviews Short Fiction: Fiyah, Deep Magic, Daily SF, Tor.com, and Abyss & Apex

Fiyah Autumn ’18 Deep Magic Fall ’18 Daily SF 11/28/18, 12/12/18, 12/14/18 Tor.com 10/24/18, 11/14/18 Abyss & Apex 4th Quarter 2018

The theme for the eighth issue of Fiyah is Pil­grimage, which is expressed in several different ways. “BULLET” by Stephen Kearse gives us the pilot of a weapon traveling across space for hundreds of days, giving her plenty of time to think about her mission and about ...Read More

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Karen Burnham Reviews Short Fiction: Shimmer, Clarkesworld, and Lightspeed

Shimmer 11/18 Clarkesworld 11/18 Lightspeed 12/18

As we say goodbye to 2018 we also bid a fond farewell to Shimmer, as their 46th issue is their last. After 13 years of pub­lication they go out in style with a 12-story triple issue that showcases the wide range of genre fic­tion that found a home between their covers over the years. It starts strongly with “Rotkäppchen” by Emily McCosh ...Read More

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Karen Burnham Reviews Short Fiction: Strange Horizons, Samovar, Giganotosaurus, Big Echo, Liminal, and Red Sun

Strange Horizons 10/18 Samovar 9/18 Giganotosaurus 11/18 Big Echo 8/18 Liminal Stories 8/18 Red Sun #3

Fall brings expanded coverage from Strange Ho­rizons as their successful annual fundraiser “un­locked” extra stories in October. “The Fortunate Death of Jonathan Sandelson” by Margaret Killjoy is one such story, a cyber-punkish tale of left wing activists using doxxing/IT/hacking tools to go after abusive corporate and government powers. Jeje has been following ...Read More

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Half a Year Online by Karen Burnham

At the beginning of 2018 I had no idea that I would end up reading so much short fiction from so many different venues that I would need a spreadsheet to keep track of it. Since I started reviewing online short fiction for Locus in the August issue (after the sad passing of Gardner Dozois – I very much wish I could read his 2018 year-end column this year) I’ve ...Read More

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Karen Burnham Reviews Short Fiction: Clarkesworld, Lightspeed, Omenana, BCS, and more

Clarkesworld 9/18 Lightspeed 11/18 Omenana #12 8/18 Beneath Ceaseless Skies 11/8/18, 11/22/18 Fireside 10/18 Apex 9/18, 10/18 Terraform 9/14/18, 9/23/18 e-flux 9/18 Cosmic Roots and Eldritch Shores 9/18

Clarkesworld brings us five original stories for the month of September, of which the strongest is “When We Were Starless” by newcomer Simone Heller. Starting out with an alien tribe eking out a subsistence living in a blasted wasteland, ...Read More

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Karen Burnham Reviews Short Fiction: Clarkesworld, BCS, Strange Horizons, Giganotosaurus, and Tor.com

Clarkesworld 9/18 Beneath Ceaseless Skies 10/11/18, 10/25/18 Strange Horizons 9/18, 10/18 Giganotosaurus 9/18 Tor.com 9/19/18

Clarkesworld has a strong issue in Sep­tember, leading off with Kelly Robson‘s story “A Study in Oils“. Written after Robson traveled to China on an arts grant, the story focuses on Zhang Lei, a Lunar hockey player running away from the consequences of a crime he committed on the ice. Lying low ...Read More

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Karen Burnham Reviews Short Fiction: Future Tense, Lightspeed, Apex, and Future Fire

Future Tense 8/18 Lightspeed 10/18 Apex Magazine 8/18 Future Fire 8/18

Slate’s Future Tense short story for August, “When We Were Patched” by Deji Bryce Olukotun, finishes their series looking at the future of sport. The narrator is a particularly officious AI, and never has a character had more rationale for having a stuffy tone: this AI is an augmented refereeing as­sistant for a particularly awesome kind ...Read More

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Karen Burnham Reviews Short Fiction: Clarkesworld, Fiyah, Future Tense, Abyss & Apex, Fireside, and GigaNotoSaurus

