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Analog - September 2006 by ( July 2006 / ) - Analog Science Fiction and Fact – September 2006 – Vol. CXXVI No. 9 – September 2006 - ISSN 1059-2113
Table of Contents:
Serial: A New Order of Things, Conclusion, by Edward M. Lerner Novella: A Pound of Flesh by Richard A. Lovett Novelette: A Million Years and Counting by Rajnar Vajra Short Story: Kyrie Eleison by John G. Hemry Science Fact: The Right Stuff: Materials for Aerospace and Beyond by Kyle Kirkland * Probability One * Probably Murder by Michael F. Flynn 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

I'm sorry to say that in the September 2006 issue of Analog Science Fiction and Fact, I found only one of the stories worth reading, although the "Probability One" story, "Probably Murder" by Michael F. Flynn was a lot of fun.

In "A Pound of Flesh", Richard A. Lovett gives us something of a detective story. Alex is an ex-lawyer turned Private Investigator who is hired by the usual beautiful woman to find a missing man. It turns out he has taken some particularly important nanos and disappeared. The story was a little long and did not end all that well. "A Million Years and Counting" by Rajnar Vajra is the story of Dan, a robot found on the Moon that has apparently been waiting there for a million years. Dan learns much on Earth and his purpose is revealed in the end. This is the best story in the issue and got a Very Good from me.

The lone short story, "Kyrie Eleison" by John G. Hemry is the tale of survivors of a crash on a planet. In the 200 years that they have lived there, a society has formed based on a very mistaken reading of the ship's manuals. This is nothing but a thinly-disguised attack on organized religion with cardboard characters and a very predictable ending.

Analog used to be my favorite of the science fiction magazines. Now, it's my least favorite. I cannot really recommend it.

Apex #6 by (Apex Publications LLC July 2006 / ) - Apex Science Fiction and Horror Digest – Vol. 1 Issue 6 – Summer 2006 – ISSN 1553-7269 - PO Box 2223. Lexington, KY 40588-2223 – Website: www.apexdigest.com

Table of Contents: Fiction: Duel in the Somme by Ben Bova * Queen of Stars by Bryn Sparks * Whether to Go Through by Christopher Rowe * Cerbo in Vitra ujo by Mary Robinette Kowal * Cut and Paste by Peter Gutierrez * The Deep Misanthropic Principle by Brandon Alspaugh * Temple: Part II by Steven Savile * Indigestion by Robby Sparks * Only an Echo by Michael C. Reed Non-Fiction: The Brightest Heavens of Invention: A Discourse on Ben Bova's "Duel in the Somme" by Gill Ainsworth * Some Notes on a Working Definition of Steampunk by Lavie Tidhar * Once Upon a Horror by Alethea Kontis * Interview with Poppy Z. Brite * Interview with Kage Baker

Apex is an usual magazine with some experimental stories. Not all of them work but there is plenty good in this magazine.

"Duel in the Somme" is a great little story by Ben Bova about a VR showdown between two guys vying for a girl. In "Queen of Stars" by Bryn Sparks, Moesha finds a way to beat the pirates that killed her lover, all this with a twist. "Whether to Go Through" is another story by Christopher Rowe whose appeal has, thus far, eluded me. This one features some guys who don't know what to do in an unusual environment. "Cerbo en Vitra ujo" by Mary Robinette Kowal is a chilling story about a naïve girl investigating the disappearance of her boyfriend.

"Cut and Paste" is a hilarious tale by Peter Gutierrez about the revolt of the alphabet against our abuse of it. "The Deep Misanthropic Principle" by Brandon Alspaugh really defies description and did not do much for me. "Temple Part II: A Map of You" by Steve Savile is Part 2 of a 4 part story which I'll review when it is completed. "Indigestion" is a nice little tale by Bobby Sparks about a guy who thinks he's getting away from a planet he hates, but there is more going on. "Only an Echo" by Michael C. Reed is a "Parting Shot" which is another story that really doesn't work for me.

The Nonfiction articles and interviews are all quite good and help make this magazine worth buying even if some of the stories don't quite work.

