website statistics The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, May/June 2014 - PDF Books Online
Hot Best Seller

The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, May/June 2014

Availability: Ready to download

Volume 126, No. 5&6, #713, May/June 2014 Edited by Gordon Van Gelder Cover art by Cory & Katska Ench CONTENT: Novella "Bartleby The Scavenger" by Katie Boyer Novelets "The End Of The Silk Road" by David D. Levine "Rooksnight" by Marc Laidlaw "Containment Zone: A Seastead Story" by Naomi Kritzer Short Stories "The Fisher Queen" by Alyssa Wong "White Curtain" by Pavel Amnuel "Presidentia Volume 126, No. 5&6, #713, May/June 2014 Edited by Gordon Van Gelder Cover art by Cory & Katska Ench CONTENT: Novella "Bartleby The Scavenger" by Katie Boyer Novelets "The End Of The Silk Road" by David D. Levine "Rooksnight" by Marc Laidlaw "Containment Zone: A Seastead Story" by Naomi Kritzer Short Stories "The Fisher Queen" by Alyssa Wong "White Curtain" by Pavel Amnuel "Presidential Cryptotrivia" by Oliver Buckram "The Memory Cage" by Tim Sullivan "The Shadow In The Corner" by Jonathan Andrew Sheen DEPARTMENTS Films: "Imitations of Life" by David J. Skal Plumage From Pegasus: "Nudge Not, Lest Ye Be Nudged" by Paul Di Filippo


Compare

Volume 126, No. 5&6, #713, May/June 2014 Edited by Gordon Van Gelder Cover art by Cory & Katska Ench CONTENT: Novella "Bartleby The Scavenger" by Katie Boyer Novelets "The End Of The Silk Road" by David D. Levine "Rooksnight" by Marc Laidlaw "Containment Zone: A Seastead Story" by Naomi Kritzer Short Stories "The Fisher Queen" by Alyssa Wong "White Curtain" by Pavel Amnuel "Presidentia Volume 126, No. 5&6, #713, May/June 2014 Edited by Gordon Van Gelder Cover art by Cory & Katska Ench CONTENT: Novella "Bartleby The Scavenger" by Katie Boyer Novelets "The End Of The Silk Road" by David D. Levine "Rooksnight" by Marc Laidlaw "Containment Zone: A Seastead Story" by Naomi Kritzer Short Stories "The Fisher Queen" by Alyssa Wong "White Curtain" by Pavel Amnuel "Presidential Cryptotrivia" by Oliver Buckram "The Memory Cage" by Tim Sullivan "The Shadow In The Corner" by Jonathan Andrew Sheen DEPARTMENTS Films: "Imitations of Life" by David J. Skal Plumage From Pegasus: "Nudge Not, Lest Ye Be Nudged" by Paul Di Filippo

30 review for The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, May/June 2014

  1. 4 out of 5

    Kara

    This is a beautiful story that takes place on the Mekong River in Southeast Asia. It's short, and I don't want to give too much away, but let's just say that it contains mermaids and disillusionment. You can read it here: http://bit.ly/1CeprBQ This is a beautiful story that takes place on the Mekong River in Southeast Asia. It's short, and I don't want to give too much away, but let's just say that it contains mermaids and disillusionment. You can read it here: http://bit.ly/1CeprBQ

  2. 4 out of 5

    Lis Carey

    Lily is the oldest of three daughters of a Mekong delta fisherman, and as the oldest, at age fifteen, she's become an experienced fishing boat deckhand. Her mother is dead, died too young for even Lily to have any memory of her, but her dad tells a crazy story: the girls' mother was a mermaid. Mermaids are fish. Unambiguously fish, not intelligent, not beautiful, only superficially human-looking. They are the most desirable fish to sell at the fish market, bringing the highest prices, especially Lily is the oldest of three daughters of a Mekong delta fisherman, and as the oldest, at age fifteen, she's become an experienced fishing boat deckhand. Her mother is dead, died too young for even Lily to have any memory of her, but her dad tells a crazy story: the girls' mother was a mermaid. Mermaids are fish. Unambiguously fish, not intelligent, not beautiful, only superficially human-looking. They are the most desirable fish to sell at the fish market, bringing the highest prices, especially the deep-sea varieties. It's a ridiculous story, obviously intended to avoid telling the girls their mother ran off and abandoned them. And then comes the fateful fishing trip on which Lily encounters her first deep ocean mermaid, and the mermaid calls her "Daughter." This is a gently and yet mercilessly written story, the revelations building slowly. We see the sisters' love for each other, Lily's protectiveness of her younger sisters. We experience Lily's surprise, then shock, then horror as, fifteen years old, she is increasingly treated as a near-adult and sees things previously shielded from her. And we experience the terrible, difficult decision she makes. Recommended.

