Alex Brown Reviews The Memory Librarian: And Other Stories of Dirty Computer by Janelle Monáe, ed.

The Memory Librarian: And Other Stories of Dirty Computer, Janelle Monáe, ed. (Harp­erVoyager 978-0-06307-087-5, $28.99, 336pp, hc) April 2022.

Celebrity writing projects can be an iffy prospect. Writing is a particular craft, one that doesn’t necessarily translate from act­ing or songwriting, and the results can sometimes feel less like an act of creativity and more like a vanity project. That is absolutely not the case with Janelle Monáe’s The ...Read More

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Caren Gussoff Sumption Reviews The Way Spring Arrives and Other Stories by Yu Chen & Regina Kanyu Wang, eds

The Way Spring Arrives and Other Stories, Yu Chen & Regina Kanyu Wang, eds. (Tordotcom 978-1-25076-891-9, $26.99, 400pp, hc) March 2022.

By now, many of us are already prepar­ing for the 81st World Science Fiction Convention next year in China. So it’s the perfect time for an anthology like The Way Spring Arrives and Other Stories to hit shelves and tide us over until 2023.

Though Chinese publishers have ...Read More

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Charles Payseur Reviews Short Fiction: Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Diabolical Plots, and F&SF

Beneath Ceaseless Skies 2/10/22, 2/24/22 Diabolical Plots 2-3/22 F&SF 3-4/22

Beneath Ceaseless Skies also celebrated an an­niversary in February, putting out its 350th issue. To mark the occasion, two issues are stuffed with extra stories, all of them centered on a crossing of genres, on science fantasy, rather than on a theme. Yoon Ha Lee opens the festivities with “Bonsai Starships”, which weaves a narrative around a young ...Read More

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Karen Burnham Reviews Short Fiction:Clarkesworld, Analog, and The Sunday Morning Transport

Clarkesworld 2/22 Analog 3-4/2022 The Sunday Morning Transport 1/23/2022

The first three stories in February’s Clarkes­world all feature an aspect of human life that I’ve long felt gets short shrift in science fiction in particular, but also in fan­tasy – parenting. I was complaining once (after I became a parent myself, naturally) that I just did not see many folks with kids in these stories, and someone (childless, I believe) ...Read More

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Charles Payseur Reviews Short Fiction: Flash Fiction Online, Fireside, and Strange Horizons

Flash Fiction Online 2/22 Fireside 2/22 Strange Horizons 2/7/22, 2/14/22

At Flash Fiction Online, February is often dedicated to stories about love, and new editor Emma Munro keeps that tradition going. A small note for full disclosure that this issue contains a reprint of my own story, “A Lumberjack’s Guide to Dryad Spotting” (the story also appears as a reprint in Xenocultivars, which I’m also review­ing in this column). Some ...Read More

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Paula Guran Reviews Short Fiction: Tor.com, PodCastle and Uncanny

Tor.com 2/26/22, 2/9/22, 1/26/22, 1/12/22 PodCastle 1/18/22, 2/8/22 Uncanny 1-2/22

If you’ve read the three previous Judge Dee stories by Lavie Tidhar, you are sure to enjoy the new one, “Seven Vampires: A Judge Dee Mystery” (Tor.com 2/26/22). You can enjoy it even if you haven’t chanced upon the series previously, but since the three earlier tales are easily found online, you have no excuse not catch ...Read More

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Charles Payseur Reviews Short Fiction: Escape Pod, Cast of Wonders, and GigaNotoSaurus

Escape Pod 1/22, 2/22 Cast of Wonders 2/22 GigaNotoSaurus 2/22

Escape Pod saw its first release of the year in late January with “Payday Weather” by Matthew Claxton, which unfolds in a California ravaged by wildfire. Little speculative in that, but the story takes it further, imagines the shape technology might take to fill in the holes left in the social safety net. Mercenary fire sup­pression workers ...Read More

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Karen Burnham Reviews Short Fiction:Metaphorosis, Apparition Lit, and Mysterion

Metaphorosis 2/2022 Apparition Lit 1/2022 Mysterion 1-2/2022

I’ve enjoyed every issue of Metaphorosis Magazine that I’ve picked up, and I always regret not getting to all of them. The February issue features two debuts, starting with “Freely Given” by Connor Mellegers. In Jean and Ev’s society, giving larger gifts grants you vastly increased social status, while laboring for wages is looked down upon. Joan sets up Ev ...Read More

