Rachel Swirsky Reviews Madame Zero by Sarah Hall

Madame Zero, Sarah Hall (Custom House 9780062657060, $23.99, 192pp pages, hc) July 2017. Cover by Eugenia Loli.

Madame Zero by Sarah Hall begins with a woman turning into a fox, and ends with one struggling to become herself.

Hall’s collection features nine stories, some speculative and others not. All are invigorated by her literary style of character-driven thematic ex­plorations, written in a witty, mellifluous voice.

“Mrs. Fox”, the story that ...Read More

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Gardner Dozois Reviews Chasing Shadows: Visions of Our Coming Transparent World edited by David Brin & Stephen W. Potts

Chasing Shadows: Visions of Our Coming Transparent World, David Brin & Stephen W. Potts, eds. (Tor) January 2017.

Last month we discussed one grouping that the year’s original SF anthologies naturally falls into: the space opera/mili­tary SF group. The other major group is what we probably could call futurology anthologies, featuring near-future stories that deal with the effect of technological change on society. Many of them concern the reshaping of ...Read More

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Gardner Dozois Reviews Sunvault: Stories of Solarpunk and Eco-Speculation, edited by Phoebe Wagner & Brontë Christopher Wieland

Sunvault: Stories of Solarpunk and Eco-Speculation, Phoebe Wagner & Brontë Christopher Wieland, eds. (Upper Rubber Boot 9781937794750, $13.99, 255pp, pb) August 2017

Falling into the futurology/climate change category we discussed last month, like David Brin & Stephen W. Potts’s Chasing Shadows, is Sunvault: Stories of Solarpunk and Eco- Speculation, edited by Phoebe Wagner & Brontë Christopher Wieland. It’s a bit unclear precisely what ‘‘solarpunk’’ is, or what distinguishes it from ...Read More

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Gardner Dozois Reviews Short Fiction

Infinity Wars, Jonathan Strahan, ed. (Solaris) September 2017.
Infinite Stars, Bryan Thomas Schmidt, ed. (Titan) October 2017.

There were a number of original SF anthologies this year that presented themselves as offering a mix of space opera and military SF, among them the two anthologies under consideration here, Infinity Wars, edited by Jonathan Strahan, and Infinite Stars: The Definitive Anthology of Space Op­era and Military SF, edited by Bryan Thomas ...Read More

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Rich Horton Reviews Short Fiction

F&SF 9-10/17
Analog 9-10/17
Beneath Ceaseless Skies 8/17/17
Lightspeed 10/17
Tor.com 9/6/17

The most exciting short fiction news this month is surely the appearance in the September/October F&SF of a new story by Samuel R. Delany. Even better, “The Hermit of Houston” is exceptional work! It’s set some time in a strange future and is hard to get a grip on (the best kind). From one angle it seems a ...Read More

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Paula Guran Reviews Short Fiction

Apex 9/17, 8/17
Black Static 9-10/17
Uncanny 9-10/17
The Dark 8/17
Nightmare 10/17
Beneath Ceaseless Skies 8/17

As of September 2017, Apex Magazine has survived for eight years and four months and made it to its hundredth issue – a more remarkable achievement than the average reader might expect. The issue’s three more-or-less originals are all entertaining and dark enough for me to write about.

Kameron Hurley‘s “Tumbledown” (also published ...Read More

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Gardner Dozois Reviews Short Fiction

Tor.com 8/9/17, 7/19/17, 8/2/17, 5/17/17
F&SF 9-10/17
Overview: Stories of the Stratosphere, Mi­chael G. Bennett, Joey Eschrich & Ed Finn, eds. (ASU Center for Science and the Imagination) August 2017.

Tor.com has had a run of strong stories in the past couple of months. Best of them is Greg Egan‘s “Uncanny Valley“, posted on August 9, which deals shrewdly and poignantly with the question of whether the “copy” of a ...Read More

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Gardner Dozois reviews Short Fiction

A Flight to the Future, Kathryn Cramer, ed. (XPrize/ANA).
The Best of Subterranean, William Schafer, ed. (Subterranean Press) July 2017.

