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July/August 2013, Volume 125, No. 1&2, #708 Contents: NOVELETS "Oh Give Me a Home" by Adam Rakunas "The Year of the Rat" by Chen Qiufan "Kormak the Lucky" By Eleanor Arnason "In the Mountains of Frozen Fire" by Rus Wornom SHORT STORIES "The Color of Sand" by K. J. Kabza "Half a Conversation, Overheard while Inside an Enormous Sentient Slug" by Oliver Buckram "The Woman Who Married July/August 2013, Volume 125, No. 1&2, #708 Contents: NOVELETS "Oh Give Me a Home" by Adam Rakunas "The Year of the Rat" by Chen Qiufan "Kormak the Lucky" By Eleanor Arnason "In the Mountains of Frozen Fire" by Rus Wornom SHORT STORIES "The Color of Sand" by K. J. Kabza "Half a Conversation, Overheard while Inside an Enormous Sentient Slug" by Oliver Buckram "The Woman Who Married the Snow" by Ken Altabef "The Miracle Cure" by Harvey Jacobs "The Heartsmith's Daughters" by Harry R. Campion "The Nambu Egg" by Tim Sullivan DEPARTMENTS "Books to Look For" by Charles de Lint "Books" by James Sallis "Flipping Genres for Fun and Profit" by Paul Di Filippo "Films: A Familiar Cyclone and its Twisted Debris" by Kathi Maio "Science: Aliens inside You" by Pat Murphy July/August 2013, Volume 125, No. 1&2, #708 Edited by Gordon Van Gelder Cover art by Kent Bash


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July/August 2013, Volume 125, No. 1&2, #708 Contents: NOVELETS "Oh Give Me a Home" by Adam Rakunas "The Year of the Rat" by Chen Qiufan "Kormak the Lucky" By Eleanor Arnason "In the Mountains of Frozen Fire" by Rus Wornom SHORT STORIES "The Color of Sand" by K. J. Kabza "Half a Conversation, Overheard while Inside an Enormous Sentient Slug" by Oliver Buckram "The Woman Who Married July/August 2013, Volume 125, No. 1&2, #708 Contents: NOVELETS "Oh Give Me a Home" by Adam Rakunas "The Year of the Rat" by Chen Qiufan "Kormak the Lucky" By Eleanor Arnason "In the Mountains of Frozen Fire" by Rus Wornom SHORT STORIES "The Color of Sand" by K. J. Kabza "Half a Conversation, Overheard while Inside an Enormous Sentient Slug" by Oliver Buckram "The Woman Who Married the Snow" by Ken Altabef "The Miracle Cure" by Harvey Jacobs "The Heartsmith's Daughters" by Harry R. Campion "The Nambu Egg" by Tim Sullivan DEPARTMENTS "Books to Look For" by Charles de Lint "Books" by James Sallis "Flipping Genres for Fun and Profit" by Paul Di Filippo "Films: A Familiar Cyclone and its Twisted Debris" by Kathi Maio "Science: Aliens inside You" by Pat Murphy July/August 2013, Volume 125, No. 1&2, #708 Edited by Gordon Van Gelder Cover art by Kent Bash

30 review for Fantasy & Science Fiction, July/August 2013 (The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, #708)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Cathy

