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The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, May/June 2017 - C.C. Finlay - Editor Volume 132, Numbers 5&6, Whole Number 731 Contents: Brian Trent - A Thousand Deaths Through Flesh and Stone Shannon Connor Winward - Witch's Hour Mary Soon Lee - The Path to Peace Richard Bowes - Dirty Old Town Charles de Lint - Books to Look For Elizabeth Hand - Books Paul Di Filippo - Plumage From Peg The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, May/June 2017 - C.C. Finlay - Editor Volume 132, Numbers 5&6, Whole Number 731 Contents: Brian Trent - A Thousand Deaths Through Flesh and Stone Shannon Connor Winward - Witch's Hour Mary Soon Lee - The Path to Peace Richard Bowes - Dirty Old Town Charles de Lint - Books to Look For Elizabeth Hand - Books Paul Di Filippo - Plumage From Pegasus: Happiness Is a Worn Gunn Matthew Hughes - The Prognosticant Kelly Jennings - The History of the Invasion Told in Five Dogs Gregor Hartmann - What the Hands Know Zach Shephard - The Woman With the Long Black Hair R S. Benedict - My English Name Pat Murphy and Paul Doherty - Science: Robots on the Road David J. Skal - Television: Western Histories John Schoffstall - The First Day of Someone Else's Life Leah Cypess - Neko Brushes Nina Kiriki Hoffman - Rings Mark Esping - Curiosities Cover by Maurizio Manzieri for "The Prognosticant"


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The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, May/June 2017 - C.C. Finlay - Editor Volume 132, Numbers 5&6, Whole Number 731 Contents: Brian Trent - A Thousand Deaths Through Flesh and Stone Shannon Connor Winward - Witch's Hour Mary Soon Lee - The Path to Peace Richard Bowes - Dirty Old Town Charles de Lint - Books to Look For Elizabeth Hand - Books Paul Di Filippo - Plumage From Peg The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, May/June 2017 - C.C. Finlay - Editor Volume 132, Numbers 5&6, Whole Number 731 Contents: Brian Trent - A Thousand Deaths Through Flesh and Stone Shannon Connor Winward - Witch's Hour Mary Soon Lee - The Path to Peace Richard Bowes - Dirty Old Town Charles de Lint - Books to Look For Elizabeth Hand - Books Paul Di Filippo - Plumage From Pegasus: Happiness Is a Worn Gunn Matthew Hughes - The Prognosticant Kelly Jennings - The History of the Invasion Told in Five Dogs Gregor Hartmann - What the Hands Know Zach Shephard - The Woman With the Long Black Hair R S. Benedict - My English Name Pat Murphy and Paul Doherty - Science: Robots on the Road David J. Skal - Television: Western Histories John Schoffstall - The First Day of Someone Else's Life Leah Cypess - Neko Brushes Nina Kiriki Hoffman - Rings Mark Esping - Curiosities Cover by Maurizio Manzieri for "The Prognosticant"

30 review for The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, May/June 2017