Clarkesworld 8/18 Fiyah Summer ’18 Future Tense 7/23/18 Abyss & Apex 7/18 Fireside Magazine 8/18 GigaNotoSaurus 8/18

Clarkesworld in August starts out with a story that’s an entrant in that evergreen subgenre: “unfathomable alien technology.” In “The Veilonaut’s Dream” by Henry Szabranski, the veilonauts are those willing to risk darting through the Discontinuity, randomly occurring portals into other times/places/universes with no way home if the portal closes ...Read More

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Karen Burnham Reviews Short Fiction: Lightspeed, BCS, Tor.com, and CSZ

Lightspeed 8/18, 9/18 Beneath Ceaseless Skies 9/18 Tor.com 7/19/18, 8/1/18 Cascadia Subduction Zone, Vol 8, No. 3

Lightspeed has reached its 100th issue! A proud milestone for any magazine, they celebrate in style this September with a more-than-double issue: ten stories plus extra reprints and interviews. It leads with a mythic SF story, “Her Monster, Whom She Loved” by Vylar Kaftan. In this story a goddess births ...Read More

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Karen Burnham Reviews Short Fiction: Tor.com, Clarkesworld, Fireside, Giganotosaurus & Strange Horizons

Tor.com 6/20/18, 7/11/18 Clarkesworld 7/18 Fireside 7/18 Giganotosaurus 7/18 Strange Horizons 7/30/18

July also brings a special issue of Strange Hori­zons, with six stories guest edited by Sheree Renée Thomas, Erin Roberts & Rasha Abdulhadi. The issue focuses on the Southeastern USA and writing by black, indigenous, and POC authors. I only saw four before this issue went to press, but they all pack a punch. Christopher Caldwell‘s “ ...Read More

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Karen Burnham Reviews Short Fiction from Beneath Ceaseless Skies

Beneath Ceaseless Skies 6/21/18, 7/5/18, 7/19/18, 8/2/18, 8/16/18, 8/20/18

Starting out a new-to-me short fiction reviewing column, I find myself in the enviable position of having a lot of issues of Beneath Ceaseless Skies to catch up on. The blend of fantasy, dark fiction, and dreams present throughout the stories gives BCS a par­ticularly strong character. September marks its tenth anniversary, and editor Scott H. Andrews has brought out a ...Read More

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Karen Burnham Reviews Short Fiction: Fireside Fiction, GigaNotoSaurus, Strange Horizons, and Augur

Fireside Fiction 6/18 GigaNotoSaurus 6/18 Strange Horizons 6/2/18 – 8/20/18 Augur 6/18

Fireside Fiction #56 provides four short pieces, of which the most memorable is “Cast Off Tight” by Hal Y. Zhang. A man is grieving the loss of his girlfriend when he realizes he can literally hear her when he touches her unfinished knitting project. A trip to the yarn store yields a new technology (thread ...Read More

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Karen Burnham Reviews Short Fiction: Clarkesworld, Tor.com, Shimmer, Apex, and Lightspeed

Clarkesworld 6/18 Tor.com 6/6/18 Shimmer 7/18 Apex 6/18 Lightspeed 7/18

I’d like to honor the debt I owe to Gardner Dozois: for several illuminating exchanges over the years, for many books, for his editing, and for his reviews. I was shocked and saddened when I heard about his sudden passing. I hope to follow in his footsteps, reading as widely as possible, promoting new voices and new perspec­tives, and getting ...Read More

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Karen Burnham Reviews Short Fiction: Horrible Consequences for Digital People

I suspect that science fiction will never run out of ways for things to go wrong with uploaded consciousness. Right now we can’t even simulate a mouse brain accurately, and maybe in the far distant future of Greg Egan’s Amalgam stories everything will be flawless (at least as far as the tech is concerned), but between now and then lies a vast and storyable gulf in which advances will be ...Read More

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Karen Burnham Reviews Short Fiction: Fireside Fiction

One of the lovely parts of being out of the field for a couple of years is catching up with the venues that have blossomed while I’ve been away. Fireside Fiction looks like it was just hitting its stride as I was fading out. Currently edited by Julia Rios, I’ve been quite impressed with their recent offerings.

