Rich Horton Reviews Short Fiction: Analog, Asimov’s, Uncanny, and Black Infinity

Analog 3-4/19 Asimov’s 3-4/19 Uncanny 3-4/19 Black Infinity Fall ’18

The March-April issue of Asimov’s is a spe­cial issue in memory of their great former editor Gardner Dozois, who died about a year ago. As such, it includes his Nebula Award-winning story “The Peacemaker“, many brief memoirs of his effect on writers, and, of course, plenty of new stories. There is a novella from Greg Egan, ...Read More

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Gary K. Wolfe Reviews Broken Stars, Edited by Ken Liu

Broken Stars: Contemporary Chinese Science Fiction in Translation, Ken Liu, ed. (Tor 978-1250297662, $27.99, 480pp, hc) February 2019.

One aspect of Waste Tide that may come as a slight surprise to readers whose familiarity with Chinese SF is limited to Liu Cixin’s Remembrance of Earth’s Past trilogy, with its epic galactic scope and somewhat Clarkean ideas, is the degree to which the novel is grounded in gritty near-future realism, ...Read More

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

Tor.com 1/23/19, 1/30/19, 1/31/19 Beneath Ceaseless Skies 2/14/19, 2/28/19 Clarkesworld 2/19

Tor.com continues its strong January with stories from Mimi Mondal, JY Yang, and Elizabeth Bear. Mondal’s story “His Footsteps, Through Darkness and Light” tells of a circus traveling in India. Binu is a trapeze master deeply in love with a jinni, Shehzad Marid. When they perform at a lavish wedding, a devidasi (a woman ...Read More

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Amy Goldschlager Reviews And Other Stories Audiobook by Adam-Troy Castro

And Other Stories, Adam-Troy Castro; Stefan Rudnicki, Gabrielle de Cuir, Justine Eyre, Kathe Mazur & Adam-Troy Castro, narrators (Skyboat Media 978-1-98262931-1, $29.95, MP3 CD, 13.3 hr., un­abridged [also available as a digital download]) January 2019.

Oh, how I love audio-only (and audio-first) books! It gives my life meaning as an audiobook reviewer. Produced by the excellent Skyboat Media, who were also respon­sible for Jennifer Marie Brissett’s Elysium a few ...Read More

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Adrienne Martini Reviews Stronger, Faster, and More Beautiful by Arwen Elys Dayton

Stronger, Faster, and More Beautiful, Arwen Elys Dayton (Delacorte 978-0-525-58095-9, $18.99, 384pp, hc) December 2018. Cover by Ray Shappell.

If you have a younger teen that you are trying to lure into the SF/F genre, Arwen Elys Dayton’s Stronger, Faster, and More Beautiful might be a great gateway read. Dayton’s story extrapolates the technology of human genetic modifica­tion from the possible-in-the-near-future to the interesting-but-unlikely-dozens-of-years-from-now. The book is comprised of ...Read More

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Gary K. Wolfe Reviews Sooner or Later Everything Falls into the Sea by Sarah Pinsker

Sooner or Later Everything Falls into the Sea, Sarah Pinsker (Small Beer 978-1-6187-3155-5, $17.00, 292pp, tp) March 2019.

There are a lot of things to like about Sarah Pinsker’s first collection, Sooner or Later Everything Falls into the Sea, and not the least is a tactful sense of restraint. I don’t mean restraint in telling her tales – Pinsker is willing to try a lot, including a story ...Read More

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Liz Bourke Reviews Ninth Step Station by Malka Older, Curtis C. Chen, Jacqueline Koyanagi, & Fran Wilde

Ninth Step Station, Malka Older, Curtis C. Chen, Jacqueline Koyanagi, & Fran Wilde (Serial Box 978-1-68210-589-4 $13.99, 324pp eb) March 2019. Cover by Christine Barcellona.

Ninth Step Station is one of two new science fiction serial offerings from publisher Serial Box this year. (The other is The Vela, starting in March.) Cre­ated by Malka Older and written by Older, Fran Wilde, Curtis C. Chen, & Jacqueline Koyanagi, Ninth ...Read More

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

Uncanny 1-2/19 F&SF 1-2/19 Interzone 1-2/19 Galaxy’s Edge 1/19 Granta Autumn ’18

Uncanny in January-February features a challenging story from Fran Wilde. (The last time I wrote about Wilde’s work I called both stories I covered “challenging.” I am sure I did it on purpose, and I am even surer Wilde does it on purpose.) “A Catalog of Storms” is built around names given to different kinds ...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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Rich Horton Reviews Snow White Learns Witchcraft by Theodora Goss and Sooner or Later Everything Falls into the Sea by Sarah Pinsker

Snow White Learns Witchcraft, Theodora Goss (Mythic Delirium) February 2019.