  1. 4 out of 5

    Karl

    The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction for many years used to be part of my monthly reading diet. For an incredibly reasonable price the reader gets what is basicly an anthology with benefits.Not only are we supplied with five or six novellas, an equal number of short stories plus book reviews and also get cartoons, and miscellaneous trivia. The only problem is the reader is unlikely to be familure with many of the authors. Unless an author you really like or admire is featured in the months The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction for many years used to be part of my monthly reading diet. For an incredibly reasonable price the reader gets what is basicly an anthology with benefits.Not only are we supplied with five or six novellas, an equal number of short stories plus book reviews and also get cartoons, and miscellaneous trivia. The only problem is the reader is unlikely to be familure with many of the authors. Unless an author you really like or admire is featured in the months issue, which has been often the case for me. For example, this month features Matthew Hughes, containing a featured one of his novellas titled "The Prognosticant" with a new series character named Baldemarthe, an aspiring wizards apprentice. His first appearance being in the previous issue of the magazine. As a nice surprise in "The Prognosticant" we catch a glimpse of one of Mr. Hughes's other characters, an early appearance of Raffalon the not so lucky thief, who makes an unexpected surprise visit. Mr. Hughes does an excellent interpretation of Jack Vance's "Dying Earth" milieu and is well worth seeking out. I usually start the magazine by reading the book reviews, and this month there were two notable reviewers Charles de Lint with his "Books to Look For" column and Elizabeth Hand with "Books". Unfortunately neither inspired me enough to look for any of their offerings. Next I read the other "Non-Fiction" in this case Paul Di Filippo's "Plumage From Pegasus: Happiness Is a Worn Gunn" and Pat Murphy and Paul Doherty's "Science: Robots on the Road" next David J. Skal's "Television: Western Histories". All of it interesting, yet it's non fiction ! The other authors in this issue that were familure to me were Nina Kiriki Hoffman and Richard Bowes both average at best. The bigger surprise were the authors unfamiliar to me which made this issue worth it's cover price.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Desirae

