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THE MAGAZINE OF FANTASY & SCIENCE FICTION January/February • 71st Year of Publication NOVELLAS CHISEL AND CHIME -102 -Alex Irvine NOVELETS SAVE, SALVE, SHELTER -5- Essa Hansen AIR OF THE OVERWORLD -28- Matthew Hughes BANSHEE -59- Michael Cassutt FALLING ANGEL -151- Albert E. Cowdrey SHORT STORIES ELSINORE REVOLUTION -148- Elaine Vilar Madruga THE KEY TO COMPOSING HUMAN SKIN -174- Juli THE MAGAZINE OF FANTASY & SCIENCE FICTION January/February • 71st Year of Publication NOVELLAS CHISEL AND CHIME -102 -Alex Irvine NOVELETS SAVE, SALVE, SHELTER -5- Essa Hansen AIR OF THE OVERWORLD -28- Matthew Hughes BANSHEE -59- Michael Cassutt FALLING ANGEL -151- Albert E. Cowdrey SHORT STORIES ELSINORE REVOLUTION -148- Elaine Vilar Madruga THE KEY TO COMPOSING HUMAN SKIN -174- Julianna Baggott INTERLUDE IN ARCADIA -192- Corey Flintoff THREE GOWNS FOR CLARA -211- Auston Habershaw THE NAMELESS -229- Melissa Marr THE LEADER PRINCIPLE -243- Rahul Kanakia DEPARTMENTS BOOKS TO LOOK FOR -85- Charles de Lint RECOMMENDED READING -94- C. C. Finlay FILMS: AD ASTRA PER CORDE -200- Karin Lowachee SCIENCE: WHERE’S MY FLYING CAR? -205- Jerry Oltion COMING ATTRACTIONS -256- CURIOSITIES -258- Rich Horton Cartoons: Bill Long (27), Nick Downes (101), Arthur Masear (147, 204), Kendra Allenby (210). COVER BY MAX BERTOLINI FOR “CHISEL AND CHIME”


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THE MAGAZINE OF FANTASY & SCIENCE FICTION January/February • 71st Year of Publication NOVELLAS CHISEL AND CHIME -102 -Alex Irvine NOVELETS SAVE, SALVE, SHELTER -5- Essa Hansen AIR OF THE OVERWORLD -28- Matthew Hughes BANSHEE -59- Michael Cassutt FALLING ANGEL -151- Albert E. Cowdrey SHORT STORIES ELSINORE REVOLUTION -148- Elaine Vilar Madruga THE KEY TO COMPOSING HUMAN SKIN -174- Juli THE MAGAZINE OF FANTASY & SCIENCE FICTION January/February • 71st Year of Publication NOVELLAS CHISEL AND CHIME -102 -Alex Irvine NOVELETS SAVE, SALVE, SHELTER -5- Essa Hansen AIR OF THE OVERWORLD -28- Matthew Hughes BANSHEE -59- Michael Cassutt FALLING ANGEL -151- Albert E. Cowdrey SHORT STORIES ELSINORE REVOLUTION -148- Elaine Vilar Madruga THE KEY TO COMPOSING HUMAN SKIN -174- Julianna Baggott INTERLUDE IN ARCADIA -192- Corey Flintoff THREE GOWNS FOR CLARA -211- Auston Habershaw THE NAMELESS -229- Melissa Marr THE LEADER PRINCIPLE -243- Rahul Kanakia DEPARTMENTS BOOKS TO LOOK FOR -85- Charles de Lint RECOMMENDED READING -94- C. C. Finlay FILMS: AD ASTRA PER CORDE -200- Karin Lowachee SCIENCE: WHERE’S MY FLYING CAR? -205- Jerry Oltion COMING ATTRACTIONS -256- CURIOSITIES -258- Rich Horton Cartoons: Bill Long (27), Nick Downes (101), Arthur Masear (147, 204), Kendra Allenby (210). COVER BY MAX BERTOLINI FOR “CHISEL AND CHIME”

30 review for The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, January/February 2020 (F&SF, #747)

