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The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, September/October 2016 (The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, #727)

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Volume 131, Nos 3 & 4, Whole no. 727 Contents: Geoff Ryman - Those Shadows Laugh Sarah Pinsker - Talking to Dead People Peter S. Beagle - The Green-Eyed Boy Desirina Boskovich - The Voice in the Cornfield, The Word Made Flesh Ian Creasey - A Melancholy Apparition Lisa Mason - Anything for You Leah Cypess - Cupid's Compass Steven Popkes - The Sweet Warm Earth Kristine Kathryn Rusch - Volume 131, Nos 3 & 4, Whole no. 727 Contents: Geoff Ryman - Those Shadows Laugh Sarah Pinsker - Talking to Dead People Peter S. Beagle - The Green-Eyed Boy Desirina Boskovich - The Voice in the Cornfield, The Word Made Flesh Ian Creasey - A Melancholy Apparition Lisa Mason - Anything for You Leah Cypess - Cupid's Compass Steven Popkes - The Sweet Warm Earth Kristine Kathryn Rusch - The Amazing Mr. Gerrold David Gerrold - The Further Adventures of Mr. Costello David Gerrold - The Dunsmuir Horror David Gerrold - My Life in Science Fiction Aimee Ogden - The Dragon Robert Eldridge - Curiosities


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Volume 131, Nos 3 & 4, Whole no. 727 Contents: Geoff Ryman - Those Shadows Laugh Sarah Pinsker - Talking to Dead People Peter S. Beagle - The Green-Eyed Boy Desirina Boskovich - The Voice in the Cornfield, The Word Made Flesh Ian Creasey - A Melancholy Apparition Lisa Mason - Anything for You Leah Cypess - Cupid's Compass Steven Popkes - The Sweet Warm Earth Kristine Kathryn Rusch - Volume 131, Nos 3 & 4, Whole no. 727 Contents: Geoff Ryman - Those Shadows Laugh Sarah Pinsker - Talking to Dead People Peter S. Beagle - The Green-Eyed Boy Desirina Boskovich - The Voice in the Cornfield, The Word Made Flesh Ian Creasey - A Melancholy Apparition Lisa Mason - Anything for You Leah Cypess - Cupid's Compass Steven Popkes - The Sweet Warm Earth Kristine Kathryn Rusch - The Amazing Mr. Gerrold David Gerrold - The Further Adventures of Mr. Costello David Gerrold - The Dunsmuir Horror David Gerrold - My Life in Science Fiction Aimee Ogden - The Dragon Robert Eldridge - Curiosities

30 review for The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, September/October 2016 (The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, #727)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Brian