    All of my ratings average this installment out to a 3.16, but I'm rounding this up to a 4 because of two amazing stories: Witch's Hour and the incomparable My English Name. lots of really strong stories sprinkled throughout, with a few clunkers and duds as well. "A Thousand Deaths Through Flesh and Stone" by Brian Trent; 4/5 stars Really, really, liked this one. Trent does a masterful job at conveying a huge story into the relatively short confines of the story. Harris was immediately an interesti All of my ratings average this installment out to a 3.16, but I'm rounding this up to a 4 because of two amazing stories: Witch's Hour and the incomparable My English Name. lots of really strong stories sprinkled throughout, with a few clunkers and duds as well. "A Thousand Deaths Through Flesh and Stone" by Brian Trent; 4/5 stars Really, really, liked this one. Trent does a masterful job at conveying a huge story into the relatively short confines of the story. Harris was immediately an interesting character, and I loved the quipy banter between himself and Natalia - although it's clear this is not a romance, there was nonetheless quite a bit of layering, as well as the chase for the elusive Sabrina. I think the main theme of this story was less about "The war" and more about control. Who is in control? You or the master you serve? "Witch's Hour" by Shannon Connor Winward; 5/5 stars Perfection! Absolute perfection! I loved the world, the rich atmospheric language of food and spellcraft, and the characters, OMG!!! The underlying theme of sexual abuse was also handled masterfully. Esmelda is by no means an innocent character, and as a reader you really have to grapple the complex realities of her situation. (view spoiler)[was she right to kill Ballard? Was it her place? (hide spoiler)] I also really enjoyed how King Sutton was developed; like all of the characters in the story there is more bubbling under the surface than you realize, and Esmelda's actions affect all of them in different ways. "The Path to Peace" by Mary Soon Lee; poem I really struggle with the validity of having poems in this type of anthology. A poem is all fine and good, but in this type of atmosphere it has no context - it's clear that it goes to a greater story, but the story never accompanies the poem... "Dirty Old Town" by Richard Bowes; 3/5 stars Started off strong, but got a bit meandering and convoluted at the middle and toward the end. Initially I loved the nostalgic feel to it and the magical realism elements coupled with 1950's Boston. Not a bad story overall, it just lost its momentum along the way. Books to Look For (By Charles de Lint) My Sister Rosa Fire. Rivers of London: Night Witch Upside Down: Inverted Tropes in Storytelling Bookburners Hap and Leonard: Blood and Lemonade Books (by Elizabeth Hand- whos book is also listed in de Lint's previous review, what gives?) Literary Wonderlands: A Journey Through the Greatest Fictional Worlds Ever Created His Bloody Project Summerlong Plumage From Pegasus: Happiness Is a Worn Gunn" by Paul Di Filippo; 3/5 Super clever, but at just 7 pages long it's just a quick snipped of a piece. Excellent social commentary, though. And who doesn't love a cheeky Beattles reference. "The Prognosticant" by Matthew Hughes; 1/5 stars I don't know if I just can't get into Hughes writing, or the story just isn't for me, or a mixture of both, but I was so bored. This is my second Baldemar story, the first being in the previous issue, and I haven't been interested in either one of them. I spent the whole time reading this one fighting off boredom and the urge to just skip ahead to the next story. "The History of the Invasion Told in Five Dogs" by Kelly Jennings; 4/5 stars As a general rule I try to stay away from stories that are centered around animals. They either A.) bore me in a "up up with people" kind of way, or B.) they're too freaking sad. This particular story is closer to the latter, but in a good way. The story focuses on the journey one woman takes after "the invasion" spanning the length of childhood pets, watch dogs, meals, old freinds, and new friends. It may only be 10 pages long but it sure packs a punch. "What the Hands Know" by Gregor Hartmann; 2/5 stars Not a bad story, by any means, it just never grabbed me. A bit of a clunker. I found Hartmann's descriptions of fighting and movement in general to be yawn worthy. "The Woman With the Long Black Hair" by Zach Shephard; 3/5 stars I think "interesting" is the perfect word to encapsulate this "flash fiction" idea. For me this represented how myths and legends can change and evolve depending on oral tradition. I do wish it had been longer, though. I've yet to read anything under the "flash fiction" heading that truly wowed me. "My English Name" by R S. Benedict; 5/5 stars Phemoninal. This left me speechless and gave me chills. The story focuses on a lone entity who "masks" himself, both physically and psychological, in the guise of various humans. There's a brutal honesty to this piece that absolutely floored me. Rich in simplicity and raw emotion. Dear R.S. Benedict, Give me more! "The First Day of Someone Else's Life" by John Schoffstall; 2/5 stars Boring, messy, and chaotic. I just couldn't ever get "into" the story. And because the story never grabbed me, I continued to get more and more confused. I'm a fan of unreliable narration in general, but there's a difference between going on a journey with a character and being dropped in a mad persons soup... "Neko Brushes" by Leah Cypess; 3/5 stars I've read two of Leah Cypess's published works, my review of DeathSworn and Death Marked, if you're interested. I'm of two minds about this story. On the one hand I love Japanese mythology and culture, but if I'm juding the parameters of this specific tale I have to say that it lacks atmosphere - had you changed the names and omitted the word "kimono" this story could have taken place anywhere in the world. Alternatively, Lady Kiri was the most interesting part of the story, yet the focus is and remains on Kenji, the least interesting character. Even though I liked the ending, I'm a bit baffled on some of the plot points. If Kiri can draw the doorway than why does she even need Kenji? "Rings" by Nina Kiriki Hoffman; 3/5 stars Very interesting concepts going on here, but... This felt unfinished and a bit unfocused. I agree with other reviewers who've noted that this feels like a great first/second chapter to a larger and more complex story. This is such a big idea but there just wasn't enough time for me to get fully invested in what was going on. Although I'll always find it fascinating when women take men as sex slaves (a bit of a gender swaped The Handmaid's Tale).

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jamie

    Review for My English Name - Set in China, this is a charming story with a romantic overtone of an enigmatic being posing as a human. Fun and lighthearted, yet endearing and a bit chilling as well, this was a pure delight.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Beth Cato

    This was a good issue—no skimming necessary. Some of my favorites were "Neko Brushes" by Leah Cypress and "A Thousand Deaths Through Flesh and Stone" by Brian Trent. This was a good issue—no skimming necessary. Some of my favorites were "Neko Brushes" by Leah Cypress and "A Thousand Deaths Through Flesh and Stone" by Brian Trent.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Shona Kinsella

    I love this magazine and always look forward to seeing the newest install many appearing on my kindle. This issue had so many good stories to choose from that I can't pick a favourite. I love discovering authors I haven't come across before but my TBR list is getting longer than I can cope with! I love this magazine and always look forward to seeing the newest install many appearing on my kindle. This issue had so many good stories to choose from that I can't pick a favourite. I love discovering authors I haven't come across before but my TBR list is getting longer than I can cope with!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Casey Anderson

