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Analog - June 2006 by ( June 2006 / ) - Analog Science Fiction And Fact – Vol. CXXVI No. 6 – June 2006 – ISSN 1059-2113
Table of Contents: Serial: A New Order of Things Part 2 of 4 by Edward M. Lerner Novella: Puncher's Chance by James Grayson and Kathy Ferguson Novelette: Original Sin by Richard A. Lovett Short Stories: Preemption by Charlie Rosenkranz * The Door That Does Not Close by Carl Frederick Science Fact: Solar System Commuter Trains: Magbeam Plasma Propulsion by James Grayson and Kathy Ferguson Reader's Departments: The Editor's Page * In Times to Come * The Alternate View by Jeffrey D. Kooistra * The Reference Library by Tom Easton * Brass Tacks * Upcoming Events by Anthony Lewis

The June 2006 of Analog is a good one and all four pieces of short fiction got a Very Good from me.

"Puncher's Chance" by James Grayson and Kathy Ferguson is an exciting tale about a man who must get medical supplies to Mars to save colonist's lives. His ship is an old one and he must find ingenious ways to keep it flying. This is a good story of redemption and heroism, which reminds one of Apollo 13 (which is referenced). The same authors wrote a fact article about the science behind the story. "Original Sin" by Richard A. Lovett is a good little story about a coach who uses new VR headsets, invented by a friend, to train one of his runners. When the tech falls into the wrong hands, the coach must do things he finds distasteful.

"Preemption" by Charles Rosenkranz is a wild tale about aliens who insist that they must kill all of our dogs. They claim that the canines will become sentient and intelligent in 178,000 years and will then interfere with another alien race who are their clients. Let's just say, the tale has a nice little ending. "The Door That Does Not Close" by Carl Frederick is a strange little story about a man who winds up accompanying an android (that looks like a little boy but is actually controlled by an alien) on a quest to find a codex with evidence of the last visit of these aliens, back during the Roman Empire. This turned out badly and the aliens want to erase evidence of it so Earth is not hurt in the modern day. The author creates two interesting characters and gives them a good story.

So this issue of Analog is another worth picking up.

Asimov's Science Fiction - June 2006 by ( June 2006 / ) - Table of Contents: Novelettes: The Leila Torn Show by James Patrick Kelly * A Flight of Numbers Fantastique Strange by Beth Bernobich Short Stories: Life on the Preservation by Jack Skillingstead * The Tiger in the Garden by Scott William Carter * Eight Episodes by Robert Reed * The Ninth Part of Desire by Matthew Johnson * The Edge of the Map by Ian Creasey * Chu and the Nants by Rudy Rucker Poetry: Growing Old the Mythic Way by Jane Yolen * The Analects of Decomprecius by Wil McCarthy * Reiko by W. Gregory Stewart * The Unified Field of Dreams Theory by Laurel Winter Departments: Editorial: The Yellow Pill or Altered Perceptions by Sheila Williams * Reflections: Sixtus the Sixth by Robert Silverberg * On the Net: Adventures in Podcasting by James Patrick Kelley * On Books by Peter Heck * The SF Conventional Calendar by Erwin S. Strauss

The June 2006 issue of Asimov's Science Fiction is a pretty good one. I gave all the stories except one a Very Good Rating.

"The Leila Torn Show" by James Patrick Kelly takes us through the filming of a popular long-running television series that has gone through a lot of changes in its run. The odd thing here is that the story is told from the point of view of the show itself, which seems to be sentient. Surprising things happen and the show seems headed for disaster. All this makes for a very clever story. In "Life on the Preservation," Jack Skillingstead presents us with a world that ended on November 9, 2004. But that day in Seattle is preserved somehow. A young woman named Kylie visits and things happen. "The Tiger in the Garden" by Scot William Carter is a story about a man named Jose who must turn in his former mentor, now senile, over to the authorities because the man was a revolutionary. How he solves his problem makes for a good story.

I always look forward to a Robert Reed story and "Eight Episodes" is a strange as any of them. It's about a failed TV series called Invasion of a Small World that was canceled after only five episodes were shown. There is a lot of mystery about the series and when the whole eight episodes are released on DVD, it becomes a sensation. "The Ninth Part of Desire" by Matthew Johnson is a grim tale about a man named Raf who tries to cure his wife of Prospero's Disease in which someone loses the power to feel emotions. Johnson creates a lot of interesting detail about how this would all work. "The Edge of the Map" by Ian Creasey is wonderfully imaginative. Rudy Rucker always writes an unusual story and "Chu and the Nants" is certainly one of them. The Nants are bio-mimetic self-reproducing nanomachines and they are literally consuming the whole world. A man must find a way to introduce a virus into their system that will reverse everything. How this is accomplished makes for a great little story.