    I enjoy this magazine. It brings a unique, comforting pleasure. This issue showcased two writings from David Gerrold, a famous sci-fi writer, who wrote “The Trouble With Trebles” (Star Trek), and “The Martian Child.” I enjoyed him, and he influenced me in a resonant way, for both reading and writing. I also found some new names I enjoyed. The following breaks down each storyline, some with personal commentary: Talking To Dead People, Sarah Pinsker: A college girl creates doll houses that use predi I enjoy this magazine. It brings a unique, comforting pleasure. This issue showcased two writings from David Gerrold, a famous sci-fi writer, who wrote “The Trouble With Trebles” (Star Trek), and “The Martian Child.” I enjoyed him, and he influenced me in a resonant way, for both reading and writing. I also found some new names I enjoyed. The following breaks down each storyline, some with personal commentary: Talking To Dead People, Sarah Pinsker: A college girl creates doll houses that use predictive analytics for murders, and discovering forensic secrets. She contracts with a friend and something makes them split apart. A piece with more sentiment and literary emotion than sci-fi. I enjoyed it. The Green-Eyed Boy, Peter S. Beagle: A very impressive read. I like this man’s style. He makes me “feel” it, a high quality in my opinion of authors. He wrote “The Last Unicorn,” a book recommended to me by someone at a former and job and a good friend on Goodreads. I want to read it. This story takes place in that “world.” A boy neglected from fair privileges by a father becomes a Wizard’s apprentice. The boy has a knack for mistakes, and must learn lessons, as well as the Wizard, who deepens in patience. The Voice in the Cornfield, the Word Made Flesh, Desirina Boskovich: A prolific, creepy read. Excellent! I plan to watch this author and follow her. An alien ship crashes in a cornfield. A little girl has an ecstatic experience, sensing a god-like experience from this life-form, and tragedy comes. The people in the area come under the influence of this thing, and it doesn’t pan out in rainbows and lollipops. The thing cries for help, and the end reveals how help would come. Very creepy and highly recommended! Loved it. A Melancholy Apparition, Ian Creasy: A mirror story of Holmes and Watson in the lives of Johnson and Boswell of eighteenth century England, and a secret mystery to solve. The Further Adventures of Mr. Costello (novelette), David Gerrold: A group of engineers and scientists take temporary residence on a planet, along with a business partner, to excavate “horg” droppings, and to give the dead horg bodies to the business partner. Horgs are mean creatures that poke people and impregnate them, and the baby horgs rip out of the body, like on “Alien” but all over the body. The characters present interchangeable sexes, conflicting relationships, and an ethical dilemma solved at the end. I didn’t like it at first but I found myself drawn into it and ended up deeply enjoying it. The story evidences Gerrold’s years of prolific writing. I’m a fan. The Dunsmuir Horror (novellete), David Gerrold: My favorite piece in the collection. The writer flows from the consciousness, with seemingly random and shifting thought patters. This made it weird, and I liked that, and hilarious, and clever. The story follows the author, so I guess this could be considered meta-fiction (although I’m still learning what that means), with the author writing his agent in a mental hospital, or an asylum of some type. They’ve detained him because of his crazy thoughts, and demanded he write them out in stories, and give the stories to the property of the facility. He tells, in this piece, of passing through a town called Dunsmuir, which no longer exists because the town fell off the map from a curse of retribution. Gerrold demands people believe him; he drove through the town, and saw evil looking teenagers approach his car. Read it! The Dragon, Aimee Ogden: A short poem, skilled and moving, from the heart. Anything for You, Lisa Mason: In a dystopian future, a man addicted to movies wherein the watchers pick the plot movements struggles with controlling his own life, and marriage. Another goodie. Those Shadows Laugh, Geoff Ryman: Expands on a topic introduced in a novel from 1915, by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Could an isolated civilization of women reproduce pathogenically, in our interconnected world? Cupid’s Compass, Leah Cypress: Sweet story, the kind I like most, in the spirit of “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” and “The Matrix,” philosophical and mind-freak material. A woman goes to a clinic to fall in love with someone of the clinic’s choice, through neurological programming. After the procedure she gets happily married, has a child, only to run into (surprise) serious complications. Great, subjectively happy, ending! The Sweet Warm Earth, Steven Popkes: Another favorite in the collection. A mafia man hides in Boston and takes a job in security watching race horses. An old man comes and whispers to specific horses who end up winning. They develop a sort of friendship and the old man faces a moral dilemma for a relative. I’m reading another collection now. I like this magazine, and the warm feeling it brings. I like the style of the stories. I plan to read more of this variety once I read the collection of unread MFSF’s I have so far, six in all I believe, and then may branch out to similar magazines, as I plan to focus on short stories into all next year. Also, as a writer, it helps to know what goes on with contemporary literature, in the stories, and in the page and editorial advertisements.

  2. 5 out of 5

    G33z3r

    "The Dunsmuir Horror" by David Gerrold — This novella (one of two by Mr. Gerrold in this issue) is written in the form of a very long, very rambling letter from Gerrold to Gordon Van Gelder (former editor of this magazine.) It has a storyline to it, of sorts, though it doesn't get going until halfway through. Meanwhile, Gerrold opines on everything from the color green to the interstate highway system. It's clever and funny, in an audit unusual sort of way. **** "The Green-Eyed Boy" by Peter S. Be "The Dunsmuir Horror" by David Gerrold — This novella (one of two by Mr. Gerrold in this issue) is written in the form of a very long, very rambling letter from Gerrold to Gordon Van Gelder (former editor of this magazine.) It has a storyline to it, of sorts, though it doesn't get going until halfway through. Meanwhile, Gerrold opines on everything from the color green to the interstate highway system. It's clever and funny, in an audit unusual sort of way. **** "The Green-Eyed Boy" by Peter S. Beagle — Last Unicorn's author shares story of Schemdrick's apprenticeship. Entertaining enough short story. *** "The Sweet Warm Earth" by Steven Popkes — Retro story in the 1960's in which a Boston mob enforcer moves to California to ply his trade and ends up assigned to looking for cheats at the racetrack. Runs into a "horse whisperer", coincidence follows. Engaging enough story from a mobsters PoV, with the cliché of a almost kindhearted mobster (he may break your legs and cut off your fingers, but he'll feel conflicted about it. :) Entertaining and agreed, though. ***1/2* "Talking to Dead People" by Sarah Pinsker — Such a rarity, a Pinsker story I can actually understand! A couple of entrepreneurs combine making model houses with AI learning and re-create models of famous murder scenes, complete with the ability to talk with the victims, suspects and witnesses via the AI. Amusing idea, though I'm sure I missed Pinkser's actual point. *** "Anything for You" by Lisa Mason — In the future where television is participatory and that each viewer can select various plot turns, the man seems to enjoy running the life of a TV character more than living his own life. **1/2* "Cupid's Compass" by Leah Cypess — A future where you can decide to fall in love and have that love inserted neurologically (the technological equivalent of a love potion), truelove becomes a confusing anomaly. ** "Those Shadows Laugh" by Geoff Ryman — An isolated society of women who reproduced by parthenogenesis live on an island. A genetic scientist visits to help correct some accumulating genetic disorders, falls in love and tries to change that society. More a story of unrequited love than sci-fi. Yawn. **