  3. 4 out of 5

    J. Boo

    Review is for "The Fisher Queen" by Alyssa Wong - this used to be a separate entry but someone on here merged everything. Boo, hiss. The story was conceptually interesting, I guess, but I didn't particularly like the story (abuse! sex! rape! cannibalism! thrill to the transgressiveness/unsubtle messaging of it all!), and as a consequence, wasn't able to suspend disbelief sufficiently to accept the (ridiculous) ending (view spoiler)[the mermaids are sentient and nebulously powerful... so why haven Review is for "The Fisher Queen" by Alyssa Wong - this used to be a separate entry but someone on here merged everything. Boo, hiss. The story was conceptually interesting, I guess, but I didn't particularly like the story (abuse! sex! rape! cannibalism! thrill to the transgressiveness/unsubtle messaging of it all!), and as a consequence, wasn't able to suspend disbelief sufficiently to accept the (ridiculous) ending (view spoiler)[the mermaids are sentient and nebulously powerful... so why haven't they wiped out the fishermen before? Or talked? And why is the author making a point of showing that the mermaids are speaking Vietnamese? I mean, it's clear everyone -- the narrator, her father, the other fishermen -- is speaking Vietnamese. Our story is set in Vietnam. (hide spoiler)] Apparently this was a nominee for the Nebula award. Freely available online. And worth every penny of that. But no more.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Michael Adams

    Powerful and affecting story. A fairytale allegory about the real-world horror of violence against women told through a horrifying weird-fiction lens. Strongly recommended.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Bryn Hammond

    "...mermaids are a peculiar, temperamental meat. You have to keep them alive or the flesh goes bad." "...mermaids are a peculiar, temperamental meat. You have to keep them alive or the flesh goes bad."

  6. 5 out of 5

    Silvana

    Comment for "The Fisher Queen" by Alyssa Wong: Pretty disturbing but evocative and immersive at the same time. Comment for "The Fisher Queen" by Alyssa Wong: Pretty disturbing but evocative and immersive at the same time.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Eamonn Murphy

    This month’s lead novella is ‘Bartleby The Scavenger’ by Katie Boyer. As ‘Bartleby The Scrivener’ by Herman Melville is one of my favourite classic stories, I was intrigued by the title. This is set in the USA after a disaster of some sort. Bombs were dropped and the small town of Brook has withdrawn into itself and been taken over by Mayor Peighton, a beautiful, ruthless woman who demands productivity from everyone. The narrator gets a job as a scavenger and is soon leading a team. The eponymou This month’s lead novella is ‘Bartleby The Scavenger’ by Katie Boyer. As ‘Bartleby The Scrivener’ by Herman Melville is one of my favourite classic stories, I was intrigued by the title. This is set in the USA after a disaster of some sort. Bombs were dropped and the small town of Brook has withdrawn into itself and been taken over by Mayor Peighton, a beautiful, ruthless woman who demands productivity from everyone. The narrator gets a job as a scavenger and is soon leading a team. The eponymous hero doesn’t appear until you’re 22% into the story (accurate these e-readers). His catchphrase is ‘I’m good, man’ rather than the ‘I would prefer not to’ of his classical equivalent but his lack of enthusiasm for work is the same. Starting with a title is a quirky way of constructing stories, though Philip Jose Farmer had fun with it. Katie Boyer made a good job out of this one. ‘The End Of The Silk Road’ is a novelette. Private investigator Mike Drayton is hired by Victor Grossman, head of Superior Silk, to investigate a drug dealer who has turned his brother into a heavily indebted junkie. The twist is that Superior Silk is located on Venus and the drug dealer is a ‘froggie’ or native Venusian called Uluugan Ugulma and the drug is Ulka, also Venusian. Mike travels from Earth to Venus by airship through the interplanetary atmosphere. David D. Levine’s story uses the hard-boiled private detective plot framework and narrative style in an interesting new world. Obviously, blondes are involved, too. It was clever, fast-paced and very enjoyable. ‘Rooksnight’ by Marc Laidlaw is another novelette featuring the bard with a stone hand and the gargoyle with a fleshy one, their respective appendages having been exchanged by a sorcerer. Gorlen and Spar have teamed up to search for him but they encounter various other troubles in their wandering. This time it’s the Knights of Reclamation, followers of a vanished lord who had a great treasure ages ago which was lost and scattered around the world. The Knights’ mission is to recover this treasure so that the lord will come back in some way. The presumption is that any treasure they come across is theirs. Clearly they were the merchant bankers of their day. A crowd of rooks have a fortress full of jewels and the Knights need the gargoyle to get them through its various dangers. Inventive and quietly witty, this was not quite as enjoyable as the previous tale featuring these heroes but it was certainly good. ‘Containment Zone: A Seasted Story’ is a novelette by Naomi Kritzer. The series must be popular enough now to put the brand name in the title. Hardly surprising as the episodes are very readable and cover interesting themes. The Seasted is a man-made archipelago in the Pacific Ocean, west of California. Kritzer writes lively, dialogue-heavy prose in a conversational style similar to that of Robert Heinlein. One character is accused of yammering! Meaningless talk. The themes of ruthless capitalism, extreme libertarianism and the struggles of the poor workers are relevant to our times. My impression is that Kritzer is more on the side of the workers than the late Robert Heinlein, though the early Robert Heinlein was a different matter. Our hero is Beck Garrison, a young lady blessed with a rich and powerful father but cursed by a conscience. This yarn about a plague unleashed on the Seasted was not the best of them but it was entertaining. Indubitably, they will one day be collected into a book. On to the short stories and beginners first. Alyssa Wong is a talented graduate of the Clarion Writer’s Workshop for Science Fiction and Fantasy and ‘The Fisher Queen’ is her first published story. It’s well told and one is always glad to welcome fresh talent to the genre. Unfortunately, and the fault is mine, this yarn about dubious relations between seamen and mermaids made me think of Troy McClure and ‘The Simpsons’ episode ‘A Fish Called Selma’ so I couldn’t take it seriously. Other readers may get more from it, I hope. ‘White Curtain’ is a translation from the Russian of a story by Pavel Amnuel and deals with multiple realities created each time we make a choice. Two learned gentlemen in this field were both mad for the same woman and one was jilted. A very moving story about true love and it’s always nice to see foreign Science Fiction stories and widen our horizons. ‘The Memory Cage’ by Tim Sullivan proposes that, by a trick of quantum physics, it may be possible to collate old particles together and form a kind of ghost of a dead person, to whom the living can talk. Our hero, Jim, has issues with his late father who bought him up to be a ‘real’ man. Following this ethos, his brother went to war and died. The setting is a believable future with research stations on Titan, oligarchs, terrorists, sex change for the fun of it and long life due to advances in medical science. The problem is as old as man. ‘They f**k you up your mum and dad’ as Phillip Larkin pointed out. ‘The Shadow In The Corner’ is an excellent homage to an old master of dark fantasy. Our narrator, Arnold Boatwright, is a scientist working at the famous Miskatonic University. With his colleague, Agrawal Narendra, he hopes to create a window to look into other worlds. Obviously, the past talk of ‘elder things’ is not a concern to serious scientists until…! Nobody modern could duplicate Lovecraft’s prose – we don’t have the same education – but Jonathan Andrew Sheen captures the spirit of that old master in a tale of true terror. Great stuff. In ‘Plumage From Pegasus’, this issue an NSA man is involved in Operation Nudge’em. The secret service hopes to influence the masses by popular fiction. This has happened in the past accidentally, with ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’ and some works of Dickens but doing it deliberately isn‘t going so well. Paul Di Filippo’s pieces usually have a serious point to make. No hint of that in ‘Presidential Cryptotrivia’, a spoof historical article by the always amusing Oliver Buckram. Good fun but not really a story, this alternative view of the US Presidency might have been written by Gore Vidal when he was drunk. Along with the usual interesting non-fiction and book reviews, this collection of stories adds up to another good issue of that venerable publication, ‘The Magazine Of Fantasy And Science Fiction’. Eamonn Murphy This review first appeared at https://www.sfcrowsnest.info/