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Charles Payseur Reviews Short Fiction: Strange Horizons, GigaNotoSaurus, Lightspeed, and Fantasy

Strange Horizons 1/03/22, 1/10/22, 1/17/22 GigaNotoSaurus 1/22 Lightspeed 2/22 Fantasy 2/22

The big news out of Strange Horizons as the year opens is the increase in poetry they’re publishing, doubling their poetic offerings every issue. For fiction, the year opens with “Broken Blue” by E.M. Faulds, a story about a recently divorced woman, Katie, her adorable Labrador, and the stranger who enters her life, filling up an ...Read More

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Gary K. Wolfe Reviews The Dark Ride: The Best Short Fiction of John Kessel by John Kessel

The Dark Ride: The Best Short Fiction of John Kessel, John Kessel (Subterranean 978-1-64524-058-7, $45.00, 584pp, hc) June 2022.

In his insightful introduction to The Dark Ride: The Best Short Fiction of John Kessel, Kim Stanley Robinson grapples with the somewhat thorny question of how Kessel’s stories relate to the genres of the fantastic, and at one point he even invokes allegory, citing Kessel’s own musing about what ...Read More

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Karen Burnham Reviews Short Fiction:Clarkesworld, Abyss & Apex and The Sunday Morning Transport

Clarkesworld 1/22 Abyss & Apex Q1 ’22 The Sunday Morning Transport 1/9/22, 1/16/22

Back in my usual haunts, January’s Clarkesworld opens with a story of grief, love, and food in “The Uncurling of Samsara” by Koji A. Dae. The narra­tor is part of a family that has historically provided food engineering for their generation starship, a very important job that keeps the population healthy and uplifts morale. ...Read More

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Alex Brown Reviews Trouble the Waters by Sheree Renée Thomas, Pan Morigan, & Troy L. Wiggins, eds.

Trouble the Waters, Sheree Renée Thomas, Pan Morigan & Troy L. Wiggins, eds. (Rosarium 978-0-99870-596-5, $19.95, 300pp, tp) November 2020. (Third Man Books 978-1-73484-227-2, $17.95, 404pp, tp) January 2022.

In Trouble the Waters: Tales from the Deep Blue, editors Sheree Renée Thomas, Pan Morigan & Troy L. Wiggins pull together 33 stories and poems from a staggering array of creative voices. Longtime read­ers of short speculative fiction will ...Read More

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Charles Payseur Reviews Short Fiction: Kaleidotrope, Fireside, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and Diabolical Plots

Kaleidotrope 1/22 Fireside 1/22 Beneath Ceaseless Skies 1/1/22, 1/13/22, 1/27/22 Diabolical Plots 1/22

 

Another quarterly ushering in the new year is Kaleidotrope, whose winter issue features ten original short stories and seven poems. The tone of the publication tends toward the grim and hor­rifying, though often wrapped around a gooey heart. For instance, “Seven Times Seven” by A.C. Wise finds Jax, a child of an abusive father ...Read More

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Ian Mond Reviews The Best of Lucius Shepard: Volume 2 by Lucius Shepard

The Best of Lucius Shepard: Volume 2, Lucius Shepard (Subterranean Press 978-1-64524-035-8, $50.00, 848pp, hc) January 2022. Cover by Armando Veve.

In his Guardian obituary of Lucius Shepard – who passed away on March 18, 2014 – Christopher Priest wrote that Shepard’s preferred format, the novella, “almost certainly held back the recognition he deserved,” and that “his writing was shielded from wider apprecia­tion because of its association with the ...Read More

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Alex Brown Reviews Reclaim the Stars by Zoraida Córdova, ed.

Reclaim the Stars, Zoraida Córdova, ed. (Wednesday Books 978-1-250-79063-7, $19.99, 432pp, hc) February 2022.