    Oh Give Me a Home By Adam Rakunas | 7651 words, ★★★★½ “I HAD JUST PUT THE HERD into their evening pasture when Leggo came over the rise. He was huffing and puffing on his old mountain bike, pushing his enormous bulk up the brown Sierra foothills. "Dude," he said, leaning his bike against my Chevy, "you're getting sued."“ A story about family, genetics, and bison. Little, little bison. And a company that does sound a bit like Monsanto. The little, little bison were the inspiration for Daryl Gregory Oh Give Me a Home By Adam Rakunas | 7651 words, ★★★★½ “I HAD JUST PUT THE HERD into their evening pasture when Leggo came over the rise. He was huffing and puffing on his old mountain bike, pushing his enormous bulk up the brown Sierra foothills. "Dude," he said, leaning his bike against my Chevy, "you're getting sued."“ A story about family, genetics, and bison. Little, little bison. And a company that does sound a bit like Monsanto. The little, little bison were the inspiration for Daryl Gregory‘s teeny 3-inch bison in Afterparty and that‘s how I ended reading this... Creepy, because this is the battle farmers are actually fighting today, with big companies trying to patent genomes of common livestock, so they can charge for the use. Which is just ridiculously insane. Don‘t even get me started on special fertilizer for GMO crops. Great ending, I liked that! Author‘s website: http://www.giro.org ——— The Year of the Rat By Chen Qiufan, translated by Ken Liu | 8812 words, ★★★☆☆ “We've been in this hellhole for two days but we haven't even seen a single rat's hair.“ We are hunting genetically engineered rats that have escaped. Very odd, slightly disturbing. Also a tale about young college graduates in China and how they fit. Interview: Chen Qiufan on “The Year of the Rat” ——— Kormak the Lucky By Eleanor Arnason | 15643 words, ★★☆☆☆ “It was Seneca the Younger who remarked that luck never made a man wise. We'll leave it as an exercise for readers to decide how well that comment applies to Kormak.“ Well, he was lucky enough. Good thing, as he wasn‘t too smart. We meet light elf, dark elf, fey, travel around a bit, ... The world building was not bad and the plot had its moments, but it was all spooled off without emotion. The characters were unreflected and without depth. I couldn‘t have cared less what happens to them. And the storytelling lacked excitement. Interview: Eleanor Arnason on “Kormak the Lucky”

  2. 4 out of 5

    Fran

    I read 'The Heartsmith's Daughters' today on the bus home and it almost made me cry. Great story.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kirsty

    A reasonably decent issue. "The Heartsmith's Daughters" one of the short stories in the magazine was truly touching and brought tears to my eyes. Well worth giving this issue a read.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Eamonn Murphy