  8. 5 out of 5

    Erika

    yeah i don't think i like mermaids anymore that was preeeetty traumatizing also, here's an actual synopsis (from the author): ''‘The Fisher Queen’’ is about the dark side of the mer­maid fishing industry on the Mekong River, and the painful, personal damage of systematic, multigenerational violence against women. It’s a story about growing up too fast, and about having an intense, deep love for your family, only to find out that they’re the monsters they were supposed to be protecting you from.'' yeah i don't think i like mermaids anymore that was preeeetty traumatizing also, here's an actual synopsis (from the author): ''‘The Fisher Queen’’ is about the dark side of the mer­maid fishing industry on the Mekong River, and the painful, personal damage of systematic, multigenerational violence against women. It’s a story about growing up too fast, and about having an intense, deep love for your family, only to find out that they’re the monsters they were supposed to be protecting you from.''

  9. 4 out of 5

    Deborah Replogle

    Again a good set of stories, tho it seems I always read the book reviews first; Charles de Lint's Books to Look For, and this time James Sallis's Books, and of course at the end of the volume Curiousities which is a short book review of something published in the very early days of Science Fiction, usually before anything written was labeled Science Fiction. Always interesting. Again a good set of stories, tho it seems I always read the book reviews first; Charles de Lint's Books to Look For, and this time James Sallis's Books, and of course at the end of the volume Curiousities which is a short book review of something published in the very early days of Science Fiction, usually before anything written was labeled Science Fiction. Always interesting.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Madge

    Well, that was...uh...unique. This was recommended to me by a friend on tumblr and I'm so glad I gave it a shot because I really liked it. I found it creepy and disturbing, but also satisfying. This is a twist on mermaids I've never seen before, so I enjoyed that, but it also kind of made me feel a bit ill to think about. If you want something a bit strange and disconcerting, give this a read. Well, that was...uh...unique. This was recommended to me by a friend on tumblr and I'm so glad I gave it a shot because I really liked it. I found it creepy and disturbing, but also satisfying. This is a twist on mermaids I've never seen before, so I enjoyed that, but it also kind of made me feel a bit ill to think about. If you want something a bit strange and disconcerting, give this a read.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Vijetha

    MY MOTHER WAS A FISH. That's how it starts. I have read another short story by the author, Alyssa Wong, and her writing style is raw and captivating. However, she seems to believe in leaving the end to the imagination of the readers, as both the stories had open endings. "THERE ARE MANY VERSIONS of this story, each with a different ending." "After all, mermaids are fish, not people." MY MOTHER WAS A FISH. That's how it starts. I have read another short story by the author, Alyssa Wong, and her writing style is raw and captivating. However, she seems to believe in leaving the end to the imagination of the readers, as both the stories had open endings. "THERE ARE MANY VERSIONS of this story, each with a different ending." "After all, mermaids are fish, not people."