Asimov's Science Fiction - August 2006 by Sheila Williams (ed) ( July 2006 / ) - Asimov's Science Fiction - August 2006 - Vol. 30 No. 8 (Whole Number 367) - ISSN 1065-2698
Table of Contents: Novella: The Plurality of Worlds by Brian Stableford Novelettes: Dead Man by Alexander Jablokov * Crunchers, Inc. by Kristine Kathryn Rusch Short Stories: Feather and Ring by Ruth Nestvold * In the Abyss of Time by Stephen Baxter * Tin Marsh by Michael Swanwick Poetry: The Dying Physicist Tells Her Why Goodbye is Meaningless by Laurel Winter * In Wicked Hollows, On Darkling Plains by Kendall Evans & David C. Kopaska-Merkel * Not This Earth Forever by W. Gregory Stewart Departments: Editorial: The 2006 Dell Magazines Award by Sheila Williams * Reflections: The Thumb on the Dinosaur’s Nose: 2 by Robert Silverberg * Letters * On the Net: Son of Movies by James Patrick Kelly * Science Fiction Sudoku by John N. Marx * On Books by Peter Heck * The SF Conventional Calendar by Erwin S. Strauss

The August 2006 issue of Asimov's Science Fiction is a very good one and all the stories got that rating.

First up is "The Plurality of Worlds" by Brian Stableford. It is set in an alternate 16th Century England where Queen Jane and her chief scientist, John Dee send some worthy men (one of them is Walter Raleigh) on a "spaceship" into the ether. Their journey to the Moon is something truly bizarre. "Dead Man" by Alexander Jablokov is quite different. In a world where people upload their personalities to a big computer just before they die, some complications arise. In "Crunchers, Inc.", Kristine Kathryn Rusch gives us a look into a future where Actuarial Engineers use objective data to determine an individual's worth.

The issue is rounded out by three nice short stories. Ruth Nestvold's "Feather and Ring" is the story of a woman who travels to Taipei to close a business deal but finds help from a very unusual source. "In the Abyss of Time" by Stephen Baxter gives us a story that really takes us to the end of the Universe and one woman's search. The always wonderful Michael Swanwick tells a thrilling story in "Tin Marsh". In it a woman's prospecting partner on an inhospitable planet turns on her and she must find a way to survive.

I really like the direction that Sheila Williams has taken this magazine and can certainly recommend it whole-heartedly.

Challenging Destiny #22 by David M. Switzer (Ed.) (Crystalline Sphere publishing July 2006 / ) - Challenging Destiny 22: April 2006
Table of Contents: A Few Words About Evolution by David M. Switzer (pp 5-11) (Article) * Acid Man by Caroline Misner (pp 12-28) (5400 words) (Short Story) * Heroes and Villains by Steven Mohan, Jr. (pp 30—56) (8100 words) (Novelette) * Interview with Eileen Kernaghan by James Schellenberg & David M. Switzer (pp 58-73) (Article) * Pinons by Uncle River (pp 75-94) (Reprint) (6000 words) (Short Story) * Heart-Shaped Hole by Marissa K. Lingen (pp 96-125) (9000 words) (Novelette) * Behavior Norm by Sue Lange (pp 127-144) (4500 words) (Short Story) * Fantasy Movies Reign Supreme by James Schellenberg (pp 146-161) (Article) * The Anabe Girls by A.R. Morlan (162-180) (5700 words) (Short Story) * Eye Teeth by Jay Lake (pp 181-203) (7200 words) (Short Story)

Published by Crystalline Sphere Publishing – Editor: David M. Switzer – ISSN 1206-6656) E-mail csp@golden.net, website: challengingdestiny.com

Challenging Destiny is a magazine in electronic format that features an interesting mix of stories and articles.

In "Acid Man" by Caroline Misner, Lila works in a bar in a future where the ozone layer has disappeared. She meets Peter, a man whose body is slowly turning into acid in a very unusual love story. Steven Mohan's "Heroes and Villains" is the story of Charlie who lives in a world where nanos have made anything possible. He decides he want to be a superhero but they aren't needed there. What happens makes for a very good story. "Pinons" by Uncle River is a nice little story about a man who lives in a future world of really high inflation. In "Heart-Shaped Hole", Marissa K. Lingen tells us a cool story about Ginny, dying of cancer, who travels with her friend Nancy to Greenland. In a remote village, she volunteers to be an angakok (shaman) to appease a sea god named Nerrivik and things get stranger from there.

"Behavior Norm" by Sue Lange is the story of a woman on her fifth job on a godforsaken planet. She finds a way to succeed this time. "The Anabe Girls" by A.R. Morlan is a grim little story about the ultimate modeling agency. Last, In "Eye Teeth", Jay Lake a man finds out that the special eyes that he has bought are more than he bargained for.