    This was really good! It took me awhile to go through it just because I did not have much time to read. I had to let this magazine lapse due to lack of funds, but I will be renewing it as soon as I'm able. I have enjoyed it way more than I expected. My favorite was "A History the Invasion Told in Five Dogs" by Kelly Jennings. It was so short and simple. It said so little but conveyed so much. Typically I need more to really get into a story, but I some how became totally immersed in this book tha This was really good! It took me awhile to go through it just because I did not have much time to read. I had to let this magazine lapse due to lack of funds, but I will be renewing it as soon as I'm able. I have enjoyed it way more than I expected. My favorite was "A History the Invasion Told in Five Dogs" by Kelly Jennings. It was so short and simple. It said so little but conveyed so much. Typically I need more to really get into a story, but I some how became totally immersed in this book that was less then 10 pages. It created a whole world for me. The rest in no particular order. Dirty Old Town by Richard Bowes Surprisingly interesting. The "twist" really surprised me, as I wasn't even looking for something like that. Even though at first I wasn't interested, I started to get into the story. This story made me think a lot of about my own history and the people in it. Witch's Hour by Shannon Conner Winward Impactful. This one had the most staying power in my minds eye. I read it like watching a movie and can still picture all the scenes in my head. The ending made me sad. The Prognosticant by Matthew Hughes I loved the last one of his I read in this same world, so I had been looking forward to this. Maybe I hyped it up to much? It was good, but not quite as good as I wanted to be. However I will still anticipate reading more in a future volume. My English Name by R. S. Benedict What the heck!? This one was a bit nuts, in a good way. Creeped me out a bit though. But I read it quickly. What an interesting character. I want to know more. A Thousand Deaths Through Flesh and Stone by Brian Trent This was the most "science Fictiony" one to me. It took me a while to get into it. It starts and moves quickly and feels like it's in the middle of the story, which, I guess it is. And many short stories have to operate like that. For the first 1/3 of the story though I was more frustrated then engaged. But, after that it was good. What the Hands Know by Gregor Hartmann Oddly entertaining. The whole time I was reading it I was thinking "This isn't the sort of thing I like" and yet I did. The Woman with the Long Black Hair by Zach Shephard A darkly beautiful story. Poignant in it's simplicity and brevity. The First Day of Someone Else's Life by John Schoffstall This one feels very familiar to a dozen movies I've seen before. It's not a new idea, but it is done differently enough that it stands on it's own. I did find myself particularly interested in "the voice." Neko Brushes by Leah Cypess Beautiful and haunting. Very much has the folktale feeling. I really need to read more folktales from countries besides my own. Rings by Nina Kiriki Hoffman Ha! I liked the take on this one. Of course similar stories have been told for ages but, this one had a very unique feel and spin to it for me. I always think it's perfect the way it is. I think the magic of it would be ruined if it was any longer or delved into it anymore.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Leroy Erickson