  3. 4 out of 5

    Beth Cato

    I am counting this as a book due to the length. It was a good issue overall, though I couldn't get into the featured novella. Some of favorite works included: - Sarah Pinsker's "Talking to Dead People." It mixes up model houses, a very famous murder, and some deep personal introspection. - David Gerrold's "The Dunsmuir Horror." Gerrold's partly autobiographical stories in this vein are rambling and often nonsensical, yet also amusing. Plus, I love that he mentions the I-5 turn-off to my hometown, I am counting this as a book due to the length. It was a good issue overall, though I couldn't get into the featured novella. Some of favorite works included: - Sarah Pinsker's "Talking to Dead People." It mixes up model houses, a very famous murder, and some deep personal introspection. - David Gerrold's "The Dunsmuir Horror." Gerrold's partly autobiographical stories in this vein are rambling and often nonsensical, yet also amusing. Plus, I love that he mentions the I-5 turn-off to my hometown, which is quite distinct because of the cattle yards.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Leroy Erickson

    The stories in this issue of F&SF ranged from very good to very bad. I decided to rate the stories individually: Sarah Pinsker - Talking to Dead People - 4-1/2 stars A very good story which touches on the long term emotional effect of losing a sibling. Peter S. Beagle - The Green-Eyed Boy - 3-1/2 stars A very well told story about training a wizard's apprentice. Desirina Boskovich - The Voice in the Cornfield, The Word Made Flesh - 4 stars A unique view of an alien life form and how it affects life The stories in this issue of F&SF ranged from very good to very bad. I decided to rate the stories individually: Sarah Pinsker - Talking to Dead People - 4-1/2 stars A very good story which touches on the long term emotional effect of losing a sibling. Peter S. Beagle - The Green-Eyed Boy - 3-1/2 stars A very well told story about training a wizard's apprentice. Desirina Boskovich - The Voice in the Cornfield, The Word Made Flesh - 4 stars A unique view of an alien life form and how it affects life in an isolated society. Ian Creasey - A Melancholy Apparition - 3 stars An OK story, but takes a long time for a simple plot. Kristine Kathryn Rusch - The Amazing Mr. Gerrold - 2 stars OK. You like David Gerrold David Gerrold - The Further Adventures of Mr. Costello - 3 stars Pretty good. David Gerrold - The Dunsmuir Horror - 1 star The horror is making your readers slog through 50 very boring pages to tell a 5 page story. David Gerrold - My Life in Science Fiction - 3 stars It has some good quotes in it. Lisa Mason - Anything for You - 1 star I read it, but I have no idea what the story is about. Geoff Ryman - Those Shadows Laugh - 3 stars An OK story about a woman visiting an almost non-human isolated society on earth. Leah Cypess - Cupid's Compass - 3 stars A different look on how electronic brain stimulation could be used to "improve" life. Steven Popkes - The Sweet Warm Earth - 4 stars A well told story of a compassionate enforcer and a man who talks to horses.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    "The Further Adventures of Mr. Costello" by David Gerrold - Fascinating world-building both ecological and cultural. Well developed characters and touching relationships. After some interesting build-up, the ending is abrupt and maybe a bit too pat -- but satisfying nonetheless. **** (3/10/17)

