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

Read more

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

Read more

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

Read more

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

Read more

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

Read more

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

Read more

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

Read more

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

Read more

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

Read more

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

Read more

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

Read more

Rich Horton Reviews Short Fiction: Out of the Ruins, Asimov’s, and Analog

Out of the Ruins, Preston Grassman, ed. (Titan) September 2021. Asimov’s 11-12/21 Analog 11-12/21

Out of the Ruins is an anthology about life in the ruins following an apoca­lypse (of whatever sort). It features a roughly even mix of original stories and strong reprints. Of the new stories, “Malware Park” by Nikhil Singh, is very impressive, and chal­lengingly constructed – the narrator disjointedly telling of the ...Read More

Read more

Ian Mond Reviews How to Get to Apocalypse and Other Disasters by Erica L. Satifka

How to Get to Apocalypse and Other Disasters, Erica L. Satifka (Fairwood Press 978-1-933846-17-0, $17.99, 400pp, tp) November 2021.

In his introduction to Erica L. Satifka’s debut short-story collection, How to Get to Apocalypse and Other Disasters, Nick Mamatas recalls coming across Satifka’s work as co-editor of Clarkesworld while trawling through the slush pile. Coincidentally, it was while scrolling through the social media slush pile that I came ...Read More

Read more

Gary K. Wolfe Reviews The Horizon by Gautam Bhatia

The Horizon, Gautam Bhatia (HarperCollins India 978-9354227639, ₹499.00, 468pp, tp) October 2021.

It’s always tricky to review the second volume of a duology without loading it with spoilers for readers who may not have read the first volume, or who might quite reasonably have decided to wait until the complete work was available (authors have been known to leave you hanging, after all, sometimes in ways that make you ...Read More

Read more

Paula Guran Reviews Short Fiction: Flash Fiction Online, Nightmare, and Fantasy

Flash Fiction Online 10/21

Nightmare 10/21, 11/21

Fantasy 10/21, 11/21

Flash Fiction Online’s October 2021 issue seeks to “explore that darkness that lurks inside things that initially seem harmless….” Sarah Pauling’s “Litany in the Heart of Exorcism” considers the casting out of a demon – but is something that has kept a young woman from a marriage she does not want demonic? “Better devil-deals than marriage contracts.” ...Read More

Read more

Rich Horton Reviews Short Fiction: The New Yorker and Tales the Devil Told Me

The New Yorker 10/11/21 Tales the Devil Told Me, Jen Fawkes (Press 53) October 2021.

Karen Russell offers a brilliant piece of SF (or fantasy, or, really, a beautiful example of how a purely fantastical insertion can illuminate an essentially SFnal premise) in the October 11th issue of The New Yorker. “The Ghost Birds” is set a few decades in the future, a future ravaged by climate change ...Read More

Read more

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

Beneath Ceaseless Skies 10/7/21 Clarkesworld 10/21 Tor.com 9/8, 9/15, 9/29, 10/13, 10/20/21 Strange Horizons 9/13/21

Beneath Ceaseless Skies is a strong, high-quality venue, week in and week out, but on anniversaries and big milestones editor Scott Andrews pulls out the stops. For the 13th Anniversary we get a double issue filled with magic. First up is “The Burning Girl” by Carrie Vaughn, an alternate history in which ...Read More

Read more

Paula Guran Reviews Short Fiction: Weird Horror, The Deadlands, The Dark, and Apex

Weird Horror #2 The Deadlands 10/21 The Dark 9/21, 10/21 Apex #125

I’m still not convinced that its title matches its content, but Weird Horror’s second issue offers a couple of very good stories. Stephen Volk scores high with fantasy “Adventurous”: when Carole’s sexual encounter with Collin is interrupted by her mum’s unexpected return home, the young man hides in the wardrobe. It proves to be much more ...Read More

Read more

Gary K. Wolfe Reviews The Gollancz Book of South Asian Science Fiction: Volume 2 by Tarun K. Saint, ed.

