Yup, I finally got around to reading the May issue of Fantasy &Science Fiction a couple days ago and I thought I would share some impressions of its contents.
The longest story in the issue was the first, "The Master Miller's Tale" by Ian R. MacLeod. The early parts of the story are very pastoral - the English countryside, an old-fashioned mill that works in part from spells and song. I was particularly taken by the concept of the wind-seller, whose wares could be used on those days where there was no wind to turn the mill. In the end, the story concerns itself with the progress of technology and the death of the old ways and also has a could-have-been romance at its core. The end is neither hope nor despair but one that reminds us that change always comes. A solid story.
Paolo Bacigalupi's "The Tamarisk Hunter" posits a future where water can only be used if you have the rights and is told through the eyes of the titular hunter, who schemes to keep his job as best he can. It's a solid story but not up to his best work.
Paul Di Filippo is back with another "Plumage from Pegasus" with a look at the trend of established writers working in YA literature with "Grow Old Along with Me." It's not so much a story as a catalog of possible projects done by writers such as Thomas Pynchon (Camp Gravity's Rainbow) and Hubert Selby (Last Bikepath to Brooklyn). I particularly enjoyed his Alan Moore and Beverly Cleary collaboration, The Lost Girlhood of Ramona Quimby.
Next up was a tale of frustrated romance by K.D. Wentworth, "Kaleidoscope." The frustration comes from the fact that Ally Coelho appears to be shifting through a myriad of infinite possibilites - her friends' lives change from moment to moment (a goddaughter exists and then doesn't and then does again). Through all of this, she waits for glimpses of her Barry, who works in a zoo (and not in insurance or anything else). I liked it quite a bit.
That was followed by Don Webb's, "The Great White Bed," a rather creepy tale of a young boy who has to care for his Alzheimer's-afflicted grandfather. There is also a book that reads people rather than the other way around and his grandfather's discovery of this book leads to some startling role reversal. I enjoyed it well enough while reading it but don't know if I would recommend it.
The final story is another odd one, "Telefunken Remix" by A.A. Attanasio. It's the story of the future of Heavinside and the present of Errth, a flawed would that shouldn't have turned out the way it was. There are clones from the future who changes places with those in the past, soulmates, early radio signals from Errth, and more. It's bizarre but it holds together pretty well.
I didn't mention the book, film, and science columns but I always enjoy those. In all, it was a solid issue of the magazine. No one story really stands out but the overall quality is pretty good.
I still have 6 issues of SF magazines stacked up, as two more came in in the past few days. I'll keep plugging away in an effort to get caught up.