    A couple of stories pull this issue up to the four star level. Brian Trent - A Thousand Deaths Through Flesh and Stone - 3 stars - Tracking down war criminals when a person's identity can be transferred into different bodies, multiple different bodies. The story was OK, but a little bit scrambled. Shannon Connor Winward - Witch's Hour - 4 stars - A woman, who is the primary cook for the king, uses magic to assist her cooking. She is haunted by the ghost of the former cook. She finds a way to elimi A couple of stories pull this issue up to the four star level. Brian Trent - A Thousand Deaths Through Flesh and Stone - 3 stars - Tracking down war criminals when a person's identity can be transferred into different bodies, multiple different bodies. The story was OK, but a little bit scrambled. Shannon Connor Winward - Witch's Hour - 4 stars - A woman, who is the primary cook for the king, uses magic to assist her cooking. She is haunted by the ghost of the former cook. She finds a way to eliminate the ghost, but with unintended consequences. Richard Bowes - Dirty Old Town - 3 stars - Reminiscing about growing up in Boston with grandparents and an old friend/enemy. One man becomes a writer, the other an actor, and they meet again at the end. Matthew Hughes - The Prognosticant - 4 stars - A sword and sorcery story about a young guard who helps a magician steal some magical items, which end up liking the guard more than the magician. Kelly Jennings - The History of the Invasion Told in Five Dogs - 3 stars - A post-alien invasion story about a few human survivors attempting to remain alive, told in a very interesting fashion. Gregor Hartmann - What the Hands Know - 3 stars - A man becomes involved in a fight at a club to help out a friend/employer, but finds out it's part of an even bigger fight. Zach Shephard - The Woman With the Long Black Hair - 4 stars - A fairy tale with a moral that in many cases you get the opposite of what you ask for or believe in. R S. Benedict - My English Name - 4 stars - A very odd story about the life of a shape changer trying to live in today's world. John Schoffstall - The First Day of Someone Else's Life - 4 stars - Another odd story about industrial espionage in a future where an identity can wiped and replaced by another one. Fairly well written. Leah Cypess - Neko Brushes - 5 stars - Set in Japan in the days of the Samurai, a young boy has the talent of painting images which, in some cases, come to life. Nina Kiriki Hoffman - Rings - 5 stars - On a planet run by women with a man-killing virus, with the only men being held as slaves and innoculated to keep them alive, a woman might still have a longing for old-style love and affection.

  8. 4 out of 5

    George Heintzelman

    Very strong issue. I enjoyed almost every story (with the unfortunate exception of Charles de Lint’s (an author I usually enjoy) “Dirty Old Town”) I particularly enjoyed “A Thousand Deaths Through Flesh and Stone” and “First Day of Someone Else’s Life”

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kam Yung Soh

    A better than average issue, with pretty good stories featured in general. Stand-outs would be R.S. Benedict's tale of a strange creature living in our midst and Leah Cypess's tale of a kid who likes to paint cats being involved in a war because the drawings can come to life. - "A Thousand Deaths Through Flesh and Stone" by Brian Trent: set in the future after a devastating war, a soldier is sent to execute war criminals. But things get dicey when the target has copied herself into more than one A better than average issue, with pretty good stories featured in general. Stand-outs would be R.S. Benedict's tale of a strange creature living in our midst and Leah Cypess's tale of a kid who likes to paint cats being involved in a war because the drawings can come to life. - "A Thousand Deaths Through Flesh and Stone" by Brian Trent: set in the future after a devastating war, a soldier is sent to execute war criminals. But things get dicey when the target has copied herself into more than one body and the soldier himself has copies. And all the soldier wants is to stop fighting. - "Witch's Hour" by Shannon Connor Winward: an interesting tale of a woman with magical powers working as a cook in a castle. But she has a dark past as revealed by a ghost who haunts her. Her attempts to get rid of the ghost become more urgent when the new King takes an interest with her, leading to a decision to use more magic. But as always, unless used carefully, magic has a way of backfiring on you. - "Dirty Old Town" by Richard Bowes: a light, urban fantasy tale about a boy being bullied by another boy not only physically but mentally by having images projected into him. Then he is taught a magical skill to fight back and the relationship between them changes. Many years later, they meet again and, as usual with age, come to a new understanding about each other's abilities and gifts. - "The Prognosticant" by Matthew Hughes: a light-hearted fantasy tale of two henchmen of a wizard sent to obtain a magical helmet. But as it the case of magical devices, the helmet has a mind of its own and prefers one henchman to the wizard, leading to interesting discoveries about dimensions, space and time and his possibly illustrious background. - "The History of the Invasion Told in Five Dogs" by Kelly Jennings: a tale of woe, hunger, survival and, perhaps, hope as the Earth is invaded as told in five parts involving dogs. - "What the Hands Know" by Gregor Hartmann: a story about fighting that could be set anywhere except for a twist: the fighters wear a non-newtonian fluid type of suit that hardens at the point of impact for protection. This affects both attacking and defensive moves. - "The Woman with the Long Black Hair" by Zach Shepard: a short-short about a woman who goes around asking people about a mythical person and, based on the story told, performs an act of kindness or violence on the person. - "My English Name" by R.S. Benedict: a fascinating story about a 'life-form' (even it doesn't know what it is) which can fit into human-like skin that has been living among us, changing skin from time to time. This tale focuses on it wearing the skin of a Englishman living as a teacher in China who gets involved with a citizen. The tale weaves together the desire to want to fit in (and yet can't) and the emotional atttachment it feels. The story makes you think about the time you may have see a person that doesn't quite fit it. - "The First Day of Someone Else's Life" by John Schoffstall: in this story about a future where countries have broken up and enclaves are being run based on different social contructs, a man wakes up not knowing his past and hearing a voice in his head. A tale of corporate espionage, mind downloads and the desire to be with the person you love, even if its not the same body. - "Neko Brushes" by Leah Cypess: an interesting tale set in feudal Japan about a samurai who discovers a child with the ability to draw a picture that can come to life. As the child undergoes training in drawing and making things alive in the samurai's household, we get background information on an ongoing conflict and how the drawing of a certain weapon could end it. But will the child, who just loves to draw cats, be a willing party to the conflict? - "Rings" by Nina Kiriki Hoffman: feeling like a fragment of a longer tale, this story tells a day in the life of a woman on a world where men are slaves and owned. In this case, it is an off-world man who later reveals his previous life off-world, leading the woman to re-evaluate her relationship with him.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Michael Whiteman