Anthologies are as risky for readers as they are exciting. On one hand, the reader gets to not only indulge in authors whose work they already like but also gets to explore voices they’ve never heard before. On the other hand, the quality of the stories can fluctuate, and there is often at least one ...Read More

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Karen Burnham Reviews Short Fiction:Analog and Asimov’s

Analog 1-2/22 Asimov’s 1-2/22

When I took over part of the Locus short fiction reviewing duties after Gardner Dozois’ sad passing in 2018, I figured I’d be sharing this space with Rich Horton for many years to come. But as he announced in Janu­ary, he has retired from his column and is turning his attention elsewhere – especially to adorable grandchildren! So I find myself starting on this verso page ...Read More

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Charles Payseur Reviews Short Fiction: Anathema, Mermaids Monthly, Zooscape, and FIYAH

Anathema 12/21 Mermaids Monthly 12/21 Zooscape 12/21 Fiyah 12/21, 1/22

Every year a few publications put out is­sues on December 31, and 2021 was no exception. Aside from Baffling Magazine, which I looked at last column, both Anathema and Mermaids Monthly released their December issues on the final day of the month and year, and while that might make them easy for busy readers to miss, both are very much ...Read More

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Caren Gussoff Sumption Reviews Longing and Other Stories by Jun’ichirō Tanizaki

Longing and Other Stories, Jun’ichirō Tanizaki (Columbia University Press, 978-0-231-20215-2, $20.00, 160pp, tp) January 2022.

One of Japan’s most celebrated and prolific authors of the last century, Jun’ichirō Tanizaki has remained relatively unknown in the West – a great loss for us, one that will be, hopefully, remedied by this new translation of Longing and Other Stories by Anthony H. Chambers & Paul McCarthy

It’s difficult to know how ...Read More

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Charles Payseur Reviews Short Fiction: Lightspeed, Fantasy, Nightmare, and F&SF

Lightspeed 1/22 Fantasy 1/22 Nightmare 1/22 F&SF 1-2/22

January’s Lightspeed leans decidedly grim to kick off the new year, with a majority of the original fiction opting away from happy endings. It’s a trend that will continue in sibling publications Fantasy and Nightmare (though that last certainly makes sense, given the Nightmare’s horror focus). In Lightspeed, though, Aimee Ogden’s flash fiction “Dissent: A Five-Course Meal (With Suggested Pairings) ...Read More

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Rich Horton Reviews Short Fiction:Analog, Asimov’s, and Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet

Analog 1-2/22 Asimov’s 1-2/22 Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet 12/21

This is a farewell – 20 years ago my first short fiction column appeared in Locus, and this will be the final one. (I do plan to continue to contribute occasional work to this wonderful magazine!) When I began writing for Locus, my aim was simple: to read as much of the field as I could, and write about what I ...Read More

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

Strange Horizons 11/8/21, 11/29/21, 12/6/21, 12/13/21 Clarkesworld 12/21 Beneath Ceaseless Skies 12/2/21, 12/16/21 Tor.com 12/1/21

This month I’m able to say goodbye to 2021; you can find my year-end wrap up elsewhere, but I’ll say that 2021 was pretty wild, but in ways I hope end up being more positive than 2020 was. As always, I was only able to read a fraction of all the short fiction out there, ...Read More

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Ian Mond Reviews Lesser Known Monsters of the 21st Century by Kim Fu

Lesser Known Monsters of the 21st Century, Kim Fu (Tin House Books 978-1-95114-299-5, $16.95, 220pp, tp) February 2022.

Lesser Known Monsters of the 21st Century, with its colourful mosaic cover, is the debut collection from Kim Fu, the author of two novels and a book of poetry. The 12 short stories that make up the collection showcase various influences, including science-fiction, magical realism, and horror. As someone encountering ...Read More

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Paula Guran Reviews Short Fiction: Fantasy, The Deadlands, and Nightmare

Fantasy 12/21, 1/22 The Deadlands 12/21 Nightmare 12/21, 1/22

Fantasy #75 starts 2022 off with two of the better stories they’ve published in their latest incarnation. There are also two flash fiction stories, but they don’t measure up to the shorts. There are many legends and myths of the banyan tree, but as far as I know, Shalini Srinivasan creates a brand new one with “Markets: A Beginners Guide ...Read More

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Gary K. Wolfe Reviews The Adventurists by Richard Butner

The Adventurists, Richard Butner (Small Beer 9781618731944, $17.99, 312pp, tp) March 2022.