    The Magazine Of Fantasy And Science-Fiction’ explores the opposite extremes of the fantasy genre in this issue with a nice mix of Science Fiction and fairy tales. Most of the stories fall into one category or the other, so we’ll start with the fantasy. ‘Heartsmith’s Daughters’ by Harry R. Campion is a fairy tale about a village smithy whose wife is unable to have children. He manufacturers three daughters, one with a heart of cold iron, one with a heart of brass and one with a heart of gold. Thei The Magazine Of Fantasy And Science-Fiction’ explores the opposite extremes of the fantasy genre in this issue with a nice mix of Science Fiction and fairy tales. Most of the stories fall into one category or the other, so we’ll start with the fantasy. ‘Heartsmith’s Daughters’ by Harry R. Campion is a fairy tale about a village smithy whose wife is unable to have children. He manufacturers three daughters, one with a heart of cold iron, one with a heart of brass and one with a heart of gold. Their attributes match the metal of their cardiology in apt ways but they are soon the victims of evil men. A rather dark story, beautifully told. ‘The Color Of Sand’ by KJ Kabza is another excellent fairy tale featuring sandcats, enabled to talk by magic, and a good woman with a big son. To say more would be to give away the plot but it was written with the same kind of cadence as ‘Heartsmith’s Daughter’ and the same kind of language. Both have an omniscient narrator which allows for comments on the characters, something not possible with modern point-of-view techniques. Both are good clean fun and apt for inclusion in any children’s anthology. Both would sit comfortably alongside the classics of the genre. ‘Kormak The Lucky’ by Eleanor Aranson is similar. Kormak might not strike you as lucky at first because he is kidnapped from Ireland by Norwegian slavers and sold in Iceland. There he proves himself a bit too lazy to be a good slave and so is passed from master to master. Eventually, he ends up getting involved with elves, fey folk and the like in a long, involved story. It was a bit too long for my taste, to be honest, but readers more fond of elves and their ilk will like it, I’m sure. Elves and fey folk are not necessarily very nice, which is consistent, I believe, with the received wisdom. Fairy tales are often Grimm. ‘The Woman Who Married The Snow’ is by Ken Altabef, who apparently specialises in tales of an Inuit Shaman named Ulruk. This tale of Ulruk was interesting for the insights into the lives of people in the colder regions of the world and the glimpses of an intriguing system of magic. There are eloquent descriptions of landscapes and the prose is generally of high quality. Although written in a more modern idiom, it does not sit ill with the preceding stuff. ‘The Miracle Cure’ by Harvey Jacobs is about trained doctors refusing to believe irrefutable empirical evidence that contradicts their beliefs. Gallstones feature, along with gallbladders, in this odd yarn. It’s probably more fantasy than Science Fiction so I will deem it as a modern fairy tale to squeeze it into my classification system. Isn’t all today’s fantasy just modern fairy tales? Tricky things, labels. Words, too. Amaranthine. That’s not a word that crops up often nowadays but ‘In the Mountains Of Frozen Fire’ by Rus Wornom is written in the style of pulp tales from a hundred years ago. He also uses ‘tenebrous’, a favourite adjective of HP Lovecraft. There are a number of exclamation marks! Commander Denis Cushing, to use the short version of his name, is a secret operative, designated M4 by the United States International Vengeance Force. He is in northern Asia on the trail of…the Cobra, a deadly killer also known as Agent ZX-12. Wornom has good fun with this parody and so will a like-minded reader. The fantastic element is probably more Science Fiction than fantasy so it makes a nice bridge between the genres in my review. Amaranthine, by the way, seems to mean eternal or everlasting in this context. It might mean red. ‘The Nambu Egg’ by Tim Sullivan is definitely Science Fiction. It’s set in the distant future when the Tachtrans Authority can beam people to a distant planet, Cet Four in this case. Adam Naraya has returned to Earth because he has a Nambu egg to sell to the head of a rich corporation, one Mr Genzler. To tell more of the plot would be to ruin it for it’s the kind of tale where things are slowly revealed. Rest assured that the length of this paragraph does not reflect the very high esteem I have for the story. ’Oh Give Me A Home’ by Adam Rakunas is more Science Fiction but set in a much nearer future, alas. It’s really a modern western in which an almost ordinary rancher fights against the big rich guys who want to take over everything. He’s more scientific than Jimmy Stewart was in the classics and the rich guys are a giant corporation rather than a moustachioed villain who runs the town but it’s the same theme with a very contemporary and relevant twist. The bad guys even have a girl employee with a soft spot for our hero. Alas, in real life there actually are giant profit-hungry agricultural companies that want to patent everything and put the world’s farmers in hock to them forever. I name no names. They have lawyers, you know. ‘The Year Of The Rat’ by Chen Qiufan is translated by Ken Liu, no mean author in his own right. Broadening the scope of the magazine with foreign translations is an excellent policy, even though it means one less slot for the homegrown talent to fill in an already competitive and limited market. Like Adam Rakunas’ updated western, this tale of unemployed Chinese graduates being used for rodent extermination is realistically bleak about how the world is going. The rats are genetically engineered and very dangerous. The former students conscripted to kill them are not happy in their work. There’s a nice undercurrent about how us little people can never be sure what’s really going on with so many vested interests feeding us disinformation. Chen Qiufan is a name worth looking out for but I won’t end a sentence with a preposition just because of that. Not with Uncle Geoff editing me. A comedy murder mystery narrated by a giant slug makes a nice change from the above. Oliver Buckram delivers ‘Half A Conversation Overheard While Inside An Enormous Sentient Slug’, about one Lord Ash who has been murdered at his manor, possibly by his wife who has vanished. Ash had estates in the Kuiper Belt and the sentient slug was a servant so this is clearly set in the future. Elegant fun that proves brevity is the soul of wit. I hope we see more from Buckram. I hope we will see more of ‘The Magazine Of Fantasy And Science Fiction, too, for years and years to come. Sometimes the stories seem strong on lush writing and perhaps less strong on plot. This issue was very strong on plot with every tale having a firm commitment to the story element of stories as opposed to character, theme or sensual prose. No bad thing. The fiction’s the thing, really, but it’s worth mentioning that the ‘Departments’ provide useful information on what’s good out there in film and books and ‘Plumage From Pegasus’ by Paul Di Filippo is as entertaining as usual. Eamonn Murphy This review first appeared at sfcrowsnest

