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

Shimmer 9/18
Black Static 9-10/18
Nightmare 11/18
The Dark 10/18, 11/18
Uncanny 9-10/18

Shimmer #45 is the publication’s penultimate issue, with the last, #46, out in November. The magazine’s goal was to be a “specula­tive magazine that focused on stories that existed in the in-between places. Not quite science-fiction, not quite fantasy, but having threads of both. Also, stories that were not afraid to focus on loss and death and ...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, we learn about ...Read More

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Arley Sorg Reviews Fright Into Flight, Edited by Amber Fallon

Fright Into Flight, Amber Fallon, ed. (Word Horde 978-1-939905-44-4, $15.99, 246pp, tp). September 4, 2018.

Fright Into Flight, Amber Fallon’s editorial debut, is an anthology featuring women as au­thors and story subjects. Despite the “Fright” part of the title and the “horror” label invoked in the description, not to mention Fallon’s Introduc­tion, “Now Boarding: Your Ticket to Terror”, the stories compiled within are not all horror stories. Those that fall ...Read More

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Gary K. Wolfe Reviews The Sacerdotal Owl and Three Other Long Tales by Michael Bishop

The Sacerdotal Owl and Three Other Long Tales, Michael Bishop (Fairwood Press/Kudzu Planet 978-1-933846-72-9, $17.99, 282pp, tp) August 2018.

Michael Bishop has been defining his own uniquely eclectic brand of humanistic SF since his emergence as one of the most prominent new writers of the 1970s, and it’s likely that this has been both good and bad news for his career. On the one hand, he’s given us works that ...Read More

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Paula Guran Reviews Knaves Over Queens, Edited by George R.R. Martin & Melinda M. Snodgrass

Knaves Over Queens, George R.R. Martin & Melinda M. Snodgrass, eds. (HarperVoyager 978-0008283599, £16.99, 550pp, hc) June 2018. (Tor 978-1250168061, $29.99, 560pp, hc) August 2019.

This 27th book in the laudable (but often underestimated) Wild Cards series is the first to focus solely on the British Isles. The cycle’s long history now spans more than three decades (since 1987) in publishing time and more than seventy years in fictional chroni­cling. ...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 in a mountain ...Read More

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Gary K. Wolfe Reviews The Book of Magic Edited by Gardner Dozois

The Book of Magic, Gardner Dozois, ed. (Ban­tam 978-0-399-59378-9, $30.00, 576pp, hc) October 2018.

In his introduction to The Book of Magic, his follow-up to last year’s The Book of Swords, Gardner Dozois somehow manages to build an argu­ment comparing SFF magazines to the Great Smoky Mountains, which I will admit to being a notion I had not previously entertained. (Basically, he claims the magazines served like “cove forests” during ...Read More

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Rich Horton Reviews Short Fiction: F&SF, Galaxy’s Edge, Uncanny, and Alfred Hitchcock

F&SF 9-10/18
Galaxy’s Edge 9/18
Uncanny 9-10/18
Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine 9-10/18

The September-October F&SF includes a story from the daughter of one of our greatest writers (and an F&SF regular). “Suicide Watch” by Su­san Emshwiller is a horrific near-future story in which suicides are a form of reality entertainment – the rights to witness them are sold to individuals who show up to the appointed location. The nar­rator is ...Read More

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Rich Horton Reviews Infinity’s End Edited by Jonathan Strahan and Infinite Fantastika by Paul Di Filippo

Infinity’s End, Jonathan Strahan, ed. (Solaris) September 2018.
Infinite Fantastika, Paul Di Filippo (WordFire Press) September 2018.

Alas, Jonathan Strahan’s Infinity’s End is the final entry in his Infinity Project series. It’s a very strong book, and these volumes stand with the very best original anthol­ogy series ever in the field, series like Fred Pohl’s Star, Damon Knight’s Orbit, Robert Silverberg’s New Dimensions, and Terry Carr’s Universe. This book’s main ...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 of extreme tennis. ...Read More

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Ian Mond Reviews Suspended in Dusk II, Edited by Simon Dewar

Suspended in Dusk II, Simon Dewar, ed. (Grey Matter Press 978-1940658971, $13.95, 257pp, tp) July 2018.

