Rich Horton Reviews Short Fiction: Analog, Asimov’s, Pulp Literature, and Uncanny

Analog 3-4/20 Asimov’s 3-4/20 Pulp Literature Winter ’20 Uncanny 3-4/20

Analog offers several impressive stories in its March-April issue. Andy Dudak can be counted on for wild ideas, and “Midstrathe Exploding” delivers on that account. Ciaran is a pickpocket in Midstrathe City, which seems mainly known for the weirdly time-shifted explosion that engulfed it 200 years before and is still expanding with its victims frozen inside it. He ...Read More

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Rich Horton Reviews City of a Thousand Feelings by Anya Johanna DeNiro and The Menace from Farside by Ian McDonald

City of a Thousand Feelings, Anya Johanna DeNiro (Aqueduct) February 2020.

Another entry in Aqueduct Press’s long and always challenging Conversation Pieces series. This is a novelette, City of a Thousand Feelings by Anya Johanna DeNiro, a trans woman whose work I’ve long liked and have missed. This story doesn’t quite work for me, but it’s fascinating and well written, with some spectacular imagery. It’s opens with two ...Read More

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

F&SF 3-4/20 Uncanny 1/20 Galaxy’s Edge 1/20 Interzone 1-2/20 Conjunctions 73

F&SF offers a wide range of impressive stories this issue. Two fine pieces come from an anthology Gardner Dozois was working on prior to his death, The Book of Legends. Matthew Hughes‘s “The Last Legend” is about a young man who had hoped for a respectable career before his uncle spent his inheritance and apprenticed ...Read More

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

Asimov’s 1-2/20 Analog 1-2/20 Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet 11/19 On Spec #112

The first 2020 issue of Asimov’s is anchored by two novellas – the latest episode of Allen M. Steele‘s series about a human colony on a planet of Tau Ceti and the colonists’ interaction with the doglike intelligent species that controls the planet, “The Palace of Danc­ing Dogs” – these are enjoyable somewhat old-fashioned adventures ...Read More

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

F&SF 1-2/20 Uncanny 11-12/19 Interzone 11-12/19 Neo-Opsis #30 Bourbon Penn 11/19 Galaxy’s Edge 11/19

Michael Cassutt‘s rare short fiction is always welcome, and “Banshee”, from the first 2020 issue of F&SF, is a good example. Nik Salida is a NASA administrator. His latest project, Skin Walker, is an exotic shapeshift­ing spaceship, led by the brilliant and troublesome Togo Blaine. But the latest flight test has just failed, and Salida ...Read More

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Short Fiction in Print, 2019 by Rich Horton

My remit here at Locus is primarily to cover short fiction from print sources, and thus I thought to build my year end summary around just that. But don’t forget – there is a great deal of excellent work that appears first online. To that I will add my usual plea – don’t ignore the print work just because it’s harder to find.

I’ll begin with two collections that got ...Read More

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Rich Horton Reviews Short Fiction: The New Yorker, Hexarchate Stories, And Go Like This

The New Yorker 9/30/19 Hexarchate Stories, Yoon Ha Lee (Solaris) June 2019. And Go Like This, John Crowley (Small Beer Press) November 2019.

I’m catching up slightly late with one of the New Yorker‘s occasional fantastical stories, this one quite lightly fantastical, though, I am told, set in Cross River, a city in which the author (Rion Amilcar Scott) has written other stories, all with somewhat ...Read More

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Rich Horton Reviews Short Fiction: Asimov’s, Analog, On Spec, and Stray Bats

Asimov’s 11-12/19 Analog 11-12/19 On Spec #110 Popshot Quarterly Summer ’19 Stray Bats, Margo Lanagan (Small Beer Press) November 2019.

I found that I enjoyed several stories in the last issue of Asimov’s for 2019 by, well, men of roughly my age, let’s just say. “Escape from Sanctuary” is Allen M. Steele‘s latest tale of the human settlement on the planet Tawcety and its fraught relationship ...Read More

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Rich Horton Reviews Short Fiction: F&SF, Uncanny, Interzone, Galaxy’s Edge, Not One of Us, and Others

F&SF 11-12/19 Uncanny 9-10/19 Interzone 9-10/19 Galaxy’s Edge 9/19 Not One of Us 10/19

If This Goes On, Cat Rambo, ed. (Parvus Press) March 2019 Tomorrow Girl and Other Stories, Robert Zoltan (Dream Tower) October 2019. Exhalation, Ted Chiang (Knopf) May 2019.

