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THE MAGAZINE OF FANTASY & SCIENCE FICTION September/October • 70th Year of Publication NOVELETS THE WHITE CAT’S DIVORCE -6- Kelly Link AMERICAN GOLD MINE -30- Paolo Bacigalupi KABUL -98- Michael Moorcock ERASE, ERASE, ERASE -175- Elizabeth Bear SHORT STORIES LITTLE INN ON THE JIANGHU -56 -Y. M. Pang UNDER THE HILL -138 -Maureen McHugh MADNESS AFOOT -151 -Amanda Hollander THE LIGHT ON THE MAGAZINE OF FANTASY & SCIENCE FICTION September/October • 70th Year of Publication NOVELETS THE WHITE CAT’S DIVORCE -6- Kelly Link AMERICAN GOLD MINE -30- Paolo Bacigalupi KABUL -98- Michael Moorcock ERASE, ERASE, ERASE -175- Elizabeth Bear SHORT STORIES LITTLE INN ON THE JIANGHU -56 -Y. M. Pang UNDER THE HILL -138 -Maureen McHugh MADNESS AFOOT -151 -Amanda Hollander THE LIGHT ON ELDORETH -156- Nick Wolven BOOKSAVR -216- Ken Liu THE WRONG BADGER -223- Esther Friesner GHOST SHIPS -243- Michael Swanwick HOMECOMING -250- Gardner Dozois POEMS LAST HUMAN IN THE OLYMPICS -73- Mary Soon Lee HALSTEAD IV -214- Jeff Crandall DEPARTMENTS THREE SCORE AND TEN -74- Robert Silverberg BOOKS TO LOOK FOR -84- Charles de Lint BOOKS -93- James Sallis FILMS: LOVE DEATH + SOME REGRESSION -201- Karin Lowachee SCIENCE: NET UP OR NET DOWN? -204- Jerry Oltion PLUMAGE FROM PEGASUS -209- Paul Di Filippo COMING ATTRACTIONS -256- CURIOSITIES -258- Thomas Kaufsek Cartoons: Mark Heath (137), Danny Shanahan (249). COVER BY DAVID A. HARDY


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THE MAGAZINE OF FANTASY & SCIENCE FICTION September/October • 70th Year of Publication NOVELETS THE WHITE CAT’S DIVORCE -6- Kelly Link AMERICAN GOLD MINE -30- Paolo Bacigalupi KABUL -98- Michael Moorcock ERASE, ERASE, ERASE -175- Elizabeth Bear SHORT STORIES LITTLE INN ON THE JIANGHU -56 -Y. M. Pang UNDER THE HILL -138 -Maureen McHugh MADNESS AFOOT -151 -Amanda Hollander THE LIGHT ON THE MAGAZINE OF FANTASY & SCIENCE FICTION September/October • 70th Year of Publication NOVELETS THE WHITE CAT’S DIVORCE -6- Kelly Link AMERICAN GOLD MINE -30- Paolo Bacigalupi KABUL -98- Michael Moorcock ERASE, ERASE, ERASE -175- Elizabeth Bear SHORT STORIES LITTLE INN ON THE JIANGHU -56 -Y. M. Pang UNDER THE HILL -138 -Maureen McHugh MADNESS AFOOT -151 -Amanda Hollander THE LIGHT ON ELDORETH -156- Nick Wolven BOOKSAVR -216- Ken Liu THE WRONG BADGER -223- Esther Friesner GHOST SHIPS -243- Michael Swanwick HOMECOMING -250- Gardner Dozois POEMS LAST HUMAN IN THE OLYMPICS -73- Mary Soon Lee HALSTEAD IV -214- Jeff Crandall DEPARTMENTS THREE SCORE AND TEN -74- Robert Silverberg BOOKS TO LOOK FOR -84- Charles de Lint BOOKS -93- James Sallis FILMS: LOVE DEATH + SOME REGRESSION -201- Karin Lowachee SCIENCE: NET UP OR NET DOWN? -204- Jerry Oltion PLUMAGE FROM PEGASUS -209- Paul Di Filippo COMING ATTRACTIONS -256- CURIOSITIES -258- Thomas Kaufsek Cartoons: Mark Heath (137), Danny Shanahan (249). COVER BY DAVID A. HARDY

30 review for The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, September/October 2019 (F&SF, #745)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Gary

    "Homecoming", the final story from the late, legendary Gardner Dozois, is on my list of the Best Short SFF of September 2019: https://1000yearplan.com/2019/10/01/t... "Homecoming", the final story from the late, legendary Gardner Dozois, is on my list of the Best Short SFF of September 2019: https://1000yearplan.com/2019/10/01/t...