All the stories here got a Very Good from me, so this magazine is highly recommended.

Fictitious Force #2 by (Jonathan Laden July 2006 / ) - Fictitious Force #2 – Available from Jonathan Laden, 1024 Hollywood Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20904
Table of Contents: Even without Deceit by Narissa K. Lingen * The Princess and her Assailants by Bruce Holland Rogers * Song of the Mine-Born by Len Bains * National Geographic On Assignment: Mermaids of the Old West by Sarah Monette * Tulips by Will McIntosh * Play Date by John Sunseri * Sing for Me by Marie Brennan * Supply Ship by Sara Polsky * NA/578934 by Claire O'Brien * Butterfly Jesus Saves the World by Rahul Kanakia * The Rapture, the Nerds, and the Singularity by Tom Doyle * The Call by Jennifer Pelland * Havermeyer's Ink by Peter Mackey

Fictitious Force is a truly unique magazine. It's half bedsheet size, lengthwise! As they say, these are really "tall tales".

The first story, "Even Without Deceit" is a nice little story by Marissa K. Lingen. Toni can see qualities (like Wisdom, Deceit, etc) in human form. "The Princess and Her Assistants" by Bruce Holland Rogers is an amusing spoof of Sleeping Beauty. "Song of the Mine-Born" by Len Bains is an okay story about two men who escape their enslaved life. In "National Geographic on Assignment: Mermaid of the Old West", Sarah Monette tells us a very strange tale about a mermaid in the San Francisco Aquarium. "Tulips" is a nice little story by Will McIntosh about a man who finds a way to sell aliens something from Earth. "Play Date" by John Sunseri is an especially chilling story about a demon menacing a boy. "Sing For Me" is a tragic story by Marie Brennan about the price paid for prophecy.

In "Supply Ship", Sara Polsky gives us a bored teacher's unusual escape. "NA/578934" by Clare O'Brien is a very good story about a childless woman's visions. "Butterfly Jesus Saves the World" by Rahul Kanakia is kind of explained by its title. "The Rapture, the Nerds, and the Singularity" is an unusual article by Tom Doyle on two topics that we would not usually equate. "The Call" by Jennifer Pelland asks the question, "Would you give up your humanity to save everyone else's?" Last, "Havermeyer's Ink" by Peter Mackey is a political tale about disenfranchised people who use a special kind of ink to strike back.

This is a very unusual magazine and worth getting if you want something a little different.

Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction - September 2006 by Gordon Van Gelder (Ed.) (Spilogale, Inc. July 2006 / ) - The Magazine Of Fantasy & Science Fiction September 2006 57th Year of Publication
September 2006 issue, which is scheduled to go on sale July 28, 2006
Table of Contents: Novelets: The Song of Kido 43 Matthew Corradi Short Stories: Prologue to the Endeavor: Luck Be a Lady Tonight 4 Harlan Ellison * Senora Suerte 7 Tananarive Due *The Return of the O'Farrissey 17 John Morressy * Poor Guy 69 Michael Kandel * Perfect Stranger 120 Amy Sterling Casil * If You've Ever Been a Lady 141 Michael Libling Nonfiction: Dear Starbear: Letters 77 Julie Phillips * Between Ursula K. Le Guin and James Tiptree Jr. Departments: Books to Look For 34 Charles de Lint * Musing on Books 38 Michelle West * Plumage from Pegasus: 116 Paul Di Filippo * The Goth Squad * Films: Funky, Funky Moscow 135Â Lucius Shepard * Coming Attractions 160 * Curiosities 162 F. Gwynplaine MacIntyre

The September 2006 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction is a something different from the ordinary issue. In addition to the stories, it has a sequence of letters between Ursula K. Le Guin and James Tiptree, Jr. They are quite interesting but outside the scope of this review, so I'll pass them over and get to the stories.