  1. 4 out of 5

    John Loyd

    5 • Save, Salve, Shelter • 23 pages by Essa Hansen Good/OK. The Earth has been made uninhabitable. Pasha is a collector of DNA specimens so they can reconstruct the animals. Pasha isn't satisfied with just DNA, she is also collecting living animals. The shuttles won't take the animals they'll just euthanize them. 28 • Air of the Overworld • 31 pages by Matthew Hughes Very Good. Radegonde the Ineffable is obsessed with making it to the fourth plane of existence (humans live on the third plane). H 5 • Save, Salve, Shelter • 23 pages by Essa Hansen Good/OK. The Earth has been made uninhabitable. Pasha is a collector of DNA specimens so they can reconstruct the animals. Pasha isn't satisfied with just DNA, she is also collecting living animals. The shuttles won't take the animals they'll just euthanize them. 28 • Air of the Overworld • 31 pages by Matthew Hughes Very Good. Radegonde the Ineffable is obsessed with making it to the fourth plane of existence (humans live on the third plane). He has acquired the services of Baldemar who has had some physical changes due to his interaction with the Helm of Sagacity. The services consist of being experimented on and will probably lead to a cessation of his existence. 59 • Banshee • 26 pages by Michael Cassutt Good. The Skin Walker project failed again. Nik Salida comes home to find his daughter is now a dinosaur. Salida and his tiger team can't come up with a solution, he gets transferred, but still thinks about it. 102 • Chisel and Chime • 46 pages by Alex Irvine Very Good/Excellent. Melandra is chosen to create a sculpture of the imperator. An honor, but a fatal one. For the three months it will take to create the statue she is guarded by Brant. She asks Brant to tell her about himself. 148 • Elsinore Revolution • 3 pages by Elaine Vilar Madruga Poor. Ophelia doesn't want to die. No context, how does she know she's going to die. This causes Shakespeare to be unable to write. So what, some virtual Shakespeare isn't writing plays that have already been written hundreds of years ago. 151 • Falling Angel • 23 pages by Albert E. Cowdrey Good+. The Louella is being refurbished into an upscale hotel. Problem is the screaming ghost. Butch and Roma are hired to get the ghost of Jean Harwich to stop haunting the place. They start by figuring out exactly how she was killed. 174 • The Key to Composing Human Skin • 18 pages by Julianna Baggott Good. A faction in power wants to convert everyone to their way of thinking and hire a propaganda firm. Hertzella comes up with the idea of putting messages on their skin. Schulm is able to do it and turn the tables a bit. 192 • Interlude in Arcadia • 8 pages by Corey Flintoff Good. Professor Swain tries to be a good Samaritan, but it puts him in an awkward looking situation making him look like the bad guy. 211 • Three Gowns for Clara • 18 pages by Auston Habershaw Good/VG. The prince is throwing a party and wants every eligible woman to be there. A duke hires Clara to make a gown for each of his three daughters. It'd be hard enough to make one gown in the week let alone three and she doesn't have material for a royal ball. 229 • The Nameless • 14 pages by Melissa Marr Good. Aunt Mila and the narrator are hunting for wolves that the archers may have missed. Their tribe is all women and the wolves are men trying to capture some of them. Only one has escaped them after being captured. She gave birth to Victorie, who now being motherless should be part of the protectors. Nice job of telling the narrator's story though it leaves the motives of wolves unanswered, making me think it's some sort of metaphor. 243 • The Leader Principle • 13 pages by Rahul Kanakia OK. Atmospheric is going bankrupt unless there is an infusion of cash. People are willing to put up the money because Kevin Slack is running the company. Gobie would be willing to work for nothing.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Erica Quinones

    Some great, some ok, and one piece that I just couldn’t finish. By far my favorite story was the short story, “The Nameless.” It just, wow? Engaging, unique voice. Strong characters, compelling narrative, and an incredible message of female empowerment and sisterhood to tie it together. A must read. The piece I couldn’t finish was the novelette, “Air of the Overworld.” The story was fine but the writing was stilted and not engaging. The protagonist was flat and boring to the point of being refer Some great, some ok, and one piece that I just couldn’t finish. By far my favorite story was the short story, “The Nameless.” It just, wow? Engaging, unique voice. Strong characters, compelling narrative, and an incredible message of female empowerment and sisterhood to tie it together. A must read. The piece I couldn’t finish was the novelette, “Air of the Overworld.” The story was fine but the writing was stilted and not engaging. The protagonist was flat and boring to the point of being referred to as a paragon in the text. I felt nothing new from it, no spark that I couldn’t receive from another piece, and no enjoyment for the passive protagonist. The others: Novella: Chisel and Chime, 5 Stars: Compelling read with great characters. The two stories develop side by side, pacing was perfect, and I love that the reader and characters find the solution together. I want to read more from this author, especially as it appears they write many fantasy stories with similar twists to cultural norms. Novelettes: Save, Salve, Shelter, 4 Stars: Timely and urgent, it had one of the most interesting voices of all the pieces and evokes some stunning imagery. You can tell this is a debut piece for the author and could use a little fine tuning in the prose, would love to see more from Hansen. Banshee, 4.5 Stars: Both funny and poignant, it has one great surprise and then the rest is easy to watch progress. I never complain about figuring out the ending, because it means the trail there was well lit. Nice prose, very traditional SF protagonist, enjoyable read. EDIT: SO I WAS THINKING ABOUT MY SENIOR THESIS (queerness in sci-fi with a focus on bodies and their mislabeling) AND I CANT BELIEVE THIS WENT OVER MY HEAD. Y’all, it’s a trans narrative. IT IS A TRANS NARRATIVE. Ok, that’s all, my appreciation for this piece just skyrocketed. I need to go back and read it again to see how I feel about the workplace part of the narrative (which was my least favorite part), but we’ll see how it changes with this additional reading. Falling Angel, 4 Stars: Great reversal of an old ghost story. I loved the direction Cowdrey took it, but some characters felt rather forced, the ending wrapped up too quickly, and some out of place political references. I love politics (I mean, I read SF) but this reference just swiped me out of the world. I’d love more stories about Butch and Roma, but I really want more Roma than Butch. She’s a psychic, that’s way more intriguing than just a guy. Short Stories: Elsinore Revolution, 5 Stars: The piece that peaks in fabulous voice. It’s chaotic and jarring and so so beautiful. I think the reason a lot of reviewers don’t like it is because it’s not like the other SF pieces. There’s no strong lore to the piece, you’re just tossed in. But I think that’s because it’s way more modern than futuristic. How we treat literary canon is certainly seen in its lines, the systemic and historical murder and abuse of women in literature, of our refusal to accept any outside voices into the canon. How when even Shakespeare doesn’t do what we want, we deny those parts of him to deify the Shakespeare we want. It makes me think of Audre Lord and all those wonderful scholars. Of how the gay Shakespeare is in fact just William Shakespeare. The Key to Composing Human Skin, 3 Stars: it’s hard to give this one three because it’s not a bad piece at all. I like the ideas behind it, but it’s just so lofty and preachy. I want. from it and it’s concept. Interlude in Arcadia, 3 Stars: Again, not a bad idea, I just want more. The prose can be so overbearing with, “THIS PROTAGONIST IS A CLASSIC SCHOLAR.” Great, love to know that, but you can chill. I don’t need an explanation of who Atalanta is (I already know her), give some credit to your readers and let them do a google search. The final twist was fun and easy to put together through the later details we receive. I just think....Greek myths for female revenge? Yeah, screw Zeus, let’s reclaim that. Three Gowns for Clara, 5 Stars: A funny reversal of fairy tale tropes. I enjoyed it immensely, especially with the added commentary of classism that so many people forget about in their myths. The Leader Principle, 3 Stars: Not Bad just not particularly engaging. The protagonist is rather boring and ambitionless and there is an uncomfortable amount of sexualization surrounding the 15 y/o daughter. It’s thematic and addresses toxic masculinity, but just...I’ve read it once and that’s all I needed. One thing I wish we got from the /whole/ issue was a diversification of voices. This is such an issue in SF and F fantasy. There are wonderful minority voices writing compelling and revolutionary prose. Let’s highlight those voices!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Kam Yung Soh