I only found one story disappointing in this issue, "The Flight of Numbers Fantastique Strange" by Beth Bernobich starts off well, set in an alternate universe in which a series of murders is taking place. The problem is that it ends very chaotically and tediously.

Nonetheless, the other stories in this issue make it worth picking up.

Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction - July 2006 by Gordon Van Gelder (Ed.) (Spilogale, Inc. May 2006 / ) - Contents: Novellas: * The Lineaments of Gratified Desire 66 Ysabeau S. Wilce Novelets: Kansas, She Says, is the Name of the Star 5 R. Garcia y Robertson Short Stories: Holding Pattern 40 Steven Popkes * Billy And The Unicorn 50 Terry Bisson * The Meaning of Luff 55 Matthew Hughes * Republic 117 Robert Onopa * Memory of a Thing That Never Was 135 Jerry Seeger * Just Do It 147 Heather Lindsley Departments: Books to Look For 30 Charles de Lint * Books 35 James Sallis * Films: Supercali Fragilisticnanny 129 Kathi Maio * Coming Attractions 160 Curiosities 162 F. Gwynplaine MacIntyre * Cartoons: Arthur Masear (39, 134), Tom Cheney (49), Frank Cotham (146) * COVER: "The Fountains of Enceladus" BY Ron Miller

The July 2006 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction is another great one with all the stories getting a Very Good rating from me.

The novella in this issue is "The Lineaments of Gratified Desire" by Ysabeau S. Wilce. The story is a sequel to a story from 2004, set in a world that editor Gordon Van Gelder aptly describes as baroque. In the City of Califa (which sounds like San Francisco), a young man named Hardhands (whose grandmother is the "Pontifexa") searches for a little girl named Tiny Doom (who is somehow his wife and the Pontifexa's successor). Tiny Doom always has a stuffed animal that she just calls Pig but there is more to Pig than it appears. The chase is fraught with perils and wild events. All in all, it makes for a delightful ride. The issue also has one novelet, "Kansas, She Says Is the Name of the Star" by R Garcia y Robertson. A young girl named Amy is about to turn 13 and in her culture that means she will become part of the harem of some old man. She doesn’t want that and runs away, borrowing a scarecrow’s clothes. Her journey is filled with delightful versions of familiar characters from a familiar tale (suggested by the title.) This, too, was a fun story that runs in unexpected directions. The issue is rounded out by stories by new writers. "Memory of a Thing That Never Was" by Jerry Seeger is a nice little tale about a man recruited for a war against The Other. They are apparently aliens but there is more going on here in what makes for some good intrigue. In "Just Do It" by Heather Lindsley, we get a story of a future where mega-corporations can do just about anything to get people to buy their products. A young woman named Alex is part of a group opposed to this but must go undercover in more ways than one. While the tale has some humor to it, the end is positively chilling.

Again, this is a magazine that you should be picking up.

Sybil's Garage #3 by (Senses Five Press May 2006 / ) - Sybil’s Garage – No. 3, March 2006
Table of Contents: Fiction: Six Questions About the Sun by Brian Conn * The Lonesome Trail by Cat Rambo * The Redaction of Flight 5766 by Eric Gregory * Indentured Advertisements by Gary J Beharry * What Do Women Want by Helena Singer * It's What Isn't There by Lee Thomas * Holes by Paul G. Tremblay * How I Got Fired From the Best Damn Job in the Whole Wide World by Samantha Henderson * So that Her High Born Kinsmen Came by Yoon Ha Lee Poetry: Time Slows to a Crawl by Aurelio Rico Lopez III * Eye of the Lynx by Bobbi Sinha-Morey * April Sashays in Lime Heels by Ed Lynskey * Luna Scorned by Elizabeth Barrette * The Tale of the Desert in the Rain by JoSelle Vanderhooft * Bad Penny by Mikal Trimm Interviews: Jim Hans, Hoboken Extraordinaire by Matthew Kressel * Kelly Link, Words by Flashlight by Lauren McLaughlin

A Publication of Senses Five Press, 307 Madison St, #3L, Hoboken, NJ 07030-1937 – info at sensesfive.com – www.sensefive.com.

