Wednesday, August 08, 2007

F&SF JUNE 2007

I finished this issue during our short vacation; it was the fourth SF mag I read in July. You would think that helped me catch up on the pile but I still have 5 yet to be read. Anyway, here are my thoughts...

The issue starts with a story by Matthew Hughes, which is always a welcome presence in any F&SF. This is a Henghis Hapthorn story that ran as a bonus in a limited edition of Majestrum (which I read and enjoyed earlier this year) and it's called "Sweet Trap." It's a minor Hapthorn tale, though that doesn't mean it's not without its pleasures - Hapthorn meets up with a new alien species and there is more back and forth between he and Osk Rievor (the presence that resides in his body). It does a good job standing on its own but also whets my appetite for the next Hapthorn novel, The Spiral Labyrinth.

Charles Coleman Finlay delivers a funny caper-gone-wrong in "An Eye for an Eye." The voice of the narrator is highly entertaining as is his involvement in the shady side of the law. He gets mixed-up in a double cross over frozen testicles or ovaries (depending on who's telling him the story) and things end badly for him. Great humor along the way and that narratice voice really make this a story worth reading.

Next up is "Elegy" by Melanie Fazi, a shorter story about a woman pleading with a tree god (or something like that) to be reunited with her children who she believes were taken by that diety. To be honest, it didn't do much for me but I read through the whole thing because it was so short.

Paul Di Filippo's "Plumage from Pegasus" this time out is "It's All Goodkind," a look at how publishing would work under the best-selling fantasy author's regime. Not so fun, as it turns screw normative writing! Yeah, it makes more sense if you read the whole thing. And you should, as Di Filippo is always worth reading.

Alex Irvine has been one of my favorite story writers of the last couple years so his appearance with "Wizard's Six" was welcome. He works in fantasy mode here with a story about a knight sent on an errand to kill the children that a rogue wizard has collected to be the base of his power. Paulus isn't always happy with this duty and he learns some surprising things about himself along the way. It's a very good story.

"First Was the Word" by Sheila Finch shows us the origins of the Lingsters, those who are able to communicate with alien species. I've read a few other stories in this sequence and have enjoyed them; this tale is no different. Unexpected aliens and unexpected sex and ideas of how language works is a good mix. It makes me think I may want to pick up her new collection of these tales, The Guild of Xenolinguists, now out from Golden Gryphon.

Finally, there was "Lazaro y Antonio" by Marta Randall. It's a tale of a grim future where Antonio is trying to save his brother from a death sentence linked with the governemnt's taking his memory. Lazaro worked as a pilot on a smuggling ship and now can't remember much at all. It's sweet and it's funny and it's sad. I liked it.

So there you go, another good issue of F&SF. What else is new?

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