Rich Horton Reviews For the Killing of Kings by Howard Andrew Jones

For the Killing of Kings, Howard Andrew Jones (St. Martin’s Press, 978-1250006813, $26.99, 368pp, hc) February 2019.

For the Killing of Kings, the opening volume of a new fantasy trilogy by Howard Andrew Jones, is exciting, absorbing, and a great deal of fun, and it ends on a cliffhanger, which is, perhaps, to be expected. It’s fairly traditional fantasy in form and action, with a small band of heroes ...Read More

Read more

Rich Horton Reviews Books by David F. Shultz, Cynthia Ward, and Peter Watts

Strange Economics, David F. Shultz, ed. (TdotSpec) August 2018. The Adventure of the Dux Bellorum, Cynthia Ward (Aqueduct) September 2018. The Freeze-Frame Revolution, Peter Watts (Tachyon) June 2018.

Strange Economics is an anthology devoted to stories examining economics from highly speculative viewpoints, both science fictional and fantastical, and is quite successful at that. The stories are mostly fairly short and uneven, but I quite liked the ideas ...Read More

Read more

Rich Horton Reviews Short Fiction: Uncanny, F&SF, Interzone, Galaxy’s Edge, and Granta

Uncanny 1-2/19 F&SF 1-2/19 Interzone 1-2/19 Galaxy’s Edge 1/19 Granta Autumn ’18

Uncanny in January-February features a challenging story from Fran Wilde. (The last time I wrote about Wilde’s work I called both stories I covered “challenging.” I am sure I did it on purpose, and I am even surer Wilde does it on purpose.) “A Catalog of Storms” is built around names given to different kinds ...Read More

Read more

Rich Horton Reviews Snow White Learns Witchcraft by Theodora Goss and Sooner or Later Everything Falls into the Sea by Sarah Pinsker

Snow White Learns Witchcraft, Theodora Goss (Mythic Delirium) February 2019.

Theodora Goss‘s Snow White Learns Witchcraft is a selection of stories and poems recasting tradi­tional fairy tales. This has been a consistent source of inspiration for Goss – I recall reviewing her first published story, “The Rose in Twelve Petals”, in one of my first columns in these pages. That story (a Sleeping Beauty take) is in this ...Read More

Read more

Rich Horton Reviews Short Fiction: Analog, Asimov’s, Amazing, and Longshot Island

Analog 1-2/19 Asimov’s 1-2/19 Amazing Winter ’18 Longshot Island 2/18

Analog opens 2019 with a varied set of sto­ries that include some striking and unusual work. For example “Love in the Time of Immuno-Sharing” by Andy Dudak is set in a future city-state (of sorts), the Moveable Feast, in which sexual fashions turn on mingling disease profiles, with the notion of increasing everyone’s resistance. “Repro-sex” is frowned upon. ...Read More

Read more

Rich Horton Reviews Short Fiction: Conjunctions 71, Sword and Sonnet, and Aurum

Conjunctions:71: A Cabinet of Curiosity, Bradford Morrow, ed. (Bard College) September 2018.

Sword and Sonnet, Aidan Doyle, Rachael K. Jones & E. Catherine Tobler, eds. (Ate Bit Bear) July 2018.

Aurum, Russell B. Farr, ed. (Ticonderoga Press) October 2018.

I keep an eye on several mainstream “little magazines” (though this one is quite big) that are hospitable to SF. Conjunctions:71: A Cabinet of Curiosity features stories ...Read More

Read more

Rich Horton Reviews Short Fiction: F&SF, Uncanny, Interzone, Galaxy’s Edge, and Bourbon Penn

F&SF 11-12/18 Uncanny 11-12/18 Interzone 9-10/18 Galaxy’s Edge 11/18 Bourbon Penn 11/18

Sean McMullen‘s “Extreme” from the November-December F&SF can be called SF horror, I suppose, though the horror is moral and arises from the social and economic extrapolation at the center of the story. Set in the relatively near future, the narrator is a man addicted to extreme experiences, due to genetics with the help of ...Read More

Read more

Rich Horton Reviews The Million, People Change, and Mother of Invention

The Million, Karl Schroeder (Tor.com) August 2018. People Change, Gwynne Garfinkle (Aqueduct Press) October 2018. Mother of Invention, Rivqa Rafael & Tansy Rayner Roberts, eds. (Twelfth Planet Press) Sep­tember 2019.

