The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction Jul/Aug 2017 - Vol. 133, Nos. 1 & 2 Whole No.732
Edited by C.C. Finlay
Cover Artist: Nicholas Grunas
Review by Sam Tomaino
Fantasy & Science Fiction Magazine (print/digital) ISBN/ITEM#: 1095-8258
Date: 24 June 2017
Links: Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction / How to Subscribe / Pub Info / Table of Contents /
The Jul/Aug 2017 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction (#732) is another very good issue.
The fiction in the issue starts with "In a Wide Sky, Hidden" by William Ledbetter. -+- Set in a future in which the galaxy is explored through "quantum-linked boxes as nothing but information", our narrator, with his robot partner, Roger, has been searching for his sister Regina, who has become known for "large scale, grandiose artistic projects". They arrive at a planet to find something truly grand which changes his outlook. Good solid story.
"The Masochist's Assistant" by Auston Habershaw -+- Georges is a "famulus" (a type of servant) to Magus Hugarth Madswom and begins every day by stabbing him in the heart. It is never fatal. Georges is a proud man and feels his status has suffered because of his association with the strange Magus. But the Magus teaches him an important lesson. Interesting look at a different society.
"The Bride in Sea-Green Velvet" by Robin Furth -+- Sir Henry collects women's skulls which he pays to have reconstructed into something beautiful. But as his forty-ninth birthday approaches, he is reminded of a family obligation and a sacrifice that must be made. Good ending to this one.
"There Was a Crooked Man, He Flipped a Crooked House" by David Erik Nelson -+- Glenn Washington has a job working for a man named Felix Fleischerman who makes his money flipping houses. He and his assistant, Lennie, a simple but good man, are checking out a house in a bombed-out neighborhood of Detroit and find out that it is a beautiful house in great condition. They find out why no one has vandalized it when they walk in the front door and instantly find themselves out the back door. When they manage to get inside the house, things get really strange. Great story which just gets more and more interesting as it goes.
"A Dog's Story" by Gardner Dozois -+- It's always great reading a story by this long-time writer and editor and Dozois does not disappoint. It's told from the viewpoint of an old dog named Blackie. Blackie doesn't do much anymore but he still likes to wander the neighborhood at night. This night he finds the body of a woman. He can smell her murderer on the her body. He's not up to doing it all on his own but with the help of other creatures, he gets justice for the woman and a little of his youth back. Beautifully done.
"I Am Not I" by G.V. Anderson -+- The introduction to the story likens it to China Mieville's Perdido Street Station which has something like the setting of this story. Our narrator gets a job at the Emporium on old Tanner's, run by an old woman named Madame Qlym. The world here is run by Varians, the product of genetic splicing mutation. Madame Qlym has eight arms. Our narrator, Miss Strohm-Waxxog has six eyes and wings. She is the scion of the most prestigious family. There are still standard human beings born, but they are called, derisively, Saps and moved to the edges of society. The shop run by Madame sells Sap body parts which are prestigious to own. Our narrator gets the job on the strength of her name. But she has a secret and plans of her own and that makes for a great story. I'd like to see more stories in this world.
"Afiya's Song" by Justin C. Key -+- Afiya is an African slave in the old American South of the early 19th century. But we learn quickly that this is an alternate America in which a slave revolt resulted in their freedom while Andrew Jackson was President of the United States. Afiya and the power of her song is the reason for this. But the power of this story is in the portrayal of what a slave's life might have been like. This is brought off flawlessly.
"An Obstruction to Delivery" by Sean Adams -+- A truly bizarre story told in sections about the post office of a town in which the mail is delivered entirely underground. The problem is that someone or something is killing the mail deliverers. Is a former, very obsessed, employee of the post office involved? The story reminded me a bit of R.A. Lafferty and I can pay it no better compliment.
The fiction concludes with "An Unearned Death" by Marissa Lingen. In this fantasy world, Osrith is a messenger of the gods. There are many of them but the difference here is that Death abandoned this world. No one can actually die. Osrith has a cloak which, when put on someone, can tell which god will take that person into their realm. There are some people who have no qualities a god would want. They are relegated to a place called the boneyard in which they just lie, frail and unable to move, forever. What can Osrith do for a family in which the elder mother is someone no god wants? A poignant, imaginative tale.