Paula Guran Reviews Short Fiction: Apex #130, PodCastle, and PseudoPod

Apex #130 PodCastle 2/23/22 PseudoPod 3/11/22

Nine Theories of Time” by Spencer Nitkey leads off the six original stories of Apex #130. It is not so much a story as an eloquent meditation on time, life, death, and grief.

In the near future of “To Live and Die in Dix­ieland” by Russell Nichols, brothers Walter and Royce Mitchell develop a virtual reality platform, Dixieland, in ...Read More

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Gabino Iglesias Reviews El Porvenir, ¡Ya!: Citlalzazanilli Mexicatl, a Chicano Sci-fi Anthology by Scott Russell Duncan, Armando Rendón, Jenny Irizary, eds.

El Porvenir, ¡Ya!: Citlalzazanilli Mexicatl, a Chicano Sci-fi Anthology, Scott Russell Duncan, Armando Rendón, Jenny Irizary, eds. (Somos en escrito Literary Foundation Press 979-8-409-93671-6, $10.00, 220pp, pb) May 2022. Cover by Polaris Castillo.

El Porvenir, ¡Ya!: Citlalzazanilli Mexicatl offers readers a surprisingly comprehensive look at what contemporary Mexican-American science fiction has to offer. With a mix of up-and-coming writers and sea­soned veterans of the genre, this anthology celebrates diversity ...Read More

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

Solarpunk Magazine 1-2/22, 3-4/22 The Sunday Morning Transport 3/6, 3/27, 4/3/22 Clarkesworld 4/22

I was sent the debut issue of Solarpunk Maga­zine, and I liked it so much I followed up with the second issue. While I tend to be skeptical of using “punk” as a suffix denoting various subgenres of speculative fiction, I’m more sympa­thetic to its use here. There’s so much news and so much of it is ...Read More

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Russell Letson 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 Press 978-1-64524-058-7, $45.00, 582pp, hc) June 2022.

I love big career-retrospective single-author collections, especially when the author provides notes on genesis and biographical context. John Kessel’s turn has come with The Dark Ride, a gathering of 20 stories from 1981-2021 that shows his command of a wide range of motifs and styles and his recurring ...Read More

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Charles Payseur Reviews Short Fiction: Fusion Fragment, Lightspeed, and Fantasy

Fusion Fragment 3/22 Lightspeed 4/22 Fantasy 4/22

March also sees the first 2022 content from Fusion Fragment, with their tenth issue. Jennifer Hudak kicks things off with the bittersweet “The Topogra­phy of Memory”, which finds a narrator returning home for the first anniversary of her brother’s death, only to find she can’t quite find her way. The story is weighted with guilt as the narrator navigates their own ...Read More

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Charles Payseur Reviews Short Fiction: Hexagon, Fireside, and Beneath Ceaseless Skies

Hexagon 3/22 Fireside 3/22 Beneath Ceaseless Skies 3/10/22, 3/24/22

Hexagon Magazine opens its 2022 releases with its eighth issue, featuring five original stories. While the publication does publish stories in English and French (a trend I’ve been happy to note here and in publications like Omenana as well), all the works in this issue are English originals. All the works are also what I’d classify as fantasy, with some interesting ...Read More

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

GigaNotoSaurus 3/22 Cast of Wonders 2-3/22 Escape Pod 3/22

The March story from GigaNotoSaurus is a wonderful take on space opera in “The Law of Take” by Isabel Cañas. Vis has risen from a childhood of poverty all the way to empress, all on the idea that she needs to take what she wants. Money, power, influence – and yet when it comes to love, taking what ...Read More

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Karen Burnham Reviews Short Fiction:Future SF Digest, Clarkesworld, and Asimov’s

Future SF Digest 3/22 Clarkesworld 3/22 Asimov’s 3-4/22

Now more than ever I’d like to put the work of Future Science Fiction Digest front and center. Since 2018 it has been unusually strong in bringing voices from around the world to readers, both in English and in translation. As I write this the war in Ukraine is a few weeks old, and editor Alex Shvarts­man writes movingly in the Foreword ...Read More

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Charles Payseur Reviews Short Fiction: Reckoning, Drabblecast, and Strange Horizons

Reckoning 1/22 Drabblecast 1-2/22 Strange Horizons 2/21/22, 2/28/22, 3/7/22, 3/14/22

Let’s start with the latest release from Reckoning, an annual journal dedicated to environmental justice. Their sixth issue is edited by poetry editor Aïcha Martine Thiam and prose editor Gabriela Santiago. The content is released online throughout the first half of the year, but the journal itself is as large as many an­thologies, and peppered with commentary on the state ...Read More

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Karen Burnham Reviews Short Fiction:Slate Future Tense, Translunar Travelers Lounge, and The Sunday Morning Transport

Slate Future Tense 1/22 Translunar Traveler’s Lounge 2/22 The Sunday Morning Transport 1/30, 2/6, 2/13, 2/27/22

The January story in Slate Future Tense is “If We Make It Through This Alive” by A.T. Greenblatt. It’s a really cool story about three friends who enter a road race to try to make it across America, Pennsylvania to California, in a post-collapse future. Crumbled infrastructure is only the start ...Read More

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Charles Payseur Reviews Short Fiction: Fantasy, Lightspeed, and Xenocultivars: Stories of Queer Growth

Fantasy 3/22 Lightspeed 3/22 Xenocultivars: Stories of Queer Growth, Isa­bela Oliveira & Jed Sabin, eds. (Speculatively Queer) March 2022.

March’s Fantasy Magazine features a new story by Isabel J. Kim, who has been having a very strong year. ‘‘Christopher Mills, Return to Sender’’ focuses on death and resurrection as Chris awakens from his own personal hell, a giant mall without a smoothie place, thanks to the ...Read More

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

The Dark 1/22, 2/22 Apex #129 Nightmare 2/22 Deadlands 1/22, 2/22 The Dark #80’s four original stories include ‘‘Thermophile’’ by Jack Klausner and ‘‘Intru­sions’’ by Margot McGovern. In the former, Lisa’s roomie Stu starts taking really long hot showers. And baths. And acting strange. His only excuse is that he likes the warmth. This is an idea that doesn’t quite turn into a story. In ...Read More

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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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