    A Thousand Deaths Through Flesh And Stone - Brian Trent *** Cloned consciousnesses of a supersoldier hunt down those of a war criminal on the run. The action is bog-standard but there are is a bit more depth hinted at in the interactions with the criminal's bodies and the hunter's superiors. Witch's Hour - Shannon Connor Winward *** A cook uses a blend of spices and magic to enhance her meals, balancing pleasing the new king with fending off the attentions of the ghost of her abusive predecessor. A Thousand Deaths Through Flesh And Stone - Brian Trent *** Cloned consciousnesses of a supersoldier hunt down those of a war criminal on the run. The action is bog-standard but there are is a bit more depth hinted at in the interactions with the criminal's bodies and the hunter's superiors. Witch's Hour - Shannon Connor Winward *** A cook uses a blend of spices and magic to enhance her meals, balancing pleasing the new king with fending off the attentions of the ghost of her abusive predecessor. Rough and dirty, no innocents, no happy endings. Dirty Old Town - Richard Bowes *** Explores the changing relationships and perceptions throughout a life as people learn more about those around them. A little slow-moving. The Prognosticant - Matthew Hughes *** Continues the story from the previous issue, upping the fantasy in the second half. Both vignettes of Baldemar's life so far have been enjoyable, without getting to the next level. The History Of The Invasion Told In Five Dogs - Kelly Jennings ** Short, standard sort of alien invasion story, with five dogs. What The Hands Know - Gregor Hartmann ** Continuing on from a story a couple of issues ago, TV writer is drawn into a fight between a workers union and an overarching company. Mostly an extended fight scene and vague worryings about the union dispute. The Woman With The Long Black Hair - Zach Shepard **** Short but packs a lot in as a goddess travels around, dispensing gifts and punishments to those she meets. My English Name - RS Benedict **** Compares the emotional and physical difficulties of fitting in as a foreigner in China with an unknown being fitting in as a human. The struggle to maintain relationships while their body is literally falling apart hits hard. The First Day Of Someone Else's Life - John Schoffstall ** Something about the setting and language of this one just didn't click for me. Otherwise, an ok story of personality transplants and corporate espionage. Neko Brushes - Leah Cypess *** Take on the Japanese fairytale of a boy who paints cats which come to life. A samurai wants to use his ability to help his army but things don't go to plan. Rings - Nina Kiriki Hoffman *** From an idea that had me leery - what if a society based entirely around women kept male slaves? - this one does get interesting and start to develop a little beyond "slavery and sexism are bad", but then seems to cut short just as it was warming up.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Toby