    An okay issue, with interesting stories by Essa Hansen, Matthew Hughes, Alex Irvine, Albert E. Cowdrey and Auston Habershaw. - "Save, Salve, Shelter" by Essa Hansen: in this future, environmental disaster has happened and what remains of humanity is leaving for Mars. Collectors are tasked with collecting DNA samples from animals that still survive to take with them. But one collector wants to do more and bring the animals to Mars. As ship after ship rejects her, she makes one last desperate move An okay issue, with interesting stories by Essa Hansen, Matthew Hughes, Alex Irvine, Albert E. Cowdrey and Auston Habershaw. - "Save, Salve, Shelter" by Essa Hansen: in this future, environmental disaster has happened and what remains of humanity is leaving for Mars. Collectors are tasked with collecting DNA samples from animals that still survive to take with them. But one collector wants to do more and bring the animals to Mars. As ship after ship rejects her, she makes one last desperate move for her animals, not seemingly aware of the changes happening to her charges. - "Air of the Overworld " by Matthew Hughes: a wizard subjects a henchman to strange experiments that may have to do with sending him to another plane of existence (the Overworld) to collect materials for him. Becoming aware of the dangers this endeavour might do to him, he plans to escape with the help of an inhabitant of the Overworld that he once helped. - "Banshee" by Michael Cassutt: when an experimental space ship keeps suffering problems, it is up to a well connected problem solver to figure out a solution. But he finds himself 'out of the loop' when his initial proposed solution is not accepted. But he eventually figures out an alternative solution with the help of his daughter who, in this story, has undergone a radical change and become a dinosaur (radical body morphs being another part of the story). - "Chisel and Chime" by Alex Irvine: a light fantasy story with a heavy theme around art and death. A sculptor is given the task of producing a statue of a local despot, a task that would end with her death. Watching over her is a soldier, whose origin story of living in a village and then running away and ending up as her guard would show that he does not know how his task will also end. And yet, with the help of a special bell from the guard that has the ability to contain the ghost of a departed person, she comes up with a desperate plan to save him from the designs of the despot after her death. - "Elsinore Revolution" by Elaine Vilar Madruga: a short short story of a future where multiple Shakespeares write plays, only one particular Shakespeare character does not want to do its appointed role. - "Falling Angel" by Albert E. Cowdrey: two psychics are called to rid a new development in Hollywood of the agonising scream of a woman who fell to her death years ago. But as they research her background and the circumstances of her death, they discover the person who caused her death may not be an actual person at all. - "The Key to Composing Human Skin" by Julianna Baggott: a unusual story set in a country (maybe the USA) under the rule of tyranny. In a firm tasked with the job of delivering messages from the government more effectively, one person comes up with the idea of messages the user can't escape from, like a rash on their skin. Without spoiling the story, the idea is implemented in an unusual way that expresses the users actual thoughts that they can't escape from. - "Interlude in Arcadia" by Corey Flintoff: a professor of Greek Literature finds himself stumbling into a world where Greek myths come to life and they may not treat him too kindly. - "Three Gowns for Clara" by Auston Habershaw: when a Prince makes a proclamation and invites (demands) all maidens to attend a ball, it falls on to an old seamstress to quickly make three gowns for a duke. This, she does, sacrificing her time and that of her helper and her grandniece, who now does not have the time to make her own dress for the ball. But perhaps with a change of heart, the grandniece may have her chance to shine at the ball. - "The Nameless" by Melissa Marr: a story of a forest where women live and fight off 'wolves' that threaten them. Unfortunately, the premise of the story doesn't hold together very well especially as more of the world beyond the forest the women live in is revealed in the story. - "The Leader Principle" by Rahul Kanakia: a story of a man (maybe modelled on SpaceX's Elon Musk) who dreams of getting rockets to Mars at any cost, and of his assistant who would do anything to ensure that dream becomes true, even if it means taking money from investors who have no hope of getting their money back and maybe even thinking of ways of enslaving the rest of the world.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jordi

