Ian Mond Reviews Masterworks and Other Stories by Simon Jacobs

Masterworks and Other Stories, Simon Jacobs (Instar Books 978-1682199053, $20.00, 208pp, hc) August 2019.

Until recently, Simon Jacobs has enjoyed the coveted honour of being on the list of authors whose books I own but whom I’ve never read. I purchased his first novel, Palaces, more than a year ago because it looked right up my alley and, since then, it’s been collecting virtual dust on my Kindle ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo Reviews The Best of Uncanny, Edited by Lynne M. Thomas & Michael Damian Thomas

The Best of Uncanny, edited by Lynne M. Thomas & Michael Damian Thomas (Subterranean 978-1596069183, $40, 680pp, hardcover) December 2019

In this challenging, ever-mutable internet era, when publishers are continually searching for ways to find an audience and stay alive, a magazine can take many forms. Some remain old-school print-only. Some are exclusively web-based. Others are hybrids on a regular basis. But one other interesting business model for zines ...Read More

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Rich Horton and Gary K. Wolfe Review Anthologies Edited by Jonathan Strahan

Mission Critical, Jonathan Strahan, ed. (So­laris 978-1781085806) July 2019.

Jonathan Strahan’s new anthology is Mission Critical. The theme is characters responding to desperate situations, when something goes pear-shaped. Oddly, many of the stories, all well executed, seem a bit too much the same in adher­ing to the theme. The best are “Hanging Gar­dens” by Gregory Feeley, and “Cyclopterus” by Peter Watts. Feeley’s ...Read More

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Amy Goldschlager Reviews Four Tor.com Audiobooks

As Good as New, Charlie Jane Anders; Frankie Corzo, narrator (Macmillan Audio 978-1-25062443-7, $1.99, digital download, 0.75 hr., unabridged) August 2019. The President’s Brain Is Missing, John Scalzi; P.J. Ochlan, narrator (Macmillan Audio 978-1-25062438-3, $1.99, digital download, 0.75 hr., unabridged) August 2019. This World Is Full of Monsters, Jeff Vander­Meer; Vikas Adam, narrator (Macmillan Audio 978-1-25062445-1, $1.99, digital download, 1.5 hr., unabridged) August 2019. Warm Up, ...Read More

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

Black Static 7-8/19 Uncanny 7-8/19 Nightmare 8/19, 9/19 The Dark 7/19, 8/19 Cemetery Dance 7/19

An outstanding issue of Black Static (#70) leads off with Ralph Robert Moore‘s novelette “I Write Your Name“. Roger was 14 when he met infant Mia. They meet again when Roger turns out to be 30-year-old Mia’s next-door neighbor – not that they recall their initial encounter. They fall in love and ...Read More

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John Langan Reviews Wounds by Nathan Ballingrud

Wounds, Nathan Ballingrud (Saga Press 978-1-534-44992-3, $26.99, 288pp, hc) April 2019.

Wounds, Nathan Ballingrud’s stellar sophomore collection, is bracketed by a pair of stories concerning Hell. In “The Atlas of Hell”, an antiquarian bookseller is sent by a local gangster deep into the Louisi­ana bayou to retrieve the titular object; while in “The Butcher’s Table”, a group of 18th-century diabolists undertake the perilous sea voyage to the near ...Read More

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Paula Guran Reviews Echoes: The Saga Anthology of Ghost Stories, Edited by Ellen Datlow

Echoes: The Saga Anthology of Ghost Stories, Ellen Datlow, ed. (Saga 978-1-53441-346-7, $32.99, 816pp, hc) August 2019.

Ellen Datlow has delved into ghost story-themed anthologies twice before: the all-original The Dark: New Ghost Stories in 2003 and Hauntings, a reprint compilation, in 2013. This massive (over 200,000 words in 816 pages, 30 stories) tome is one of the best works yet by Datlow – and, considering her stellar ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo Reviews The New Voices in Science Fiction Edited by Hannu Rajaniemi & Jacob Weisman

The New Voices of Science Fiction, edited by Hannu Rajaniemi & Jacob Weisman (Tachyon 978-1-61696-291-3, 432pp, $17.95) November 2019

In the deep past of our genre, how did one become a notable new writer? The first step back then was always the same as it is now: publish some good, standout stories as your apprentice and journeyman work. But subsequent public recognition in the days when print magazines dominated ...Read More