  6. 4 out of 5

    Lizabeth Tucker

    The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction (Sept/Oct 2016) Ten stories and assorted articles, plus one poem. I have what I would consider to be a love/hate relationship with David Gerrold’s works. To be honest, as an original fan of Star Trek: TOS, I liked “The Trouble with Tribbles”, but rarely put it in my top ten favorite episodes. I preferred my episodes to be more emotionally connected, such as “The City on the Edge of Forever” or “The Devil in the Dark” (still my number one favorite episode) The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction (Sept/Oct 2016) Ten stories and assorted articles, plus one poem. I have what I would consider to be a love/hate relationship with David Gerrold’s works. To be honest, as an original fan of Star Trek: TOS, I liked “The Trouble with Tribbles”, but rarely put it in my top ten favorite episodes. I preferred my episodes to be more emotionally connected, such as “The City on the Edge of Forever” or “The Devil in the Dark” (still my number one favorite episode). I acknowledge his talent, it is undeniable, and I know he is adored by many science fiction fans. 3.6 out of 5. “Talking to Dead People” by Sarah Pinsker Eliza has been fascinated by murder scenes since before college. She enlists college roommate and model builder, Gwen, to bring the houses into life. Eliza then wires the models with an AI that can respond to questions. Her dream is to develop and program them to make connections that the investigators have missed and, possibly, solving the murder. Eliza obviously had no empathy or real affection for Gwen. If she had, she would’ve never made Gwen’s family house as a gift. Perhaps she meant well, but it was cruel. Pinsker has done a bang-up job with this update of the Nutshell Studies and such strong characterization. 4 out of 5. “The Green-Eyed Boy” by Peter S. Beagle Prequel to THE LAST UNICORN. Nikos the Wizard relates the story of Schmendrick’s earliest exposure to magic, as well as the boy’s struggles for perfection. How can it be fifty years since THE LAST UNICORN was first published? Impossible! I can still remember the joy and pain of that first reading. While I haven’t reread it since 1972, I can still feel those emotions whenever I stumble across a new edition or recommend it to a young reader. This glimpse of dear Schmendrick’s earliest days with Nikos and magic brings back such fond memories. 3.5 out of 5. “The Voice in the Cornfield, the Word Made Flesh” by Desirina Boskovich A traveler, a creature from another world, crashes into Earth. Horribly injured, dying, it struggles to reach out for help. Poor lonely creature, trying so hard to simply connect with someone. The first attempt overwhelmed the young girl. The second was dealing with her own desperate battles, probably postpartum. Finally, he finds another who longs for freedom, who doesn’t belong in the Mennonite community she has been trapped in her whole life. 4 out of 5. “The Further Adventures of Mr. Costello” by David Gerrold A continuation/sequel for “Mr. Costello, Hero” by Theodore Sturgeon. Mr. Costello has come to Haven with a plan to trap and sell horgs, a vicious warthog type creature that is prized for the taste of its meat. Although everyone is expecting Costello and whoever helps him to wind up dead, but Grampa is willing to make some case in the meantime. I’ve never read Sturgeon’s original story, to the best of my memory, so I don’t know how different my review would’ve been if I had. The family group helping Costello are much more interesting than the man himself. The ending almost had to be to save Haven, to save the families from his plans. This destruction of a lifestyle, an environment, a culture, is all too realistic. 4.5 out of 5. “The Dunsmuir Horror” by David Gerrold A most unusual letter from David Gerrold to Gordon Van Geldor, former editor and current publisher of this magazine. This is a writer on the edge, but of what? Insanity or sanity? These types of stories, autobiographical fiction, rarely do anything for me. This tale is no exception, no matter how many notable names are mentioned. Honestly, it almost reads like blah science fiction. Although I don’t think would get many Kudos on AO3, but I may be wrong. 3 out of 5. “Anything for You” by Lisa Mason After his wife had an affair, Willem began to lose himself in the interactive television series, Dr. Virginia Isley, less and less able to tell reality from fiction. So lost, too common a complaint aimed at gamers or readers or people in fandom. It’s rarely as accurate as the accusers would like to think, but this time it unfortunately is. Poor Willem really just wants to feel like he is in control of his life. All he can control is Virginia, except he really isn’t there either. 4.5 out of 5. “Those Shadows Laugh” by Geoff Ryman Senora Valdez has come to Colinas Bravas to help the all-female residents overcome the problem with children born with defects. She falls in love with Evie, her guide, and wants to stay. Valdez herself realizes that she falls in love with a land and a people, then a person, only to mess it up. All she really wants is to belong, but the Colinas own nothing and do not believe in the possession of anything. 4 out of 5. “Cupid’s Compass” by Leah Cypess Mindy convinces her sister, Larissa, to fall in love with Steve through the work of Cupid’s Compass. The company uses what is known about the cause of emotions to force a connection between two people. If it isn’t naturally occurring, is it real? And what do you do if something isn’t quite right? Larissa may never learn that love and happiness cannot be forced. 3.5 out of 5. “The Sweet Warm Earth” by Steven Popkes When things got bad with the Boston gangs, Larry Mulcahey moved to California. While guarding the race horses, Larry meets Mr. Bernardi, a man who speaks with the horses and bets just a little based on that conversation. Until his nephew gets in trouble with Larry’s boss. Oh, God. I can’t stop tearing up. This is heartwrenching, if beautiful written. How could Popkes do this? He ripped my heart out, the bastard. 5 out of 5.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Standback

