Karen Burnham Reviews Short Fiction: Clarkesworld, Tor.com, and Mithila Review

Clarkesworld 12/19 Tor.com 11/6/19, 11/13/19, 12/4/19, 12/11/19 Mithila Review 12/19

In this month’s column I finally bid adieu to 2019 for good. As always, I wish I could have read more, but there were plenty of strong stories to leave me feeling good about the year and optimistic for the one ahead.

My favorite story in December’s Clarkesworld was “Annotated Setlist of the Mikaela Cole Jazz Quintet” by ...Read More

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Gary K. Wolfe Reviews The Hidden Girl and Other Stories by Ken Liu

The Hidden Girl and Other Stories, Ken Liu (Saga 978-1-9821-3403-7, $26.00, 432pp, hc) February 2020.

In his introduction to The Hidden Girl and Oth­er Stories, Ken Liu’s much-anticipated second collection, Liu tells us that selecting the stories was easier, since he no longer felt “the pressure to ‘present,”‘ but rather decided to “stick with stories that most pleased myself.” In fact, more than half of the 18 stories ...Read More

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Paula Guran Reviews Short Fiction: Sirenia, Black Static, The Dark, Uncanny, Nightmare, and BCS

Sirenia Digest #164, #165, #166 Black Static 11-12/19 The Dark 11/19, 12/19 Uncanny 11-12/19 Nightmare 12/19 Beneath Ceaseless Skies 12/5/19

I mention Sirenia Digest here from time-to-time in case readers are unaware of it. Author Caitlín R. Kiernan started offering it monthly to subscribers long before Patreon became a way to help support a writer. What does it contain? Here’s a recent sampling. Despite the fact Kier­nan had vowed never ...Read More

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

Asimov’s 1-2/20 Analog 1-2/20 Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet 11/19 On Spec #112

The first 2020 issue of Asimov’s is anchored by two novellas – the latest episode of Allen M. Steele‘s series about a human colony on a planet of Tau Ceti and the colonists’ interaction with the doglike intelligent species that controls the planet, “The Palace of Danc­ing Dogs” – these are enjoyable somewhat old-fashioned adventures ...Read More

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Gary K. Wolfe Reviews Talk Like a Man by Nisi Shawl

Talk Like a Man, Nisi Shawl (PM Press 978-1-62963-711-2, $14.00, 114pp, tp) November 2019.

It’s been more than a decade since Nisi Shawl’s only previous collection, Filter House, and since much of her short fiction has appeared in small-press publications that often have to be sought out, her new chapbook from PM Press provides an enticing glimpse into the fiction of an author most widely known for the ...Read More

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Paula Guran Reviews Suicide Woods by Benjamin Percy

Suicide Woods, Benjamin Percy (Graywolf 978-1-644-45006-2 $16.99. 216pp. tp) October 2019.

Benjamin Percy’s writing is immaculate. Each word seems so carefully chosen the reader cannot imagine a synonym that would better suit. This slender volume is not a fast read. With such craft, a reader must slowly savor the nine stories and the single novella in Percy’s third collection. All are relentlessly dark, but the darkness springs from a ...Read More

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Karen Burnham Reviews Short Fiction: BCS, Strange Horizons, and Mysterion

Beneath Ceaseless Skies 10/24/19, 11/21/19 Strange Horizons 10/19, 11/19 Mysterion 11-12/19

Beneath Ceaseless Skies opens issue #289 with Norse fiction from Rich Larson in “The Star Plague“. Larson ratchets up the tension master­fully as we learn of Bragi, a Viking rescued from some traumatic event by British monks. Bragi is entirely disaffected, which isn’t helped by a lan­guage barrier, as some force starts stealing corpses and he is ...Read More

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Ian Mond Reviews …And Other Disasters by Malka Older

…And Other Disasters, Malka Older (Mason Jar Press 978-0996103787, $17.95, 201pp, tp) November 2019.

