Magazine Review: F&SF, March/April 2015

Author friend Henry Lien was kind enough to send me a copy of the March/April 2015 issue of Fantasy & Science Fiction, the first edited by C.C. Finlay with his “official full-time editor” hat on.

Heretic Cheap-ass that I am, I think this is the first F&SF I’ve actually sat down and read all the way through. It’s certainly the first I’ve ever owned a copy of. (My reading history with Asimov’s is similar, and my reading history with Analog is non-existent.)

Anyway, it’s good!

I haven’t had a chance to dig into the novella and novelettes yet, but of the short stories it contains, here are a few I particularly enjoyed:

“A User’s Guide to Increments of Time,” by Kat Howard – Two people with similar (but very different) time-stopping abilities engage in a disastrous relationship. Gorgeous prose and a satisfying resolution made this one stand out.

“Bilingual,” by Henry Lien – A story about the practice of dolphin drive hunting (note: explicit photographs of animal slaughter in that link), told in the form of a Twitter feed and two letters. I had a bit of a believability issue with the linguistics at work here in the creation of a “dolphin meme” that could be used to warn dolphins away from Taiji (and presumably other places where the practice of dolphin drive hunting is still legal and practiced), although it appears that dolphins can and do use echolocation “snapshots” to discuss dangerous places, but otherwise this is a very compelling tale. The character voice is excellent (although if you hate Twitter and Internet shorthand it will probably drive you crazy), and for a story told entirely in 144-character snippets, there’s a clear sense of action and character. A memorable read.

“La Héron,” by Charlotte Ashley – A fun Dumasian romp, complete with unlikely nuns, duels-a-plenty, and fairy lords. Lush setting details and good action, plus two female characters who kick ass. Hooray!

“Things Worth Knowing,” by Jay O’Connell – A story about the possible future of militarily-standardized education. I started out not thinking I would like this (teacher has a gun and a Taser-like club), but it’s a well-developed setting with a sympathetic (if at times a tad too nostalgic) character, and the overall plot works for me. There’s even a little bit of intersectionality at work! I think the story will resonate particularly well for those involved with teaching in some way or another. My only real complaint is that the ending makes me want more stories set in this world.