  12. 5 out of 5

    Rob Port

    A particularly strong issue. Bartleby the Scavenger was very good, as was The End of the Silk Road and The Rook's Hand, but my favorite was The Shadow in the Corner. What can I say. I'm a sucker for the Myth of Cthulu. A particularly strong issue. Bartleby the Scavenger was very good, as was The End of the Silk Road and The Rook's Hand, but my favorite was The Shadow in the Corner. What can I say. I'm a sucker for the Myth of Cthulu.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Paul

    Uhm, LOL. That was really weird and a bit disturbing but...I really liked it!

  14. 4 out of 5

    AliceAnn

    I love it when short stories creep me out, and go where I least expect them to go. I'm glad this week's topic on BookBabbles was on Underrated Fantasy - I got tons of great recs to add to my TBR. I love it when short stories creep me out, and go where I least expect them to go. I'm glad this week's topic on BookBabbles was on Underrated Fantasy - I got tons of great recs to add to my TBR.

  15. 5 out of 5

    blunderbussed

    This story is very impressive: evocative, personal, and beautifully written. Wong is definitely a writer to watch.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Hadas Sloin

    Creepy, captivating, and very strong. Every detail in this story is on point, until the very end. Brr.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jen

    I enjoyed this magazine so much that I'm going to request a subscription for my birthday. :-) I think the best way to review it is to review the individual entries individually. In a way, I did this already in my Status Updates, but I'll try to expand on my feelings/impressions. In the order in which they appeared in the book: "The End of the Silk Road" by David D. Levine. 3.5 stars - good This was an alternate-history science-fiction tale, set mostly on Venus in 1936 (!!!). I really liked the swam I enjoyed this magazine so much that I'm going to request a subscription for my birthday. :-) I think the best way to review it is to review the individual entries individually. In a way, I did this already in my Status Updates, but I'll try to expand on my feelings/impressions. In the order in which they appeared in the book: "The End of the Silk Road" by David D. Levine. 3.5 stars - good This was an alternate-history science-fiction tale, set mostly on Venus in 1936 (!!!). I really liked the swampy setting on Venus. It lent itself well to an otherworldly atmosphere. (I wonder if Venus really is swampy?) I liked the Froggies as Venusian Aboriginals, and the living doors that croaked at those entering and exiting were fun, too. There were a couple of fairly predictable plot twists (the one that comes to mind first is (view spoiler)[the fact that Lillie turned out to be Mike's daughter (hide spoiler)] ), but I really enjoyed them all the same. However, this otherwise great story was diminished in my opinion by the fact that every human woman was attracted to Mike. I mean, really?! I can't think of the word that describes this writing style (chauvinistic isn't quite it) but I didn't like it. "Books to Look For" by Charles de Lint. 3.5 stars - good This section was a set of book reviews that you'd think de Lint would be recommending because of what the Department is called, wouldn't you? Not so much. Some books received a negative review. However, as I'm interested in reading even those to form my own opinion, maybe the segment is properly titled after all. ;-) The books reviewed were, Darkwalker: A Tale of the Urban Shaman by Duncan Eagleson; Not Your Ordinary Wolf Girl by Emily Pohl-Weary; Rover Red Charlie by Garth Ennis; Work Done for Hire byJoe Haldeman; Desert Tales: A Wicked Lovely Companion Novel by Melissa Marr; and The Incrementalists by Steven Brust. INTERLUDE #1 There was a cartoon on the final page of the "Books to Look For" segment, on page 43. I didn't understand it; and I still don't. It's a Trojan Horse cartoon, with the horse being a unicorn. A king and his daughter are at the gate, with the giant unicorn rolled to a stop behind them. The king says, "My daughter wants to bring it in." I don't understand what this cartoon is trying to tell me. As a result, I can't give it many stars. 1.5 stars - not bad "Books" by James Sallis. 1 star - poor; did not like I didn't care for this segment, as I found the writer's style and voice to be hard to understand. Perhaps I was just tired (it was past my bedtime), but it seemed like there was more commentary than talk about the two highlighted books. The two books? The Land Across by Gene Wolfe and Cordwainer Smith, Lord of the Afternoon by Pablo Capanna. Both books seemed to be reviewed favorably, though, so that's two more for my TBR shelf. "The Fisher Queen" by Alyssa Wong. 4 stars - very good; really liked I really enjoyed this story; it was quite good. It had a haunting ending, which I thought was pretty great; it was very fitting. As this story was the reason I checked out this book, I was very pleased to have enjoyed it. It had mermaids in it! :-) But they weren't mermaids like I'd ever seen them before, they were (view spoiler)[more like human-sized fish with arms (hide spoiler)] . I always appreciate a story that gives "familiar" creatures unique/new traits. "White Curtain" by Pavel Amnuel, translated by Anatoly Belilovsky. 4 stars - very good; really liked This was a science fiction story with an intriguing premise: some people in this world can (view spoiler)[splice reality to give you a happy life. I wasn't too clear on how this was done, though. Did Oleg open a door to an alternate reality and kidnap the person/people necessary to giving you a happy life? I have a feeling that Oleg gave the people in his world happy lives while destroying the lives of people in the reality he made the splice to/from. (hide spoiler)] . Also, I was not expecting that ending! I don't know what I thought would happen, but that definitely wasn't it. :-) INTERLUDE #2 There was another cartoon on the final page of "White Curtain," on page 74. This one was set in a bar, and showed "Tom" looking in dismay at his new gargoyle friend, who was throwing up his drink. The caption read, "Tom buys his new friend a drink, unaware that gargoyles can't hold their liquor." Once again, the meaning of the joke was lost on me. :-( 1.5 stars - not bad "Presidential Cryptotrivia" by Oliver Buckram. 