The Million by Karl Schroeder is a very intrigu­ing novella set in the future of his novel Lockstep, which I have not read. In this future, Earth is in­habited by close to one million people who ...Read More

Read more

Rich Horton Reviews Short Fiction: Asimov’s, Analog, Robots vs Fairies, The Book of Magic, and An Agent of Utopia

Asimov’s 11-12/18 Analog 11-12/18 Robots vs Fairies, Dominik Parisien & Navah Wolfe, eds. (Saga Press) January 2018. The Book of Magic, Gardner Dozois, ed. (Ban­tam) October 2018. An Agent of Utopia, Andy Duncan (Small Beer Press) December 2018.

The stories in the final 2018 issue of Analog that worked best for me seem also exem­plars of “Analog being Analog” – pure SF extrapolation, both near-future gadget stuff ...Read More

Read more

Memories of 2018 by Rich Horton

Sadly, what sticks most with me about 2018 is how many greats we lost. Two SFWA Grand Masters, and two more who very plausi­bly could have been named Grand Masters.

On January 22, the in­comparable Ursula K. Le Guin died. She was perhaps the best writer in our field, and was plausibly men­tioned as a candidate for the Nobel Prize in Literature. On March 8, we lost Kate Wilhelm, who ...Read More

Read more

Rich Horton Reviews Short Fiction: F&SF, Galaxy’s Edge, Uncanny, and Alfred Hitchcock

F&SF 9-10/18 Galaxy’s Edge 9/18 Uncanny 9-10/18 Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine 9-10/18

The September-October F&SF includes a story from the daughter of one of our greatest writers (and an F&SF regular). “Suicide Watch” by Su­san Emshwiller is a horrific near-future story in which suicides are a form of reality entertainment – the rights to witness them are sold to individuals who show up to the appointed location. The ...Read More

Read more

Rich Horton Reviews Infinity’s End Edited by Jonathan Strahan and Infinite Fantastika by Paul Di Filippo

Infinity’s End, Jonathan Strahan, ed. (Solaris) September 2018. Infinite Fantastika, Paul Di Filippo (WordFire Press) September 2018.

Alas, Jonathan Strahan’s Infinity’s End is the final entry in his Infinity Project series. It’s a very strong book, and these volumes stand with the very best original anthol­ogy series ever in the field, series like Fred Pohl’s Star, Damon Knight’s Orbit, Robert Silverberg’s New Dimensions, and Terry Carr’s Universe. This ...Read More

Read more

Rich Horton Reviews Short Fiction: Asimov’s, Analog, On Spec, and Amazing Stories

Asimov’s 9-10/18 Analog 9-10/18 On Spec #108 Amazing Stories Fall ’18

As usual, there is a certain focus on Halloween-themed stories in the Sep­tember-October Asimov’s. The cover novella comes from a writer one hardly expects to be working in that mode, but Greg Egan‘s “3-adica” does open in a foggy Victorian Lon­don of sorts, and Sagreda and her lover Mathis do encounter dangerous vampires. It’s quickly clear ...Read More

Read more

Rich Horton Reviews Short Fiction by Eric Brown, F. Brett Cox, and Sandra M. Odell

The Martian Simulacra, Eric Brown (NewCon Press) January 2018.

The End of All Our Exploring, F. Brett Cox (Fairwood Press) August 2018.

Godfall and Other Stories, Sandra M. Odell (Hydra House) April 2018.

There’s another Martian novella from NewCon Press, after Jaime Fenn’s excellent The Mar­tian Job. This one, The Martian Simulacra by Eric Brown, is more of a mixed bag. It’s a mashup of ...Read More

Read more

Rich Horton Reviews Short Fiction: Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, Interzone, Galaxy’s Edge & Forget the Sleepless Shores

Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet 7/18 Interzone 7-8/18 Galaxy’s Edge 7/18 Forget the Sleepless Shores, Sonya Taaffe (Lethe Press)

I was very impressed the last time I saw a Jo­anna Ruocco story in Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, and her latest such, “Stone, Paper, Stone“, in #38, does not disappoint, either. It’s about Sara Kasp, who lives in a town known for its limestone quarry. She is a hard ...Read More

Read more

Rich Horton Reviews Short Fiction: F&SF, Stonecoast Review, Fireside Quarterly & Pulp Literature

F&SF 7-8/18 Stonecoast Review Summer ’18 Fireside Quarterly 9/18 Pulp Literature Summer ’18

The July-August F&SF features an im­pressive novella from a new writer, L.X. Beckett, “Freezing Rain, a Chance of Falling“. Drow Whiting is a journalist and (for now) failed musician, and he’s in serious trouble, because a prominent singer just tried to commit suicide because of a bad review he wrote. That’s bad enough (says ...Read More

Read more

Rich Horton Reviews Shades Within Us, Edited by Susan Forest & Lucas K. Law

Shades Within Us, Susan Forest & Lucas K. Law, eds. (Laksa Media Groups) September 2018.