  5. 4 out of 5

    Daniel

    An average issue of enjoyable stories, but none that were particularly breath-taking. "The Color of Sand", by KJ Kabza - A mother and her young son move onto the tranquility of a beach where talking sand-cats reside in the dunes. The boy swallows a colored pebble in attempted imitation of the cat (for which the pebble gives voice) only to discover it physically alters him in other ways, leading the mother and son to seek a way of reversing its effects. The premise sounds rather silly, but the sto An average issue of enjoyable stories, but none that were particularly breath-taking. "The Color of Sand", by KJ Kabza - A mother and her young son move onto the tranquility of a beach where talking sand-cats reside in the dunes. The boy swallows a colored pebble in attempted imitation of the cat (for which the pebble gives voice) only to discover it physically alters him in other ways, leading the mother and son to seek a way of reversing its effects. The premise sounds rather silly, but the story is actually serious with a magical beauty. A lovely fable of change and abilities. "Oh Give Me a Home", by Adam Rakunas - A small-time rancher with genetically modified bison faces a court suit and seizure of his animals by a large, morally corrupt agricultural company. The story seems inspired by the practices of Monsanto, and at times reads like a thinly disguised rant against them. This I appreciate, but as a story it never really held interest, with an ending that felt anticlimactic and easy. "Half a Conversation, Overheard While Inside an Enormous Sentient Sea Slug", by Oliver Buckram - Exactly as the title says. A humorous sci-fi twist on a murder mystery. "The Year of the Rat", by Chen Qiufan (translated by Ken Liu) - I have really enjoyed Liu's stories and am just as excited to see more translations of otherwise inaccessible science fiction/fantasy. In this, recent graduates of college with no employment opportunities choose to enlist in a new war fighting giant genetically-modified rats throughout China. The highlight of this issue, the story touches aspects of academia, war, and science in an interesting, well-crafted tale. "Kormak the Lucky", by Eleanor Arnason - An Irish man is taken into slavery by Norwegians in the post-Roman era and ends up in Iceland, being passed from owner to owner, both human and magical, surviving and making do with the 'ride' through life. Featuring elves and fairies it isn't the type of fantasy I normally enjoy much, being close at heart to a fairy tale. But, Arnason writes well and the story of Kormak's life is entertaining and familiar in his complacency to what life throws his way, magical or otherwise. "The Woman who Married the Snow", by Ken Altabef - An Inuit shaman learns a lesson about loss and pain when he tries to help a woman who has just begun to get over the presumed death of her husband, lost while whaling, discovers his corpse returned by the sea. The story focuses nicely on the magical reanimation of the corpse by the spirit of the snow, and the realization of error by the shaman rather than the pain of the widow. "The Miracle Cure", by Harvey Jacobs - A doctor discovers the astounding reason behind apparent miracle cures of patients with gallstones prior to surgery. Not a bad story, but not much to it beyond the novel scifi idea behind this unique harvesting of gallstones. "The Heartsmith's Daughters", by Harry R. Campion - The second story dealing with the loss and attempted replacement of loved ones. In this case the replacement is partially successful, though still devastatingly flawed. Another story that is a lot like a fairy tale, it is emotionally powerful in its best passages. "The Nambu Egg", by Tim Sullivan - A man uses a rare item of great worth to confront and ensnare a rich businessman as justice for past crimes. The backstory and the motivation of the characters are slowly revealed over the course of the story, making it sort of like the climax of a Murder She Wrote episode or similar, only set in a SF universe. Again, enjoyable, but nothing fantastic. "In the Mountains of Frozen Fire, by Denis Winslow Mallard Codswollop Bourginon Cushing, as Recounted by the Official Enigma Club Raconteur, Rus Wornom (Originally Published in The Enigma Club All-Adventure Magazine, June, 1919)", by Rus Wornom - The longest title I have yet seen for what is accurately described as a 'yarn modeled on the pulp tales from a hundred years ago'. The title does say it all: this story is cheesy and absurdly written, intentionally bad like a B movie. Yet entertaining and funny. In small doses this works, though this one verges on being too long. An over-the-top story like this once in awhile is welcome, and was an amusing way to close out the issue, a trifle.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Meran