One story that stands out for me is “The Secret Lives of the ...Read More

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Karen Burnham Reviews Short Fiction, with Spoilers

Locus has been kind enough to allow me to start a different sort of short fiction review column here. If you want to be up-to-date on the amazingly wide variety of short fiction being published in magazines, anthologies, and online—then you need to be subscribing to Locus Magazine. You’ll get Gardner Dozois and Rich Horton’s columns devoted to short fiction and anthology reviews by the rest of the contributors: Gary ...Read More

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Karen Burnham reviews AfroSF v2

AfroSF v2, Ivor W. Hartmann, ed. (StoryTime 978-91-982913-1-5, $16.00, 488pp, pb) December 2015.

In 2015 editor Ivor W. Hartmann returned to the theme of his 2012 anthology, AfroSF: Science Fiction by African Writers. While the original volume contained stories by over 20 authors, this second volume takes a riskier approach, present­ing five novellas by six authors. The novella is sometimes called the perfect vehicle for science fiction: long ...Read More

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Karen Burnham reviews Carolyn Ives Gilman

Dark Orbit, Carolyn Ives Gilman (Tor 978-0-7653-3629-3, $25.99, 304pp, hc) July 2015.Dark Orbit is the most recent entry in Carolyn Ives Gilman’s Twenty Planets setting, which also hosted her Nebula Award-nominated novellas ‘‘Arkfall’’ and ‘‘The Ice Owl’’. In this future people can choose to send themselves to distant planets by beaming their information at light speed around the galaxy, then being reconstituted teleporter-style on the other side. Slower ...Read More

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Karen Burnham reviews The Mammoth Book of SF Stories by Women

Although one would expect the stories in an anthology titled The Mammoth Book of SF Stories by Women to be worlds away from a Lethem collection, they may have more in common with Lucky Alan than with stories found in an issue of Analog. Certainly there is also something of an entry ramp here: the opening story is Sofia Samatar’s ‘‘Girl Hours’’, which occupies a space halfway between a poem ...Read More

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Karen Burnham reviews Kiini Ibura Salaam

In her introduction to Kiini Ibura Salaam’s debut collection, Ancient, Ancient, Nisi Shawl mentions her response to a question about the effect of the Afro-diaspora on genre literature: ‘‘Everything is going to get a lot sexier.’’ The very first story in this collection, ‘‘Desire’’, proves that right out of the gate. A delightful folkloric tale, it tells of a pregnant woman, who normally thinks more about work than about ...Read More

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Five Golden Things–Karen Burnham

In the wake of the recent Locus All-Centuries Poll results, there’s been a lot of conversation about lists. It seems like there are more lists out there than you can list: Best of the Year, Award Winners, Award Nominees, Best I Read Last Year, Most Popular, etc. Now that we’ve wrapped up a popular voted-on list, I thought that I’d make some space here for quirky lists curated by specific ...Read More

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Karen Burnham and John Scalzi in Conversation: Redshirts, Touring, and More

I took advantage of John Scalzi’s swing through Houston on his book tour promoting the new novel Redshirts. We talk about touring, audiences, Ray Bradbury, the Golden Age, and how Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy killed sf humor for a generation. A short, fast conversation that I hope you’ll enjoy.

http://locusmag.com/Blog/BurnhamScalzi.mp3 ...Read More Read more

Karen Burnham and Karen Lord in Conversation: Science, Communication, and Society

For this episode of the Locus Roundtable podcast, I talk with Karen Lord – recent winner of the Mythopoeic award and World Fantasy Award nominee for her debut novel Redemption in Indigo. She also has a background in physics as well as public policy, giving her a unique perspective on science and literature. We talk (and laugh) about science, science fiction, communication and society, ‘hard’ sciences and ‘soft’ sciences, ...Read More

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Karen Burnham and Ted Chiang In Conversation

To follow on from my recent post on rogue AIs (and to celebrate the lack of missiles being launched by a newly awakened Skynet), I decided to post this podcast that I recorded with Ted Chiang recently. While we start off talking about Greg Egan’s work, we move into a broader discussion of AIs–how they may need to be evolved and grown, and how they are sometimes characters in sf, ...Read More

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