  2. 5 out of 5

    Standback

    Really nice issue for F&SF's big 70th anniversary! I'm always a little skeptical of big star-studded issues of a magazine; too often, they wind up a disappointing collection of minor works from exciting names. This issue doesn't disappoint, though. It's a great and satisfying set of stories. What's more, each author's offering feels to me very much within their personal style. The standout story, for me, was "Erase, Erase, Erase," by Elizabeth Bear.  It's a wrenching portrayal of self-erasure -- o Really nice issue for F&SF's big 70th anniversary! I'm always a little skeptical of big star-studded issues of a magazine; too often, they wind up a disappointing collection of minor works from exciting names. This issue doesn't disappoint, though. It's a great and satisfying set of stories. What's more, each author's offering feels to me very much within their personal style. The standout story, for me, was "Erase, Erase, Erase," by Elizabeth Bear.  It's a wrenching portrayal of self-erasure -- of wanting to get rid of your flaws, your failures, your traumas. And how that erasure has incredible allure, and immeasurable cost. It is so easy to identify with the protagonist's desire to cut, cut, cut away from herself; it's expertly constructed and made absolutely real. But the story begins with the narrator not being able to afford oblivion any more; we see her oh-so-slowly pulling herself back together, as painful as that may be.I don’t have any control over what memories I get, when I get them. Except every single one of them is something I would have rather forgotten. ------ Other notable stories: "The White Cat's Divorce," by Kelly Link. Fantastic tone here, as you'd expect from Link -- this one is a thoroughly modernized fairy-tale, which does a fantastic job combining modern cynicism with storybook logic. I was startled to realize this is based on a real fairy tale (although that does explain at least some of the weirder elements).   "American Gold Mine," by Paolo Bacigalupi. Entertaining; ripping into outrage-stirring media. Of course, he's villainizing them, making them cynical, ruthless and 100% deliberate and cognizant of all the harm they do. But I really like the story's point about having (or not having...) an exit strategy for the endgame.   "Under The Hill," by Maureen McHugh. This one gets my undying love for it BRILLIANT "second initiation" scene, explaining the unique nature of this particular university campus. (With Powerpoint slides!) The rest of the story feels almost secondary beside that, but that's OK; it's such a great core, the entire piece is a delight. Mary Soon Lee continues to be a gift to the magazine. Her poems, every time, start out deceptively simple, and elegantly, effortlessly build up to a rousing, evocative image. Jeff Crandall's poem in this issue is likewise excellent. ---  Other stories: "Little Inn on the Jianghu," by Y.M. Pang. A genre-savvy wuxia pastiche. Silly and fun (and utterly different from Pang's previous F&SF story, which I also enjoyed!). "Kabul," by Michael Moorcock, doesn't lack for gravity or tone, but didn't work for me at all. In a future crushed into the dust by military conflict, a surviving hodgepodge of soldiers make their way through Afghanistan, committing mass murder as they go. Our protagonist is 100% a party to this; eventually, he meets a fellow survivor and reminisces about their romantic and sexual history. I think the piece is meant to be tragic and elegiac; to me, though, it was mostly meandering through a crapsack future, weirdly capstoned by random sex-focused nostalgia. "Madness Afoot," by Amanda Hollander. A mocking retelling of Cinderella. Quick and sharp. "The Light on Eldoreth," by Nick Wolven. This satire of capitalist excess and asymmetric power manages to be both dark and light. This story, of two grand oligarchs haggling over a marriage match, is exaggerated to utter absurdity, but its core is dark and hits home. "BookSavr," by Ken Liu, and "Ghost Ships," by Michael Swanwick, both struck me as somewhat filler-ish. The first imagines a don't-read-the-comments argument about an app that rewrites books to take out the offensive bits; the second doesn't really rise much above "this guy I know told me a ghost story once." Nothing wrong with them, but they're slight and forgettable. "The Wrong Badger," by Esther Freisner, is very much Freisner's typical can-you-believe-this-is-happening romp, which is always fun. This one has a few bits that feel off-key -- the "wrong badger" note is really entirely inconsequential; the one that really bothered me, though, is making a big deal over an all-white England being inauthentic, but then revealing that actually the only reason England cares is because they're losing tourism money. That being said, "Englandland" is a very funny creation. "Homecoming," by Gardner Dozios, is intimate and touching; the story of a quiet titan nearing his end. Hard not to see it as a fitting farewell to Dozios, inarguably a titan in his own right, although he couldn't possibly have intended that to be so on-the-nose. --- The big anniversary is further marked with a fond reminiscence from Robert Silverberg, who's been a reader from the very start. I felt a few words from Charles Finlay, the magazine's intrepid editor, were sorely missing -- but, happily, I see they've written a note, quite perfectly, on the F&SF blog. "You have an issue that is both like every other issue of F&SF and also something special." An excellent and apt description. Kudos, F&SF. Here's to 70 more.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kam Yung Soh

    A better than average 70th anniversary issue of the magazine with an unusual fairy tale by Kelly Link, a tale of media destruction by Paolo Bacigalupi, a funny twist on eastern martial arts by Y.M. Pang and other interesting tales by Ken Liu, Esther Friesner and Gardner Dozois. - “The White Cat’s Divorce” by Kelly Link: a contemporary setting for a fairy-tale like story of a elderly rich man who sets out three tasks for his three sons to see who would inherit his fortune. The youngest (it's alway A better than average 70th anniversary issue of the magazine with an unusual fairy tale by Kelly Link, a tale of media destruction by Paolo Bacigalupi, a funny twist on eastern martial arts by Y.M. Pang and other interesting tales by Ken Liu, Esther Friesner and Gardner Dozois. - “The White Cat’s Divorce” by Kelly Link: a contemporary setting for a fairy-tale like story of a elderly rich man who sets out three tasks for his three sons to see who would inherit his fortune. The youngest (it's always the youngest in fairy tales) encounters an unusual cat who helps him with the first two tasks. The third one, however, would involve the cat in an unusual situation with the old man himself. - “American Gold Mine” by Paolo Bacigalupi: a tale of destruction and chaos that occurs when a newscaster deliberately whips up the outrage of mobs raging across a city. And all of it for higher ratings and money from advertisers. But it may all come crashing down at the end. - “Little Inn on the Jianghu” by Y.M. Pang: a humorous twist to the usual 'wuxia' stories that feature martial artists, this one tells it from the point of view of a inn-keeper fed up with his inn being trashed by the warriors and goes on a quest to get rid of one of those warriors. - “Kabul” by Michael Moorcock: a story set in a future full of implied conflict around the world. An army made up of many peoples (Americans, Russians, Ukranians, Afghans, etc.) is making its way to Kabul in Afghanistan. They encounter people feeling Kabul and when they get they, they see the reason. But one scout who enters makes an unexpected encounter that recalls old times that will never return in a world gone to war. - “Under the Hill” by Maureen McHugh: a look at the life of an undergraduate at a college who discovers that it has an unusual side: a connection to the Fairy world. As her studies in the real and fairy worlds proceeds (unknown to the outside world), she has to decide which world she finally wishes to live in. - “Madness Afoot” by Amanda Hollander: a humourous look at the fairy tale of a prince looking for his true love via a shoe. Only here, the point of view character is a cousin who decries the whole matter through letters to her husband. But it also reveals a cunning resolution to the story that made help the oppressed pheasants usually not mentioned in such tales. - “The Light on Eldoreth” by Nick Wolven: a tale of parents negotiating a marriage for their children, only here the parents are rich, owning worlds and running interstellar alliances. But even here, crisis arise in the form of objecting children and a way out of the ever present fear of machines failing in a form that makes past attempts at enslaving humans look tame by comparison. - “Erase, Erase, Erase” by Elizabeth Bear: an unusual contemporary fantasy story of a girl who appears to be gradually vanishing; parts of her pass through things. Only the act of writing down her memories of a painful episode involving a college cult, with a fountain pen on notebooks, appears to keep her solid. But her memories of it are patchy and she is desperate to get down the details for it may involve a soon to occur terrorist act by the cultist. - “Booksavr” by Ken Liu: an online site where people post their writings adds an AI feature, Booksavr, that rewrites the stories to suit the tastes of the reader. Controversy ensures as both readers and writers argue whether it is a good or bad thing. - “The Wrong Badger” by Esther Friesner: a humourous story set in Englandland, an American theme park about 'authentic' England. A visitor comes to complain that the wrong kind of (robotic) badger is being featured. But that is just a front for the chaos that would occur, and the start of a friendship between a saboteur and aid suddenly made aware of the underlying bias in the theme park. - “Ghost Ships” by Michael Swanwick: a short story featuring some ghosts and a journey back to a college reunion that the author says is real, but with altered names. It's up to the reader to decide whether it really is true or not. - “Homecoming” by Gardner Dozois: a short tale about an old man who enters a town and stays for a while. Keeping to himself, people presume he is a wizard. A young girl approaches him after he shows some fighting skill, in the hopes he is a wizard and can help her dying grandfather. But what he tells her, instead is advice for those facing death.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Leroy Erickson