    10 stories, 2 rated columns = 4.2 stars The Color of Sand by KJ Kabza - Don't eat the beach glass. Or, maybe you should. :D - 4 stars Oh Give Me a Home by Adam Rukunas - An illuminated man fights against big Agro. - 4 stars Half a Conversation, Overheard While Inside an Enormous Sentient Slug by Oliver Buckram - When killing in self-defence, have your story ready. - 4 stars The Year of the Rat by Chen Quifan, trans, by Ken Liu - Reminiscent of Frankenstein... Grisly, like war. Sad, like war. - 4.5 s 10 stories, 2 rated columns = 4.2 stars The Color of Sand by KJ Kabza - Don't eat the beach glass. Or, maybe you should. :D - 4 stars Oh Give Me a Home by Adam Rukunas - An illuminated man fights against big Agro. - 4 stars Half a Conversation, Overheard While Inside an Enormous Sentient Slug by Oliver Buckram - When killing in self-defence, have your story ready. - 4 stars The Year of the Rat by Chen Quifan, trans, by Ken Liu - Reminiscent of Frankenstein... Grisly, like war. Sad, like war. - 4.5 stars Kormak the Lucky by Eleanor Arnason - A Story of elves, their human slaves and a dog made of iron. Any story with a dog in it wins, in my book! - 4 stars The Woman Who Married the Snow by Ken Altabef - A tale of snow and loss and ill made choices. - 3.5 stars The Miracle Cure by Harvey Jacobs - Delicious stones and diamonds feature highly in this story. - 3.5 stars The Heartsmith's Daughters by Harry R. Campion - A tale of love which begets 3 daughters and 4 hearts. - 5 stars The Nambu Egg by Timm sullivan - It's amazing where they can store eggs nowadays. ;) - 4 stars In the Mountains of Frozen Fire by Denis Winslow Mallard Codswallop Bourginon Cushing as Recounted by the Official Enigma Club Raconteur, Rus Wornam (Originally published in The Enigma Club All-Adventure Magazine, June 1919) - This story gets high marks because of the creative descriptions alone! - 5 stars Science by Pat Murphy & Paul Doherty - about gut flora and fauna, fecal transplants. - 5 stars Plumage from Pegasus by Paul di Filippe - column. Just how different is SF from F? Funny! - 4 stars

  7. 5 out of 5

    Max

    Out of the issues I've read, this is probably the one with the highest number of stories I've really enjoyed. There were one or two that didn't really work for me (mainly The Miracle Cure, though the Slug story was only okay). However, the majority of the stories were very good. Oh Give Me A Home had well-written characters and was a good look at the problems of big agriculture companies like Monsanto. The Year of the Rat was an excellent story that reminded me of The Things They Carried, though Out of the issues I've read, this is probably the one with the highest number of stories I've really enjoyed. There were one or two that didn't really work for me (mainly The Miracle Cure, though the Slug story was only okay). However, the majority of the stories were very good. Oh Give Me A Home had well-written characters and was a good look at the problems of big agriculture companies like Monsanto. The Year of the Rat was an excellent story that reminded me of The Things They Carried, though with a sci-fi twist. I'm not starving for more from this world, but I wouldn't say no to another story set there. Kormak the Lucky was a clever addition to a few Viking stories and legends, and I appreciate the way the author tied the historical material to the mythology. I also liked the variety in the different elves portrayed and the dark elves were especially interesting - I'd like to see more of them. In The Mountains of Frozen Fire did an excellent job of combining a good range of pulp genres into one story and I'd certainly love to see the hinted at vampire story featuring the same protagonist. The Color of Sand was nice and heartwarming. Plus the sandcats and the magic system are pretty neat. The Woman Who Married the Snow was pretty good. I loved The Heartsmith's Daughters. It's nice to see modern things written in the style of a fairy tale. The Nambu Egg was interesting, though I admit to being intrigued more by the setting than by the plot. Over all, this was an excellent issue and well worth picking up.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Esther