4 stars - very good; really liked This was a weird story. It was billed as an educational story by the editor's note that prefaced it: "Should fiction be educational? ...we feel confident that even our most learned and erudite readers will learn something new in this short and scholarly tale." After that introduction, I was expecting to read some obscurely trivial tidbits about our nation's presidents. However, the trivia was entirely fabricated, though this made the trivia even more entertaining. My favorites? (view spoiler)["Millard Fillmore: A gigantic sentient duck originally named Phillip Mallard;" and "Grover Cleveland: America's first Muppet president." (hide spoiler)] lol! Still living ex- and current presidents were not excluded, either: (view spoiler)["George H.W. Bush: Doomed his bid for a second term by disparaging 'voodoo economics,' thus losing support of zombie voters in swing states;" and "Barack H. Obama: Initially stymied in his quest for office due to his foreign birth, he traveled back in time to 1898 in order to engineer the unlikely annexation of the Kingdom of Hawaii into the United States." (hide spoiler)] Oh, and Oliver Buckram tells of an additional president in between the terms of George H.W. Bush and William J. Clinton: (view spoiler)["Arnold Schwarzenegger: Constitutionally ineligible for the presidency due to his origins as a time-traveling killer cyborg, Schwarzenegger bench-pressed the Supreme Court until they ruled in his favor." (hide spoiler)] lol! "Bartleby the Scavenger" by Katie Boyer. 3.5 stars - good This was a dystopian story. I liked it, but the ending was not entirely satisfactory. I would have liked to have known (view spoiler)[what became of Boss's letter. I would also have liked an explanation as to why Bartleby behaved the way he did, especially given how important that behavior was to the story. (hide spoiler)] "Plumage from Pegasus: Nudge Not, Lest Ye Be Nudged" by Paul Di Filippo. 3 stars - above-average; liked This story was somewhat confusing, as it used real names for some of the characters (e.g., Donna Tartt and Bret Easton Ellis). I actually wasn't sure if it was true or not while and immediately after I was reading it. However, I just googled some of the other names (i.e., Brundage Seltzerson and Lance Mungroo) and learned that they were fictional characters who appeared only in this story. So it was fiction. But it was very plausible fiction. ;-) "Rooksnight" by Marc Laidlaw. 4.5 stars - great! This was a rather chilling little story; I loved it! I especially liked the fact that living gargoyles were the main characters. Living gargoyles. :-D Though I do wish we were told how (view spoiler)[Spar got Gorlen's hand of flesh and Gorlen Spar's hand of stone. (hide spoiler)] Is this story part of a series? I hope to meet these characters again. "The Memory Cage" by Tim Sullivan. 4 stars - very good; really liked This apocalyptic/science fiction story nearly made me cry. Earth is in an apocalyptic state due to the (view spoiler)[Water Wars (too many people for not enough food or water). Humans have colonized space, and the story is set on a space station that orbits Titan, one of Saturn's moons. Jim's dad committed suicide and the memory cage somehow connects Jim with his ghost. He can finally talk to his dad's ghost on the fourth visit to the Memory Cage. He was understandably angry, then repentant; it was heartbreaking. Luckily, his dad returned for a fifth visit and Jim was able to make amends for his earlier behavior and he and his dad parted on better terms. It was this that nearly made me cry. (hide spoiler)] All in all, this was a very good little story. Though I don't really understand why (view spoiler)[Moira had to die in that attack. It didn't really add anything to the story besides, I think, making Jim a little more accepting of his father's death. (hide spoiler)] "Films: Imitations of Life" by David J. Skal. 3.5 stars - good This section was for talk/reviews of two 2014 films: I, Frankenstein and Her. He panned the first and seemed to like the latter, I think. Either way, I would like to see both films for myself. I can remember seeing trailers for I, Frankenstein and wanting to see it. Skal's review made how I forgot about it understandable, but now I again really want to see it. ;-) "The Shadow in the Corner" by Jonathan Andrew Sheen. 5 stars - outstanding!; amazing! Now this story was chilling. I mean, talk about your nightmare-inducing stories! It made that earlier story that I described as "chilling" seem like a walk in the park. And this was written so very suspensefully! I was literally on tenterhooks until the end. After finishing it, I hoped I wouldn't have nightmares... It's been a day or so since I read it, and I'm pleased to report that I did not in fact have a nightmare about this story. (However, I did have a nightmare; it was a variation on my usual, though, which I have fairly regularly.) INTERLUDE #3: "Coming Attractions." I know this was a back issue, and the "coming attractions" are now back issues, too, but I think I'm going to request a subscription for my birthday. The next issue had stories that "feature superheroes and aliens, demons and dragons [!!!], and a whole lot more." I'm bummed that I missed it; I need to see if my library has the July/August 2014 issue. ;-) "Containment Zone: A Seastead Story" by Naomi Kritzer. 3.5 stars - good This was the fourth Seastead story. I liked it okay, but I think I would have liked it better had I either read the first three or not known it was fourth in a series. I have a feeling that my questions have been answered already in the earlier stories. Questions like: (view spoiler)[What does it mean that Beck has a talent for finding things? Who are the Alpha Dogs? (hide spoiler)] The things I had questions about were presented in such a way that I was reminded that this was a story in an ongoing series. "F&SF Competition #87: 'Fan Mail'" 3.5 stars - good I have a feeling that this section would have been more entertaining if I had actually read the books the "fans" were writing about. But oh well... More books for my TBR! Yay!! The books under discussion were the A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin (I have read one or two books in this series, but the letter didn't make sense to me so I need to reread them and/or read more); the Left Behind series by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins; books by Philip K. Dick; The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin; The Surrendered Wife by Laura Doyle; and Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions by Edwin A. Abbott. INTERLUDE #4: "Fantasy & Science Fiction Market Place" It was hard for me to tell if these ads were for real or not. This issue is a year old, so there's probably no way to find out, but I suspect they were for real. However, this one was laughable: "I have copies of The Roswell Journals of Meriwether Lewis: Are they a hoax? by C.I. Gilman and The Deeps by Danforth. Contact me." Uhm... How do we contact you? "Curiosities: The Murder of the U.S.A., by Will F. Jenkins (1946)" by Bud Webster. 3.5 stars - good This section was a book review about Jenkins's book. Originally published almost 70 years ago, it sounds like it's still a timely read. I don't think I will read it, though. (view spoiler)[Bombs being dropped on the U.S.A. and the retaliation, with more bombs? (hide spoiler)] Even as a cautionary tale, this is not for me. In conclusion, I really enjoyed this issue of this magazine. Even though I didn't fall in love with most of the stories, it was still very enjoyable to read them all. I do so love to read short stories from varied authors. :-)