    Standout stories in this issue are: Talking To Dead People, by Sarah Pinsker: Two college friends go into business building perfect recreations of murder scenes. Portrays an odd situation, teases it out, and then stabs at the heart. This story had me constantly thinking of the wonderful Karen Joy Fowler. To some extent, for the subject matter - Eliza and Gwen's houses bear a strong resemblance to the murder-mystery dollhouses of Wit's End. But more than that, it's the understated prose bringing t Standout stories in this issue are: Talking To Dead People, by Sarah Pinsker: Two college friends go into business building perfect recreations of murder scenes. Portrays an odd situation, teases it out, and then stabs at the heart. This story had me constantly thinking of the wonderful Karen Joy Fowler. To some extent, for the subject matter - Eliza and Gwen's houses bear a strong resemblance to the murder-mystery dollhouses of Wit's End. But more than that, it's the understated prose bringing to life such strong characters and emotions; the tiny snapshots that hold such personalities and intriguing observations. Pinsker is a marvel with short stories; her pieces are always rich and alive, and they tend to pack a real punch as well. I'm delighted to see her in F&SF The Dunsmuir Horror, by David Gerrold: Another of Gerrold's semi-autobiographical rambling stories, but this one really worked for me where others in this style didn't. One of the topics here is telling reality from imagination - which is very, very on point in a story that blurs the lines between the two. Still full of digressions, but almost every single one of them seems to have a point. Many of them have some intriguing, offbeat insights; that these are utter nonsense is half the fun. ---- The issue is full of a wide variety of very good stories, of all different types and styles. The Green-Eyed Boy, by Peter Beagle, is a prequel for Schmendrick, of The Last Unicorn. Typically for Beagle, the story is heartfelt and gripping. The Voice in the Cornfield, the Word Made Flesh, by Desirina Boskovich, is quite wrenching - I'm not entirely sure whether it's meant to be a horror piece; it keeps jumping to horrible things very quickly, but there's rather more coming about here than just horror. A Melancholy Apparition, by Ian Creasey, is a ghost story through a decidedly non-modern point of view. I found it a refreshing treatment - the characters are religious and moralizing, but their beliefs are reflections of their moral sense, rather than religion acting as an arbitrary dictator. Good to see. The Sweet Warm Earth, by Stephen Popkes, is an entertaining piece of a crime enforcer's run-in with a modest horse whisperer. Vivid and well-told. The Further Adventures of Mr. Costello , by David Gerrold, is very enjoyable for delving deep into a society of traders and farmers, and the uneasy dance they begin with a newcomer, who's either the biggest idiot or the biggest swindler ever to visit the planet. --- I liked having a special section for Gerrold - although I do wish the article about him had been less simple bibliography (with effusive praise, of course, and yet--), and more a consideration of his contributions and body of work. I'd definitely be happy to see more author-spotlight issues. --- Those Shadows Laugh, by Geoff Ryman, was the one sour note in the issue for me. It was extremely well-written, but my hackles rose at the naked utopianism of the piece. Ryman's Colinas are eternally cheerful and joyous, appear to suffer from no want or strife, and overall just seem tremendously simple. I cannot buy this as utopia; as worthy of the longing the protagonist expresses. This culture seems to have nothing to say beyond how serene and happy and live-in-the-moment they are. It's a society lobotomized, and then exoticized to present that blankness as perfection. --- All in all, another fine issue. As always, the variety is magnificent, and the quality is excellent.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Dennis Lynch

    110 pages of David Gerrold!