Although it’s a slim book, the nine stories and three poems that feature in Malka Older’s debut collection …And Other Disasters showcase an eclectic and vivid imagination. This includes a future history detailing the break-up of the United States of America (cleverly split into seven indi­vidual sections across the collection to mimic the dissolution of ...Read More

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

F&SF 1-2/20 Uncanny 11-12/19 Interzone 11-12/19 Neo-Opsis #30 Bourbon Penn 11/19 Galaxy’s Edge 11/19

Michael Cassutt‘s rare short fiction is always welcome, and “Banshee”, from the first 2020 issue of F&SF, is a good example. Nik Salida is a NASA administrator. His latest project, Skin Walker, is an exotic shapeshift­ing spaceship, led by the brilliant and troublesome Togo Blaine. But the latest flight test has just failed, and Salida ...Read More

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Karen Burnham Reviews Short Fiction: Clarkesworld, Fiyah, and Omenana

Clarkesworld 11/19 Fiyah Autumn ’19 Omenana 10/19

Welcome to the winter of 2020, in which I’ll spend January and February trying desperately to review all the things that I don’t want to miss from 2019 before finally letting go and allowing myself to embrace 2020 wholeheartedly. Months from now I’ll still be kicking myself for missing so much great stuff, but for now 2019 continues to deliver short fic­tional gems ...Read More

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Rich Horton Reviews Short Fiction: The New Yorker, Hexarchate Stories, And Go Like This

The New Yorker 9/30/19 Hexarchate Stories, Yoon Ha Lee (Solaris) June 2019. And Go Like This, John Crowley (Small Beer Press) November 2019.

I’m catching up slightly late with one of the New Yorker‘s occasional fantastical stories, this one quite lightly fantastical, though, I am told, set in Cross River, a city in which the author (Rion Amilcar Scott) has written other stories, all with somewhat ...Read More

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Karen Burnham Reviews Short Fiction: Capricious SF, Strange Horizons, and Current Futures

Capricious SF 7/19 Strange Horizons 9/30/19 Current Futures: A Sci-Fi Ocean Anthology, Ann VanderMeer, ed. (XPRIZE) June 2019.

I wanted to make sure to catch up with Capri­cious as, according to editor A.C. Buchanan, the magazine will be taking a hiatus through at least the summer of 2020. I feel that Capricious has been putting out some wonderfully innovative short fiction recently, and I’m happy to say that issue ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo Reviews Fighters of Fear, Edited by Mike Ashley

Fighters of Fear: Occult Detective Stories, edited by Mike Ashley (Talos 978-1945863523, $29.99, 624pp, hardcover) January 2020

It is a simple and undeniable fact that the past will in many ways always overpower and outweigh the present. It’s a matter involving sheer numbers and mass. The present is a tiny moving window of some quantum of time in which our consciousness lives. To be generous, let’s denominate “the present” ...Read More

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Gary K. Wolfe Reviews All Worlds Are Real by Susan Palwick

All Worlds Are Real, Susan Palwick (Fairwood Press 978-1-933846-84-2, $17.99, 320pp, tp) November 2019.

In her introduction to All Worlds are Real, Jo Walton correctly notes that Susan Palwick is “definitely not as well known as a writer this good ought to be at this point in her career.” While one reason for this is that she’s not been especially prolific – four novels and one prior collection ...Read More

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Paula Guran Reviews Full Throttle: Stories by Joe Hill

Full Throttle: Stories, Joe Hill (Morrow 978-0-06220-067-9, $27.99, 484pp, hc) October 2019.

Joe Hill’s first collection 20th Century Ghosts – which this reviewer read, reviewed, and then interviewed the author while having no idea he was the son of Stephen King – was full of fresh, genre-bending work. It was a thrill to discover an unknown author with such talent and promise. Of course, Hill went on from there ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo Reviews The Hidden Girl and Other Stories by Ken Liu

The Hidden Girl and Other Stories, by Ken Liu (Saga 978-1982134037, $26, 432pp, hardcover) February 2020

Ken Liu is the kind of prodigious talent who makes mere mortals melt in despair at ever matching his accomplishments. He could have been content to remain a software engineer and lawyer, but instead he added to his CV the vocations of editor, translator, and fiction writer. If he had done any of ...Read More

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Karen Burnham Reviews Short Fiction: Lightspeed, New Myths, Factor Four, and Transcendent 4

Lightspeed 11/19 New Myths 9/19 Factor Four 7/19 Transcendent 4, Bogi Takács, ed. (Lethe Press) October 2019.