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Karen Burnham Reviews Short Fiction: Tor.com, BCS, Strange Horizons, Lightspeed, Bards and Sages, and Daily SF

Tor.com 6/19/19, 7/10/19 Beneath Ceaseless Skies 7/4/19; 7/18/19 Strange Horizons 7/19 Lightspeed 8/19 Bards and Sages Quarterly 4/19 Daily SF 7/4/19, 7/5/19, 7/8/19

Tor.com in June features a new Michael Swan­wick story in his Mongolian Wizard series. It will come as no surprise that “The New Prometheus” draws from the Frankenstein corpus when pro­tagonist Ritter pursues a being that clearly isn’t human across the Arctic wastes. In this ...Read More

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

F&SF 9-10/19 Uncanny 7-8/19 Interzone 7-8/19 Galaxy’s Edge 7/19 Bourbon Penn 7/19 Amazing Stories 7/19

The September-October F&SF is notable for stories by some prominent writers. Maureen McHugh‘s “Under the Hill” is a very well-done, second person point-of-view story about Amelia, who matriculates at Burkman College, a prestigious institution that we quickly learn has an unusual student body – a significant subset are Fair Folk. The arc ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo Reviews All Worlds Are Real by Susan Palwick

All Worlds Are Real Era, Susan Palwick (Fairwood 978-1933846842, $17.99, 322pp, hardcover) November 2019

With the publication of her new story collection, All Worlds Are Real, Susan Palwick charts her sixth book over the course of her 35 years of professional publication. Measured reductionistically by number of pages produced, she has not been extremely prolific. But when gauged by the quality of her prose and the allure and ...Read More

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Karen Burnham Reviews Short Fiction: Apex, Clarkesworld, and Lackington’s

Apex 5/19 Clarkesworld 7/19 Lackington’s Spring ’19

Issue #120 marks the passing of Apex Maga­zine. After a major health concern, editor Jason Sizemore has put the magazine on indefinite hiatus, but the final issue goes out in style with guest editor Maurice Broaddus elaborating on the theme of Afrofuturism with a mixture of original and reprint stories and essays. The three original stories cast a very wide net, starting with ...Read More

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Niall Harrison Reviews Miracles & Marvels: Stories by Tim Pratt

Miracles & Marvels: Stories, Tim Pratt (The Merry Blacksmith Press, 978-1-69571-634-6, $14.95, 289pp, pb) November 2019.

Patreon fiction is the dark matter of our field: it’s hard to tell how much there is, and how substantial it is. Many writers have estab­lished Patreons, and many of them offer regular original stories to their supporters; and since that counts as first publication, many or most of those stories never make ...Read More

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Rich Horton Reviews Short Fiction: Tin House, LCRW, and The CSZ

Tin House Summer ’19 Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet Summer ’19 The Cascadia Subduction Zone Vol 9 No 2

Sadly, the Summer issue of Tin House is its last – they are closing up shop after 80 issues – a full 20 years of really first-rate fiction, essays, poetry and reviews. They were very hospitable to fantastika, and this holds true in this final outing. “The Gondoliers” by Karen ...Read More

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Paula Guran Reviews This House of Wounds by Georgina Bruce

This House of Wounds, Georgina Bruce (Un­dertow Publications 978-1-988964-09-6, $27.99, 248pp, hc) June 2019. Cover by Catrin Welz-Stein.

Georgina Bruce’s searing debut collection contains 16 superbly written, often surreal stories of misogyny, blood, anger, agony, and abuse. Bruce’s stygian tales are technically ac­complished, but also powered by a profound depth of feeling. They often compel and overwhelm at the same time. Like the cover art by Catrin Welz-Stein, This ...Read More

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Karen Burnham Reviews Short Fiction: Lightspeed, New York Times, Tor.com, Big Echo, and Terraform

Lightspeed 7/19 New York Times 5/27/19 Tor.com 6/5/19 Big Echo 1/19 Terraform 5/13/19

The science fiction stories in July’s Lightspeed catch characters at very different phases of their lives. “The Null Space Conundrum” by Violet Allen is an over-the-top story of Aria, a supercool (and very self-conscious about that coolness) cosmic cyborg entity helping the liv­ing song entity Kantikle on a mission to save the Universe from a ...Read More