  9. 5 out of 5

    John Loyd

    7 • Talking to Dead People • 13 pages by Sarah Pinsker Very Good. Gwen helps her roommate Eliza with her newly created business of making models of murder houses. Gwen building the models, Eliza making an AI that answers the questions of viewers. Gwen likes making the models and the money, and is happy supporting Eliza's passion until they have a falling out. 20 • The Green-Eyed Boy • 14 pages by Peter S. Beagle VG/Good. A wizard takes on a student. Schmendrink is hard working, follows directions 7 • Talking to Dead People • 13 pages by Sarah Pinsker Very Good. Gwen helps her roommate Eliza with her newly created business of making models of murder houses. Gwen building the models, Eliza making an AI that answers the questions of viewers. Gwen likes making the models and the money, and is happy supporting Eliza's passion until they have a falling out. 20 • The Green-Eyed Boy • 14 pages by Peter S. Beagle VG/Good. A wizard takes on a student. Schmendrink is hard working, follows directions and has power, but in his spells he almost always manages the wrong inflection or something that makes it go awry. 34 • The Voice in the Cornfield, the Word Made Flesh • 15 pages by Desirina Boskovich Good+. An alien crash lands on Earth. Its ship disintegrates, and it sends out psychic messages. A seven year old girl is the first to respond to the alien but is overwhelmed. Nice job of building characters, especially Nancy. 49 • A Melancholy Apparition • 14 pages by Ian Creasey Good. Bosewell and Sam Johnson visit ... He has asked them there to get Johnson's opinion on ghosts. 86 • The Further Adventures of Mr. Costello • 50 pages by David Gerrold Good/VG. Costello has a plan to capture horgs. The family has contracted to sell him their crop. Everyone expects Costello to get himself killed. The settlers are worried about upsetting the ecosystem, knowing that it would be easy to upset the balance and they'd be in a worse spot than having they are now having to avoid the migration paths of the horgs. 136 • The Dunsmuir Horror • 48 pages by David Gerrold Good. David tells of his drive from his home in southern California up the coast to Oregon, throwing in how Dr. Morgan thinks it's therapeutic for him to write it all down. David goes on tangents like green is an alien color, we can never know objective reality--only subjective, Eisenhower making a cross continent trip, Hitler [though not by name], about three pages where he takes the off ramp into Dunsmuir, and more. David likes to taste what he's eating and that segued into him mentioning "The Specialty of the House." I liked that reference, I read it in an EQMM anthology of first stories. Unbelievably David didn't tell us that was Stanley Ellin's first story. 195 • Anything for You • 11 pages by Lisa Mason OK. Willem is addicted to interactive TV and is especially drawn to Dr. Virginia Isley. Inventive idea. 206 • Those Shadows Laugh • 25 pages by Geoff Ryman OK/good. Mahreerah (Maria?) is a microbiologist that goes to Colinas Bravas to help the natives stop having sad children. The Colina are parthenogenic and genetic defects are creeping into their population. Maria tells us she goes to a foreign country and falls in love and it always ends. Then she tells us another story of an explorer that came to the island and fell in love with one of the Colina and it ended. 231 • Cupid's Compass • 9 pages by Leah Cypess Good+. Julie gets talked into using a service that makes people fall in love. She is not skeptical of the results, but rather of the concept. Really great tempo to the story, easy to read. 240 • The Sweet Warm Earth • 17 pages by Steven Popkes Good/VG. Larry is an enforcer. He got out of Boston, just in time, and went to work at a race track. Was a really fun read, but I couldn't rate it any higher with our protagonist having such an unsavory profession.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Esther

    Perfect for me Enjoyable, works for me "These Shadows Laugh" by Geoff Ryman [novelet] - An interesting story in dialogue with Gilman's Herland of a female scientist visiting a female-dominated society to assist with medical advances. "Talking to Dead People" by Sarah Pinsker - A story of creating haunted house models to help solve crimes. "The Green-Eyed Boy" by Peter S. Beagle - The story of a magician's apprentice. "The Voice in the Cornfield, the Word Made Flesh" by Desirina Boskovich - An alien Perfect for me Enjoyable, works for me "These Shadows Laugh" by Geoff Ryman [novelet] - An interesting story in dialogue with Gilman's Herland of a female scientist visiting a female-dominated society to assist with medical advances. "Talking to Dead People" by Sarah Pinsker - A story of creating haunted house models to help solve crimes. "The Green-Eyed Boy" by Peter S. Beagle - The story of a magician's apprentice. "The Voice in the Cornfield, the Word Made Flesh" by Desirina Boskovich - An alien arrives in a Mennonite community. "Anything for You" by Lisa Mason - A man's obsession with a character in an interactive TV show slowly detaches from real life. "Cupid's Compass" by Leah Cypress - Neuroscience has a solution for love - and for happiness. "The Sweet Warm Earth" by Steven Popkes - Enforcing the underground world at an race-track. I always have a soft spot for race-tracks because of my grandfather. * "The Further Adventures of Mr. Costello" by David Gerrold - A perfect world is threatened by a newly-arrived trader with a commercial solution to a local problem. "The Dunsmuir Horror" by David Gerrold - A continuation of a series of stories which present an alternative history to the author's life. Fine, but didn't speak to me "A Melancholy Apparition" by Ian Creasey - My main problem with this is I can't remember it... So couldn't have made too much of an impression. Not my cup of tea