A Flight to the Future is a multimedia proj­ect edited by Kathryn Cramer (although Eric Desatnik is also listed as “Creator and Producer”). Sponsored by XPrize and the Japanese airline company ANA, A Flight to the Future collects 30 very short stories, many by leading science fiction authors, all working ...Read More

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Rich Horton reviews Short Fiction

Lightspeed 8/17, 9/17
Tor.com 8/17
Apex 7/17
Interzone 7-8/17
McSweeney’s #49

There’s a good set of stories in the August Lightspeed. Ashok Banker‘s “Tongue” is an uncomfortable and rather over-the-top satire on the horrors of a traditional Indian mar­riage, set on an asteroid. The over-the-top elements are part and parcel of satire, though I also thought the portrayal of Indian culture seemed a wincing cliché, as did the corporate menace ...Read More

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Gardner Dozois reviews Short Fiction

Asimov’s 5-6/17, 7-8/17
F&SF 7-8/17

The May/June issue of Asimov’s is an average issue, with a couple of standout stories. Best story here is “Triceratops” by new writer Ian McHugh, taking us to a near-future in which hybrids of Neanderthals and Homo sapiens have been created, forming an entirely new race which doesn’t fit comfortably into either world – and who may be developing a way of life that their ...Read More

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Rich Horton reviews Short Fiction

Asimov’s 7-8/17
F&SF 7-8/17
Uncanny 7-8/17
Clarkesworld 7/17
Fantastic Stories of the Imagination, People of Color Take Over Special Issue
Tor.com 7/17

There are two very entertaining novellas in the July-August Asimov’s, both by writers who have long been favorites of mine, and both of whom had long career hiatuses. Alexander Jablokov published nothing between 1998 and 2006; while R. Garcia y Robertson‘s story this month is the first I’ve ...Read More

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Gardner Dozois reviews Short Fiction

Clarkesworld 2/17, 3/17, 4/17, 5/17

The best story in the February Clarkes­world is “Assassins” by Jack Skilling­stead & Burt Courtier, which makes good use of a clever idea: an assassin who “kills” popular characters in computer games rather than people in real life – something that eventually leads her to be targeted by a rival who wants to do the same thing to her, or, rather, to her avatar. It’s ...Read More

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Rich Horton reviews Short Fiction: August 2017

Strange Horizons 6/5/17
Analog 7-8/17
Beneath Ceaseless Skies 5/25/17, 6/22/17
Clarkesworld 6/17
Lightspeed 7/17
Tobias Buckell’s Patreon 4/17
Tor.com 6/17
Tin House Summer ’17

“Utopia, LOL?” is a very nice far-future story from a fairly new voice, Jamie Wahls, in Strange Horizons. It’s told by Kit, one of trillions of humans living in what appear to be Matrioshka brains in the extreme far future. Her job (one of very few ...Read More

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Gardner Dozois reviews Short Fiction: August 2017

Lightspeed 1/17, 2/17, 3/17, 4/17, 5/17
Wired 1/17

Online magazine Lightspeed got off to a bit of a weak start in 2017, with the reprint stories stronger than the original stories in both the January issue (reprints by James S.A. Corey and Mary Rosenblum) and the February issue (reprints by Ian R. MacLeod and Seanan McGuire), although there were solid but unex­ceptional stories such as “Nine-Tenths of the Law” by ...Read More

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Paula Guran reviews Short Fiction: May 2017

Fiyah Winter 2017
Gamut 2/17, 3/17
Apex Magazine 2/17
The Dark 4/17
Tor.com 3/8/17, 3/9/17
Uncanny 3-4/17

 

Fiyah is a new literary magazine dedicated to Black speculative fiction, a spiritual successor to the experimental FIRE!!, an African-American magazine of the Harlem Renaissance that managed only one issue in 1926. (The magazine’s offices burned to the ground shortly after it was published.) The theme of the first issue is, appropriately ...Read More

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Rich Horton reviews Short Fiction, January 2017

F&SF 11-12/16
Interzone 11-12/16
Analog 12/16
Tor.com 11/02/16, 11/16/16
The Starlit Wood, Dominik Parisien & Navah Wolfe, eds. (Saga Press) October 2016