    The 70th anniversary issue of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction was put together well. It contains a nice review of it's early history by Robert Silverberg, the first appearance in the magazine by Michael Moorcock and a nice selection of stories. Kelly Link - The White Cat's Divorce - 4 stars - A story written in the style of an old fairy tale. A very rich man has 3 sons. He gives them a task to perform in the next year with the promise that which ever of them does it best will be his hei The 70th anniversary issue of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction was put together well. It contains a nice review of it's early history by Robert Silverberg, the first appearance in the magazine by Michael Moorcock and a nice selection of stories. Kelly Link - The White Cat's Divorce - 4 stars - A story written in the style of an old fairy tale. A very rich man has 3 sons. He gives them a task to perform in the next year with the promise that which ever of them does it best will be his heir. After the year is over and they have all returned, though, he gives them another task. And then a year later another task. The youngest son wins each competition with the help of a very unusual white cat. A nice story. Paolo Bacigalupi - American Gold Mine - 4 stars - A TV newscaster/commentator presents news in such a way as to inflame the listeners and cause more and more divisions in society. Finally, open riots break out. A forecast of what is to come? Y.M. Pang - Little Inn on the Jianghu - 4 stars - An old Chinese innkeeper finally gets so upset over the fact that the sword and sorcery fighters always end up fighting in his inn, breaking up the tables and dishes and driving the customers away. He finally decides to fight back by tracking down one of the fighters. A really neat story. Robert Silverberg - Three Score and Ten - 4 stars - An article discussing the early history of F&SF. Very well done. Michael Moorcock - Kabul - 5 stars - Michael Moorcock's first story in F&SF, surprisingly. A multi-national army is crossing Afghanistan after many years of continuous warfare and near total destruction of the country. One of the men, while searching Kabul for a building that he once owned, discovers a tea shop still standing in the ruins as well as a woman that he had known years ago. A very good story. Maureen McHugh - Under the Hill - 3 stars - A university has students who are both human and elves(?) (people from 'under the hill'). Unusual things happen. Amanda Hollander - Madness Afoot - 5 stars - The story of Cinderella, told from the point of view of the prince's sister. She is the one who had to shepherd her brother all over the kingdom trying to find the prince's 'true love' who lost a shoe after the grand ball. She ends up having to arrange things so that the prince finds a wife who will help to kingdom to survive. A very good story. Nick Wolven - The Light on Eldoreth - 4 stars - On an alien planet, two men are negotiating the marriage of their son & daughter, presenting the financial and political properties on each side. Lies are uncovered during their discussion. An interesting story. Elizabeth Bear - Erase, Erase, Erase - 4 stars - A monologue by a woman who is remembering her life, the people that she loved, the terrorist acts that she unintentionally helped plan, the various things that she's written. Memories keep disappearing so she is trying to write everything down whenever she can resurrect those memories. An odd story. Jerry Oltion - Science: Net Up or Net Down? - 4 stars - A discussion of how some stories and/or films contain bad science. In some cases they are minor points, in others the bad science is the basis for the entire film. Sometimes they're forgivable, other times not. A nice article. Ken Liu - Booksavr - 4 stars - A story about online apps which can be used to modify books or other information you read online so that they have better grammar or even have better content that you prefer more that the original. An interesting idea. Esther Friesner - The Wrong Badger - 3 stars - A vacation theme park advertises an authentic experience of England. A woman goes to its management complaining that their badger is an American badger, not the British type, as well as other non-English content. Just kind of a fun story. Michael Swanwick - Ghost Ships - 3 stars - A little vignette talking about memories of former friends and one experience they had where they saw old ships on the shoreline which could not have been there, and which then disappeared. Not much to the story but an enjoyable read. Gardner Dozois - Homecoming - 4 stars - An old man enters a village for his final few days, finishing his life in a most unusual way. A very good little story.

  5. 4 out of 5

    John Loyd

    6 • The White Cat's Divorce • 24 pages by Kelly Link Very Good. A rich man is afraid of dying. Having his sons around makes him feel old, so he contrives a quest for his sons. The youngest son gets lost in Colorado. One of the puppies bounds away from his camper and they end up at a greenhouse farm run by cats. He is welcomed there and when the year is up he doesn't want to leave. He goes back anyway, which just leads to the rich man sending them all away again. 30 • American Gold Mine • 26 page 6 • The White Cat's Divorce • 24 pages by Kelly Link Very Good. A rich man is afraid of dying. Having his sons around makes him feel old, so he contrives a quest for his sons. The youngest son gets lost in Colorado. One of the puppies bounds away from his camper and they end up at a greenhouse farm run by cats. He is welcomed there and when the year is up he doesn't want to leave. He goes back anyway, which just leads to the rich man sending them all away again. 30 • American Gold Mine • 26 pages by Paolo Bacigalupi Fair/OK. No fun in this story. A news reporter builds her popularity on broadcasting news that divides the country. Dismal setting and the characters have no redeeming values. The broadcasters are greedy and the mobs are violent. 56 • Little Inn on the Jianghu • 17 pages by Y. M. Pang Very Good/Good. Innkeeper Cheng is annoyed that Jianghu heroes come to his inn, get in fights and end up breaking tables, chairs and dishes. He finally gets a name of one of these scumbags, so he puts up a reward. I appreciated the humor, here it worked really well. 98 • Kabul • 39 pages by Michael Moorcock Fair/OK. Tom is a soldier. His company has orders to go to Kabul. They aren't getting any support. The first two thirds is tedious and tedious to read. It picks up a bit when Tom is sent to scout ahead in Kabul. 138 • Under the Hill • 13 pages by Maureen F. McHugh OK+. Amelia goes to college. At the real orientation the dean tells them they share the campus with Fae. We are told about Amelia's ups and downs. How she was depressed in her second year, did a semester in Germany before her senior year, and then she came back and graduated. 151 • Madness Afoot • 5 pages by Amanda Hollander Good. A humorous day after the ball Cinderella tale told from the perspective of the prince's visiting sister. 156 • The Lisht of Eldoreth • 19 pages by Nick Wolven Good. Rigglesim meets with Kitzfin to arrange a marriage between his daughter and Kitzfin's son. The son gets fed up and complains about why they are so rich and others poor. The galaxy has been explored and wonders have been achieved, but even with hundred fold redundancy in the machines someone has to be responsible if there is failure. It can't be AI, because that has been shown to always end poorly for humanity. 175 • Erase, Erase, Erase • 26 pages by Elizabeth Bear OK/Good. The narrator wants to purge her memories. She has kept journals and then burned them. When she sees a manifesto in the newspaper, she needs to remember or many people will die. Having her fingers or ear or other body part fall off is probably some metaphor that didn't click with me. 216 • Booksavr • 7 pages by Ken Liu OK+. The pros and cons of software that tweaks stories to make them more palatable to the reader. 223 • The Wrong Badger • 20 pages by Esther M. Friesner OK+. EnglandLand is a theme park in America giving people a taste of idealized British culture. Lulu tells Mr. Wintergreen there is a problem that requires his attention. Stereotypically he either thinks the problem is too small for it to get to him or is catastrophic, e.g. the robots going berserk and turning on the customers they are there to serve. Humorous. 243 • Ghost Ships • 6 pages by Michael Swanwick OK. The narrator is going to a reunion and thinks of a couple anecdotes about his college friends. When he gets there hears some more, tells one of his. When he's on his way home he contemplates life and its insignificance. 250 • Homecoming • 7 pages by Gardner Dozois OK. Entwaine, wizard?, walks into town. A girl begs him to save her grandfather. He tells her he is not a wizard. But there is twist at the end.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Steve