  11. 5 out of 5

    Tee Jay

    Great! I enjoyed every story in this issue.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Samuel Lubell

    F&SF seems to be content to be good but not great. "Talking to Dead People" by Sarah Pinsker was a very strong character oriented piece about a pair of college students who come up with a business model of building model houses where famous murders took place and including an AI that can answer questions about it. But the AI isn't self-aware and if a slight step up from what computers can do now, it doesn't seem like something Google couldn't do today if it really wanted to. This is very well wr F&SF seems to be content to be good but not great. "Talking to Dead People" by Sarah Pinsker was a very strong character oriented piece about a pair of college students who come up with a business model of building model houses where famous murders took place and including an AI that can answer questions about it. But the AI isn't self-aware and if a slight step up from what computers can do now, it doesn't seem like something Google couldn't do today if it really wanted to. This is very well written, but only barely sf. "The Green-Eyed Boy" by Peter Beagle is the origin story of Schmendrick the wizard from The Last Unicorn. It's interesting, but lacks the special magic of the novel. "The Voice in the Cornfield" by Desirina Boskovich reads like it was originally a mainstream story with the sf element tacked on. "A Melancholy Apparition" by Ian Creasey suffers from the fact that this is about Dr. Johnson as written by Boswell, without the wit that this would require. And again, only Dr. Johnson's sight of the ghost (although he's not sure he saw it and this could be due to suggestion) prevents this from being mainstream. There are two David Gerrold stories. The first borrows the character of Mr. Costello from Sturgeon's "Mr. Costello, Hero" to present "The Further Adventures of Mr. Costello" basically the story of a con-man who thinks he is outsmarting rural farmers/ranchers on an alien planet. The second is one in a series of Gerrold's letters to Gordon (the former editor of the magazine" based on his experiences in a sanatorium, with a nice twist. "Anything for You" is a cautionary tale about the dangers of becoming too addicted to serial entertainment. "Those Shadows Laugh" by Geoff Ryman is a semi-sequel to Charlotte Perkins Gilman's novel Herland, about an all-female country. Ryman updates it, with Disney running the tourist precinct and speculations about genetic drift since all the women reproduce parthenogentically. "Cupid's Compass" is about a procedure to make people fall in love, with an unexpected twist at the end. "The Sweat Warm Earth" is about gangsters and a real horse whisperer. As I said, none of these are bad stories, but most are very borderline fantasy/sf.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Michael J.

    There's a lot to enjoy in this issue. At $7.99 it's a good value for readers. It presents some convincing evidence for supporting this on a monthly basis, as there just aren't many genre print magazines like this still around. It's been several years since I have read F&SF, and I now understand why Fantasy precedes Science-Fiction in the title. The overall themes of these stories are fantasy, some with more science-fictional elements included. The reason I picked this up was the cover noting t There's a lot to enjoy in this issue. At $7.99 it's a good value for readers. It presents some convincing evidence for supporting this on a monthly basis, as there just aren't many genre print magazines like this still around. It's been several years since I have read F&SF, and I now understand why Fantasy precedes Science-Fiction in the title. The overall themes of these stories are fantasy, some with more science-fictional elements included. The reason I picked this up was the cover noting this as a special David Gerrold issue. Love the story how a young college student sold a Star Trek script ("The Trouble With Tribbles") that became a favorite and launched a writing career that continues to this day. There's a tribute to Gerrold by Kristine Kathryn Rusch as well as an amusing and humble article by Gerrold about "My Life In Science Fiction." There are also two long and worthwhile new stories by Gerrold, who takes an iconic Theodore Sturgeon character and adds to his story in "The Further Adventures of Mr. Costello." I love how it ends. Even better is "The Dunsmuir Horror", a stream-of-consciousness rant-like narrative written as a letter to Gordon Van Gelder, long-time former editor of F&SF. Along with some book and film reviews, seven other short stories round out this issue, as well as a longer novelet, "Those Shadows Laugh" by Geoff Ryman, a touching love story that modernizes an older serial about an isolated civilization of women who reproduce by parthenogenesis. Peter S. Beagle returns to the world of The Last Unicorn in "The Green-Eyed Boy", a prequel of sorts. There is good work from Sarah Pinsker, Desiring Boskovih, Ian Creasey and Lisa Mason. My favorite story in the issue (aside from the Gerrold pieces) is "The Sweet Warm Earth" by Steven Popkes, a heart-warming tale of 1960's crime, loan sharks, enforcers and horse races with a light fantastic element woven in. Runner-up is "Cupid's Compass" by Leah Cypress where neuroscience partners up with dating services to make marriages made in heaven (perhaps).