Dominica Phetteplace returns to Robot Coun­try, an area near the US/Mexico border that robots have claimed and essentially shut off to outsiders and surveillance, in “Her Appetite, His Heart” in November’s Lightspeed. Javi is on a romantic quest to find his ex-girlfriend Isla, whom we met in the previous story ...Read More

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Rich Horton Reviews Short Fiction: Asimov’s, Analog, On Spec, and Stray Bats

Asimov’s 11-12/19 Analog 11-12/19 On Spec #110 Popshot Quarterly Summer ’19 Stray Bats, Margo Lanagan (Small Beer Press) November 2019.

I found that I enjoyed several stories in the last issue of Asimov’s for 2019 by, well, men of roughly my age, let’s just say. “Escape from Sanctuary” is Allen M. Steele‘s latest tale of the human settlement on the planet Tawcety and its fraught relationship ...Read More

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

Beneath Ceaseless Skies 9/26/19, 10/10/19 Tor.com 9/25/19, 10/23/19 Clarkesworld 10/19

Beneath Ceaseless Skies reached its 11th anniversary with issue #287, which editor Scott Andrews released as a double-length special. The lead story is “Portrait of the Artist” by K.J. Parker, an amazing story of a woman who has learned to paint well enough and precisely enough to capture some people’s souls for resale. She is incredibly smart ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews Ghosts of the Shadow Market, Edited by Cassandra Clare

Ghosts of the Shadow Market, Cassandra Clare, ed. (McElderry Books 978-1-5344-3362-5, $24.99, 607pp, hc) June 2019.

Ghosts of the Shadow Market is a mammoth anthology of stories written to accompany Cassandra Clare’s immersive Shadow Market world. Clare has brought an impressive group of co-writers along with her – Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson, Kelly Link, and Robin Wasser­man – and indulges all manner of fan obsessions and questions in ...Read More

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Paula Guran Reviews Short Fiction: Black Static, The Dark, Nightmare, Uncanny, and 3LBE

Black Static 9-10/19 The Dark 9/19, 10/19 Nightmare 10/19 Uncanny 9-10/19 Three-lobed Burning Eye 8/19

Black Static #71 is a stellar issue. If you’ve never sampled the UK periodical, this is the place to start. Felix, in Stephen Hargadon‘s novelette “Dixon Parade“, is a lonely, melancholy middle-aged man who never really moved on after his divorce. He purchases an early-’80s painting of a suburban street scene and ...Read More

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Karen Burnham Reviews Short Fiction: Clarkesworld, Strange Horizons, BCS, Lightspeed, Tor.com, The Future Fire, and Cosmic Roots

Clarkesworld 9/19 Strange Horizons 9/19 Beneath Ceaseless Skies 8/29/19 Lightspeed 10/19 Tor.com 9/11/19, 9/18/19 The Future Fire 8/19 Cosmic Roots and Eldritch Shores 8/19, 9/19

In September, Clarkesworld takes us all over the future and then back to the past. In the near future we have a trio of stories in various flavors of anomie and alienation. The most flat-out fun is “Dave’s Head” by Suzanne Palmer. ...Read More

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Ian Mond Reviews Homesick: Stories by Nino Cipri

Homesick: Stories, Nino Cipri (Dzanc 978-1945814952, $16.95, 216pp, tp) October 2019.

Nino Cipri’s debut collection, Homesick, is a selection of nine stories (of the more than 20 they have written) that appeared in a variety of venues including Nightmare, Liminal Magazine, Crossed Genres, and Tor.com. It also happens to be one of the best collections I’ve read this year, up there with outstanding books like Raphael Bob-Waksberg’s Someone ...Read More

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Rich Horton Reviews Short Fiction: F&SF, Uncanny, Interzone, Galaxy’s Edge, Not One of Us, and Others

F&SF 11-12/19 Uncanny 9-10/19 Interzone 9-10/19 Galaxy’s Edge 9/19 Not One of Us 10/19

If This Goes On, Cat Rambo, ed. (Parvus Press) March 2019 Tomorrow Girl and Other Stories, Robert Zoltan (Dream Tower) October 2019. Exhalation, Ted Chiang (Knopf) May 2019.

I was very glad to see two stories in F&SF this month from long-time contributors whom we haven’t seen enough from lately. M. Rickert‘s ...Read More

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Arley Sorg Reviews Best New Horror #29, Edited by Stephen Jones

Best New Horror #29, Stephen Jones, ed. (PS Pub­lishing/Drugstore Indian Press 978-178636-392-3, £14.99, 579pp, tp) February 2019. Cover by Howard Nostrand.