    CONTENTS ⏹️Fiction: ▪️"The White Cat's Divorce" - Kelly Link ▪️"American Gold Mine" - Paolo Bacigalupi ▪️"Little Inn on the Jianghu - Y. M. Pang ▪️"Kabul"-Michael Moorcock ▪️"Under the Hill" - Maureen McHugh ▪️"Madness Afoot" - Amanda Hollander ▪️"The Light on Eldoreth" - Nick Wolven ▪️"Erase, Erase, Erase" - Elizabeth Bear ▪️"BookSavr" - Ken Liu ▪️"The Wrong Badger" - Esther Friesner ▪️"Ghost Ships" - Michael Swanwick ▪️"Homecoming" - Gardner Dozois ⏹️Departments: ▪️"Three Score and Ten" - Robert Silverb CONTENTS ⏹️Fiction: ▪️"The White Cat's Divorce" - Kelly Link ▪️"American Gold Mine" - Paolo Bacigalupi ▪️"Little Inn on the Jianghu - Y. M. Pang ▪️"Kabul"-Michael Moorcock ▪️"Under the Hill" - Maureen McHugh ▪️"Madness Afoot" - Amanda Hollander ▪️"The Light on Eldoreth" - Nick Wolven ▪️"Erase, Erase, Erase" - Elizabeth Bear ▪️"BookSavr" - Ken Liu ▪️"The Wrong Badger" - Esther Friesner ▪️"Ghost Ships" - Michael Swanwick ▪️"Homecoming" - Gardner Dozois ⏹️Departments: ▪️"Three Score and Ten" - Robert Silverberg ▪️"Books to Look For" - Charles de Lint ▪️"Books" - James Sallis ▪️"Films: 'Love Death + Some Regression'" - Karin Lowachee ▪️"Science: 'Net Up or Net Down'" - Jerry Oltion ▪️"Plumage from Pegasus: 'A Giraffe Yoked to an Ox: A Review of Flora Columbia: Goddess of a New Age'" ▪️"Curiosities: 'Science Fiction: Complete with Everything: Aliens, Giant Ants, Space Cadets, Robots, and One Plucky Girl by No-Frills Entertainment'" In the Fall of 1949, the first issue of a new magazine was published. That issue was titled The Magazine of Fantasy. From the second issue on, however, the title has been The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, often referred to as F&SF. That first issue was good. It had five reprinted stories and five new ones. One of the new ones was "The Hurkle Is a Happy Beast" by Theodore Sturgeon, which has become something of a science fiction classic. There is a fine summary in this issue by Robert Silverberg, titled "Three Score and Ten," telling of the founding and development of the magazine. The following link connects to reviews here on Goodreads of that first issue (including my own): https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1... At some point, once the magazine was on a monthly schedule, it was decided that the anniversary month of that first issue would be considered October. As years went by, the October issues became more special. They frequently had "All-star Issue" emblazoned on the front cover. The current issue has that designation on the cover, because this is a very special, seventieth anniversary issue. The magazine is now bi-monthly, but the current issues have about twice the number of pages in that 1949 issue. There are twelve stories in the current issue, eight short stories and four novelettes (which F&SF spells as "novelets"). Only one of these is a reprint. It is tempting to try to group the stories. There are two stories that are variations on specific old fairy tales, three other fairy tale type stories, two tales of near-future mid-apocalypse, four stories that are primarily comic. Five of the stories are science fiction, five are fantasy, and two are...well, we'll see. One of those "we'll see" stories is "Madness Afoot," a first published story by Amanda Hollander. (The appearance of a "first story" means that this issue can not really be made up only of "all-star" authors.) This is a clever comic version of Cinderella, with the fantasy elements removed. This is an epistolary tale, narrated in letters from the Prince's sister to her husband, as she helps her brother find the owner of an abandoned shoe. The other retold fairy tale is "The White Cat's Divorce" by Kelly Link, a story very close to its precursor The White Cat. This is reprinted from the catalog of an exhibit at the Weatherspoon Art Museum at the University of North Carolina. The original story by Madame D'Aulnoy is at this link: http://www.surlalunefairytales.com/au... In the version of the story in this magazine, a king, beginning to age and realizing that he must die some day, gathers his three adult sons and sets them a task, saying that he will leave his kingdom to whichever of them is most successful in carrying this out. In the tradition of such tales, this becomes primarily the story of the youngest son's adventures. That son, lost in a snowstorm, comes across the magnificent estate of a charming white female cat, and his life is changed ever after. The main differences between Kelly Link's version of the story and earlier ones is that the older ones have much more back-story about the white cat and the ending is significantly different. And in the earlier version, marijuana, not surprisingly, is not an element in the story. "Under the Hill" by Maureen McHugh is quite literally a fairy tale, although set in present time. A young woman begins her college career by finding out that her "tiny but prestigious liberal arts college" is shared between humans and the Fair Folk, who dwell under a hill on the college grounds. The woman is fascinated by the Fair Folk, and one of them appears to be interested in her as well. This story has some rather odd footnotes; it also has a perfect final sentence. The introduction to Y. M. Pang's tale "Little Inn on the Jianghu" tells that this comic tale is related to wuxia stories. In case there are readers beside me who are not familiar with the terms "wuxia" and "Jianghu," Wikipedia says: Wuxia, which literally means "martial heroes", is a genre of Chinese fiction concerning the adventures of martial artists in ancient China. and Jianghu is the community of martial artists in wuxia stories and, more recently, outlaw societies like the Triads. Jianghu warriors pay scant attention to ordinary folk. In this story, brawling warriors destroy much of an inn. The innkeeper hires another warrior, a woman, to exact some vengeance. The innkeeper insists on accompanying her. This story is both violent and funny. Gardner Dozois's story "Homecoming" is much more somber. An old man carrying an iron-tipped wooden staff rents a room in an inn in a hill town. Townspeople think that he might be a wizard, so most of them leave him alone. The ones who do not are a band of violent thieves and a young girl seeking help for her dying grandfather. The thieves are easily dealt with; the girl is not. The introduction to the story says that it was submitted shortly before Dozois's death in 2018. Appropriately, thoughts of mortality run through this tale. Author Michael Swanwick says that "every word" of his story "Ghost Ships" "is true." Swanwick tells of his college days in Virginia in the 1970s, of people he knew from the school and from the local town. He recounts a story of the supernatural that was told to him at that time. This story too is filled with intimations of mortality. In "The Light of Eldoreth" by Nick Wolven, two unimaginably wealthy fathers on a distant planet meet to discuss the possible marriage of their children. One of the main concerns on that planet is making sure that artificial intelligences never attempt to take over from humans. One of the fathers has a plan: keep the intelligences in constant, debilitating discomfort. "To have the entire universe screaming forever in a state of infinite torment." The style of the writing reminded me somewhat of that of Matthew Hughes. Ken Liu's "BookSavr" also reminded me of a story by another author, "Liking What you See: A Documentary" by Ted Chiang. Chiang's story tells of "calliagnosia," a brain alteration that keeps people from being able to judge the aesthetic qualities of faces; they therefore will not react differently to people on the sole basis of how good or bad looking they are. "BookSavr" is a program that changes reading matter to be more pleasing to the individual reader. BookSavr "purports to help readers by using AI to rewrite sections of books that are problematic in various ways, such as lack of diversity, poor gender, racial, and sexual-orientation representation, mishandling consent, etc. The plugin is user-configurable and the rewriting is tuned for each reader." Most of the story is a discussion, from various points of view, of whether this is a good or bad thing. Most of this is, intentionally, comic. (I need to add that for both of the last two stories, when I say that they remind me of other works, I mean just that; I do not mean that they are in any way derivative.) In "The Wrong Badger" by Esther Friesner, things are going awry in EnglandLand, an American theme park in which characters from Dickens rub elbows with Sherlock Holmes and Jack the Ripper. Robots "have gone mad and they're not responding to remote commands." This would be a disaster...if it weren't so amusing. Michael Moorcock's story "Kabul" has a remarkably pithy introduction: "Michael Moorcock is a legendary writer and editor. This story is his first appearance in Fantasy & Science Fiction." I suppose that is really all that is needed. "Kabul" is a story of world-wide wars, battles and bombings in Texas and Tel Aviv, Baghdad and Tehran. The narrator is a Ukrainian Jew, in a world in which a Jew is automatically hated. He had taken on an identity as a Polish art dealer, and had lived for a time in Kabul. Now he is part of a starving army, made up of people from half the globe. "Of all the desolate places on Earth, Afghanistan was now surely the worst. Locals believed that Satan and his minions had conquered and corrupted the world." But the ragtag army, needing food, wanting to bathe, head for Kabul. However, Kabul, it seems, no longer exists; it is nothing but piles of sand with a few walls still standing. This story develops in a totally different way from what I expected. I rather thought that there would be an element of fantasy - all the more so when the narrator, sent to scout through the rubble of Kabul, comes across his former lover, still in the remains of the tea shop that she had owned. But this remains a sad, quiet story of a world in shambles. The world in Paolo Bacigalupi's story "American Gold Mine" is far from quiet. This is an enormously cynical tale, narrated by a sort of newscaster, Heidi Hallenbach, star of Straight Shot. Heidi's motto could be the title of the old R. E. M. song, It's the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine). Heidi spreads a gospel of hate, rousing people to riot. And as New York, where Heidi lives and works, and much of the rest of the country is taken over by violence, Heidi gets richer and more powerful - for a while. (I strongly suspect that Heidi's last name is supposed to sound like "Hell and back.") The strangest story in this issue, and I think the most unsettling, is "Erase, Erase, Erase" by Elizabeth Bear. This is narrated by a forty-five year old female novelist who says she is falling apart. Literally. Her hands, her feet, her nose fall off and need to be re-attached. She also has spells in which parts of her become incorporeal. She will try to pick something up and her hand will go right through it. Sometimes her body will slip through a chair she is sitting on. And, perhaps even worse, she keeps losing pens. She has become increasingly cut off from people. Her stepfather used to beat her, her mother has died, her college lover left her for a younger woman. He had also been a leader of a cult she had joined, a group plotting violent revolution. And now a manifesto has appeared in the newspaper, telling of upcoming violence, and she is certain that he posted that. She would tell the police, if only she could remember his name. She has succeeded in erasing her past and her present, and she is disappearing. I do not think that this is intended to be fantasy. I believe that it is a portrait of a woman slipping into madness, but with a possibility of recovery. I found this quite powerful. A word of advice: under no circumstances should a reader sing the title of this story to the tune of the song Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps. You would probably have some difficulty dislodging it from your head. So immediately erase it from your mind. Erase. 🎶 Erase. 🎵 Erase. 🎶🎵 There are two poems in this issue. "Halstead IV" by Jeff Crandall is about interstellar genocide. "Last Human in the Olympics" by Mary Soon Lee is about humans not doing well in interstellar physical contests, but being recognized for effort. The latter is considerably more pleasant. Paul Di Filippo's "Plumage from Pegasus" humor column is a review of a previously unknown (and, of course, truly non-existent) book, Flora Columbia: Goddess of a New Age, written by Jules Verne and H. G. Wells, ostensibly written by the two famous authors in 1901. I don't find this is as funny as many of these columns, but I suspect that has a lot to do with my total unfamiliarity with Verne's work. Jerry Oltion's science column is titled "Net Up or Net Down?" It discusses the importance - or lack thereof - of scientific accuracy in science fiction. The film review column by Karin Lowachee is titled "Love Death + Some Regression." It is about a Netflix animated series, Love Death + Robots. It is a mixed review, with some praise and some reservations. There are two book review columns, both by writers of considerable talent. Charles de Lint mentions that he has now been reviewing for F&SF for twenty-five years. His column is titled "Books to Look For" and, I believe, usually concentrates only on books de Lint recommends. In this issue, he praises half a dozen books, making all of them sound intriguing James Sallis reviews only one book, The Water Cure by Sophie Mackintosh. Sallis says that this is "as complex and inexhaustible as any literary work I've ever encountered," which I believe is meant as praise. The "Curiosities" column always deals with works that are in some way unusual. In this issue, Thomas Kaufsek discusses a 1981 novella with the unfortunate title Science Fiction: Complete with Everything: Aliens, Giant Ants, Space Cadets, Robots, and One Plucky Girl. It was attributed just to "No-Frills Entertainment"; Kaufsek explains that the actual author was editor John Silbersack. Kaufsek dislikes this. There are two cartoons, both of which I like, one by Mark Heath and one by Danny Shanahan. I wonder what kind of animal is second from the left in the bed in Shanahan's cartoon on page 249. The competent astronomical cover is by David Hardy. For various reasons, I almost never buy new science fiction magazines any more. The last time that I bought a new issue of F&SF was in 2013. This issue is so good that I regret all the issues I have missed. Charles de Lint states in his column, "I won't be around to see it, but I hope [F&SF] goes for - at the very least - another seventy years." I agree. HAPPY 70th ANNIVERSARY, F&SF!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jordi