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Paula Guran Reviews Short Fiction: Black Static and Uncanny

Black Static 5-6/19 Uncanny 5-6/19

The usual five original stories in Black Static #69 begin with “Where It Ends, Where It Begins” by Erinn L. Kemper. Old Mac salvages the sea on the west coast of Vancouver Island. For ten years, along with the usual fare, he’s also salvaged decaying body parts that he keeps in a freezer. Now he has collected an entire body’s worth of ...Read More

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Ian Mond Reviews Someone Who Will Love You in All Your Dam­aged Glory by Raphael Bob-Waksberg

Someone Who Will Love You in All Your Dam­aged Glory: Stories, Raphael Bob-Waksberg (Knopf 978-1524732011, $25.95, 256pp, hc) June 2019.

Back in June IndieWire published an article list­ing the best TV shows of the last decade. BoJack Horseman was ranked number four behind three deserving and ground-breaking productions: Breaking Bad, Fleabag, and The Leftovers. BoJack Horseman, though, could easily have finished in the top spot. ...Read More

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

The Dark 5/19, 6/19 Nightmare 6/19, 7/19 Apex 5/19

The Dark #48 offers two new stories. In Angela Slatter‘s “The Wilderling“, isolated, bored, childless LP is fascinated with a feral child who visits her yard. One might expect LP to do something other than what she does for or with the savage kid. Mystery grows as LP’s actions defy expectation. Slatter, with perfect pacing and accomplished writing, ...Read More

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Liz Bourke Reviews Of Wars, and Memories, and Starlight by Aliette de Bodard

Of Wars, and Memories, and Starlight, Aliette de Bodard (Subterranean 978-1-59606-952-7, $40.00, 384pp, hc) September 2019. Cover by Maurizio Manzieri.

Aliette de Bodard’s Of Wars, and Memories, and Starlight is a collection from an author whose work possesses both breadth and depth. Published by Subterranean Press, this volume largely collects works from her Hugo Award-nominated Xuya continuity – including award-winning stories “The Shipmaker” (BSFA Award), “Immersion” (Nebula and Locus ...Read More

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Rich Horton Reviews Short Fiction: Analog, Asimov’s, and F&SF

Analog 7-8/19 Asimov’s 7-8/19 F&SF 5-6/19

I’ve always thought that if Analog was truly the central bastion of hard SF among our magazines it ought to be publishing Greg Egan but, with the exception of “Beyond the Whistle Test” 30 years ago, his work has not appeared in the magazine. Until now! And “The Slipway” qualifies as pure a hard SF story as you might want – so ...Read More

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Karen Burnham Reviews Short Fiction: Clarkesworld, Fiyah, and BCS

Clarkesworld 6/19 Fiyah Spring ’19 Beneath Ceaseless Skies 6/6/19, 6/20/19

Clarkesworld starts its June issue with a gut punch of a story, “The Painter of Trees” by Suzanne Palmer. Colonizers of an alien world have a society with very strict protocols. As their terraforming efforts kill off the last of the indigenous population, one colo­nizing individual maintains contact with the last representative, Tski, hoping to gain insight ...Read More

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Ian Mond Reviews Everything is Made of Letters by Sofía Rhei

Everything is Made of Letters, Sofía Rhei (Aqueduct 978-1-61976-149-0, $12.00, 152pp, tp) February 2019.

Since 2004, Aqueduct Press has published a small paperback series, called Conversation Pieces, that aims to “document and facilitate the grand conversation” of feminist science fiction. The more than 60 volumes issued so far collect essays, poetry, novellas, and short fiction authored by an impressive range of writers, a veritable who’s who of the field ...Read More

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Amy Goldschlager Reviews Unauthorized Bread Audiobook by Cory Doctorow

Unauthorized Bread, Cory Doctorow; Lameece Issaq, narrator (Macmillan Audio 978-1-25022316-6, $10.99, digital download, 3 hr., unabridged) April 2019.

Selima, a Libyan immigrant, is grateful to leave the refugee shelter in Arizona for a subsidized, fully furnished studio apartment in Boston’s Dorchester Towers, even if she is only allowed to use the elevator when the building’s market-value tenants don’t require it. Then the company supplying her internet-equipped ap­pliances – which ...Read More

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Gary K. Wolfe Reviews A City Made of Words by Paul Park

A City Made of Words, Paul Park (PM Press 978-1-629-63642-9, $14.00, 128pp, tp) June 2019.