  14. 5 out of 5

    Sami Sundell

    The magazine has some sequels: Those Shadows Laugh by Geoff Ryman is based on Charlotte Perkins Gilman's Herland, Peter S. Beagle has a short story based on The Last Unicorn, and David Gerrold continues Theodore Sturgeon's story with The Further Adventures of Mr. Costello. Out of those, the last one was by far the most interesting. It tells a story of Mr. Costello appearing in Haven, a backwater colony that reminds me of old west. As the story unfolds, Gerrold slowly adds details to both the worl The magazine has some sequels: Those Shadows Laugh by Geoff Ryman is based on Charlotte Perkins Gilman's Herland, Peter S. Beagle has a short story based on The Last Unicorn, and David Gerrold continues Theodore Sturgeon's story with The Further Adventures of Mr. Costello. Out of those, the last one was by far the most interesting. It tells a story of Mr. Costello appearing in Haven, a backwater colony that reminds me of old west. As the story unfolds, Gerrold slowly adds details to both the world and the lives of people to make the reader realize how very different from us it is. Being a novella, it's just the perfect length to tell the story without seeming overblown - after all, the original Sturgeon piece was also a short story. The others, I wasn't that fond of. Part of it may be that I hadn't even heard of either Herland or The Last Unicorn - but I hadn't read Sturgeon's original either, and that didn't stop me from liking Mr. Costello. Ian Creasey's A Melancholy Apparition was a run-of-the-mill ghost story, narrated by James Boswell. The opening remarks make a comparison to Sherlock Holmes, but the "mystery" is far from Holmesian. On the other hand, Cupid's Compass by Leah Cypess was a fresh and horrible - and this time in a good way - take on dating and relationships that reminded me a bit of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Benn Allen

    This David Gerrold special edition of F&SF features two new stories by Mr. Gerrold, both of which are entertaining and highly enjoyable. I particularly liked "The Further Adventures of Mr. Costello", a sequel to Theodore Strugeon's classic tale, "Mr. Costello, Hero". The rest of the issue's tales are all of fairly high quality. The only weak entry is Geoff Ryman's "These Shadows Laugh". It's not a terrible story, mind you. Just didn't grab me the way the other stories did. Still, this issue and t This David Gerrold special edition of F&SF features two new stories by Mr. Gerrold, both of which are entertaining and highly enjoyable. I particularly liked "The Further Adventures of Mr. Costello", a sequel to Theodore Strugeon's classic tale, "Mr. Costello, Hero". The rest of the issue's tales are all of fairly high quality. The only weak entry is Geoff Ryman's "These Shadows Laugh". It's not a terrible story, mind you. Just didn't grab me the way the other stories did. Still, this issue and the one before it were filled with enough consistently good submissions, it's almost tempting for me to start buying "The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction" on a regular basis, rather every once in awhile

  16. 5 out of 5

    Heather Pagano

    David Gerrold was featured in this issue, and his stories were great! A good dose of humor and philosophy in with the spec fiction. The Peter S. Beagle story was good, too- in fact, I enjoyed most of the fiction in the issue. Usually that's good enough for me, but I guess I look forward to the book columns more than I realized. These fell a little flat, nothing really sparked my interest.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Tom Loock

    Again, an issue with quality fiction, very enjoyable. Particularly liked the stories by Boskovich, Cypess and Ryman as well as - against my expectations - the David Gerrold-stories, especially the 'auto-biographical' one.. It's a joy to read MoF&SF again after such a long break and to see the quality is still high. Again, an issue with quality fiction, very enjoyable. Particularly liked the stories by Boskovich, Cypess and Ryman as well as - against my expectations - the David Gerrold-stories, especially the 'auto-biographical' one.. It's a joy to read MoF&SF again after such a long break and to see the quality is still high.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Meran

    4.5 stars

  19. 4 out of 5

    Eco Imp

    Enjoyed David Gerrold's The Further Adventures of Mr. Costello and The Dunsmuir Horror.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Odo

    2.5/5.0

  21. 5 out of 5

    Shona Kinsella

    As always, a delight to read.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Renee Babcock

  23. 4 out of 5

    Mark Wilson

  24. 5 out of 5

    Carl

  25. 4 out of 5

    Caty

  26. 4 out of 5

    Robert Arl

  27. 5 out of 5

    Margit

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jay

  29. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Nelson

  30. 5 out of 5

    MJ (The Book Recluse)

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