Sybil's Garage is a unique little small press magazine, published out of Hoboken, New Jersey. It seems like an evocation of the past with old illustrations sprinkled throughout. But it is filled with experimental kinds of fiction. One thing very different is that in the heading of every story, poem or interview is a suggestion of a piece of music to accompany it. There were three stories I especially liked. "Indentured Advertisements" by Gary J. Beharry, is exactly about what the title says. I can't give away more. "It's What Isn't There" by Lee Thomas is a chilling little tale of a child trying to help his father through a rough time. "How I Got Fired From the Best Damned Job in the Whole Wide World" by Samantha Henderson is a funny little story about a cool job and things that go wrong.

The rest of the stories were a little too experimental for my tastes. "The Redaction of Flight 5766" by Eric Gregory is an odd little tale about a airport security man's odd little day. "Six Questions About the Sun" by Brian Conn is more fanciful than scientific with little adventures of a man called Tariq the Cosmonaut used to illustrate a point. "So That Her Highborn Kinsmen Come" by Yoon Ha Lee is a story about the raising of a child. The answer to "What Do Women Want" by Helena Singer is not particularly interesting. "Holes" by Paul G. Tremblay details a man's strange obsession. "Lonesome Trail" by Cat Rambo is a story of poets looking for a promised land.

If you like stories that are long on mood, you might like this magazine.

Weird Tales #339 by ( May 2006 / ) - Weird Tales – March-April 2006 - Vol. 61 No. 3 - Issue #339 - ISSN 0898-5073
Table of Contents: Fiction: So Coldly Sweet, So Deadly Fair by Gregory Frost * Birth by Michael Siefner * The Waiters by Tony Richards * Venice-Rome-Direttissma by Charles L Harness * The Dead Of Winter by Stephen Dedman * Fimbuldinner: The Last Supper by Kelly McCullough * The Flight Of The Angel by Cherith Baldry * The Uninvited by Kelli Wilkins * The Lost Room by Fitz-James O'Brien * The Grave Of My Beloved by Ian Watson & Roberto Quaglia Verse: Reptiles by Wendy Rathbone * Angel Tears by Jill Baumann * Illustrated Limerick by George Barr * Justinian's Demon by Darrell Schweitzer * Coffin by Catherine A. Callaghan * Still Awake by Kane S. Latrantz * The Widow by Chris Ferrier

I am really enjoying reading Weird Tales again and am kicking myself for not doing this sooner. The March-April 2006 issue had two stories which I thought Exceptional and the rest all got a Very Good rating.

The first of the exceptional stories is "The Waiters" by Tony Richards. A man winds up with the job of visiting an elderly aunt in a nursing home. He's been told that her mind is not quite right but his first visit makes him uneasy. She is in fear of people she calls "wait-ers" who apparently have nothing to do with a restaurant. He finds that she is more lucid than was apparent at first. I won't give away the rest of the story but this one really chilled my bones. The other story that I was especially impressed with was by the late Charles Harness. "Venice-Rome-Direttissima" shows that age had not dulled his talents. An American engineer must assist a railroad in Italy that must dig through a mountain to make rail travel safer. There are legends that a demon will be released if the mountain is excavated. Harness gives us one of his typical wonderful endings to this story. He will be missed.

Of course, the other stories in this issue were all very enjoyable. "So Coldly Sweet, So Deadly Fair" by Gregory Frost is a atmospheric tale about Dr. Abraham Van Helsing's first encounter with vampires. Frost deftly recreates the epistolary style of Dracula and tells us why Van Helsing is so committed to wiping out the undead. "Birth" by Michael Siefner is another cautionary tale about a man named Clemens who is all alone at Christmastime and ventures out into the countryside. Big mistake. "The Dead of Winter" by Stephen Dedman is a nice little story about a couple that winds up investigating urban legends like The Vanishing Hitchhiker and The Phantom Biker. How the story comes together is an utter delight.

"Fimbuldinner: The Last Supper" by Kelly McCullough is a hilarious tale. A King reluctantly lets a magician he's had trouble with before host a huge dinner in his palace. What happens is distinctly unexpected but a real hoot. "The Flight of the Angel" by Cherith Baldry is a beautifully written tale, set in old Venice in which a man must foil an assassination attempt on the life of the Doge. "The Uninvited" by Kelli Wilkins is a chilling little story about bad children. "The Lost Room" is an old tale by Fitz-James O'Brien but is certainly worth reprinting. "The Graves of My Beloved" by Ian Watson and Robert Quaglia is a modern tale (written in an old-fashioned style) about a man who can only afford a "virtual grave" for his beloved.

Weird Tales is definitely worth a subscription!

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