Even the stories are something out of the ordinary. Three of them are based on an idea by Harlan Ellison of which he was never able to make something. He explains in his introduction, "Prelude to the Endeavor: Luck Be a Lady Tonight" that the setup of the story is that Lady Luck is strolling through a gambling establishment and is recognized by a man who is smitten by her. He follows her around. Ellison adds one more complication (in his words), "The guy is the biggest loser who ever walked the Earth." I thought that the first story, "Senora Suerte" by Tannarive Due was the best, and one that I found truly exceptional. In it, Gilberto, who is in an elder care facility having suffered a stroke, sees Lady Luck at Bingo Time. But when she bestows luck on one of the old folks, that person dies that night. The end of the story is quite breathtaking. The other two stories are both very good. In "Poor Guy" by Michael Kandel a man finds Luck's favors a decidedly mixed blessing. Michael Libling's "If You've Ever Been a Lady" gives us a really inept guy who does not know how to best profit from Luck's favor.

The issue is rounded out by three more stories that I also rated Very Good. "The Song of Kido" by Matthew Corradi is the tale of Ridimon who wants to rid himself of the curse of being able to hear the dead. To do so, he goes on a hunt for a creature called a kigrin. Things turn out a little different from what he planned. In "Perfect Stranger", Amy Sterling Casil gives us a look into the future and the effect that gene therapy has on a family. Last but not least is a delightful tale from the late John Morrissey, "The Return of the O'Farrissey" is another story concerning the wizard Conhoon and his apprentice, a young girl named Kate O'Farrissey. Kate's father returns from consorting with the fairies and causes trouble. The way that it is resolved is classic Morrissey. It made me sad that we won't get a lot of stories about these two characters. They are different from the Princess and Kedrigern stories but just as wonderful.

So this issue has quite a bit to recommend it. Subscribe to this magazine or, at least, buy it at your local bookstore!

Paradox: Magazine of Historical and Speculative Fiction by (Paradox Publications July 2006 / ) - Paradox - Issue 9 - Summer 2006
Table of Contents:
Fiction: A Storm Over Cumorah by Richard Mueller * Kitsune by Adam Stemple * The Last Race by Gene Spears * Proserpina's Curse by Lisa Jensen * The Archer of the Sun and the Lady of the Moon by Eugie Foster * The Mouse and the Buzzer by Tom Brennan * Tea for Three by Ernesto Brosa * The Meteor of the War by Andrew Tisbert Poetry: Fife Map by Jane Yolen * The Tyrant Phocas (A.D. 602) by Darrell Schweitzer * Chernobyl by Lee Clark Zumpe * No Friend to Mankind by Darrell Schweitzer Departments: From the Editor * Book Reviews * Film Reviews * Author Interview: Connie Willis

Paradox calls itself "The Magazine of Historical and Speculative Fiction" and the new issue is a good mix of both.

The issue's first story, "A Storm Over Cumorah" by Richard Mueller, is pretty good but not convincing as alternate history. In the 1930s, in an America dominated by Mormons, Germany's Nazi government ingratiates itself with the Mormon Prophet, who apparently runs the country. The next story, "Kitsune" is a very good fantasy from Adam Stemple. Set in ancient Japan, Master Samurai Shichiro and his "Watson" Ken'ichi must solve murders committed by a "spirit fox". "The Last Race" by Gene Spears is set in a Greece in which the old world is changing but a man wants to run one more race in the last Olympic games. The next story is the best in the issue and gets an Exceptional rating from me. Lisa Jensen usually reviews stories but I wish she'd write more like "Prosperina's Curse". This is essentially an origin story for a certain famous pirate who had a hook for a hand. Jensen show that she really understands what the story of a boy who does not grow up is really about.

Another very good story is "The Archer of the Sun and the Lady of the Moon" by Eugie Foster, a Chinese fantasy and an enchanting love story. In "The Mouse and the Buzzer" by Tom Brennan, the setting is an alternate 1950s America where each house has its own "micropile" (yes, a nuclear reactor). A young boy in this story gets a little too curious. "Tea For Three" by Ernesto Brosa is an okay tale in which Edgar Allan Poe meets two very unusual little old ladies. Last, Andrew Tisbert's "The Meteor of the War" is a time travel story about a man sent back in time to re-direct John Brown's rebellion. This story does not succeed as well as the others.

Nonetheless, the Lisa Jensen story alone makes picking up this issue worth it.