    You can notice that C.C. Finlay has been saving up some first-rate stories for the 70th anniversary issue of F&SF. There’s some very good short stories, specially the fun “Little Inn on the Jianghu” by Y.M. Pang, or one of the last stories of the late Gardner Dozois (“Homecoming”). But it’s the novelettes that steal the show, particularly the ones from Michael Moorcock (“Kabul”), Elizabeth Bear (“Erase, Erase, Erase”) and the unique Kelly Link (“The White Cat’s Divorce”). Maybe the one from Paol You can notice that C.C. Finlay has been saving up some first-rate stories for the 70th anniversary issue of F&SF. There’s some very good short stories, specially the fun “Little Inn on the Jianghu” by Y.M. Pang, or one of the last stories of the late Gardner Dozois (“Homecoming”). But it’s the novelettes that steal the show, particularly the ones from Michael Moorcock (“Kabul”), Elizabeth Bear (“Erase, Erase, Erase”) and the unique Kelly Link (“The White Cat’s Divorce”). Maybe the one from Paolo Bacigalupi (“American Gold Mine”) is a bit strident for my tastes, but it’s powerful stuff that keeps you stuck to the pages of the magazine. There’s also a moving article from Robert Silverberg remembering a lifetime of being a F&SF reader since it first appeared on the stands in 1949 (this man seems to have been there for most of the history of science fiction!). All in all, a confirmation that F&SF remains to be one of the best magazines of the genre.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jess