It’s shocking that I can’t remember the last time I read a horror anthology. Back in the day – in my late teens and early twenties – horror anthologies were my bread and butter. Whether it was Dark Forces, Prime Evil, Splat­terpunks: Extreme Horror (volume 1 and 2), Midnight Graffiti, or Little Deaths, these ...Read More

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Gary K. Wolfe Reviews Sense of Wonder: Short Fiction Reviews (2009-2017) by Gardner Dozois

Sense of Wonder: Short Fiction Reviews (2009-2017), Gardner Dozois (Advent/ReAni­mus Press 978-1718795051, $19.99, 444+60pp, tp) May 2018.

A good example of what we’ll be missing – in this magazine in particular – can be found in Dozois’s Sense of Wonder: Short Fiction Reviews 2009-2017, which collects the first nine years of the Gardnerspace columns he wrote for Locus (in his introduction, Dozois makes it clear this title was foisted upon ...Read More

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

Asimov’s 9-10/18
Analog 9-10/18
On Spec #108
Amazing Stories Fall ’18

As usual, there is a certain focus on Halloween-themed stories in the Sep­tember-October Asimov’s. The cover novella comes from a writer one hardly expects to be working in that mode, but Greg Egan‘s “3-adica” does open in a foggy Victorian Lon­don of sorts, and Sagreda and her lover Mathis do encounter dangerous vampires. It’s quickly clear we’re in an ...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 – and at ...Read More

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Amy Goldschlager Reviews The Merry Spinster Audiobook by Mallory Ortberg

The Merry Spinster, Mallory Ortberg; Christina Tra­ister, narrator (Brilliance Audio 978-1-9786-0777-4, $26.99, 5 CDs, 5.25 hr., unabridged [also available on MP3-CD and as a digital download]) July 2018.

The narrator of this short-story collection reads with great feeling and expression. It is therefore a pity that the emotions being exhibited by these modern responses to fairy tales and classic children’s fiction primarily seem to be cynicism and contempt. I am ...Read More

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Adrienne Martini Reviews Apocalypse Nyx by Kameron Hurley

Apocalypse Nyx, Kameron Hurley (Tachyon 978-1-61696-294-4, $15.95, 288pp, tp) July 2018.

Kameron Hurley’s Apocalypse Nyx isn’t a stand-alone novel in her God’s War series, AKA the Bel Dame Apocrypha series, depending on which internet oracle you ask. And I had to ask, because the world Hurley illustrates in the five works of short fiction collected in Apocalypse Nyx is a world I want to return to again and again.

The ...Read More

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

Nightmare 8/18, 9/18
Black Static 7-8/18
Shimmer 7/18
The Dark 8/18, 9/18
Uncanny 7-8/18

Nightmare #71 (August) has two strong original stories. In “Dead Air” by Nino Cipri, Nita is recording interviews with the people she sleeps with: ethnography, socio­logically-influenced art. No, it’s not a good idea, especially when she meets Maddie, who is more than just another lover passing in the night. Mad­die has secrets. She has long, ropey ...Read More

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Amy Goldschlager Reviews The Wrong Heaven Audiobook by Amy Bonnaffons

The Wrong Heaven, Amy Bonnaffons; Alex Vail­lant, narrator (Hachette Audio 9781478999676, $24.98, digital download, 6.25 hr., unabridged) July 2018.

I’m typically drawn to new audiobooks by read­ing about them. This is, oddly enough, the only instance that I can recall where I picked up an audiobook after hearing a piece of it. In November 2017, the Public Radio International show “This American Life” broadcast an excerpt of Amy Bonnaffons’s short ...Read More

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Russell Letson Reviews The Final Frontier, edited by Neil Clarke

The Final Frontier, Neil Clarke, ed. (Night Shade 978-1-59780-939-9, $17.99, 579 pp, tp) July 2018. Cover by Fred Gambino.