The Gollancz Book of South Asian Science Fiction: Volume 2, Tarun K. Saint, ed. (Hachette India 978-9391028626, ₹699.00, 488pp, hc; $10.99, eb) September 2021.

The first volume of Tarun K. Saint’s The Gollancz Book of South Asian Science Fiction (reviewed here in June 2019) seemed to serve two purposes: to present the variety of South Asian SFF to the world at large, and – equally important, to judge from Saint’s ...Read More

Read more

Karen Burnham Reviews Short Fiction: Lightspeed, Mithila Review, Common Tongues, and Bards & Sages

Lightspeed 10/21 Mithila Review 3/21 Common Tongue 8/21 Bards & Sages 10/21

October’s Lightspeed has plenty of stories with chewy premises to enjoy. “Stowaways” by Andrew Dana Hudson is a flash piece told in the form of a museum sign explaining an art piece. This dangerous piece of art can “install” itself in viewers’ brains whenever enough “infected” people gather nearby. Its main effect is to generate companion ...Read More

Read more

T.G Shenoy Reviews The Year’s Best African Speculative Fiction by Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki

The Year’s Best African Speculative Fiction, Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki, ed. (Jembefola Press, $6.99, eb) September 2021. Cover by Maria Spada.

Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki. You’ll want to remember the name because if the recent past is anything to go by, then you’ll be coming across it often, very often. Ever since he burst on the scene – with a Nommo Award for his 2018 story “The Witching Hour” – he’s ...Read More

Read more

Rich Horton reviews Short Fiction: Shoggoths in Traffic and Other Stories andHow to Get to Apocalypse and Other Disasters

Shoggoths in Traffic and Other Stories, Tobias S. Buckell (Fairwood Press) November 2021.

How to Get to Apocalypse and Other Disasters, Erica L. Satifka (Fairwood Press) November 2021.

Shoggoths in Traffic and Other Stories is a new collection from Tobias S. Buckell. He’s been publishing much of his short work on his Patreon in recent years, so this book is a great way for non-patrons to see ...Read More

Read more

Karen Burnham Reviews Short Fiction: Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Clarkesworld, Strange Horizons, Lightspeed, and Hexagon

Beneath Ceaseless Skies 9/9, 9/23/21

Clarkesworld 9/21

Strange Horizons 8/21

Lightspeed 10/21

Hexagon Fall ’21

While Beneath Ceaseless Skies doesn’t typically do theme issues, the fact that each features a pair of stories lets us find synchronous themes pretty often. Issue #338 features two young people facing very different coming-of-age trials. In “The Shape of Wings and Feathers” by Jenny Rae Rappaport, Bryce is a young girl ...Read More

Read more

Karen Burnham Reviews Short Fiction: Lightspeed, Futures, Abyss & Apex, Lackington’s, and Speculative City

Lightspeed 10/21 Nature: Futures 9/17/21 Abyss & Apex Summer ’21 Lackington’s Spring ’21 Speculative City Spring ’21

The fantasy side of the October issue of Light­speed brings us a novelette by PH Lee & Rachel Swirsky, continuing their Dusty Boots series of fairytale-style stories. ‘‘The Ash-Girl and the Salmon Prince’’ blends Cinderella tropes with The Fisherman and His Wife and a hint of Blue­beard. The ash-girl is ...Read More

Read more

Rich Horton Reviews Short Fiction: Asimov’s, Uncanny, and On Spec

Asimov’s 9-10/21 Uncanny 9-10/21 On Spec 6/21, 9/21

Greg Egan’s “Sleep and the Soul” (Asimov’s 9-10/21) is an intriguing piece presented as an alternate history where the Jonbar point is a biological change, not a historical one. Humans in this world do not need to sleep and, at least in the 19th-century US in which the story is set, sleep is regarded with horror because the loss ...Read More

Read more

Rich Horton Reviews Short Fiction: The National Pastime 2021 Edition, Alternate Plains, and The Adventure of the Golden Woman

The National Pastime 2021 Edition

Alternate Plains, Darren Ridgley & Adam Pe­trash, eds. (Great Plains Publications) October 2021.