I was very glad to see two stories in F&SF this month from long-time contributors whom we haven’t seen enough from lately. M. Rickert‘s ...Read More

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Rich Horton Reviews Short Fiction: Analog, Asimov’s, and f(r)iction

Analog 9-10/19 Asimov’s 9-10/19 f(r)iction Spring ’19

The cover story in the September-October Analog is “The Gorilla in a Tutu Principle; or, Pecan Pie at Minnie and Earl’s“, a novella from Adam-Troy Castro, the third in his series about the era of lunar coloniza­tion, and how the very unusual couple Minnie and Earl helped out. Castro is partly having fun with Analog expectations, because these stories, featuring ...Read More

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Gary K. Wolfe and Rich Horton Review The Mythic Dream, Edited by Dominik Parisien & Navah Wolfe

The Mythic Dream, Dominik Parisien & Navah Wolfe, eds. (Saga 978-1-5344-4228-3, $24.99, 368pp, hc) September 2019.

With two well-received anthologies already to their credit (The Starlit Wood and Robots vs Fairies) Dominik Parisien & Navah Wolfe can’t possibly believe that their idea for the third one – retellings and reshap­ings of world myths – is going to strike anyone as wildly innovative. Not only are there many ...Read More

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Rich Horton, Liz Bourke, and Amy Goldschlager Review Desdemona and the Deep by C.S.E. Cooney

Desdemona and the Deep, C.S.E. Cooney (Tor.com Publishing 978-1-250-22983-0, $14.99, 222pp, tp) July 2019. Cover by Kathleen Jen­nings.

I’ve been looking forward to C.S.E. Cooney‘s Desdemona and the Deep for quite a while, and having arrived, it doesn’t disappoint. This is the third of her Breakers novellas (though it stands completely alone), centered around a set of houses called Breakers in three different worlds: the hu­man world, the ...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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Rich Horton Reviews Stories from Sofía Rhei, Greg Egan, and Juliana Rew

Everything is Made of Letters, Sofía Rhei (Aqueduct) March 2019. Perihelion Summer, Greg Egan (Tor.com Publishing) April 2019. Hidden Histories, Juliana Rew, ed. (Third Flatiron) April 2019.

I was really impressed by Sofía Rhei‘s Everything is Made of Letters. Rhei is a Spanish writer, and this slim book contains five recent stories, all as far as I can tell appearing here for the first time ...Read More

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Rich Horton Reviews New Suns, Edited by Nisi Shawl

New Suns, Nisi Shawl, ed. (Solaris 978-1-78108-578-3, $15.99, 279pp, tp) March 2019.

New Suns is subtitled “Original Speculative Fiction by People of Color”. I hope it’s not news to anyone that there are a lot of people of color who write spectacular speculative fiction. This book includes writers of Hispanic heritage, those from all over Asia, those of Native American heritage, and of course African and African-American writers. It ...Read More

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Rich Horton Reviews Short Fiction: F&SF, Galaxy’s Edge, Zyzzyva, Interzone, and Mythic Journeys

F&SF 3-4/19 Galaxy’s Edge 3/19 Zyzzyva Winter ’18 Interzone 3-4/19 Mythic Journeys, Paula Guran, ed. (Night Shade) May 2019.

Sometimes I fail to mention stories that may not be earthshaking, but are good fun. In the March-April F&SF, for example, I enjoyed several stories greatly, without necessarily, say, putting them on my prospective Hugo Award nomination list. To wit: Gregor Hartmann‘s “The Unbearable Lightness of Bullets...Read More

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Rich Horton Reviews Novellas by P. Djèlí Clark, Kate Heartfield, and Paul Di Filippo

The Black God’s Drums, P. Djèlí Clark (Tor.com Publishing) September 2018. Alice Payne Arrives, Kate Heartfield (Tor.com Publishing) November 2018. Alice Payne Rides, Kate Heartfield (Tor.com Publishing) March 2019. Aeota, Paul Di Filippo (PS Publishing) February 2019.

The recent Nebula Award nominations alerted me to some work I’d missed. A couple of the novella nominees came out from Tor.com Publishing late last year. Both are very ...Read More

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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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Rich Horton Reviews For the Killing of Kings by Howard Andrew Jones

For the Killing of Kings, Howard Andrew Jones (St. Martin’s Press, 978-1250006813, $26.99, 368pp, hc) February 2019.

For the Killing of Kings, the opening volume of a new fantasy trilogy by Howard Andrew Jones, is exciting, absorbing, and a great deal of fun, and it ends on a cliffhanger, which is, perhaps, to be expected. It’s fairly traditional fantasy in form and action, with a small band of heroes ...Read More

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Rich Horton Reviews Books by David F. Shultz, Cynthia Ward, and Peter Watts

Strange Economics, David F. Shultz, ed. (TdotSpec) August 2018. The Adventure of the Dux Bellorum, Cynthia Ward (Aqueduct) September 2018. The Freeze-Frame Revolution, Peter Watts (Tachyon) June 2018.

Strange Economics is an anthology devoted to stories examining economics from highly speculative viewpoints, both science fictional and fantastical, and is quite successful at that. The stories are mostly fairly short and uneven, but I quite liked the ideas ...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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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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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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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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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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