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The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction March/April 2017 - Volume 132, Nos. 3 & 4 , Whole No.730
Edited by C.C. Finlay
Cover Artist: Bryn Barnard for
Review by Sam Tomaino
Fantasy & Science Fiction  ISBN/ITEM#: 1095-8258
Date: 27 February 2017

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The March/April 2017 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction(#730) has stories by Richard Chwedyk, Robert Grossbach, Matthew Hughes, Albert E. Cowdrey, Arundhari Hazra, Cat Hellisen, James Sallis, and Eleanor Arnason, plus the usual features.

The March/April 2017 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction(#730) is a good, solid issue with all good stories.

The fiction in the issue starts with "Driverless" by Robert Grossbach. -+- Jacob Rittenberg is the CEO of a company that provides driverless transportation to people all over New York City. He has recently installed an upgrade that would make them more aggressive against the competition. But they have so much processing power, they've essentially become sentient. But they still want to make their company Number One. A biting look at the future, although our narrator is not very likable.

"The Toymaker's Daughter" by Arundhari Hazra -+- A young girl in a small, remote town in India has learned stories about animals. She retells them or makes ones of her own as she paints the animal toys her father carves out of wood. They are sold to a shopowner in a larger town and wind up owned by a rich girl in Bangalore who discovers they can talk and eventually the toys become a media sensation. That's just the beginning of the story of the girl and her life. It's beautifully told and touches the heart. I hope we see more stories from this talented writer.

"Ten Half-Pennies" by Matthew Hughes -+- Hughes gives us a new story of the Archonate with a new central character. His name is Baldemar and we first see him at age ten as a schoolboy being bullied. He gets help from a strongman named Vunt and incurs what he feels is a debt to the man. More than six years later, Baldemar, working as a henchman for a street-smart wizard and who has grown strong and clever, pays Vunt back. Great little story. I will be interested to see what Hughes does with Baldemar in the future. Which will actually be next issue according to the Coming attractions!

"The Man Who Put the Bomp" by Richard Chwedyk -+- It's been more than six years since the last saurs story and this is s a good one. The saurs are up to their old tricks and it's all that Tom and Dr. Margaret can do to keep ahead of them. But there is danger from outside. An evil corporation wants to exploit the saur DNA for military purposes. And what is the saur Geraldine up to. And the pink car given to Tibor? And who is Donner, long-time employee of Toyco (and apparently the titular character? Great tale!

"A Green-Silk Dress and a Wedding-Death" by Cat Hellisen -+_ Heloise is a half-blind, not-pretty young girl who works cleaning fish for a fishing business and does not have much of a future. Her mother had made a bad marriage and had been killed by her father. But Heloise finds a way involving a legend of her people to have a different life. Well-done little dark fantasy.

"Miss Cruz" by James Sallis -+- Our narrator is an itinerant guitar player who travels around. He calls his guitar Miss Cruz. He has always had an interest in learning secrets that people have and is pretty good at ferreting them out. But he discovers a darker talent and this gives this story a nice little edge.

"The Avenger" by Albert E. Cowdrey -+- The titular character here is William Warlock, Attorney-at-Law in New Orleans. He is hired by Jeanne Wooster to get justice for her late husband, Tim, whose death she blames on a man named Marvin Turpin, who was the illegitimate son of Tim's father. Turpin has influence in Tallulah Parish where the Tim Wooster had his estate and where dead cottonmouth moccasins had been dumped into his pool, frightening him to death. Warlock takes the job but underestimates the recklessness of Turpin, a mistake he does not repeat. Turpin has no idea of the power that Warlock has. He lives up to his chosen name. Great, wild, atmospheric tale. The kind I've grown to expect from Cowdrey.

The fiction concludes with "Daisy" by Eleanor Arnason. -+- Emily Olson is a former lawyer turned private eye. She is hired by a gangster called Art Pancakes because someone had stolen his pet Octopus, Daisy, and killed his accountant. He had dumped the body of the accountant but the really wanted Daisy back, Olson talks with a cop friend and finds out that the body of another gangster who had been on the fringes of Pancake's mob had just been found. She is sure that there is a connection and starts investigating that. She finds something very surprising. Good solid story.

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