    I plan to flesh out this review a little later, but for now let me say that I found Y.M. Pang's story, Little Inn On the Jianghu, charming and hilarious in the best way. About the story, the author says "I've always felt sorry for innkeepers in wuxia stories. The heroes and villains constantly select inns as their battlegrounds, leaving smashed tables and cowering patrons in their wake. I wonder how half those inns manage to stay in business. So I decided to write an affectionate parody of wuxia I plan to flesh out this review a little later, but for now let me say that I found Y.M. Pang's story, Little Inn On the Jianghu, charming and hilarious in the best way. About the story, the author says "I've always felt sorry for innkeepers in wuxia stories. The heroes and villains constantly select inns as their battlegrounds, leaving smashed tables and cowering patrons in their wake. I wonder how half those inns manage to stay in business. So I decided to write an affectionate parody of wuxia from an innkeeper's point of view."

  9. 5 out of 5

    Michael J.

    It's been awhile since I've read any of the few remaining science fiction/fantasy magazines still in print. I feel a little guilty about not being able to support them more, but since going on a fixed income most of my reading has come from books found through my county public library. In spite of that, the 70th anniversary issue made this a must have. Seventy years and running for a special interest magazine of limited circulation and distribution (not their fault) is quite the accomplishment. It's been awhile since I've read any of the few remaining science fiction/fantasy magazines still in print. I feel a little guilty about not being able to support them more, but since going on a fixed income most of my reading has come from books found through my county public library. In spite of that, the 70th anniversary issue made this a must have. Seventy years and running for a special interest magazine of limited circulation and distribution (not their fault) is quite the accomplishment. Bravo! I was immediately rewarded by one of the absolute best single issues of a print magazine that I've had the privilege to read. Don't miss this one. Opening story "The White Cat's Divorce" by Kelly Link is a fantasy fable that reminds me of the quirky whimsical nature of many Neil Gaiman stories. That's good company to be in, and Link does an admirable job. She's very creative and the unusual twist at the end was a pleasant surprise. Five stars. The most important story in the issue is "American Gold Mine" by Paolo Bacigalupi, a disturbing near-future tale of our country that hits like a gut-punch. Bacigalupi's satirical send-up of politics and media coverage seems so close to home that I can easily envision this as an accurate account of our society unless things change in the next few years. Every day there is more evidence that activism is ignited by an us vs. them mentality fueled by hatred and rage. There's money to be made in that rage, as a socially savvy news commentator and celebrity stokes the flames to increase ratings for her network and thereby inflate her salary. Until the day that she no longer has control over the crowds and can't influence them in her favor. Sad, and very frightening. Five stars. "Little Inn On The Jianghu" by Y. M. Pang is a modern version of ancient Chinese wuxia, fantasy tales featuring super-powered martial artists. It's narrated by an innkeeper, who makes amusing observations as he finds himself recruited into a battle between godlike beings. Four stars. "Last Human In The Olympics" by Mary Soon Lee is an amusing short poem that has natural athletes at a disadvantage, not from supplement-enhanced competitors but contestants from other planets. Three and one-half stars. "Three Score And Ten" is a fascinating essay by a reader/writer exposed to the early issues of F&SF and how he and the magazine have changed over the many years. Written by the legendary Robert Silverberg. Five stars. Michael Moorcock's "Kabul" is his first story for F&SF and it's a good one, a near future tale of global warfare where the alliances have changed. Moorcock manages to blend in some observant social commentary in a grim story. Four stars. "Under The Hill" by Maureen McHugh is a disturbing tale of a highbrow school with a folksy secret that mixes in some eldritch horror. Four stars. I was a bit disappointed with "Madness Afoot" by Amanda Hollander, an unnecessary retelling of the Cinderella story from a different insider's viewpoint. At least it was short. Two stars. There's more social commentary in the science fiction story "The Light On Eldoreth" by Nick Wolven. The wealthy elite will dominate the planetary exploration and settlements, along with their influences and quirks. Three stars. "Erase, Erase, Erase" by Elizabeth Bear is disappointing experimental fiction that fails to make the author's point, at least from my viewpoint. Two stars. "Halstead IV' rhyming poetry by Jeff Crandall puts a new spin on a familiar nursery rhyme. Three stars. In "BookSavr" Ken Liu posits a possible future for e-fiction that is a satirical slap in the face at both social media and writing apps. I loved it. Five stars. "The Wrong Badger" by Esther Friesner is a futuristic satirical look at both homogenized theme parks and corporate human resource departments that reminds me of Cory Doctorow's fictional send-up of Disneyland from several years ago. Four stars. "Ghost Ships" by Michael Swanwick is an engaging and eerie fictional memoir based on a true incident from his past. Three stars. The issue wraps up with "Homecoming" a short and gripping fantasy from Gardner Dozois, a previously unpublished story from the late master of science fiction. That's quite a diverse collection of premium quality stories for this special issue. Well worth your time. In addition to the fiction, there are thoughtful book review columns by Charles deLint, James Sallis and Paul DiFilippo; film review by Karen Lowachee; science column by Jerry Oltion; and short end piece by Thomas Kaufsek.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Michael Frasca

