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The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction May/June 2017 - Volume 132, Nos. 5 & 6, Whole No. 731
Edited by C.C. Finlay
Cover Artist: Maurizio Manzieri
Review by Sam Tomaino
Fantasy & Science Fiction Magazine (print/digital)  ISBN/ITEM#: 1095-8258
Date: 29 April 2017

Links: Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction / How to Subscribe / Pub Info / Table of Contents /

The May/June 2017 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction (#731) has stories by Shannon Connor Winward, Richard Bowes, Matthew Hughes, R.S. Benedict, Brian Trent, Kelly Jennings, Gregor Hartmann, Zach Shepherd, John Schoffstall, Leah Cypress, and Nina Kiriki Hoffman, plus the usual features.

The May/June 2017 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction (#731) is a very good issue.

The fiction starts with "A Thousand Deaths Through Flesh and Stone" by Brian Trent. -+- The war against the Partisans is over but Harris Alexander Pope has to eliminate the clones of war criminal Sabrina Potts who murdered thousands in death camps on Mars. He is in the bodies of his latest clone to do that. But he just wants to meet his brother again for a vacation. Will his war ever truly be over? Very good story.

"Witch's Hour" by Shannon Connor Winward -+- Esmelda is the cook for King Sutton and also a Wanderer. She can cook up more than just food. But she is haunted by the ghost of Ballard, the lecherous former cook, and must take action. Well done.

"Dirty Old Town" by Richard Bowes -+- This is a series of stories from a narrator who is a writer, looking back on the Boston of the 1940s and 1950s. It's mostly about his relationship with a kid (later guy) named Eddie Mackey who goes from bully to lover to cousin and becomes an actor. They can practice a kind of magic on each other. Good period flavor to this one.

"The Prognosticant" by Matthew Hughes -+- Here's a second story featuring Hughes' new Archonate character, the "not far beyond his twentieth birthday" Baldemar, now working as underchief of security and henchman to the young wizard Thelerion. After an encounter with a fifth-year apprentice thief named Raffalon, Baldemar and his boss, Oldo, are sent on a mission by Thelerion to retrieve the Helmet of Sagacity. Baldemar is able to get it but finds the helmet has taken quite a shine to him. More fun times in the Arhconate, always an enjoyable read. Eleganly done little tale.

"The History of the Invasion Told in Five Dogs" by Kelly Jennings -+- Our narrator talks about five dogs with the backdrop of alien invasion, the aliens changing the climate and the possible extinction of the human race.

"What the Hands Know" by Gregor Hartmann -+- The latest adventure of the writer Franden, trying to establish himself on the planet Zephyr. He is currently a writer for a long-running dramatic series called Today, Tomorrow, Forever and is attending a boxing match to get material for a future show. At the request of his friend, Maya, he winds up backing up her jerk of a nephew in a match against miners. I'll just say he gets material for a future episode of the series. A very entertaining read.

"The Woman With the Long Black Hair" by Zach Shepherd -+- A woman asks for stories about Korlova, who seems to be a goddess. She gets different ones and different fates for the storytellers. Good piece of Flash Fiction.

"My English Name" by R.S. Benedict -+- Our narrator is some sort of creature that can put on a fake skin to appear human. The creature is currently posing as a gay Englishman named Thomas Majors, living in China. But "he" begins to form an attachment to a Chinese man who loves him in return. But these disguises are only temporary. A sad, poignant tale. This is a first publication and a good debut. Benedict will be on my Campbell award short list next year.

"The First Day of Someone Else's Life" by John Schoffstall -+- In a world in which nation-states are breaking up, Monk Donnel finds himself with knowledge but no memories and a voice in his head, telling him what to do? What is going on? A wild ride of a story.

"Neko Brushes" by Leah Cypress -+- Kenji is brought to Lady Kiri where he draws cats so lifelike, they actually become real and leap off of the page. Then, he is asked to draw a sword that can be used in a revolt against the shogun. Nicely done little fairytale.

The fiction concludes with "Rings" by Nina Kiriki Hoffman. -+- On the planet Kehsah, Aris has earned enough money to buy a man at a slave auction. She buys a mute named Firen and because her mother insists on it, binds herself to him. But it turns out he is not mute. Interesting look at a planet where no one is free.

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