Here’s a good example of the value of a well-curated small press. To the best of my knowledge, I’d never read a word of fiction by Richard Butner, though I recognized the name as one mentioned respectfully by some of the attendees at the fabled Sycamore Hill Writers’ Workshop, which he’s been directing for several years. But ...Read More

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Karen Burnham Reviews Short Fiction: Speculative North, Electric Spec, Daily SF, and Etherea

Speculative North 2/2021 Electric Spec 11/21 Daily SF 12/3/21 Etherea 11/21

Speculative North started in May 2020 and I picked it up with its fourth issue, which might be its only one in 2021. Although it’s published from Canada it seemed to have a broad swath of authors from Eu­rope and North America. Among the variety there’s “The Cat’s Tale” by C.J. Carter-Stephenson, a fun Arthurian tale ...Read More

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Charles Payseur Reviews Short Fiction: khōréō, Baffling Magazine, Analog, and Asimov’s

khōréō 11/21 Baffling Magazine 1/22 Analog 1-2/22 Asimov’s 1-2/22

Hello and welcome to my first column as a short fiction reviewer here at Locus. I plan to cover a mixture of print and online publications, filling in as I can around the existing short fiction coverage. My aim is to engage deeply with the works I cover, and hopefully provide readers with something of a roadmap to stories they’ll truly ...Read More

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Rich Horton Reviews Short Fiction: Dark Breakers, Bourbon Penn, and Fusion Fragment

Bourbon Penn 12/21 Fusion Fragment 11/21 Dark Breakers, C.S.E. Cooney (Mythic Delirium) February 2022.

Even though online publications seem to dominate the field these days (or at least awards ballots) intrigu­ing new print ’zines still appear. Two recent examples are Bourbon Penn and Fusion Fragment. Louis Ev­ans appears again in Bourbon Penn with “Lazaret”, a truly odd story set in an artificial environment that seems like a ...Read More

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Paula Guran Reviews Short Fiction: Black Static, Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, and The Dark

Black Static #80-81 Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet 12/21 The Dark 11/21, 12/21

As I write, the end of 2021 is rapidly draw­ing nigh. Not surprisingly, since these are all Northern Hemisphere publications, we find a couple of pieces of fiction featuring the cold. There is even a tale specifically crafted to fit the season.

Black Static #80-81 is their final issue of the year. It’s another “double” and contains two ...Read More

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Ian Mond Reviews The Best of Lucius Shepard: Volume 2 by Lucius Shepard

The Best of Lucius Shepard: Volume 2, Lucius Shepard (Subterranean Press 978-1-64524-035- 8, $50.00, 848pp, hc) January 2022. Cover by Armando Veve.

In his Guardian obituary of Lucius Shepard – who passed away on March 18, 2014 – Christopher Priest wrote that Shepard’s preferred format, the novella, ‘‘almost certainly held back the recognition he deserved,’’ and that ‘‘his writing was shielded from wider appreciation because of its association with ...Read More

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Rich Horton Reviews Short Fiction: F&SF and Conjunctions

F&SF 1-2/22 Conjunctions: 77

It’s late 2021 as I write, and the first magazines with 2022 dates are appearing. The January-February F&SF features a decidedly off-center story by Karen Heuler, “Bone Broth”. The narrator is struggling to get by, working odd hours at a restaurant owned by her landlord. Then she stumbles across a secret – a huge tooth uncovered by her landlord – and for mysterious ...Read More

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Karen Burnham Reviews Short Fiction: Fiyah, Clarkesworld, Apex Magazine, and Strange Horizons

Fiyah Fall ’21 Clarkesworld 11/21 Apex Magazine 10/21 Strange Horizons 10/21

While you, the reader, embark upon 2022 with whatever the world has to offer you, I, the reviewer, will spend this month and the next finishing up the stories of 2021. The 20th issue of Fiyah – “Love, Death, and Androids” – shows how our interactions with robots say much more about us than about them. “The First ...Read More

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Karen Burnham Reviews Short Fiction: Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Future Science Fiction, Lightspeed, and Tor.com

Beneath Ceaseless Skies 10/21, 11/4, 11/18/21 Future Science Fiction Digest 9/21 Lightspeed 12/21 Tor.com 11/10/21

Chris Willrich returns to the pages of Be­neath Ceaseless Skies in issue #341 with “A Manslaughter of Crows”, a new story about Shadowdrop the cat. This long story brings Shad­owdrop’s city to an election period, with all sorts of shenanigans being perpetrated, some of which require our feline hero to team up with ...Read More

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