    In a periodic like this, it is unreasonable to expect to enjoy all the stories, so even though I didn't enjoy a few, having one really memorable story and a few that lifted my day is actually more than enough, and makes this a good issue in my view. I was a bit surprised to not enjoy the Ken Liu translation because I normally love everything he does. However, giant rats... need I say more? Not my Cup of Tea "The Year of the Rat" translated by Ken Liu "Kormak the Unlucky" by Eleanor Arnason "The Woma In a periodic like this, it is unreasonable to expect to enjoy all the stories, so even though I didn't enjoy a few, having one really memorable story and a few that lifted my day is actually more than enough, and makes this a good issue in my view. I was a bit surprised to not enjoy the Ken Liu translation because I normally love everything he does. However, giant rats... need I say more? Not my Cup of Tea "The Year of the Rat" translated by Ken Liu "Kormak the Unlucky" by Eleanor Arnason "The Woman who Married the Snow" by Ken Altabef Forgettable "In the Mountains of Frozen Fire" by Rus Wornom "Half a Conversation, Overheard While Inside an Enormous Sentient Slug" by Oliver Buckrum "The Miracle Cure" by Harvey Jacobs "The Nambu Egg" by Tim Sullivan Enjoyable "Oh Give Me a Home" by Adam Rakunas "The Colour of Sand" by KJ Kabza Wonderfully Memorable "The Heartsmith's Champion" by Harry R. Campion

  9. 5 out of 5

    G33z3r

    A decent issue, but without a home run. My favorite was "The Heartsmith's Daughters", which is a simple fantasy/fairytale told in a straightforward narration. "In the Mountains of Frozen Fire" had a lot of humor in it, so I thought it dragged a bit in the middle. I wish I understood the very last line of "The Year of the Rat". "The Color of Sand" & "The Color of Sand" were both Interesting fantasies, and "The Nambu Egg" worthwhile sci-fi/fantasy. "Miracle Cure" was a long way around to a sick jo A decent issue, but without a home run. My favorite was "The Heartsmith's Daughters", which is a simple fantasy/fairytale told in a straightforward narration. "In the Mountains of Frozen Fire" had a lot of humor in it, so I thought it dragged a bit in the middle. I wish I understood the very last line of "The Year of the Rat". "The Color of Sand" & "The Color of Sand" were both Interesting fantasies, and "The Nambu Egg" worthwhile sci-fi/fantasy. "Miracle Cure" was a long way around to a sick joke.

  10. 5 out of 5

    George Heintzelman

    An excellent issue with several memorable stories, and nothing worse than decent. I particularly liked Harry R. Campion's "The Heartsmith's Daughters," which I think is one of the best stories I've read in quite a while. Also quite good were "The Color of Sand", by KJ Kabza, and "The Nambu Egg" by Tim Sullivan. Not to put down the rest of the issue, which would probably have earned mentions in most months.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Shawn Camp

    A stellar collection of folk tales populate this issue. My favorites included Rus Wornom's In the Mountain of Frozen Fire and almost all the others. This has to be my favorite issue this year.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    Four stars just for the clever Oliver Buckram story.

  13. 4 out of 5

    David Lancaster

    Great Issue! I enjoyed all the stories in this one. Especially the cover story, "Kormak The Lucky", and "In The Mountains Of Frozen Fire". Time to renew my subscription!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Samuel Lubell

    A very strong issue overall, although far more fantasy than sf.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Emmett Hoops

    Overall, an excellent issue, except for the cover story. It was too self-consciously fantasy, if you know what I mean. But the rest of the issue? Worthy of any SF anthology.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Trish Thompson

  17. 5 out of 5

    Michele Maakestad

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kenny V

  19. 4 out of 5

    Shawn

  20. 5 out of 5

    Amy Cowan

  21. 4 out of 5

    Frankie

  22. 5 out of 5

    Keith

  23. 5 out of 5

    Katie

  24. 5 out of 5

    Deborah Replogle

  25. 4 out of 5

    Leslie O'Hara

  26. 4 out of 5

    Arlian

  27. 5 out of 5

    Johannah

  28. 5 out of 5

    Brandon Hawkins

  29. 5 out of 5

    Besha

  30. 5 out of 5

    Eco Imp

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