    Alex Irvine delivers probably the best story in this F&SF issue - the novella “Chisel and Chime” - which tells the peculiar relationship between an artist and the guard who watches her in a ritual seclusion that will condemn both. Another highlight is the new installment on Baldemar’s adventures from Matthew Hughes (“Air of the Overworld”) - as entertaining as ever. There were also other few stories that caught my attention, all of them having women as protagonists: “The Nameless”, by Melissa Ma Alex Irvine delivers probably the best story in this F&SF issue - the novella “Chisel and Chime” - which tells the peculiar relationship between an artist and the guard who watches her in a ritual seclusion that will condemn both. Another highlight is the new installment on Baldemar’s adventures from Matthew Hughes (“Air of the Overworld”) - as entertaining as ever. There were also other few stories that caught my attention, all of them having women as protagonists: “The Nameless”, by Melissa Marr; “Save, Salve and Shelter”, by Essa Hansen, and the interesting anti-fairy tale “Three Gowns for Clara”, from Auston Habershaw.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Standback

    This issue has remarkable range, with quite a collection of standout stories, of a variety of styles and lengths. A vivid image of last priorities on a dying Earth; a slow-building bond between an artist and a soldier; a bitter twist on the idea of a feminist utopia, and two humor pieces that are both intelligent and superb. Standout Stories: "Save, Salve, Shelter," Essa Hansen. Powerful take on post-apocalyptic scenario; a collector trying to save the few remaining animal survivors on earth. I This issue has remarkable range, with quite a collection of standout stories, of a variety of styles and lengths. A vivid image of last priorities on a dying Earth; a slow-building bond between an artist and a soldier; a bitter twist on the idea of a feminist utopia, and two humor pieces that are both intelligent and superb. Standout Stories: "Save, Salve, Shelter," Essa Hansen. Powerful take on post-apocalyptic scenario; a collector trying to save the few remaining animal survivors on earth. It's a story balancing tenderness towards innocent creatures who have done no wrong, against sheer fury towards those who have. "Air of the Overworld,", Matthew Hughes. Possibly my favorite Matthew Hughes story yet. This is just the epitome of Hughes' haughty wizards and their indomitable hubris, taken to the cosmic level. Lots of fun and a great, memorable story. "Chisel and Chime," Alex Irvine. The premise is immediately compelling: an imperially-appointed artist, sculpting a great monument for her monarch, and slated to die (imperially, magnificently) upon its completion. Her only company is her single guardsman; as she works her craft, the two of them learn more of each other and more of themselves. This is a novella that simply flies by, in bated breath and rich character and ever-mounting anticipation. "Three Gowns for Clara," Auston Habershaw. Oh, so much fun! Everything you need to know is right in the opening: The proclamation had been very clear: All eligible maidens were to attend. All. High or low estate, fat or thin, short or tall, one leg or two. In one week's time, the prince was going to pick a pretty girl from the crowd and make a princess of her. To most women in the kingdom, it was as though God had extended His hand to them. But not to the seamstresses. To old Clara Le Dure, it seemed the king had decided this was the week she ought to die. He was personally seeing to it that she should stitch herself into oblivion. "The Nameless," Melissa Marr. Portrays a "Herland" under siege and fear -- if it's a feminist utopia, it's one that's forced to defend itself, against the constant battering of men. The story is striking and timely, both in execution and concept. We can see all too well how there are always those who refuse to leave happy, self-sufficient communities of women alone. And how they, in turn, grow wary and defensive. Rest of the Issue: "Banshee," Michael Cassutt. I really loved the focus on wise politics, professional relationships, and real collaboration as a way to solve big problems. "Elsinore Revolution," Elaine Vilar Madruga. Weird, recursive, slight. "Falling Angel," Albert E. Cowdry. I really think I've had my fill of Cowdry. I think he has a bunch of different "supernatural investigator" characters/series, but I can't tell them apart. This one has a bunch of versions of exactly the same story, when the story might as easily have skipped right to the last. "The Key To Composing Human Skin," Julianna Baggott. A propaganda writer and a curmudgeonly programmer spot an opportunity to make real positive change -- by turning people's skin into an inescapable truthtelling newscast. I enjoyed, but it felt very magic-bullet-to-our-social-issues to me, and ultimately more about how bad things can be than a real exploration of the premise. "Interlude in Arcadia," Corey Flintoff. Short horror piece, about a Greek Studies professor who hasn't been taking his study material seriously enough. Fine, and quick, but I felt like it was mostly setup for the last few pages -- I'd have enjoyed it more if the concept were central and clear throughout. "The Leader Principle," Rahul Kanakia. Follows a charismatic tech leader, who's much-admired, but no better or more scrupulous than any other sketchy startup founder trying to put on a good show and beat the odds. The gap between the company's purported ideals and their actual methods are like watching a trainwreck in motion.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Leroy Erickson