The Adventure of the Golden Woman, Cynthia Ward (Aqueduct Press) September 2021.

Here’s an unexpected source of some SF: the 2021 issue of The National Pastime, published by the Society for American Baseball Research. This issue is about “the future according to baseball,” and it’s edited by Cecilia M. Tan ...Read More

Read more

Karen Burnham Reviews Short Fiction: Tor.com, Fiyah, and Clarkesworld, and

Tor.com 8/4/21, 8/18/21, 8/25/21 Fiyah Summer ’21 Clarkesworld 8/21

To start off this month, I’d like to highlight two stories that use abstract mathematics in interesting ways. The August Clarkesworld features “The Serpentine Band” by Congyun ‘Mu Ming’ Gu (translated by Tian Huang) which tips over into novella territory at 18,500 words. It is a beautiful story of a bureaucrat in historical China. We learn about the life ...Read More

Read more

Gary K. Wolfe Reviews The Complete Short Fiction of Peter Straub by Peter Straub

The Complete Short Fiction of Peter Straub: Volume 1: Stories, Peter Straub (Borderlands Press, $120.00, 477pp, hc) October 2021.

The Complete Short Fiction of Peter Straub: Volume 2: Novellas, Peter Straub (Borderlands Press, $120.00, 477pp, hc) October 2021.

Whenever Peter Straub’s name shows up on social media or in critical discussions of horror, it’s increasingly accompanied by encomiums like “icon” or “living legend” (he even has an award ...Read More

Read more

Karen Burnham Reviews Short Fiction: Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Lightspeed, and Strange Horizons

Beneath Ceaseless Skies 7/15/21, 7/29/21, 8/12/21, 8/26/21 Lightspeed 8/21, 9/21 Strange Horizons 7/21

I had fallen behind on Beneath Ceaseless Skies since reading two issues a month is not quite enough to keep up with a once-every-two weeks publishing schedule. It’s always a pleasure to catch up with this particular magazine, since you never know quite where it will take you. Issue #334 has two stories of people displaced from ...Read More

Read more

Rich Horton Reviews Short Fiction: Analog, Interzone, Galaxy’s Edge, and Fusion Fragment

Analog 9-10/21 Interzone #290-291 Galaxy’s Edge 7/21 Fusion Fragment 7/21

Analog’s latest issue features ‘‘The Silence Before I Sleep’’, a novella in Adam-Troy Castro’s AISource future that introduces Rage Larkin, a contract killer by profession, though she emphasizes that she avoids (or voids) contracts that violate her principles and also tries to come up with alternate solutions. Rage’s latest assignment is on an artificial planet created by ...Read More

Read more

Gary K. Wolfe Reviews The First Law of Thermodynamics by James Patrick Kelly

The First Law of Thermodynamics, James Pat­rick Kelly (PM Press 978-1629638850, $14.00, 128pp, tp) August 2021.

As I’ve mentioned in this space before, PM Press’s Outspoken Authors series, which began in 2009 with titles by Kim Stanley Robinson and series editor Terry Bisson, has become a reliable literary loot box, now up to its 27th volume with James Patrick Kelly’s The First Law of Ther­modynamics. My immediate thought ...Read More

Read more

Rich Horton Reviews Short Fiction: Uncanny, The Burning Day and Other Strange Stories and Fantastic Americana

Uncanny 7-8/21

The Burning Day and Other Strange Stories, Charles Payseur (Lethe Press) August 2021.

Fantastic Americana, Josh Rountree (Fairwood Press) August 2021.

Uncanny’s general excellence is never surpris­ing. I was really intrigued by Shaoni C. White’s ‘‘Diamond Cuts’’, set in a world whose magic reenacting the way that magic was brought to the world – by an alchemist’s partner stealing a star and sacrificing ...Read More

Read more