Shades Within Us is an anthology devoted to “Tales of Migrations and Fractured Borders” and, almost predictably, the better stories are those less rigorously meeting the anthology’s theme. For example, Tonya Liburd‘s “Superfreak” does concern a young woman moving from Trinidad to Toronto, in order to escape her abusive uncle. Alas, ...Read More

Read more

Rich Horton Reviews Speculative Japan 4 Edited by Edward Lipsett

Speculative Japan 4, Edward Lipsett, ed. (in paperback and ebook from Kurodahan Press) April 2018.

Speculative Japan 4 is an anthology of SF and fantasy (and horror) from Japan – some recent, some from decades ago. Most of the stories are of a distinctly different flavor and focus than most recent anglophone SF, and different from, for example, the Chinese SF that we have seen a great deal of ...Read More

Read more

Rich Horton Reviews Artificial Condition by Martha Wells and Twelve Tomorrows edited by Wade Roush

Artificial Condition, Martha Wells (Tor.com Publishing) May 2018.

Twelve Tomorrows, Wade Roush, ed. (The MIT Press) July 2018.

Artificial Condition is the second Murderbot novella from Martha Wells. (The first, All Systems Red, won the most recent Nebula and Locus Awards for Best Novella.) In this story, Murderbot, having gained somewhat ambiguous autonomy, plans to return to the scene of the killing spree it apparently engaged in ...Read More

Read more

Rich Horton Reviews Short Fiction: The Paris Review, New Yorker, Asimov’s, and Analog

The Paris Review Summer ’18 New Yorker 6/4-11/18 Asimov’s 7-8/18 Analog 7-8/18

This month Karen Burnham steps in for the late and much-lamented Gardner Dozois, and we’re making changes to ensure Locus covers as much short fiction as possible. We’ve decided to split review sources between three reviewers: this column will cover primarily print magazines and anthologies, Karen will cover primarily online sources, and Paula Guran will continue her focus ...Read More

Read more

Rich Horton Reviews Short Fiction from Clarkesworld, Lightspeed, LCRW, and Ian McDonald

Clarkesworld 5/18 Lightspeed 6/18 Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet 3/18 Time Was, Ian McDonald (Tor.com Publishing)

In the May Clarkesworld I liked Sally Gwylan‘s “Fleeing Oslyge” most. It’s set on a colony planet which has been overtaken by the Tysthänder, who have used overwhelming power to subdue the colo­nists, apparently with the aim of removing them from the planet. Their motives are fuzzy – environmental perhaps? Or ...Read More

Read more

Rich Horton Reviews Short Fiction from Tor.com, Analog, and Asimov’s

Tor.com 5/18 Analog 5-6/18 Asimov’s 5-6/18

Just as I was preparing this month’s column I heard the stunning news of the hospitalization, rapid decline, and death, of my colleague here at Locus, Gardner Dozois. Gardner was not just my colleague, both as Locus short fiction columnist and as anthologist, he was a friend. He treated me from the first as an equal, as I surely was not; always happy to ...Read More

Read more

Rich Horton Reviews Short Fiction: F&SF, Clarkesworld, and Beneath Ceaseless Skies

F&SF 5-6/18 Clarkesworld 4/18 Beneath Ceaseless Skies 4/12/18, 4/26/18

In the May-June F&SF my preferred sto­ries were from relatively new voices. Pip Coen‘s first stories appeared last year, and Brian Trent has only been publishing a bit longer. Coen’s “Inquisitive” is the tale of the life of a decidedly non-neurotypical young woman, Saffi Kenyon, and her school career, in which her blunt inquisitiveness puts her on the ...Read More

Read more

Rich Horton Reviews Short Fiction: Lightspeed, Tor.com, and Giganotosaurus

Lightspeed 5/18 Tor.com 4/11/18 Giganotosaurus 2/18, 3/18, 4/18

The SF in the May Lightspeed interested me most. Carolyn Ives Gilman’s “We Will Be All Right” is a very short, dark reflection on a future in which a gender-based pathogen kills men when their lovers conceive. The narrator is ready to meet her son’s girlfriend… as I said, it’s a short piece, and mostly a meditation, and quite ...Read More

Read more

Rich Horton Reviews Short Fiction: Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Lightspeed, Clarkesworld, Tor.com, and Bourbon Penn