    This issue contains a couple of very good stories. Essa Hansen - Save, Salve, Shelter - 3 stars - This was an OK story, a new take on "We've destroyed the planet. Now all that we can do is save what we can and run." Matthew Hughes - Air Of The Overworld - 4 stars - Another story about Baldemar, the reluctant assistant of wizards. An interesting view on the 'planes of existence' in life. Michael Cassutt - Banshee - 4 stars - A new use of the term "Banshee", based on the mis-pronunciation of a Chines This issue contains a couple of very good stories. Essa Hansen - Save, Salve, Shelter - 3 stars - This was an OK story, a new take on "We've destroyed the planet. Now all that we can do is save what we can and run." Matthew Hughes - Air Of The Overworld - 4 stars - Another story about Baldemar, the reluctant assistant of wizards. An interesting view on the 'planes of existence' in life. Michael Cassutt - Banshee - 4 stars - A new use of the term "Banshee", based on the mis-pronunciation of a Chinese(?) term. DNA manipulation leads to people changing their body form into anything that they would like. Alex Irvine - Chisel And Chime - 5 stars - A very good story about an artist who is chosen to create a statue of the city's leader, after which she is required to immediately die. The intertwining stories of the artist's thoughts while she works on the statue and the story of her guard are handled very well. Elaine Vilar Madruga - Elsinore Revolution - 3 stars - Whatever the author was trying to accomplish with this story, it's too vague to follow. Albert E. Cowdrey - Falling Angel - 4 stars - A ghost story about a want-to-be actress who fell to her death from the roof of a hotel and is still haunting it over 50 years later, screaming each time her death is repeated. Well, it turns out that that's not the whole story. Well written. Julianna Baggott - The Key To Composing Human Skin - 4 stars - An attempt to use viral infection to cause people to display preprogrammed messages directly on their bodies. The idea is flaky, but the story is well written. Corey Flintoff - Interlude In Arcadia - 3 stars - A college professor of classical literature meets some of the ancient mythological creatures from those stories. Jerry Oltion - Science: Where’S My Flying Car? - 3 stars - Why the science of today doesn't match what was predicted 50 years ago. Auston Habershaw - Three Gowns For Clara - 5 stars - In the land where several popular fairy tales took place, an old seamstress has to accept the fact that the people, including her own grandniece, still believe fairy tale endings can happen to them. Melissa Marr - The Nameless - 4 stars - A village of Amazons, no men allowed in the village except to make babies, have to constantly fight to defend themselves against another local village. Rahul Kanakia - The Leader Principle - 3 stars - A man creates a company to develop space travel in order to colonize Mars, and will stop at nothing to raise the money to fund it. An OK story with repulsive ideas.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Meg Pontecorvo

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This issue had more misses for me than hits, although I absolutely loved Alex Irvine’s “Chisel and Chime,” the featured novella, which does a superb job of braiding together the narratives of two such different characters. Unlike some of the other Goodreads reviewers, I thought that the ending was perfect. Irvine allows both Melandra and Brant to fulfill their respective duties (keystones for both characters), yet allows the tantalizing options of either Brant having his life spared (and thus ha This issue had more misses for me than hits, although I absolutely loved Alex Irvine’s “Chisel and Chime,” the featured novella, which does a superb job of braiding together the narratives of two such different characters. Unlike some of the other Goodreads reviewers, I thought that the ending was perfect. Irvine allows both Melandra and Brant to fulfill their respective duties (keystones for both characters), yet allows the tantalizing options of either Brant having his life spared (and thus having the chance to see the world and to start his life over) or, if the Imperator kills him, then he and Melandra can occupy the chime together until their spirits pass on. I like the ambiguity, but also the fact that both possibilities are good outcomes (or the best for the two given their restricted circumstances) and that Irvine resists the cliché ending of having them run off together. Well-plotted!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Beth Tabler