  18. 5 out of 5

    John Loyd

    5 • The End of the Silk Road • 30 pages by David D. Levine Very good. Excellent job of narrating in a 1930's PI voice. Hardened PI Mike Drayton takes a job on Venus for an old acquaintance. We end up finding out the back story is integral to the mystery. 51 • The Fisher Queen • 13 pages by Alyssa Wong Good. 15 year old Lily goes on a fishing vessel where the primary catch is mermaids, an unspecified species of fish. 65 • White Curtain • 10 pages by Pavel Amnuel Very Good. Two old colleagues get to 5 • The End of the Silk Road • 30 pages by David D. Levine Very good. Excellent job of narrating in a 1930's PI voice. Hardened PI Mike Drayton takes a job on Venus for an old acquaintance. We end up finding out the back story is integral to the mystery. 51 • The Fisher Queen • 13 pages by Alyssa Wong Good. 15 year old Lily goes on a fishing vessel where the primary catch is mermaids, an unspecified species of fish. 65 • White Curtain • 10 pages by Pavel Amnuel Very Good. Two old colleagues get together and talk about the science of everettics. 75 • Presidential Cryptotrivia • 7 pages by Oliver Buckram Skip this one. I can’t consider it a story. There is nothing tying together the paragraph for each president. Maybe it’s an extended humor piece, but mediocre at best. 82 • Bartleby the Scavenger • 55 pages by Katie Boyer Good/VG. A dystopic future where the southern US community has been bombed and everyone is left to fend for themselves. The Brook becomes a community that bonds together to protect themselves from raiders, and gradually becomes a totalitarian state. 141 • Rooksnight • 33 pages by Marc Laidlaw Excellent. Gorlen and Spar narrowly escape from the rooks then chance upon a gathering that includes some Knights of Reclamation who have a job for Spar, the gargoyle. When he declines they threaten Gorlen. The knights seek treasure which they believe is back where the rooks have nested. 174 • The Memory Cage • 21 pages by Tim Sullivan Very Good. Jim talks to the ghost of his Dad by using the memory cage. His dad who had committed suicide after the elder son died in the Vietnam War. 200 • The Shadow in the Corner • 16 pages by Jonathan Andrew Sheen Good/fair. Something that would have fit right in Twilight Zone magazine, a pair of scientists do an experiment and afterward one of them starts seeing a shadow in the corner. 216 • Containment Zone: a Seastead Story • 39 pages by Naomi Kritzer Outstanding. There’s a plague breaking out on Seastead. Rebecca’s father takes her to a friend’s house to stay in quarantine. After Beck’s father comes back with a vaccine she starts seeing what she can do to help.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Meenal jain