Paul Park has always had a rather sidewise relationship with science fiction and fantasy. His early novels demonstrated a sophisticated awareness of the literary possibilities of the far-future, dying-Earth theme, and his vastly underappreciated A Princess of Roumania series was as carefully worked-out an alternate history as you could ask for – except that ...Read More

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Karen Burnham Reviews Short Fiction: Clarkesworld, Lightspeed, and BCS

Clarkesworld 5/19 Lightspeed 6/19 Beneath Ceaseless Skies #277, #278

May’s Clarkesworld is a treasure trove, with five original stories that bring us both the rich and the bizarre, some­times all at once. It starts with “Tick-Tock” by Xia Jia (translated by Emily Jin), a tale of a dreamer and those who construct his dreams, (which can be made to order). There’s a very effective repetitive leit motif that ...Read More

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Rich Horton Reviews Short Fiction: Uncanny, Galaxy’s Edge, Bourbon Penn, and Writers of the Future 35

Uncanny 5-6/19 Galaxy’s Edge 5/19 Bourbon Penn 3/19 Writers of the Future, Vol. 35, David Farland, ed. (Galaxy Press) April 2019.

Uncanny‘s May-June issue is also a bit slight. Still, Ellen Klages, as one might expect, doesn’t disappoint with “Nice Things“. Phoebe Morris is dealing with her late mother’s things and, in so doing, dealing with memories of her perfection­ist mother, how she wouldn’t let her ...Read More

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Karen Burnham Reviews Short Fiction: Strange Horizons, Samovar, Constellary Tales, and Deep Magic

Strange Horizons 4/19, 5/19 Samovar 3/19 Constellary Tales #2 Deep Magic Spring ’19

At the end of April Strange Horizons set aside an issue to focus on Nigerian science fiction and fantasy that featured two original stories: “The Storm Painter” by Avodele Olofintuade and “Where the Rain Mothers Are” by Rafeeat Aliyu. Both happen to hit on themes of return­ing. Olofintuade’s story features an artist, ...Read More

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Rich Horton Reviews Short Fiction: F&SF, Interzone, and Amazing

F&SF 7-8/19 Interzone 3-4/19 Amazing Spring ’19

In the July-August F&SF, Cassandra Khaw‘s “Mighty are the Meek and the Myriad” is very impressive. It’s set the year after a human-robot war ended in a treaty, with robots serving as humans, and, in various ways, being “humanized” by having them wear hats and mustaches and giving them corgis as pets. The story follows two somewhat unpleasant hu­man characters: ...Read More

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Gary K. Wolfe Reviews Song for the Unraveling of the World by Brian Evenson

Song for the Unraveling of the World, Brian Evenson (Coffee House Press 978-156689-548-4, $16.99, 212pp, tp) June 2019.

In his story “Leaking Out”, which could be read as Brian Evenson’s characteristically oblique take on the haunted house tale, a “malformed man” (another characteristic Evenson figure) starts tell­ing a story with the warning that “this is not that kind of story, the kind meant to explain things. It simply tells ...Read More

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Karen Burnham Reviews Short Fiction: Tor.com, Lightspeed, BCS and Strange Horizons

Tor.com 4/3/19 Lightspeed 5/19 Beneath Ceaseless Skies 4/11/19 Strange Horizons 4/19

Kathleen Ann Goonan‘s story at Tor.com, “One/Zero” is a fascinating peek three-minutes-into-the-future. It’s told from two viewpoints: Vida is a teenager in Kurdistan, and the story begins in media res as her neighborhood is bombed and most of her family killed, sending her and her little brother on the road as refugees. An AV bus picks ...Read More

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Rich Horton Reviews Short Fiction: Analog, Asimov’s, and Space and Time

Analog 5-6/19 Asimov’s 5-6/19 Space and Time Spring/Summer ’19

The May-June Analog opens with a fun alternate history from Harry Turtledove, “Bonehunters“, retelling a version of the fossil wars of the late 19th century in a timeline where, apparently, dinosaurs never became extinct, and two separate intelligent species evolved from raptors. The story is told by Rekek, a “greenskin” who serves as a guide. His stepson Junior ...Read More

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