    Essa Hansen’s debut short story Save, Salve, Shelter in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction January/February 2020 is shining a light on the despair of Earth’s ecological collapse. There are still good people who want to help. “Corrupted babies wouldn’t have survived this long.” Pasha shifts her trembling shoulders and tucks restless leverets back in their pouches. “Not everything out there is dead. And what isn’t ruined deserves our care. The cause of the outbreak was us. Our fault.” Hansen Essa Hansen’s debut short story Save, Salve, Shelter in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction January/February 2020 is shining a light on the despair of Earth’s ecological collapse. There are still good people who want to help. “Corrupted babies wouldn’t have survived this long.” Pasha shifts her trembling shoulders and tucks restless leverets back in their pouches. “Not everything out there is dead. And what isn’t ruined deserves our care. The cause of the outbreak was us. Our fault.” Hansen wrote this story in the wake of the California wildfires in 2017 and 2018. It was a reaction to the global trajectory the world is currently on regarding cataclysmic climate change. In Hansen’s story, the chances for the Earth and all her inhabitants have come and gone. The United Nations is set to abandon the Earth with some humans and the DNA/Genetic sequencing of as many animals as the humans can find. The humans that set out tracking across the barren landscape of the Earth are called catalogers. Pasha, the story’s protagonist, is one of these catalogers. However, instead of leaving the animals to their fate, Pasha, in a moment of kindness and what I believe it means to be human, pick up the animals and carry them with her. She saves, salves, and shelters them, hence the name of the short story. As anyone who attempts to save a baby animal can attest to, some make it; some don’t. The point of the story is we should be trying to save them instead of abandoning them. We are stewards to the Earth, and the animal’s fate is our fault. Pasha walks from launch site to launch site, each time trying to come aboard with her small menagerie. She is lied to, coerced, and the animals are euthanized repeatedly. Her body is hunched and broken from carrying her hoard by foot for hundreds and hundreds of miles. Each time she comes upon an animal that can be saved, she picks it up, does her best, and moves on. It is heartbreaking and frustrating. You want her to succeed, but there is an air of desperation and futility to her struggles. My only quibble about the story is the end of Save, Salve, Shelter. It is too abrupt and too out of character compared to the rest of Pasha’s actions. I understand someone being at the end of their rope, especially with all Pasha has gone through, but it seemed too much. This is very much a personal reaction to the ending; your mileage may vary. On the whole, this is a great read. I understand Hansen’s feelings regarding the wildfires as I witnessed much of the same this year. It is a terrifying feeling to be so small in the face of such devastation. She took that feeling and transferred it well to Save, Salve, Shelter. There is hope for humanity in the form of Pasha. Even with the damage humans have wrought upon the Earth, there are still some good people.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Poetreehugger

    Save, Salve, Shelter by Essa Hansen - very colourful, imaginative, slightly insane, which is how we should all feel at the thought of the many extinctions, destructions, and over-developments our species has foisted on our world and its creatures. We can do better. Air of the Overworld by Matthew Hughes is a pleasant return to that writer’s unique universe. Not that it’s necessarily a pleasant place, but that it has so many satisfying attributes of good fairy tale. Banshee by Michael Cassutt was a Save, Salve, Shelter by Essa Hansen - very colourful, imaginative, slightly insane, which is how we should all feel at the thought of the many extinctions, destructions, and over-developments our species has foisted on our world and its creatures. We can do better. Air of the Overworld by Matthew Hughes is a pleasant return to that writer’s unique universe. Not that it’s necessarily a pleasant place, but that it has so many satisfying attributes of good fairy tale. Banshee by Michael Cassutt was a fun read. I was a little confused by the change the main character underwent at the end, but it didn’t detract from the story. (I found a grammatical error in the column about recommended books, but I don’t want to rant about grammar. This time.) Chisel and Chime by Alex Irvine was amazing, though this ending was also confusing to me. Maybe I didn’t read carefully enough. I really liked the universe of this one. Interlude in Arcadia by Corey Flintoff was startling, almost scary; well done with that ancient mythology coming back to get us. Three Gowns for Clara was HUGELY enjoyable, a very good handling of the classic fairy tale universe. The Nameless byMelissa Marr, wow. Intense. A little too man-hating for me, but as a metaphor for the viewpoint of a victim of violence, very effective and revelatory. There were more, all well worth reading. I enjoyed this issue. Will keep my subscription up to date.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Michael Whiteman

    Save, Salve, Shelter - Essa Hansen *** Cross-country post-apocalyptic journey story as a DNA collector travels the world gathering animals otherwise doomed to die as humanity abandons the planet, trying to get them a place on one of the fleeing shuttles. Takes a dark turn as she becomes more desperate.  Air Of The Overworld - Matthew Hughes *** Another adventure with Baldemar, the wizard's henchman, here being experimented on in Radegonde's attempt to reach the Overworld (afterlife) prematurely, wi Save, Salve, Shelter - Essa Hansen *** Cross-country post-apocalyptic journey story as a DNA collector travels the world gathering animals otherwise doomed to die as humanity abandons the planet, trying to get them a place on one of the fleeing shuttles. Takes a dark turn as she becomes more desperate.  Air Of The Overworld - Matthew Hughes *** Another adventure with Baldemar, the wizard's henchman, here being experimented on in Radegonde's attempt to reach the Overworld (afterlife) prematurely, with less ideal consequences for Baldemar. Fun episode in the series.  Banshee - Michael Cassutt ** Office politics around developing a shape-shifting spacecraft mixed with family dynamics around a daughter transforming herself into a dinosaur. Never really clicked and nothing to stand out beyond ok.  Chisel And Chime - Alex Irvine **** Interweaving the story of an artist selected to produce a sculpture of the Imperator, who will be killed at its unveiling, and the troubled history of the guard chosen to stand watch over her while she creates it. The two stories sit well with each other and are tied together neatly. Elsinore Revolution - Elaine Vilar Madruga ** Software Ophelias choose not to die and robotic Shakespeares find themselves unable to write. A bit too vague, not much meat on the bones of the idea.  Falling Angel - Albert E Cowdrey * A medium and her partner lay the ghost of an aspiring actress to rest. Awkward, clumsy, a pulp writer called Hackman and the limpest of twist endings.  The Key To Composing Human Skin - Julianna Baggott *** The idea of a virus that reveals people's inner feelings on their skin is neat if left necessarily vague, otherwise fun enough corporate espionage.  Interlude In Arcadia - Corey Flintoff ** Neat updating of Artemis (and Actaeon I think?) brought into it but at this length it's not much more than another professor having an affair with a student and facing the consequences.  Three Gowns For Clara - Auston Habershaw **** The titular seamstress struggles to make dresses for a fairytale ball, helped by her friend and grandniece. Really nice portrayal of the importance of hope and dreams no matter how unlikely or poor your circumstances.  The Nameless - Melissa Marr *** The small warrior caste of an all-woman village has to defend it from the men of a nearby village and the newest member pushes them to go on the offensive. There is encouragement to empower and to break with tradition, albeit only after events affect the protagonist personally. The Leader Principle - Rahul Kanakia ** A CEO's assistant helps him fund a mission to Mars, showing how bad people can be manipulated by a strong leader, or not even a leader but just someone they see as cool. Something of the bleakness you see in people defending billionaires who at best don't care about them and otherwise exploit them but not much to it. 