    • This is the tale of a strong, bold and ferocious woman Satyavati from the epic of Mahabharat, and a deeper insight at the matriarchal rule that existed in Kurukshetra. • Satyavati, also called Matsyagandha, was an adopted child who grew up as a commonfolk in a settlement of fishermen. She was a fearful and forceful woman who represented the womanhood in a new light. Her blind ambition to win the kingdom and the insecurities towards anyone aiming for the throne are portrayed through the clever • This is the tale of a strong, bold and ferocious woman Satyavati from the epic of Mahabharat, and a deeper insight at the matriarchal rule that existed in Kurukshetra. • Satyavati, also called Matsyagandha, was an adopted child who grew up as a commonfolk in a settlement of fishermen. She was a fearful and forceful woman who represented the womanhood in a new light. Her blind ambition to win the kingdom and the insecurities towards anyone aiming for the throne are portrayed through the clever games of politics. • The plot can a difficult to follow for readers, especially those skeptical about mythological fiction, with many characters, family histories, and the fast paced storyline. What I like the most is the choice of characters by the author in every book written by her, usually a female individual overlooked in the plot but when delved into, it makes for an elaborate, inspiring and page turning narrative.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Mark Pedigo

    Some exceptional stories in this issue. My faves: * "Bartleby the Scavenger" - Katie Boyer. I want to read her entire backlog, except that I can't find it. No Katie Boyer anywhere, not on Amazon, not on a Google search, not anywhere. If anyone knows otherwise, please let me know. * "Rooksnight" - Marc Laidlaw. Fantasy, with some pointed remarks about being overly gung-ho with materialism. * "The Fisher Queen" - Alyssa Wong. "...we keep most of the catch frozen, but mermaids are a peculiar, temperam Some exceptional stories in this issue. My faves: * "Bartleby the Scavenger" - Katie Boyer. I want to read her entire backlog, except that I can't find it. No Katie Boyer anywhere, not on Amazon, not on a Google search, not anywhere. If anyone knows otherwise, please let me know. * "Rooksnight" - Marc Laidlaw. Fantasy, with some pointed remarks about being overly gung-ho with materialism. * "The Fisher Queen" - Alyssa Wong. "...we keep most of the catch frozen, but mermaids are a peculiar, temperamental meat. You have to keep them alive or the flesh goes bad." Holy shit. * "The White Curtain" - Pavel Amnuel. Wry story about mathematicians proving theorems about the multiverse, and their relationship.

  21. 4 out of 5

    L

    This imaginative story is unusual in its language; its rough slang and cursing are somewhat off-putting in a fairy tale. The premise is similar to that of many in the fantasy-paranormal genre, but the cannibalistic and sexual behaviors depicted here are disturbing in a "The Little Mermaid"-esque tale. The ambiguous ending is rather unclear, and not a favorite, while the "meat" (ha! pun!) of the narrative was enjoyable enough. This imaginative story is unusual in its language; its rough slang and cursing are somewhat off-putting in a fairy tale. The premise is similar to that of many in the fantasy-paranormal genre, but the cannibalistic and sexual behaviors depicted here are disturbing in a "The Little Mermaid"-esque tale. The ambiguous ending is rather unclear, and not a favorite, while the "meat" (ha! pun!) of the narrative was enjoyable enough.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Ben

    I'm using this space for The Fisher Queen by Alyssa Wong. This story is haunting. It is strange, it is gruesome, it is baffling. I don't think I will ever look at mermaids again the same way and it is all Alyssa Wong's fault. I liked the build up and reveals at the end of the story, it was exciting and well done . I'm using this space for The Fisher Queen by Alyssa Wong. This story is haunting. It is strange, it is gruesome, it is baffling. I don't think I will ever look at mermaids again the same way and it is all Alyssa Wong's fault. I liked the build up and reveals at the end of the story, it was exciting and well done .

  23. 4 out of 5

    Not Mark

    Short story. tragic and beautiful.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Minuial

    Still my favorite, after all these years. Haunting and a little disturbingly satisfying.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Scott Murray

    A beautiful story, I love everything I've read from Alyssa so far! A beautiful story, I love everything I've read from Alyssa so far!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Violet Laflamme

    This is one of my favourite stories. I'm not one to re-read things much but I've read this story quite a few times, and probably will read it many times in the future. This is one of my favourite stories. I'm not one to re-read things much but I've read this story quite a few times, and probably will read it many times in the future.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Tyler