    Here are my favorite stories from a very strong issue: THE WHITE CAT’S DIVORCE - Kelly Link Divorce feline style (Pietro Germi to direct?) A modern take on a fairy tale. A rich and powerful man send his three sons on quests to determine who will inherit. Why do I feel that "youngest son" should be named Barron? LITTLE INN ON THE JIANGHU - Y. M. Pang One character we never consider when watching a samurai film is the poor inn keeper whose nice, neat establishment inevitably gets trashed in the course Here are my favorite stories from a very strong issue: THE WHITE CAT’S DIVORCE - Kelly Link Divorce feline style (Pietro Germi to direct?) A modern take on a fairy tale. A rich and powerful man send his three sons on quests to determine who will inherit. Why do I feel that "youngest son" should be named Barron? LITTLE INN ON THE JIANGHU - Y. M. Pang One character we never consider when watching a samurai film is the poor inn keeper whose nice, neat establishment inevitably gets trashed in the course of the movie. In this fun story, the inn keeper becomes proactive. THREE SCORE AND TEN - Robert Silverberg Silverberg give us a very nice history of his personal experience with F&SF from his teenage years as a reader, to his initially rejections to his frequent appearances in its pages. UNDER THE HILL - Maureen McHugh The story of your college experience as an art history major at an Oberlin-ish University. With Fae. Your effective use of second person really makes your tale quite intimate. It is sure to be nominated for awards. MADNESS AFOOT - Amanda Hollander Cinderella...with the dummbatz Prince helped by his Menshevik sister to find his love. Chock-a-block full of bad poems, puns, and innuendos. So much fun in 1400 words! “If I can't dance to it, it's not my revolution.” THE LIGHT ON ELDORETH - Nick Wolven Unlimited energy. Unlimited resources. Unlimited robotic labor. Yet the 1% still exist--hoarding wealth 'just in case the machines break.' One of the ultra-rich comes up with an old peculiar solution with a high tech twist. ERASE, ERASE, ERASE - Elizabeth Bear In a story that calls for an immediate re-read, a deeply troubled woman struggles alone with her inner turmoil as the lives of thousands hang in the balance. Pairs well in tone with #GeneWolfe's Peace. PLUMAGE FROM PEGASUS - Paul Di Filippo As always, a delight to read about what might have been/be. This issue--a long lost collaboration between H. G. Wells and Jules Verne. Or was it just Michel all along? THE WRONG BADGER - Esther Friesner ‘Experience an authentic England in America!' with ‘roving bands of feral Mr. Darcys,’ ‘bangers-and-mash-on-a-bun’ all efficiently run by robots. The story is full of Easter Eggs. Can you spot the Odd Couple reference? GHOST SHIPS - Michael Swanwick Strange tales recalled during a college reunion. Not truly a story, but it works quite well read in front of a fireplace. HOMECOMING - Gardner Dozois An old man comes home. A poignant and bittersweet ending to the 70th Anniversary issue.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Mary Soon Lee

    This is the 70th anniversary issue of F&SF, a milestone indeed. As ever, it contains a lovely breadth of stories, from science fiction to fantasy, from dystopic to humorous, plus two poems and a range of articles (book reviews, film reviews, et al). Remarkably, I liked every one of the dozen stories. My two favorites bookended the issue. Kelly Link's opening novelette, "The White Cat's Divorce," is a beautifully told fairy tale. Gardner Dozois's short story "Homecoming," both beautifully told an This is the 70th anniversary issue of F&SF, a milestone indeed. As ever, it contains a lovely breadth of stories, from science fiction to fantasy, from dystopic to humorous, plus two poems and a range of articles (book reviews, film reviews, et al). Remarkably, I liked every one of the dozen stories. My two favorites bookended the issue. Kelly Link's opening novelette, "The White Cat's Divorce," is a beautifully told fairy tale. Gardner Dozois's short story "Homecoming," both beautifully told and beautifully felt, closes out the issue, and stands as a memorial to Dozois, long a giant of the science fiction landscape. I note that I was glad of the three lighter pieces in the issue -- Y. M. Pang's "Little Inn on the Jianghu," Amanda Hollander's "Madness Afoot," Esther Friesner's "The Wrong Badger" -- because some of the other stories, while good, are rather bleak, ranging from the understated gentle bleakness of Maureen McHugh's "Under the Hill" to the more theatrical bleakness of "Erase, Erase, Erase" by Elizabeth Bear. A fine issue. Here's to the next seventy years.

  12. 4 out of 5

    VexenReplica

    4.5/5, rounded up. Happy 70th, FSF! Here's to many more~ There were no bad stories in this. All of the novelettes were exceptional, and I don't think I could choose a favorite. The short stories had a lot of variety--I think this may have been one of the first wuxia stories in FSF?--and the majority of them were excellent. The only one that didn't live up to my expectations was Swanwick's. Poetry was amazing. Nonfiction was great, especially somehow getting Robert Silverberg to write a retrospect 4.5/5, rounded up. Happy 70th, FSF! Here's to many more~ There were no bad stories in this. All of the novelettes were exceptional, and I don't think I could choose a favorite. The short stories had a lot of variety--I think this may have been one of the first wuxia stories in FSF?--and the majority of them were excellent. The only one that didn't live up to my expectations was Swanwick's. Poetry was amazing. Nonfiction was great, especially somehow getting Robert Silverberg to write a retrospective. If you're still looking for a short story collection for book bingo, I highly rec this, as it has something for everyone to enjoy.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Nicole Reavis

    Several of these stories weren't to my personal liking, but White Cat's Divorce and American Gold Mine were worth the read. Several of these stories weren't to my personal liking, but White Cat's Divorce and American Gold Mine were worth the read.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Renee Babcock

    Overall I consistently quite like the editorial vision of F&SF. But that doesn't mean I always resonate with every story or ever edition. This one I think resonated a little less for me. But there were still some really good stories that I quite enjoyed, including The White Cat's Divorce by Kelly Link, American Gold Mine by Paolo Bacigalupi, Little Inn on the Jianghu by Y. M. Pang, Under the Hill by Maureen McHugh and Booksavr by Ken Liu. I didn't skip any stories (sometimes I do) although I did Overall I consistently quite like the editorial vision of F&SF. But that doesn't mean I always resonate with every story or ever edition. This one I think resonated a little less for me. But there were still some really good stories that I quite enjoyed, including The White Cat's Divorce by Kelly Link, American Gold Mine by Paolo Bacigalupi, Little Inn on the Jianghu by Y. M. Pang, Under the Hill by Maureen McHugh and Booksavr by Ken Liu. I didn't skip any stories (sometimes I do) although I did come close with the Elizabeth Bear story. That one just didn't do much for me because I felt it took too long to make its point so the payoff wasn't all that much worth it to me. But ymmv.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Patrick Hurley

    One of my favorite issues in a while. Gardner Dozois's story was a lovely coda to the issue and to the man. "Under the Hill" by Maureen McHugh was a fantastic mashup of fay meets college. Ken Liu's "Booksavr" feels so relevant. Michael Swanwick's "Ghost Ship" felt prescient to my own life and college reunion in 10 years. Kelly Link. Paolo Bacigalupi. Elizabeth Bear. This was a fantastic issue. One of my favorite issues in a while. Gardner Dozois's story was a lovely coda to the issue and to the man. "Under the Hill" by Maureen McHugh was a fantastic mashup of fay meets college. Ken Liu's "Booksavr" feels so relevant. Michael Swanwick's "Ghost Ship" felt prescient to my own life and college reunion in 10 years. Kelly Link. Paolo Bacigalupi. Elizabeth Bear. This was a fantastic issue.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Yev