  11. 5 out of 5

    Michael Frasca

    Here are my favorite stories: - Save, Salve, Shelter by Essa Hansen. Earth’s biosphere has been corrupted by a man-made agent. Humans are bugging out to Mars and taking the biosphere DNA with them. A biosphere sampler goes above and beyond to take all things bright and beautiful on one of the arks.
 - Air of the Overworld by Matthew Hughes. The ongoing saga of Baldemar, the most capable and competent get-things-done guy in Vanderoy. This job involves sampling the air of the 4th plane. Baldemar’s u Here are my favorite stories: - Save, Salve, Shelter by Essa Hansen. Earth’s biosphere has been corrupted by a man-made agent. Humans are bugging out to Mars and taking the biosphere DNA with them. A biosphere sampler goes above and beyond to take all things bright and beautiful on one of the arks.
 - Air of the Overworld by Matthew Hughes. The ongoing saga of Baldemar, the most capable and competent get-things-done guy in Vanderoy. This job involves sampling the air of the 4th plane. Baldemar’s unique makeup makes him a saint of circumstance - “This must be heaven, tonight I cross the line”
 - Chisel and Chime by Alex Irvine. A delicate pas de deus between an artist commissioned to produce a statue of the despot and her guard, ordered to prevent her escape or suicide before completing the commission…for, you see, the ruling despot always ‘breaks the mold’ to prevent the artist from ever creating any more works. Sure to be on many award lists.
 - Elsinore Revolution by Elaine Vilar Madruga. Sometimes a minor character, like a fruit seller or a 16 year old truant girl, starts a great revolution by standing up to the powers that be and saying “no more.”
 - Falling Angel by Albert E. Cowdrey. I love Cowdrey’s New Orleans ghost stories, but Los Angeles can also be creepy as all hell.
 pairs well with American Horror Story: Hotel. - Interlude in Arcadia by Corey Flintoff. #metoo comes to the Classics.
 - The Leader Principle by Rahul Kanakia. Powerful story about 'The Man Who Sold Mars to Sad Puppies.' Pairs well with Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Mary Soon Lee

    I read most of this issue during the coronavirus pandemic. Reading remains a comfort and a joy to me even in difficult times, though I find myself increasingly biased toward stories with likable characters, and especially to stories where likable characters help each other. My three favorites this time were Alex Irvine's unusual, very nicely told novella, "Chisel and Chime," Julianna Baggott's also unusual, also very nicely told short story, "The Key to Composing Human Skin" (I found the closing I read most of this issue during the coronavirus pandemic. Reading remains a comfort and a joy to me even in difficult times, though I find myself increasingly biased toward stories with likable characters, and especially to stories where likable characters help each other. My three favorites this time were Alex Irvine's unusual, very nicely told novella, "Chisel and Chime," Julianna Baggott's also unusual, also very nicely told short story, "The Key to Composing Human Skin" (I found the closing paragraphs particularly effective), and Auston Habershaw's nicely told, pointed take on fairy tales, "Three Gowns for Clara" (in which I very much appreciated how the three women cared for each other). Recommended, as always. About my reviews: I try to review every book I read, including those that I don't end up enjoying. The reviews are not scholarly, but just indicate my reaction as a reader, reading being my addiction. I am miserly with 5-star reviews; 4 stars means I liked a book very much; 3 stars means I liked it; 2 stars means I didn't like it (though often the 2-star books are very popular with other readers and/or are by authors whose other work I've loved).

  13. 5 out of 5

    Dana

    Solid issue. I especially enjoyed "Chisel and Chime" and "Save, Salve, Shelter." Solid issue. I especially enjoyed "Chisel and Chime" and "Save, Salve, Shelter."