    A Thousand Deaths Through Flesh and Stone, Brian Trent. A post- and/or trans-humanism story wherein one or more of the same hunter tracks and executes one or more of the same war criminal/terrorist across the galaxy. It's hard to enact justice when the bad guys can print up a new body to wear. 4/5. Witch's Hour, Shannon Connor Winward. She's the King's cook, she's a witch, and she's haunted by the old cook whose job she took. He was an asshole, and she wants rid of him for good. The King has a cr A Thousand Deaths Through Flesh and Stone, Brian Trent. A post- and/or trans-humanism story wherein one or more of the same hunter tracks and executes one or more of the same war criminal/terrorist across the galaxy. It's hard to enact justice when the bad guys can print up a new body to wear. 4/5. Witch's Hour, Shannon Connor Winward. She's the King's cook, she's a witch, and she's haunted by the old cook whose job she took. He was an asshole, and she wants rid of him for good. The King has a crush on her. She figures out ghost-busting. It doesn't go well. 4/5. Dirty Old Town, Richard Bowes. A magical realism tale wherein a dude grows up to date his childhood bully. Maybe they're cousins? One of them's an actor. It's set in Boston. 2/5. The Path To Peace, Mary Soon Lee. Fantasy poetry. Has the word "dragon" in it. Not particularly lyrical and without enough meat to be narrative. Not sure the point of it. 1/5. The Prognosticant, Matthew Hughes. High fantasy with some hints at practical tech. Good read with just enough humor. Set in a world where Hughes has done other work, and I might check that out. 4/5. The History of the Invasion Told in Five Dogs, Kelly Jennings. The title is the pitch. Kind of a Red Dawn+War of the Worlds world glimpsed in five short vignettes. Too short to have any meat on the bones. 3/5. What The Hands Know, Gregor Hartmann. It's boxing, but in space. It's also a labor dispute. And someone's trying to write a soap opera. 2/5. The Woman With The Long Black Hair, Zach Shephard. Generally not a fan of "flash fiction" but this story is self-contained in a way that a lot of very short fiction is not. 3/5. My English Name, R. S. Benedict. Written in the second person. Long-lived something-or-other changes shapes and identities over time. Falls for a dude, who gets grossed out. 4/5. The First Day of Someone Else's Life, John Schoffstall. Another second person story, another identity-in-another-body story. This one's a little bit of a heist with a bad ending for "you." Not as much like Hardcore Henry as it sounds. 3/5. Neko Brushes, Leah Cypess. Kid paints things, they come to life. He's weaponized. He's subversive. Likes cats. 2/5. Rings, Nina Kiriki Hoffman. A marriage allegory? Maybe. Star captain is enslaved on planet hostile to men, but his master still just wants him to love her. 2/5.

  12. 4 out of 5

    SFHelmut

    Shout out to the short stories: "History of the Invasion Told in Five Dogs" by Kelly Jennings - an innovative structure that refreshes the alien invasion trope. "Rings" by Nina Kiriki Hoffman - male-female relations ships are at their essence a type of power structure, and this short pokes at our patriarchy in all the right ways. I smell a novel story here.... Shout out to the short stories: "History of the Invasion Told in Five Dogs" by Kelly Jennings - an innovative structure that refreshes the alien invasion trope. "Rings" by Nina Kiriki Hoffman - male-female relations ships are at their essence a type of power structure, and this short pokes at our patriarchy in all the right ways. I smell a novel story here....