    NOVELETS The White Cat's Divorce - Kelly Link Immortality obsessed billionaire and children and their shenanigans. BLAH American Gold Mine - Paolo Bacigalupi I was disappointed by comparison to his other short stories, almost all of which I really enjoy. It takes place at Not-Fox News with the protagonist being the top female anchor there. It's about how fearmongering and outrage culture are burning down the country and media is the accelerant. OK Kabul - Michael Moorcock A ragtag military company wande NOVELETS The White Cat's Divorce - Kelly Link Immortality obsessed billionaire and children and their shenanigans. BLAH American Gold Mine - Paolo Bacigalupi I was disappointed by comparison to his other short stories, almost all of which I really enjoy. It takes place at Not-Fox News with the protagonist being the top female anchor there. It's about how fearmongering and outrage culture are burning down the country and media is the accelerant. OK Kabul - Michael Moorcock A ragtag military company wanders aimlessly in peri-apocalytpic Afghanistan. MEH Erase, Erase, Erase - Elizabeth Bear The protagonist wants to erase their existence because life is too painful because they don't know if they can ever be forgiven for what they've done. BLAH SHORT STORIES Little Inn On the Jianghu - Y.M. Pang A rather silly Wuxia parody. The protagonist is an innkeeper whose inn is constantly destroyed by "heroes" and decides to do something about it. OK Under The Hill - Maureen McHugh This college where some of the students are secretly from the Seelie Court. OK Madness Afoot - Amanda Hollander A Cinderella parody. The protagonist is the sister of the Prince. Meh The Light on Eldoreth - Nick Wolven I've enjoyed every other Wolven story in F&SF, but this one was merely okay. It's entirely a marriage negotiation that takes place on Eldoreth, a planet barely within the galaxy, and so far in the future that they've become so "enlightened" that they're oblivious to their own amorality. OK Booksavr - Ken Liu Booksavr is an app that adjusts whatever you are reading to maximize your enjoyment based on what you define as "problematic content". Author reactions on a self-publishing web serial site are mixed. Are the characters not diverse enough for you? There's a setting for that. Does the author mishandle consent? No problem. No one should ever be offended by what they read. The protagonist is an author against Booksavr. The story is mostly is "user reactions" on his site. The ending is a real stinger. It was rather amusing. ENJOYABLE The Wrong Badger - Esther Friesner EnglandLand amusement park in the US has a reckoning with Woke Capitalism. A rival attacks them in the name of social justice to increase their market share. OK Ghost Ships - Michael Swanwick I like a lot of Swanwick's short stories but I also dislike a lot of them, so I never know what to expect. This one is a contemporary "ghost story" set in the US. BLAH Homecoming - Gardner Dozois Dozois is a great editor and anthologist. As an author, not so much for me. This is the final story he wrote before he died. It's quite possible that I simply didn't understand the story at all, especially the ending. I have no idea what that was about. MEH OTHER Three Score and Ten - Robert Silverberg A Grand Master of SF reminisces about 70 years of F&SF.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Corey

    About a third of the way through. Excellent story by Link and an amusing contribution from Pang. I liked the Bacigalupi because I'm already a fan and am sympathetic to his worldview, but it's not the best effort from him. Silverberg is such a fine essayist that I would be happy just reading those for the rest of my life. UPDATE: Almost done. Further highlights for me include Booksavr (Liu) and The Wrong Badger (Friesner). The Moorcock story was memorable, though I'm not quite sure how I feel abou About a third of the way through. Excellent story by Link and an amusing contribution from Pang. I liked the Bacigalupi because I'm already a fan and am sympathetic to his worldview, but it's not the best effort from him. Silverberg is such a fine essayist that I would be happy just reading those for the rest of my life. UPDATE: Almost done. Further highlights for me include Booksavr (Liu) and The Wrong Badger (Friesner). The Moorcock story was memorable, though I'm not quite sure how I feel about it. Still, it stuck with me.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Antonio

    The stories by Swanwick and Dozois made this issue great

  19. 4 out of 5

    Steven Labrecque

    Loved it. Subscribed as a result.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    Collections are tough. Some of these were really fun; others were meh. But always interesting to see where the field is going.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kyle Kresge

    Favorite Story: Little Inn on the Jianghu is the most fun short story I've read in a long time, with a lot of heart to accompany its humor. Favorite Story: Little Inn on the Jianghu is the most fun short story I've read in a long time, with a lot of heart to accompany its humor.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Benjamin DeHaan

    Favorites were “The White Cat’s Divorce”, “American Gold Mine”, “Erase, Erase, Erase”, and “Homecoming”

  23. 4 out of 5

    Patiscynical

    Oh my. Wow. I read the first two stories and can't believe how incredible they both are. Seriously. The first, The White Cat's Divorce, by Kelly Link, is a modern fairy tale. A fantasy unlike anything else I've read. The second, American Gold Mine, by Paolo Bacigalupi, is about manipulation by the media, and is so relevant to the current climate in the US that I was stunned by it. If you don't read anything else this year, you should read these. I very rarely give anything five stars, but this ep Oh my. Wow. I read the first two stories and can't believe how incredible they both are. Seriously. The first, The White Cat's Divorce, by Kelly Link, is a modern fairy tale. A fantasy unlike anything else I've read. The second, American Gold Mine, by Paolo Bacigalupi, is about manipulation by the media, and is so relevant to the current climate in the US that I was stunned by it. If you don't read anything else this year, you should read these. I very rarely give anything five stars, but this episode of this magazine deserves no less. Results: sometimes you chance upon a gold mine. Don't pass this one up.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jillypenny

    I read this to fulfill a task on Book Riot’s 2020 Read Harder challenge. But I’m glad I did. Some of the short stories didn’t suit my tastes, but most of them were interesting and I gathered a few more authors to read.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Zachary

    For an “all-star issue” many of these felt uninspired and a few made little sense. This was a slog to get through.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Paul

    Rating the stories in this issue: A (excellent): Three Score & Ten (non-fiction) by Robert Silverberg B (very good): Under the Hill by Maureen McHugh Madness Afoot by Amanda Hollander Ghost Ships by Michael Swanwick Homecoming by Gardner Dozois C (average): American Gold Mine by Paolo Baciagalupi Kabul by Michael Moorcock The Wrong Badger by Esther Friesner D (poor): The White Cat's Divorce by Kelly Link Erase, Erase, Erase by Elizabeth Bear Little Inn on the Jianghu by Y.M. Pang The Light on Eldoreth by Nick W Rating the stories in this issue: A (excellent): Three Score & Ten (non-fiction) by Robert Silverberg B (very good): Under the Hill by Maureen McHugh Madness Afoot by Amanda Hollander Ghost Ships by Michael Swanwick Homecoming by Gardner Dozois C (average): American Gold Mine by Paolo Baciagalupi Kabul by Michael Moorcock The Wrong Badger by Esther Friesner D (poor): The White Cat's Divorce by Kelly Link Erase, Erase, Erase by Elizabeth Bear Little Inn on the Jianghu by Y.M. Pang The Light on Eldoreth by Nick Wolven BookSavr by Ken Liu

  27. 5 out of 5

    Stephen Burridge

  28. 5 out of 5

    Frankie

  29. 5 out of 5

    Landon

  30. 4 out of 5

    David Orgel

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