F&SF for November/December features a rare and welcome appearance from Gardner Dozois, whose fame as an editor should not cause us to forget how good his fiction is. ‘‘The Place of Bones’’ is a short, stylish dark fantasy told by the tutor of a ...Read More

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Paula Guran reviews Short Fiction, October 2016

Uncanny Magazine 7-8/16
Nightmare 7/16, 8/16
Black Static 7-8/16
Shimmer 7/16
The Dark 8/16
Apex Magazine 8/16

This month we discover some dark delights, but also encounter fiction bogged down in the end-of-summer doldrums. Of the five original stories in the July/August 2016 issue of recent Hugo-winner Uncanny Magazine, two can be said to be truly dark. The only element of the fantastic in ‘‘El Cantar of Rising Sun’’ by ...Read More

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Rachel Swirsky reviews Short Fiction, October 2016

Clarkesworld 4/16, 6/16, 8/16
Uncanny 3-4/16, 7-8/16
Beneath Ceaseless Skies 5/16, 7/16

While Gardner Dozois is recovering, Locus has given me the enormous privilege to fill in with two columns. I join everyone in wishing him a swift return to health and writing brilliant articles.

This review focuses on a sampling of short fiction from three prominent online venues – Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Clarkesworld, and Uncanny Magazine. Since I have ...Read More

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Rich Horton reviews Short Fiction, September 2016

F&SF 7-8/16
Asimov’s 9/16
Clarkesworld 6/16, 7/16
Lightspeed 8/16
Beneath Ceaseless Skies 7/21/16
Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet 7/16
Swords v. Cthulhu, Jesse Bullington & Molly Tanzer, eds. (Stone Skin Press) August 2016.

Lavie Tidhar offers perhaps the best novella of the year in the July/August F&SF. ‘‘The Vanishing Kind’’ is set in London in the 1950s, but in an alternate London where the Nazis won WWII, and ...Read More

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Gardner Dozois reviews Short Fiction, June 2016

Asimov’s 4-5/16

Tor.com 1/6/16 – 4/13/16

Lightspeed 4/16

Slate 4/26/16

The April/May Double Issue of Asimov’s is a substantial one, full of good stories, almost all of them core SF. Probably few if any will make awards ballots next year, but taken together in entertainment value they make the issue more than worth the money it takes to buy it. The best story here is also the most ambitious one: ...Read More

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Rich Horton reviews Short Fiction, May 2016

Analog 4/16
Asimov’s 3/16
F&SF 3-4/16
Lightspeed 4/16
Beneath Ceaseless Skies 3/3/16, 3/17/16
Galaxy’s Edge 3/16

Analog leads off April with a fine story by Maggie Clark, ‘‘Seven Ways of Looking at the Sun-Worshippers of Yul-Katan’’. It’s told by a woman native to the planet Yul-Katan, where the people worship the sun. Having lost her faith following her father’s ‘‘ascension’’ to the station orbiting their sun, she ...Read More

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Gardner Dozois reviews Short Fiction, April 2016

Clarkesworld 1/16, 2/16
Asimov’s 2/16
Interzone 1-2/16

Clarkesworld is off to a good start in 2016, with two strong issues in January and February. (As a conflict-of-interest disclaimer, I’m the reprints editor for Clarkesworld, but since I have absolutely nothing to do with the selection of the original fiction, it seems like I ought to be able to get away with reviewing it as I would stuff from any other ...Read More

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Lois Tilton’s 2015 Reviews in Review

Lovers of SFF can only deplore the late year’s outbreak of divisiveness and animosity, with the hostile parties displaying a willingness to destroy the genre in order to deny it to the other. Calls for unity go unheard while the partisans make plans to continue the hostilities in the upcoming year. The only bright spot is that ordinary readers appear to have largely ignored the entire thing.

While I’m deploring, ...Read More

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Lois Tilton reviews Short Fiction, mid-December 2015

In the previous column I looked at the first print digests of 2016, now it’s time for the last month’s ezines of 2015. This December is dominated by the Lightspeed consortium, with another Destroys issue in addition to the regular publications.

