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: 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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