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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Lois Tilton reviews Short Fiction, late September 2015

Featuring a science fiction anthology, of which I haven’t seen so many recently.

Publications Reviewed
  • Twelve Tomorrows, edited by Bruce Sterling
  • Strange Horizons, September 2015
  • Tor.com, September 2015
  • GigaNotoSaurus, September 2015

 

Twelve Tomorrows, edited by Bruce Sterling

It’s become clear to me in the last couple of years that the future of actual science fiction must lie with dedicated anthologies. So I was a bit concerned when the ...Read More

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Lois Tilton reviews Short Fiction, mid-September 2015

Mostly a digest column this time, with a double issue from Asimov’s.

Publications Reviewed
  • Asimov’s, October/November 2015
  • Analog, November 2015
  • Beneath Ceaseless Skies #181-182, September 2015
  • Shimmer, September 2015

 

Asimov’s, October/November 2015

The fall double issue features a long novella by Aliette de Bodard, a piece that probably wouldn’t fit into a single-sized issue. Among the shorter works here, mostly fantasy, I find several dealing with history and changes ...Read More

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Lois Tilton reviews Short Fiction, early September 2015

I’m happy to report that the recent science fiction drought has broken, with SF of some sort to be found in every one of the zines I read this time. No surprise to find it leading off with Interzone, from which I recommend the Noon story.

Publications Reviewed
  • Interzone, September/October 2015
  • Lightspeed, September 2015
  • Uncanny, September/October 2015
  • Apex Magazine, September 2015
  • Clarkesworld, September 2015

 

Interzone, September/October 2015

It’d be ...Read More

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Lois Tilton reviews Short Fiction, late August 2015

A miscellaneous batch of publications this time, in which I don’t find much to recommend. Here is also a first look at one zine, the consequence of my desperation to find some real science fiction.

Publications Reviewed
  • Terraform, August 2015
  • Beneath Ceaseless Skies #179-180, August 2015
  • Tor.com, August 2015
  • Strange Horizons, August 2015
  • GigaNotoSaurus, August 2015
  • Farrago’s Wainscot, July 2015

 

Terraform, August 2015

This slick futurist ezine made its ...Read More

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Lois Tilton reviews Short Fiction, mid-August 2015

Here are three monthly and one quarterly e-publication, in which I find more dark fantasy than usual, as well as more science fiction. Critics sometimes say that such ezines are indistinguishable, but here readers can see some distinctive editorial voices developing.

 

Publications Reviewed
  • Lightspeed, August 2015
  • Clarkesworld, August 2015
  • The Dark, August 2015
  • Apex Magazine, August 2015

 

Lightspeed, August 2015

As often happens, while the ToC of this ...Read More

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Lois Tilton reviews Short Fiction, early August 2015

After a surfeit of fantasy last time, I had hopes of finding some actual science fiction in the digests, from which the most sciencey is the Nevala-Lee in Analog. In fantasy, I preferred a lot of the weird stuff in Lackington’s.

 

Publications Reviewed
  • Asimov’s, September 2015
  • F&SF, September/October 2015
  • Analog, October 2015
  • Lackington’s, Summer 2015

 

Asimov’s, September 2015

Mostly softer SF, set in various futures, near and far, ...Read More

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Lois Tilton reviews Short Fiction, late July 2015

An overwhelming influx of fantasy this time, making me long in vain for the cold reaches of space.

 

Publications Reviewed
  • Uncanny, July/August 2015
  • Beneath Ceaseless Skies #177-178, July 2015
  • Strange Horizons, July 2015
  • Tor.com, July 2015
  • Shimmer, July 2015

 

Uncanny, July/August 2015

As has become the norm in this zine, all five full-sized pieces of original fiction are fantasy stories by women, almost all about women confronting problems ...Read More

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Lois Tilton reviews Short Fiction, mid-July

 

Publications Reviewed
  • Interzone, July/August 2015
  • Clarkesworld, July 2015
  • Apex, July 2015
  • Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, uly 2015

 

Interzone, July/August 2015

A strong SFnal issue. I’m especially enthusiastic about the Leonard story. But I want to remark on one thing after reading the Jonathan McCalmont editorial, in which he urges British SF to take back its own scene: how very overtly American the Tobler and Leonard pieces are.