  14. 5 out of 5

    Corey

    Despite an unusually large number of typos (I'll chalk it up to the holidays), this was a fantastic issue, especially the Irvine piece. Despite an unusually large number of typos (I'll chalk it up to the holidays), this was a fantastic issue, especially the Irvine piece.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Benjamin DeHaan

    Favorites were "Chisel and Chime", "Interlude in Arcadia", and "Save, Salve, Shelter". Favorites were "Chisel and Chime", "Interlude in Arcadia", and "Save, Salve, Shelter".

  16. 5 out of 5

    VexenReplica

    3.5/5, rounded up. CW for suicide in "Chisel and Chime." Some hits--"Save, Salve, Shelter," "The Key to Composing Human Skin," (CW for virus things) "The Nameless," (CW for rape) and "The Leader Principle." (which imo reminded me more thematically of Katherine MacLean's "Snowball Effect" than Heinlein, but ehh) Some of the stories were a bit on the confusing side; not sure if that was me or if it was the story (or translation, as the case may be). Overall good. 3.5/5, rounded up. CW for suicide in "Chisel and Chime." Some hits--"Save, Salve, Shelter," "The Key to Composing Human Skin," (CW for virus things) "The Nameless," (CW for rape) and "The Leader Principle." (which imo reminded me more thematically of Katherine MacLean's "Snowball Effect" than Heinlein, but ehh) Some of the stories were a bit on the confusing side; not sure if that was me or if it was the story (or translation, as the case may be). Overall good.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kevin Fellows

    Unsettling in a bad way this month. Uninteresting stories in general and a few that made me cringe with male gaze problems.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Paul

    Ratings for this issue: B (very good): Falling Angel by Albert E. Crowdrey Elisnore Revolution by Elaine Vilar Madruga The Key to Composing Human Skin by Julianna Baggott C (average): Chisel & Chime by Alex Irvine Save, Salve, Shelter by Essa Hansen Air of the Overworld by Matthew Hughes Banshee by Michael Cassutt Interlude in Arcadia by Corey Flintoff Three Gowns for Clara by Auston Habershaw The Leader Principle by Rahul Kanakia D (poor): The Nameless by Melissa Marr

  19. 4 out of 5

    Yev

    NOVELLAS Chisel and Chime - Alex Irvine A story about hitobashira, which is human sacrifice to appease the gods for protection after something has been built. OK NOVELETS Save, Salve, Shelter - Essa Hansen Pasha is a collector trying to save the genetic profiles of as many species as possible, which will buy her a spot in the final spaceships leaving Earth with the last remaining humans, but that is only secondary to saving as many live animals as possible. She feels much more comfortable with animals NOVELLAS Chisel and Chime - Alex Irvine A story about hitobashira, which is human sacrifice to appease the gods for protection after something has been built. OK NOVELETS Save, Salve, Shelter - Essa Hansen Pasha is a collector trying to save the genetic profiles of as many species as possible, which will buy her a spot in the final spaceships leaving Earth with the last remaining humans, but that is only secondary to saving as many live animals as possible. She feels much more comfortable with animals than with people and effects of DNA corruption are far less evident to her than she believes. ENJOYABLE Air of the Overworld - Matthew Hughes The continuing adventures of Baldemar. OK Banshee - Michael Cassutt Chinese scientists have perfected transitioning humans into whatever what they want to be. The 64 year old male protagonist is the program director for a private spaceship company. His daughter has transitioned into a (view spoiler)[velociraptor (hide spoiler)] and neither he or her mother know how to feel about it. Most of the story is office politics. In the end (view spoiler)[transitioning becomes accepted by society and the discrimination against them is greatly lessened and only astronauts who have transitioned into forms suitable for long-term spaceflight are allowed (hide spoiler)] OK Falling Angel - Albert E. Cowdrey Male and female duo investigate the supernatural in L.A. BLAH SHORT STORIES Elsinore Revolution - Elaine Vilar Madruga, translated by Toshiya Kamei Female AI protagonist escapes the AI patriarchy. BLAH The Key to Composing Human Skin - Julianna Baggott Let's use viruses to create propaganda rashes on people! Even better, let's use the virus to (view spoiler)[project their memories so that no one can hide anything from anyone (hide spoiler)] OK Interlude in Arcadia - Corey Flintoff Male Feminist thinks himself to be a Good Ally but because of Misunderstandings that shouldn't happen because he's a College Professor of Greek and Roman Literature and thus above reproach his day goes very wrong. MEH Three Gowns for Clara - Auston Habershaw A cynical pastiche of fairy tales. ENJOYABLE The Nameless - Melissa Marr Men are rapacious wolves and all women must violently stand against them. BLAH The Leader Principle - Rahul Kanakia Corporate influencers have taken over and many people give everything they have for nothing in return due to their parasocial relationship. OK

  20. 4 out of 5

    Dash Landars

  21. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

  22. 4 out of 5

    MRN

  23. 4 out of 5

    Noelle

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sjoerd

  25. 5 out of 5

    Elihu

  26. 4 out of 5

    Robert Arl

  27. 5 out of 5

    Katie

  28. 4 out of 5

    Hannah

  29. 5 out of 5

    jennet wheatstonelllsl

  30. 5 out of 5

    Mark Wilson

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