Beneath Ceaseless Skies 3/15/18 Lightspeed 4/18 Clarkesworld 3/18 Tor.com 2/18, 3/18 Bourbon Penn 3/18

In the May 15 issue of Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Siobhan Carroll offers a powerful if slanted look at the course of a war in “The War of Light and Shadow, in Five Dishes”. A chef is captured by soldiers of the Iron Crusade, in the act of collecting an egg for his lord. The ...Read More

Read more

Rich Horton Reviews Short Fiction: F&SF, Analog, and Asimov’s

F&SF 3-4/18 Analog 3-4/18 Asimov’s 3-4/18

Let’s begin with the March-April issues of the three leading digests. F&SF continues its strong recent run, with a March-April issue full of enjoyable work. Susan Palwick’s “Hideous Flowerpots” is a heart-warming story about a woman running a successful art gallery who isn’t happy, as evidenced by, among other things, her harsh reaction to people bringing her substandard art, and how ...Read More

Read more

Rich Horton Reviews Short Fiction: BCS, Lightspeed, Clarkesworld, Galaxy’s Edge, Kaleidotrope, and Apex

Beneath Ceaseless Skies, 2/1/18, 2/15/18, 3/1/18 Lightspeed 2/18, 3/18 Clarkesworld 1/18, 2/18 Galaxy’s Edge 1/18 Kaleidotrope Winter ’18 Apex 2/18

February is Science-Fantasy Month at Be­neath Ceaseless Skies, one of my favorite times! And as a bonus, this year it extends to the first day in March, so there are three is­sues of stories that mix SF and fantasy (often by describing SFnal situations in the language of fantasy.) My ...Read More

Read more

Rich Horton Reviews Tender, Analog, Asimov’s, BCS, Uncanny, Slate, and New Haven Noir

Tender, Sofia Samatar (Small Beer) April 2017. Analog 1/18 Asimov’s 1-2/18 Beneath Ceaseless Skies 1/4/18 Uncanny 1-2/18 Slate 1/17/18 New Haven Noir, Amy Bloom, ed. (Akashic) June 2017.

I am continuing to catch up on some 2017 stuff I missed. For example, Sofia Samatar‘s col­lection Tender is one of the best collections I’ve seen in some time. This exceptional debut collection includes two new stories, “An Account ...Read More

Read more

Rich Horton Reviews Uncanny, Lackington’s, Rivet, All Systems Red, and The Martian Job

Uncanny 11-12/17 Lackington’s Fall ’17 Rivet Journal Fall ’17 All Systems Red, Martha Wells (Tor.com) Sep­tember 2017. The Martian Job, Jaine Fenn (NewCon) De­cember 2017.

 

Uncanny in November-December features a very effective story by Tina Connolly, “Pipecleaner Sculptures and Other Necessary Work“, about an android on a generation starship who faces a transition as they reach their destination – from a preschool teacher to ...Read More

Read more

SF Short Fiction, 2017 by Rich Horton

How to view the state of the field now? SF (and fantasy) are in some sort of pop culture ascendance – the rapturous reception of The Last Jedi on the one hand, and Wonder Woman on another hand, and even The Shape of Water (a more ambitious film than the more popular pair I mentioned, and yet also an hommage of sorts to 1950s monster movies) is surely evidence of ...Read More

Read more

Rich Horton Reviews Short Fiction: F&SF, Lightspeed, Clarkesworld, and Beneath Ceaseless Skies

F&SF 1-2/18 Lightspeed 1/18 Clarkesworld 12/17 Beneath Ceaseless Skies 12/7/17, 12/21/17

The highlight of F&SF‘s first 2018 issue is Dale Bailey‘s gleefully horrifying story “The Donner Party“. It opens with young Mrs. Breen delighted to be tasting human flesh for the first time – at a party given by the influential Lady Donner. Mrs. Breen is of an insignificant family (her grandfather made his money in trade!) ...Read More

Read more

Rich Horton Reviews Short Fiction

F&SF 11-12/17 Asimov’s 11-12/17 Analog 11-12/17 Lightspeed 12/17 Clarkesworld 11/17 Beneath Ceaseless Skies 11/21/17 Uncanny 9-10/17 Not One of Us 10/17 Omni Winter ’17

Global Dystopias, Junot Díaz, ed. (Boston Re­view) November 2017. Infinity Wars, Jonathan Strahan, ed. (Solaris) October 2017. Acadie, Dave Hutchinson (Tor.com Publishing) September 2017.

F&SF’s November/December issue features “Stillborne“, a significant and, as always, enjoyable entry in Marc Laidlaw‘s Spar/Gorlen ...Read More

Read more