In 1990 Constable & Robinson published the first Best New Horror, edited by Stephen Jones & Ramsey Campbell, featuring horror short fiction from 1989. That volume won a British Fantasy Award, a World Fantasy Award, and began a legacy. Jones became sole editor with 1995’s The Best ...Read More

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Ian Mond Reviews Salt Slow by Julia Armfield

Salt Slow, Julia Armfield (Picador 978-1529012569, £12.99, 208pp, hc) May 2019. (Flatiron 978-1250224774, $24.99, 208pp, hc) October 2019.

As chaotic as things are at the moment, the last couple of years have been an excellent time for the publication of debut collections, written by women, that explore feminist and intersectional issues through a speculative lens. This includes (and these are just the ones I’ve read, so it’s nowhere near ...Read More

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Gary K. Wolfe Reviews And Go Like This by John Crowley

And Go Like This, John Crowley (Small Beer 978-1-6187-3163-0, $25.00, 332pp, hc) Novem­ber 2019.

One of John Crowley’s most beautiful novellas, “The Girlhood of Shakespeare’s Heroines”, origi­nally appeared in the now-famous, Peter Straub-edited issue of the literary journal Conjunctions in 2002, the first issue to prominently feature SF, fantasy, and horror writers. Crowley’s novella was the lead story, and now it’s quite properly the lead in And Go Like ...Read More

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Rich Horton Reviews Short Fiction: Analog, Asimov’s, and f(r)iction

Analog 9-10/19 Asimov’s 9-10/19 f(r)iction Spring ’19

The cover story in the September-October Analog is “The Gorilla in a Tutu Principle; or, Pecan Pie at Minnie and Earl’s“, a novella from Adam-Troy Castro, the third in his series about the era of lunar coloniza­tion, and how the very unusual couple Minnie and Earl helped out. Castro is partly having fun with Analog expectations, because these stories, featuring ...Read More

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Gary K. Wolfe and Rich Horton Review The Mythic Dream, Edited by Dominik Parisien & Navah Wolfe

The Mythic Dream, Dominik Parisien & Navah Wolfe, eds. (Saga 978-1-5344-4228-3, $24.99, 368pp, hc) September 2019.

With two well-received anthologies already to their credit (The Starlit Wood and Robots vs Fairies) Dominik Parisien & Navah Wolfe can’t possibly believe that their idea for the third one – retellings and reshap­ings of world myths – is going to strike anyone as wildly innovative. Not only are there many ...Read More

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Karen Burnham Reviews Short Fiction: Clarkesworld, BCS, Lightspeed, Strange Horizons, Augur, and Future SF

Clarkesworld 8/19 Beneath Ceaseless Skies #284 Lightspeed 9/19 Strange Horizons 8/19 Augur #2.1 Future Science Fiction Digest 6/19

August’s Clarkesworld leads off with “En­tangled” by Beston Barnett, a relative newcomer, if the Internet Speculative Fiction Database (<isfdb.org>) is correct. The nar­rator is the first-ever alien citizen of Earth, a Lem. Since birth, they have used quantum entangled FTL communications to project their conscious­ness into an xuit, and ...Read More

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Ian Mond Reviews Masterworks and Other Stories by Simon Jacobs

Masterworks and Other Stories, Simon Jacobs (Instar Books 978-1682199053, $20.00, 208pp, hc) August 2019.

Until recently, Simon Jacobs has enjoyed the coveted honour of being on the list of authors whose books I own but whom I’ve never read. I purchased his first novel, Palaces, more than a year ago because it looked right up my alley and, since then, it’s been collecting virtual dust on my Kindle ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo Reviews The Best of Uncanny, Edited by Lynne M. Thomas & Michael Damian Thomas

The Best of Uncanny, Lynne M. Thomas & Michael Damian Thomas, eds. (Subterranean 978-1596069183, $40, 680pp, hardcover) December 2019

In this challenging, ever-mutable internet era, when publishers are continually searching for ways to find an audience and stay alive, a magazine can take many forms. Some remain old-school print-only. Some are exclusively web-based. Others are hybrids on a regular basis. But one other interesting business model for zines that ...Read More

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