Shimmer - Vol. 1 Issue 3 by Beth Wodinski (Ed.) (Beth Wodsinki July 2006 / ) - Simmer - Volume 1, Issue 3 - Spring 2006
Table of Contents: Fiction: Dog Thinks Ahead by Clifford Royal Johns * Drevka's Rain by Marina T. Stern * The Dealer's Hands by Paul Abbamondi * Melancholix by Joseph Remy * Litany by John Mantooth * Rubber Boots, Mr. President by Bruce K. Derksen * Paper Man by Darby Harn * A Warrior's Death by Aliette de Bodard * The Little Match Girl by Angela Slatter Non-Fiction: Review: Larry Niven's The Draco Tavern by John Joseph Adams

Published 4 times a year by Beth Wodsinki, PO Box 58591, Salt Lake City, UT 84158-0591

Shimmer is a nice little small press magazine with a very good group of stories by new writers. First is "Dog Thinks Ahead" by Clifford Royal Johns. In this one, man's best friend is even more helpful than usual. "Dervka's Rain" by Marina T. Stern is a magical tale of a woman who wants to keep her lover with her but this has consequences for her neighbors. In "The Dealer's Hand", Paul Abbamondi tells a chilling little story about two boys who buy the wrong thing from a shady dealer. "Melancholix" by Joseph Remy is an cute one-page comic strip that is an amusing allegory on unemployment. In "Litany", John Mantooth tells a haunting little story about a man's guilt.

"Rubber Boots, Mr. President" by Bruce K. Derksen is tragic tale about an unusual kind of war veteran. "Paper Man" by Darby Harn is a wonderful little horror story about a blind girl's very unique talent. In "A Warrior's Death" by Aliette de Bodard, we get an unusual story about an Aztec-like culture. A disgraced warrior is asked to investigate the death of a man who was to be sacrificed to the War God. How this concludes is very clever. Last, "The Little Match Girl" by Angela Slatter is a very different variant on that title.

I very much recommend this magazine.

Weird Tales - #340 by Darrell Schweitzer (Wildside Press July 2006 / ) - Weird Tales - May/June 2006 - #340
Table of Contents: Fiction: Arthur's Lion by Tanith Lee * No Such Thing as an Ex-Con by Holly Phillips * Small Magic by Jay Lake * Chinese Whispers by Rick Kennett * A Taste Sweet & Salty by Douglas Smith * The Girl With the Golden Lute by Sarah Hoyt * Snow Blind by Kiel Stuart * The Persecution of Artifice the Quill by John R. Fultz Verse: My Lover is a Werecat by Bruce Boston * Dark Fantasy Film Festival by David Bain * Creative Solution by Lee Strong * The Hunli and the Kublevex by Melissa K. Lewis * A Cautionary Terzanelle by Joan Silsby * Template for a Fairy Tale by Mike Allen and Charles Saplak * A Request of the Minstrel by Frederic S. Durbin Features: The Eyrie * The Den by Scott Connors * Interview: Holly Phillips

The new issue of Weird Tales is another good one. I enjoyed the issue from start to finish both for the stories and the features.

The first story is Tanith Lee's "Arthur's Lion". In this modern day tale, Jack goes to visit his long-estranged Uncle Arthur in the man's palatial estate. He finds that his uncle is haunted in an unusual way. How things are resolved make for a very good story. In "No Such Thing As an Ex-Con", Holly Phillips gives us the story of a woman whose psychic powers would get her convicted and sent to jail as an accessory to murder. Now the detective on that case needs help finding missing children. The story shows why Phillips is one of our best new writers. "Small Magic" by Jay Lake is set in a fantasy world. When their captain is killed, Alain and his fellow soldiers must find a way to hold their position against impossible odds. Rick Kennett's "Chinese Whispers" is the only slightly disappointing story in the issue. The title refers to a game in which people whisper a phrase from one person to another and are amused how it changes. The story did not have a particularly interesting ending.

"A Taste Sweet and Salty" by Douglas Smith is a charming tale about a man cursed to die every day and be reborn as someone else. The curse is ended in a very interesting way. "Girl With the Golden Lute" by Sarah Hoyt is set in a remote village at the time of the Crusades when most of the men have gone. A young girl is given a terrible prophecy. Again, this story has a very good ending. In "Snow Blind", Kiel Stuart gives us a very unusual buddy story in which one of the investigators is a vampire. Last (but definitely not least), John B. Fultz tells us a wonderful tale in "The Persecution of Artifice the Quill." Artifice is a writer in a city dominated by Sorcerers. He runs afoul of them because he wrote a book called The End of Sorcery. In just 12 pages, Fultz tells us what we need to know about this world and also provides a good story, quite an accomplishment.

Again, I strongly recommend this magazine. Buy it or subscribe.

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