Last month I recommended Jonathan Stra­han’s original anthology, Infinity’s End, as a window into what SF is up to Right This Minute (or up to the minutes the stories were completed, anyway). At the same time I was also reading Neil Clarke’s recent-retrospective The Final Frontier, which samples work that first ...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 500 gods, but ...Read More

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Paula Guran Reviews All the Fabulous Beasts by Priya Sharma

All the Fabulous Beasts, Priya Sharma (Under­tow 978-1-988964-02-7 $17.99 tp) May 2018.

Despite frequent appearances in “year’s best” compilations and on Locus Rec­ommended Reading Lists, as well as a British Fantasy Award for Short Fiction, Priya Sharma may not yet have come to your attention. This award-worthy debut collection from Sharma, a practicing medical doctor in England, could change that. Sharma’s stories often feature families or the sea, but range ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo reviews Mike Ashley’s Lost Mars: Stories from the Golden Age of the Red Planet

Lost Mars: Stories from the Golden Age of the Red Planet, edited by Mike Ashley (University of Chicago Press 978-0226575087, $17.00, 304pp, trade paperback) October 2018

Once upon a time, when book publishers first decided that there was a wealth of fantastical stories that deserved reprinting, buried in back issues of magazines, our field featured many expert spelunkers of pulp, editors who could delve deep into the substrata of ...Read More

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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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Gary K. Wolfe Reviews How Long ’til Black Future Month? by N.K. Jemisin

How Long ’til Black Future Month?, N.K. Jemisin (Orbit 978-0-316-49134-1, $26.00, 404pp, hc) November 2018.

When an author achieves as much suc­cess as N.K. Jemisin has with huge architectonic structures like the Broken Earth and Inheritance trilogies, readers might be excused for greeting her first story collection in either of two ways: gleefully expecting more of the same, or cynically suspecting a series of outtakes or early yeomanlike exercises. I ...Read More

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Gary K. Wolfe Reviews Zion’s Fiction: A Treasury of Israeli Specula­tive Literature, Edited by Sheldon Teitelbaum & Emanuel Lottem

Zion’s Fiction: A Treasury of Israeli Specula­tive Literature, Sheldon Teitelbaum & Emanuel Lottem, eds. (Mandel Vilar Press 978-1-94213-452-7, $24.95, 336pp, tp) September 2018.

It’s nearly 45 years since Jack Dann’s ground-breaking anthology of Jewish fantasy and SF Wandering Stars, and as he pointed out way back then, a lot of American SF had already been shaped by Jewish writers and editors, from Asimov, Avram Davidson, and Horace Gold, to Ellison, ...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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Russell Letson Reviews Infinity’s End, Edited by Jonathan Strahan

Infinity’s End, Jonathan Strahan, ed. (Solaris 978-1-78618-106-0, $14.99, 347 pp, tp) July 2018. Cover by Adam Tredowski.

For seven years and six volumes, editor Jonathan Strahan has been devising a con­sistently strong original anthology series that has engineered, reached, met, and bridged infinity from the edge onward (or inward?), and even gone to war in it. Now, in the seventh and last of the Infinity Project anthologies, we have reached ...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 “Hide Me ...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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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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John Langan Reviews All the Fabulous Beasts by Priya Sharma and At the Mercy of Beasts by Ed Kurtz

All the Fabulous Beasts, Priya Sharma (Under­tow 9781988964027, $17.99, 288pp, tp) May 2018.

“The Crow Palace”, the opening story in Priya Sharma’s luminous debut collection, All the Fabu­lous Beasts, begins with its protagonist revisiting a childhood memory. When she was young, Julie tells us, living with her parents and twin in a large house in the English countryside, her father built a bird table, an arrangement of large shelves on ...Read More

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John Langan The Ones Who Are Waving by Glen Hirshberg

The Ones Who Are Waving, Glen Hirshberg (Cemetery Dance 9781587676314, $40.00, 208pp, hc) March 2018.

“Freedom is Space for the Spirit”, the first story in Glen Hirshberg’s excellent collection, The Ones Who Are Waving, is a tale of returns. It begins when Thomas, its protagonist, receives a telegram from Vasily, a friend from his youth, requesting his return to St. Petersburg. As a university student, Thomas left then-East Germany for ...Read More

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