  13. 4 out of 5

    Eco Imp

    Favorites: The Prognosticant by Matthew Hughes: Another tale with Baldemar but this time with more responsibility. The History of the Invasion Told in Five Dogs by Kelly Jennings: An extremely short version of The Road by Cormac McCarthy except told from the child's POV. The Woman with the Long Black Hair by Zach Shephard: sometimes you just have to forgive yourself. Favorites: The Prognosticant by Matthew Hughes: Another tale with Baldemar but this time with more responsibility. The History of the Invasion Told in Five Dogs by Kelly Jennings: An extremely short version of The Road by Cormac McCarthy except told from the child's POV. The Woman with the Long Black Hair by Zach Shephard: sometimes you just have to forgive yourself.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Heather Pagano

    I prefer that a fiction magazine try different things, fail big or score big with my enjoyment, rather than play it safe in the middle. That's just what this issue did. I loved that a flash fiction piece was included this issue (it was one of the gems). I liked the different styles of fantasy stories on offer. SF was a mixed bag, a couple engaging reads, a couple not-so-thrilling thrillers, in which the identity of a character I didn't care much about was the main point of the story. I prefer that a fiction magazine try different things, fail big or score big with my enjoyment, rather than play it safe in the middle. That's just what this issue did. I loved that a flash fiction piece was included this issue (it was one of the gems). I liked the different styles of fantasy stories on offer. SF was a mixed bag, a couple engaging reads, a couple not-so-thrilling thrillers, in which the identity of a character I didn't care much about was the main point of the story.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Michael Frasca

    My favorite stories: - Matthew Hughes "The Prognosticant." The further adventures of Baldemar! I am looking forward to more stories of this arc set in the world of Rafalon . An observation- Baldemar reminds me of a young Mike Ehrmantraut from "Breaking Bad" and "Better Call Saul." - Kelly Jennings "The History of the Invasion Told in Five Dogs." - R S. Benedict "My English Name." My favorite stories: - Matthew Hughes "The Prognosticant." The further adventures of Baldemar! I am looking forward to more stories of this arc set in the world of Rafalon . An observation- Baldemar reminds me of a young Mike Ehrmantraut from "Breaking Bad" and "Better Call Saul." - Kelly Jennings "The History of the Invasion Told in Five Dogs." - R S. Benedict "My English Name."

  16. 4 out of 5

    Patrick Hurley

    Probably my favorite issue in a long while. Everything was good in this one, but "Dirty Old Town" by Richard Bowes was just amazing, and I've really come to enjoy Matthew Hughe's Vancian-esque stories. Probably my favorite issue in a long while. Everything was good in this one, but "Dirty Old Town" by Richard Bowes was just amazing, and I've really come to enjoy Matthew Hughe's Vancian-esque stories.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Toni

    Highlights: Witch's Hour by Shannon Connor Winward and My English Name by R.S. Benedicts Highlights: Witch's Hour by Shannon Connor Winward and My English Name by R.S. Benedicts

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kenny V

    Always love to see a Matthew Hughes but this issue was packed with quality from start to finish.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Renee Babcock

    A solid issue. I particularly liked Dirty Old Town and My English Name. Also, I'd like to see Nina Kiriki Hoffman's story Rings expanded into a full length treatment. A solid issue. I particularly liked Dirty Old Town and My English Name. Also, I'd like to see Nina Kiriki Hoffman's story Rings expanded into a full length treatment.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Rue Baldry

    Another good, solid collection of stories. No duffers in this one, in my opinion. Lots of different settings, characters and styles, but an overall theme of controlling or inhabiting the bodies of other people.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Meran

    4.5 stars review later

  22. 4 out of 5

    Odo

    3.5/5.0

  23. 4 out of 5

    Hans

  24. 4 out of 5

    S

  25. 5 out of 5

    Daniel

  26. 5 out of 5

    Laura

  27. 5 out of 5

    Caty

  28. 4 out of 5

    Laura Tupper-Smith

  29. 4 out of 5

    Tad Kilgore

  30. 5 out of 5

    Matthew Aufiero

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