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 Conan Doyle and H.G. Wells, ...Read More

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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 worker, for a ...Read More

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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 this reviewer!), but ...Read More

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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, the uncle in Toronto ...Read More

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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 recently. ...Read More

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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 on a previous ...Read More

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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

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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 simply a desire to ...Read More

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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

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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 path to entry ...Read More

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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 effective in its ...Read More

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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 commander impulsively ...Read More

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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 another woman stages ...Read More

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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

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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 of the Land ...Read More

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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 a more martial role. The ...Read More

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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

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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!) and has married ...Read More

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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 series. The two join a caravan ...Read More

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Rich Horton Reviews Short Fiction: Asimov’s, Clarkesworld, Lightspeed, BCS, and Tor.com

Asimov’s 9-10/17
Clarkesworld 10/17
Lightspeed 11/17
Beneath Ceaseless Skies 9/28/17
Tor.com 10/17
Prime Meridian, Silvia Moreno-Garcia (Indiegogo/Innsmouth Free Press) December 2017.
Singing My Sister Down, Margo Lanagan (Al­len and Unwin) May 2017.

Is the novelette the ideal form for SF? I sup­pose not necessarily, but it does work pretty well, as evidenced by the September-Octo­ber Asimov’s. R. Garcia y Robertson‘s “Grand Theft Spacecraft” is the sort of breathless fun we ...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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Rich Horton reviews Infinite Stars by Bryan Thomas Schmidt, ed.

Infinite Stars, Bryan Thomas Schmidt, ed. (Titan 9781785655937, $24.95, 688pp, hc) Oc­tober 2017.

Bryan Thomas Schmidt’s new anthol­ogy Infinite Stars is a big collection of space opera stories, split roughly evenly between reprints and originals. The reprints serve to some extent as an introduction to the subgenre, with examples from such classic series as Cordwainer Smith’s Instrumentality of Man­kind, Anne McCaffrey’s Ship Who Sang books, Lois McMaster Bujold’s Vorkosigan series, ...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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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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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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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

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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

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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

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Rich Horton reviews Sandra McDonald

Sandra McDonald is best known for novels which, on the face of them, are fairly conventional military SF with a romantic slant, yet those who have followed her short fiction know she’s a quirkier writer than her novels display. Diana Comet and Other Improbable Stories features 14 tales, many originals, set in a sort of alternate history that for the most part is a transparent version of our world, at

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