Theodora Goss‘s Snow White Learns Witchcraft is a selection of stories and poems recasting tradi­tional fairy tales. This has been a consistent source of inspiration for Goss – I recall reviewing her first published story, “The Rose in Twelve Petals”, in one of my first columns in these pages. That story (a Sleeping Beauty take) is in this ...Read More

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Ian Mond Reviews Mouthful of Birds by Samanta Schweblin

Mouthful of Birds, Samanta Schweblin (Riv­erhead 978-0399184628, $26.00, 240pp, hc) January 2019.

I distinctly remember reading Samanta Schweblin’s Fever Dream during my kid’s swimming lessons at the local public pool. I know, I know; I should have been applauding their achievements, but from the opening page, there’s an intensity to the prose that makes it impossible to look away. A woman lies dying in a hospital bed, a small ...Read More

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Gary K. Wolfe Reviews The Very Best of Caitlín R. Kiernan

The Very Best of Caitlín R. Kiernan, Caitlín R. Kiernan (Tachyon 978-1-61696-302-6, $17.95, 420pp, tp) February 2019.

The Very Best of Caitlín R. Kiernan, a title apparently meant to avoid confusion with the two volumes of The Best of Caitlín R. Kiernan published by Subterranean in 2011 and 2015, is probably as good a one-volume introduction to the variety of Kiernan’s work as we’re likely to get, though ...Read More

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Gary K. Wolfe Reviews A People’s Future of the United States, edited by Vic­tor LaValle & John Joseph Adams

A People’s Future of the United States, Vic­tor LaValle & John Joseph Adams, eds. (One World 978-0-5255-0880-9, $23.00, 410pp, tp) February 2019.

I’ve grumbled before in this space about how dystopia – which by now has nearly grown inde­pendent of SF in the popular imagination – may have become the default model for the future simply because, these days at least, it makes fewer imaginative demands than almost any ...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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Rich Horton Reviews Short Fiction: Analog, Asimov’s, Amazing, and Longshot Island

Analog 1-2/19 Asimov’s 1-2/19 Amazing Winter ’18 Longshot Island 2/18

Analog opens 2019 with a varied set of sto­ries that include some striking and unusual work. For example “Love in the Time of Immuno-Sharing” by Andy Dudak is set in a future city-state (of sorts), the Moveable Feast, in which sexual fashions turn on mingling disease profiles, with the notion of increasing everyone’s resistance. “Repro-sex” is frowned upon. ...Read More

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

Uncanny 11-12/18 Shimmer 11/18 Nightmare 1/19 Apex 11/18, 12/18 The Dark 12/18

Not all of the stories in Uncanny #25 are dark, but – oh well. The standout story for #25 is Naomi Kritzer‘s novelette “The Thing About Ghost Stories“. Leah’s doctoral dissertation is on the meaning of ghost stories. She gains an academic position just as her mother is descending into dementia. After the mother’s death, ...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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Carolyn F. Cushman Reviews Death & Honey, Edited by Kevin Hearne

Kevin Hearne, ed., Death & Honey (Subterranean Press 978-1-59606-914-5, $45.00, 300pp, hc) February 2019. Cover by Galen Dara.

Murder and bees make an interesting topic for this original anthology of three fantasy novellas by Kevin Hearne, Lila Bowen (Delilah S. Dawson), and Chuck Wendig, each writing in their own popular worlds. Hearne offers “The Buzz Kill”, a peculiarly sweet and funny new tale in the Oberon’s Meaty Mysteries series, a ...Read More

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Rich Horton Reviews Short Fiction: Conjunctions 71, Sword and Sonnet, and Aurum

Conjunctions:71: A Cabinet of Curiosity, Bradford Morrow, ed. (Bard College) September 2018.

Sword and Sonnet, Aidan Doyle, Rachael K. Jones & E. Catherine Tobler, eds. (Ate Bit Bear) July 2018.

Aurum, Russell B. Farr, ed. (Ticonderoga Press) October 2018.

I keep an eye on several mainstream “little magazines” (though this one is quite big) that are hospitable to SF. Conjunctions:71: A Cabinet of Curiosity features stories ...Read More

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Rich Horton Reviews Short Fiction: F&SF, Uncanny, Interzone, Galaxy’s Edge, and Bourbon Penn

F&SF 11-12/18 Uncanny 11-12/18 Interzone 9-10/18 Galaxy’s Edge 11/18 Bourbon Penn 11/18

Sean McMullen‘s “Extreme” from the November-December F&SF can be called SF horror, I suppose, though the horror is moral and arises from the social and economic extrapolation at the center of the story. Set in the relatively near future, the narrator is a man addicted to extreme experiences, due to genetics with the help of ...Read More

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Ian Mond Reviews Friday Black by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah

Friday Black, Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah (Mariner Books 978-1328911247, $14.99, 208pp, tp) October 2018.