“Silencer—Head ...Read More Read more

Lois Tilton reviews Short Fiction, early July 2015

Here are the Dell digests, along with a couple of ezines. I found plenty of stories this time to reward the reading, if not to add to the award list.

 

Publications Reviewed
  • Lightspeed, 62 July 2015
  • Asimov’s, August 2015
  • Analog, September 2015
  • Kaleidotrope, Summer 2015

 

Lightspeed, July 2015

The zine is only posting three individual stories this month, with two installments of a long novelette. The editor clearly ...Read More

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Lois Tilton reviews Short Fiction, late June 2015

Looking at a miscellaneous bunch of ezines, not finding any real stars in them. Hoping to have the digests in for July.

 

Publications Reviewed
  • Beneath Ceaseless Skies #175-176, June 2015
  • Tor.com, June 2015
  • GigaNotoSaurus, June 2015
  • Perihelion, June 2015
  • Aphelion, June 2015
  • Fireside, June 2015

 

Beneath Ceaseless Skies #175-176, June 2015

#175 has women going forth on adventures; #176 has women with a destiny.

#175

“On Freedom of ...Read More Read more

Lois Tilton reviews Short Fiction, mid-June 2015

This time I feature the latest “Destroy” special issue from Lightspeed, from which I give the increasingly rare Good Story award to Chaz Brenchley. Also the June stories from Strange Horizons, from which I like the Evanby.

 

Publications Reviewed
  • Lightspeed, June 2015
  • Strange Horizons, June 2015

 

Lightspeed, June 2015

Special “Queers Destroy Science Fiction!” issue, the latest but not last of the “Destroy” series, this one with Seanan ...Read More

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Lois Tilton reviews Short Fiction, early June

It’s getting kind of unusual to see more than one print publication at a time. This time, I prefer their stories overall to the webzines.

 

Publications Reviewed
  • F&SF, July/Aug 2015
  • Clarkesworld, June 2015
  • Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, June 2015
  • Apex Magazine, June 2015

 

F&SF, July/Aug 2015

Featuring a novella by Rachel Pollack. What I like in this issue are a couple of the shorter pieces, most notably the ...Read More

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Lois Tilton reviews Short Fiction, late May 2015

I find one favorite story in each of the publications reviewed this time.

 

Publications Reviewed
  • Beneath Ceaseless Skies #173-174, May 2015
  • Tor.com, May 2015
  • Analog, July/August 2015
  • Asimov’s, July 2015

 

Beneath Ceaseless Skies #173-174, May 2015

There’s no obvious connection between the stories in Issue #173; both stories in #174, the better issue, are set on rivers bordering an otherland. I note an interesting contrast between these two ...Read More

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Lois Tilton reviews Short Fiction, mid-May

A bunch of shorter publications in which I find little to be very enthusiastic about.

 

Publications Reviewed
  • Lightspeed, May 2015
  • Strange Horizons, May 2015
  • Apex Magazine, May 2015
  • Shimmer, May 2015

 

Lightspeed, May 2015

Finally ending [or so it seems] Hughes’ “Erm Kaslo” serial, with the rest of the original fiction on the short and weak side.

“Time Bomb Time” by C C Finlay

Hannah’s boyfriend is messing ...Read More

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Lois Tilton reviews Short Fiction, early May

The best fiction this time comes from The Dark, which is free from the taint of sentimentality that I find all too frequently in the other publications.

 

Publications Reviewed
  • The Dark, May 2015
  • Interzone, May/June 2015
  • Clarkesworld, May 2015
  • Uncanny, May/June 2015
  • Fingerbones, by Erzebet Yellowboy

 

The Dark, May 2015

A particularly good issue of this dark fantasy zine. The four stories divide into two groups: one darkly ...Read More

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Lois Tilton reviews Short Fiction, late April

Giving the Good Story award this time to the Malik piece at Tor.com, where I found a couple near-misses as well.