    Beautiful, messed up.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Daniel

    Two of the novelets in this issue had me excited once I saw the table of contents, new entries in series that have been published in the magazine by Marc Laidlaw and Naomi Kritzer. While both were good and bolstered by the enjoyment one can get from revisiting a familiar setting and characters, they lacked something that their previous entries each provided to be memorable. This quality really defines the majority of stories in this issue, where they were generally good, but lacked some trait th Two of the novelets in this issue had me excited once I saw the table of contents, new entries in series that have been published in the magazine by Marc Laidlaw and Naomi Kritzer. While both were good and bolstered by the enjoyment one can get from revisiting a familiar setting and characters, they lacked something that their previous entries each provided to be memorable. This quality really defines the majority of stories in this issue, where they were generally good, but lacked some trait that could have made them really powerful. In the case of the cover story, "Rooksnight" it is an engaging adventure, a fantasy treasure hunt with shades of the horrific and Indiana Jones type booby traps. However, the story seems too detached from Gorlen and Spar the main characters of this series as they pursue their main goal. The 'distractions' along the way that serve as each story I feel previously had greater stakes for Gorlen and Spar (beyond physical danger). This seemed less about them and more about the knights. Kritzer's 'Seastead' stories are immensely popular, and I too am eager to see more, but in contrast to the previous ones this appeared rushed and too easy of a resolution for her lovable protagonist Becca. In reality this felt like a brief coda to the climax of the previous story, and setting up a major change in Becca's circumstances: transition rather than something of independent worth. A few stories in the issue weren't to my tastes. "The End of the Silk Road", an alt history, steampunk sort of tale isn't my favorite genre, and I found it a bit too old fashioned in its characterizations given the already alternate historical setting. "Presidential Cryptotrivia" consists of absurd brief statements about US presidents, some humorously critical and others seemingly arbitrary. A few are clever, but mainly I found it a waste. I've never read Lovecraft, so "The Shadow in the Corner", while wonderful in atmosphere, failed to connect with all its references and unfamiliar language. "Bartleby the Scavenger" by Katie Boyer was an interesting, though rather heavy-handed post-apocalyptic story. The character of Bartleby is fascinating, and the reader is left to consider his motivations (or lack thereof) and they way in which the impact the narrator, and perhaps the society. The other aspects of the story, such as the narrator vs mayor dynamic and moralistic undertones were a bit too black/white for me. "White Curtain" is an example of a story whose deeper meaning (regarding the attainment of desire and the condition of dissatisfaction) is really compelling, but where the plot (with a too-familiar use of alternate universes) detracted from my appreciation. Last, but most notably, "The Fisher Queen" by Alyssa Wong is fantastic throughout. It is written in a style that matches the magical fairy-tale nature of the plot, and aside from presenting a satisfying story it also offers a resonant emotional wallop. I particularly enjoyed how Wong has the story begin with the matter of fantasy being open-ended, but as the story progresses the magical realism gives way to the clearly fantastic, though still with clear relation to unfortunate conditions of reality.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Melody

    The Fisher Queen, a 2014 Nebula Awards nominee for Best Short Story is written by Alyssa Wong who I found out about on Twitter and am so glad that I did! In the story, we follow Lily, a fisherman as she goes on another job on the sea and finds a mermaid unlike any other. One who says, "daughter" the first time she sees Lily. If you like The Little Mermaid, that's great but this right here isn't a fairytale. This is a different kind of mermaid tale, one where mermaids are delicacies. One still wh The Fisher Queen, a 2014 Nebula Awards nominee for Best Short Story is written by Alyssa Wong who I found out about on Twitter and am so glad that I did! In the story, we follow Lily, a fisherman as she goes on another job on the sea and finds a mermaid unlike any other. One who says, "daughter" the first time she sees Lily. If you like The Little Mermaid, that's great but this right here isn't a fairytale. This is a different kind of mermaid tale, one where mermaids are delicacies. One still where mermaids have no power but this time, humans know about them and they make the choice to treat them less than. This is a story you'll find equally captivating and much more...dare I say, meaningful. It's a story about the terrible things we do to non-humans because we know they're not one of us and the power we hold over everything we value more than ourselves. It's a moving story about the monsters we create and the monsters we destroy. “And are you content with the way things are supposed to be, L¯uk¯s¯aw?” I loved the world building details. I really appreciated the the realities of the sibling dynamic brought to the page as Lily has two sisters and I have two sisters and we're all so different and seeing that on the page was really cool. I was also quite appreciative seeing how exhilarated Lily was by doing honest, hard work. We don't see that enough. Now this is a short story so I definitely don't want to spoil anything for you but I will say that The Fisher Queen is a beautiful tale about finding the beauty of what's deep below, what's in us and has been with us all along. It's about challenging the stories we make up to deal with the pain around us and dealing with whatever's conflicting us so that we can be content with today. And finally, the wishes we have and the consequences that come with some dreams really coming true. The sacrifices people make to be whole never ceases to amaze me so watching Lily on a journey to heal what's troubling made for such an engrossing read. I'm so glad I read this and I can't wait to see what Alyssa Wong writes next.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Corinne

    So far only read: -- The Fisher Queen by Alyssa Wong - 5* I find it to be a great "wtf" story. Wow that is a new take on the mermaid. I have a copy of this short story but I have zero recall about how I found it. Author interview: https://locusmag.com/2015/04/spotlight-on-alyssa-wong-author/ "The Fisher Queen" is about the dark side of the mer­maid fishing industry on the Mekong River, and the painful, personal damage of systematic, multi-generational violence against women. It's a story about growing So far only read: -- The Fisher Queen by Alyssa Wong - 5* I find it to be a great "wtf" story. Wow that is a new take on the mermaid. I have a copy of this short story but I have zero recall about how I found it. Author interview: https://locusmag.com/2015/04/spotlight-on-alyssa-wong-author/ "The Fisher Queen" is about the dark side of the mer­maid fishing industry on the Mekong River, and the painful, personal damage of systematic, multi-generational violence against women. It's a story about growing up too fast, and about having an intense, deep love for your family, only to find out that they're the monsters they were supposed to be protecting you from. Podcast here: https://pseudopod.org/2016/05/27/pseudopod-492-the-fisher-queen/

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...