In Lit Hub’s Ultimate Fall Books Preview, which aggregates recommendations made by “various online publications,” Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah’s debut collection, Friday Black, was listed alongside such heavyweights as Bar­bara Kingsolver’s Unsheltered, Kate Atkinson’s Transcription, and Michelle Obama’s Becoming as one of the season’s most anticipated books. The hype reminded me of another debut ...Read More

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Gary K. Wolfe Reviews How to Fracture a Fairy Tale by Jane Yolen

How to Fracture a Fairy Tale, Jane Yolen (Tachyon 978-1-61696-306-4, $16.95, 320pp, tp) November 2018.

Chances are that not every reader of Jane Yo­len’s collection How to Fracture a Fairy Tale – which follows close upon her World Fantasy Award winning The Emerald Circus – will remember the classic Rocky and Bullwinkle segments from nearly 60 years ago, narrated by Edward Everett Horton, which as far as I know ...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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Gary K. Wolfe Reviews Uncommon Miracles by Julie C. Day

Uncommon Miracles, Julie C. Day (PS 978-1-786363-34-3, £20.00, 234pp, hc) October 2018.

Well, aren’t we about overdue for the bunny apoc­alypse? That seems to be the question Julie C. Day raises in “Everyone Gets a Happy Ending”, the lead story in her first collection Uncommon Miracles, and it’s not quite as whimsical as it sounds. It follows the familiar pattern of end-of-days tales, with two friends making their ...Read More

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Gary K. Wolfe Reviews Readymade Bodhisattva, Edited by Sunyung Park & Sang Joon Park

Readymade Bodhisattva: The Kaya Anthology of South Korean Science Fiction, Sunyung Park & Sang Joon Park, eds. (Kaya Press 978-1-885030-57-3, $24.95, 434pp, tp) March 2019.

With Chinese SF gaining such prominence lately, and Japanese SF having been more or less familiar to Western readers for decades (I reviewed the first English-language study of Japanese SF way back in 1992!), it’s reasonable to be curious about what else is going ...Read More

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Tim Pratt Reviews The People’s Republic of Everything by Nick Mamatas

The People’s Republic of Everything, Nick Mamatas (Tachyon 978-1-61696-300-2, $15.95, 336pp, tp) September 2018.

Nick Mamatas is one of my favorite story writers, mostly because I never know what I’m going to encounter under his byline: satirical SF, black-hearted noir, sly his­torical reimaginings, clear-eyed twists on the Lovecraft mythos, open calls for revolution, left­ist politics (and critiques thereof), and weirder things. His latest collection, The People’s Republic of Everything ...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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Rich Horton Reviews The Million, People Change, and Mother of Invention

The Million, Karl Schroeder (Tor.com) August 2018. People Change, Gwynne Garfinkle (Aqueduct Press) October 2018. Mother of Invention, Rivqa Rafael & Tansy Rayner Roberts, eds. (Twelfth Planet Press) Sep­tember 2019.

The Million by Karl Schroeder is a very intrigu­ing novella set in the future of his novel Lockstep, which I have not read. In this future, Earth is in­habited by close to one million people who ...Read More

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Rich Horton Reviews Short Fiction: Asimov’s, Analog, Robots vs Fairies, The Book of Magic, and An Agent of Utopia

Asimov’s 11-12/18 Analog 11-12/18 Robots vs Fairies, Dominik Parisien & Navah Wolfe, eds. (Saga Press) January 2018. The Book of Magic, Gardner Dozois, ed. (Ban­tam) October 2018. An Agent of Utopia, Andy Duncan (Small Beer Press) December 2018.

The stories in the final 2018 issue of Analog that worked best for me seem also exem­plars of “Analog being Analog” – pure SF extrapolation, both near-future gadget stuff ...Read More

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Ian Mond Reviews The Best of the Best Horror of the Year, Edited by Ellen Datlow

The Best of the Best Horror of the Year: 10 Years of Essential Short Horror Fiction, Ellen Datlow, ed. (Night Shade Books 978-1597809832, $17.99, 432pp, tp) October 2018.

When arguably the finest editor of horror fiction decides to do a ten-year retrospective of the genre you feel obligated as a critic to make pronounce­ments about the health of the field and how it’s changed (for the better or worse) ...Read More

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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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