 

Publications Reviewed
  • Tor.com, April 2015
  • Beneath Ceaseless Skies 170-172, April 2015
  • Strange Horizons, April 2015
  • Lackington’s, Spring 2015

 

Tor.com, April 2015

A fine novella here from Usman T Malik. I wanted to enjoy the other two stories, but couldn’t get over some stumbling blocks.

“Ballroom Blitz” by ...Read More Read more

Lois Tilton reviews Short Fiction, mid-April

Featuring a special issue of Analog, plus its sister zine and a couple of online publications.

 

Publications Reviewed
  • Analog, June 2015
  • Asimov’s, June 2015
  • Unlikely Story, April 2015
  • Kaleidotrope, Spring 2015

 

Analog, June 2015

This issue marks a very notable milestone for the magazine: number one thousand, counting from the Astounding era. That’s venerable. That’s longevity. To mark the occasion, there are a number of commemorative essays, which, ...Read More

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Lois Tilton reviews Short Fiction, early April

I manage to sift out some good stories this time, most noticeably in Clarkesworld.

 

Publications Reviewed
  • F&SF, May/June 2015
  • Clarkesworld, April 2015
  • Lightspeed, April 2015

 

F&SF, May/June 2015

Regular readers of this magazine will be aware that despite the presence of a new editor onboard, there is still a lot of existing inventory stored in the hold. Some may wish to entertain themselves speculating as to which fiction ...Read More

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Lois Tilton reviews Short Fiction, late March

A mixed bag of publications this time, including a medium-sized anthology. Interzone gets my highest recommendation, with the Good Story award to Alastair Reynolds.

 

Publications Reviewed
  • Interzone, March/April 2015
  • Tor.com, March 2015
  • Shimmer, March 2015
  • Operation Arcana, edited by John Joseph Adams

 

Interzone, March/April 2015

An enjoyable issue. The Reynolds story in particular makes me glad I keep reading this British zine.

“A Murmuration” by Alastair Reynolds

Dark ...Read More

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Lois Tilton reviews Short Fiction, mid-March

Here are a long independent novella, the Dell digests, and a couple March ezines.

 

Publications Reviewed
  • Slow Bullets, by Alastair Reynolds
  • Asimov’s, April/May 2015
  • Analog, May 2015
  • Beneath Ceaseless Skies #168-169, March 2015
  • Strange Horizons, March 2015

 

Slow Bullets by Alastair Reynolds

A long independent novella, military space opera, less action-oriented than a character study. Scur, our narrator, is a soldier, conscripted for the long-ongoing war between two ...Read More

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Lois Tilton reviews Short Fiction, early March

 

Publications Reviewed
  • Lightspeed, 58 March 2015
  • Uncanny, 3 March/April 2015
  • Clarkesworld, 102 March 2015
  • Unlikely Story, 8 February 2014
  • Diabolical Plots, March 2015

 

Lightspeed, March 2015

Stories involving war, in different odd ways. Also another installment in the Hughes “Erm Kaslo” serial.

“Hot Rods” by Cat Sparks

It seems that most of Australia has dried up and blown away, leaving Terina Flat with a broad salt plain, good ...Read More

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Lois Tilton reviews Short Fiction, late February

Concentrating this time on a fairly substantial anthology set on retro-Venus, from which I give the Good Story award to Ian McDonald’s “Botanica Veneris“.

 

Publications Reviewed
  • Old Venus, edited by George R R Martin and Gardner Dozois
  • Tor.com, February 2015

 

Old Venus, edited by George R R Martin and Gardner Dozois

A companion volume to the editors’ Old Mars, presenting sixteen stories in the mode ...Read More

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Lois Tilton reviews Short Fiction, mid-February

Looking at the Dell digests plus some of the regular zines that publish throughout the month, with remarks on the rigor of fantasy as well as continuing my comments on science fiction begun in the previous column.

 

Publications Reviewed
  • Lightspeed, February 2015
  • Beneath Ceaseless Skies #166-167, February 2015
  • Strange Horizons, February 2015
  • The Dark, February 2015
  • Asimov’s, March 2015
  • Analog, April 2015

 

Lightspeed, February 2015

Featuring stories with ...Read More

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