 

Publications Reviewed
  • Lightspeed, December 2015
  • Fantasy Magazine, December 2015
  • Clarkesworld, December 2015
  • Beneath Ceaseless Skies #188-189, December 2015
  • Strange Horizons, December 2015
  • GigaNotoSaurus, December 2015

 

Lightspeed, December ...Read More Read more

Lois Tilton reviews Short Fiction, early December 2015

Trying to close out the old year, and on comes the new one with January issues of the digests, beginning with a double from Analog.

 

Publications Reviewed
  • Analog, January/February 2016
  • Asimov’s, January 2016
  • F&SF, January/February 2016

 

Analog, January/February 2016

Featuring a novella from Wil McCarthy. If the zine can find more like this one, we could look forward to a good year.

“Wyatt Earp 2.0” by Wil McCarthy ...Read More Read more

Lois Tilton reviews Short Fiction, late November

A fairly lackluster bunch of stories this time.

 

Publications Reviewed
  • Beneath Ceaseless Skies #186-187, November 2015
  • Tor.com, November 2015
  • Uncanny, November/December 2015
  • Lackington’s, Fall 2015
  • Shimmer, November 2015

 

Beneath Ceaseless Skies #186-187, November 2015

Issue #186 reworks older material; #187 has oppression and rebellion.

#186

“Holy Water, Holy Blood” by Bruce McAllister

Another installment in the author’s serial about the Child Pope Bonifacio, his companions, and their quest ...Read More

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Lois Tilton reviews Short Fiction, mid-November 2015

Another anthology this time, featuring African authors. Also the final Interzone of the year and a couple of regular monthly ezines.

 

Publications Reviewed
  • AfroSF 2, edited by Ivor W. Hartmann
  • Interzone, November/December 2015
  • Lightspeed, November 2015
  • Strange Horizons, November 2015

 

AfroSF 2, edited by Ivor W Hartmann

A rather unusual anthology, comprised of five novellas—some of a length that certainly count as short novels and could ...Read More

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Lois Tilton reviews Short Fiction: early November 2015

This time I feature a science fiction anthology and recommend the John Barnes story as one of the year’s best. Also a couple of first-of-the-month publications.

 

Publications Reviewed
  • Meeting Infinity, edited by Jonathan Strahan
  • The Dark, November 2015
  • Clarkesworld, November 2015

 

Meeting Infinity, edited by Jonathan Strahan

The fourth in the editor’s fine “Infinity” series of anthologies. The introduction states that the stories deal with change and ...Read More

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Lois Tilton reviews Short Fiction, late October 2015

A special issue of BSC with lots of extra fantasy and the final stories of the year from the digests, where I find plenty of science fiction. Also a strong month’s worth of stories from Tor.com.

 

Publications Reviewed
  • Analog, December 2015
  • Asimov’s, December 2015
  • Beneath Ceaseless Skies #183-185, October 2015
  • Tor.com, October 2015

 

Beneath Ceaseless Skies #183-185, October 2015

A double dose of fantasy from this zine, as ...Read More

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Lois Tilton reviews Short Fiction, mid-October

A miscellaneous group of zines this time, several with quarterly or irregular schedules.

 

Publications Reviewed
  • Kaleidotrope, Autumn 2015
  • Apex Magazine, October 2015
  • Unlikely Story, October 2015
  • On Spec, Spring 2015
  • Strange Horizons, October 2015

 

Kaleidotrope, Autumn 2015

The stories here this time are mostly fantasy, although some show initial signs of science-fictionality.

“Rites of Passage” by Julia August

A sequel to previous work featuring a potent but naive ...Read More

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Lois Tilton reviews Short Fiction, early October 2015

The first December issue signals the end of this year’s reading. I find some good stories this month, but my favorite is the Sulway, from Lightspeed.

 

Publications Reviewed
  • F&SF, November/December 2015
  • Clarkesworld, October 2015
  • Lightspeed, October 2015

 

F&SF, November/December 2015

A good issue featuring a science fiction novella by Carter Scholz and several worthwhile shorter works, particularly the Ford and the Reed.

“Gypsy” by Carter Scholz

Driven by ...Read More

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