The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction January/February 2011 - Volume 120, No. 1&2, Whole No. 693
by Gordon Van Gelder
Edited by Gordon Van Gelder
Cover Artist: Kristen Kent
Review by Sam Tomaino
Fantasy & Science Fiction ISBN/ITEM#: 1095-8258
Date: 30 December 2010 / Pub Info / Table of Contents /
The January/February 2011 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction has stories by Pat McEwen, Kate Wilhelm, Albert E. Cowdrey, Matthew Corradi, Rick Norwood, Chris Lawson, James Stoddard, Jim Young, Bill Pronzini & Barry N. Malzberg, Richard A. Lupoff, Alan Dean Foster, and a Plumage from Pegasus from Paul Di Filippo
The January/February 2011 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction starts of the new year in fine fashion with one story Hugo-worthy
The issue starts with "Home Sweet B'Iome" by Pat McEwen. Our unnamed narrator wakes up one morning feeling itchy. This concerns her because she is allergic to many things. But her home is a B'Iome, created from her own DNA. What could be affecting her? When she looks around, she sees spots on the cabinets, walls, ceilings, everything! It's her house that has the rash. When she calls for an EMT, things get truly bizarre. I won't give away what is happening as that's just too good! This was a really fun read.
You always know that Kate Wilhelm is going to give you a great story and "The Bird Cage" surely qualifies. The story starts with a ruthless rich man, dying from Parkinson's disease, pressuring a doctor to step up her search for an effective treatment by finding a human guinea pig immediately. The story shifts to a woman having a strange flashback to when she was six and she pushed a boy named Cody onto what she thinks is a frozen lake. He falls through, she runs away and is brought back to the present. A similar thing happens to Trevor McCrutchen remembering an incident with his brother Cody. All these threads come together for another example of Wilhelm's talent.
In "Long Time" by Rick Norwood, we are told a story by a man remembering a time long ago. Some familiar characters show up that he calls Gil and Enki, but a little different from how they are usually portrayed. This was a nice little variant of a classic tale.
Even though our next story is called "Canterbury Hollow", Chris Lawson does not set it in England, or even, Earth, but a dying planet called Musca. The planet is being burned to death by its sun, but our story centers on two people, Arlyana and Moko, who meet at the Sundome, where they can see the killer star. We learn that they are both balloted and that means they can go anywhere. They fall in love and we are given a poignant, beautiful story.
Well, at this festive time of the year, it's nice to read a Christmas story and "Christmas at Hostage Canyon" by James Stoddard certainly qualifies. Eric, his older brother Daniel and their parents are visiting Aunt Laura and Uncle Gregg in West Texas. The place is called Apache Canyon because that's where that tribe met to ransom their captives back to their families. The area really goes all out with all the homes lit up with great displays of lights. While riding in the car, though, Eric sees a white-faced nasty looking elf leap in the air, look at him and say "Death." No one else sees this. That night, at his aunt and uncle's house the elf appears at his window and says “Death on Christmas Eve.” More I won’t say except that this builds to a great climax and is such a perfect story that it will be the first story to add to my Hugo Nominations short list for 2011.
Next up is "The Whirlwind" by Jim Young. It starts out with our narrator being woken up by a guy named Sig Svoboda and being told, "The whirlwind wants you." Ben does not know what is going on or how he got there. He eventually finds out but I'm afraid this story really didn't work for me.
Albert E. Cowdrey's "The Bogle" doesn't take place in Louisiana, but Maryland and begins with Donny and his father coming back from his mother's funeral. His father asks him if he remembers something called the bogle and we are told a dark tale of the mother and her unholy fixation on her older son, Tom. Once more, Cowdrey shows what a master of horror he can be.
Bill Pronzini snf Barry N. Malzberg frequently give us an amusing tale and "Paradise Lost" is certainly that. When Ellen Folkes sees Leonard Jessel, it's love at first sight. She is afraid at first that they won't match up, but it turns out okay. After all, he's a zombie, just like her. The course of true love does not always run smooth, but things work out for Ellen.
In the December 1973 issue of F&SF, Richard Lupoff published a story called "12:01 P.M.". It was adapted as a short film and a TV movie. We are told that "12:02 P.M." is a sequel but that we don't have to have read the original. If I've read "12:01 P.M.", I don't remember. I can say that this is certainly a good story, all on its own. Myron Castleman keeps finding himself in midtown Manhattan at 12:02 P.M. He has done different things, but just at 1 P.M., he finds himself back at 12:02. There's a theory that a Long Island University professor named Nathan Rosenbluth came up with a universal clock resetting itself and no one being aware of it. Well, no one but Myron! Myron learns more about this theory and decides to take some action. Like, I said, I liked this a lot.
Alan Dean Foster gives us "Ghost Wind", another Mad Amos Malone story. In this one, Malone faces down a powerful wind racing down Main Street in a frontier Colorado town, but not without consequences in this hilarious tale.
Last of all we have a fine fantasy in "The Ghiling Blade" by Matthew Corradi. Dah'nok is a Selestrii fisherman in the town of Dockside. He is very proud of what is called his ghiling blade which he fashioned himself and is dismayed when he finds that it is missing. Well, we figure he is going to go look for it, but the way Corradi spins the story is quite surprising. He gives us many rich details of this fantasy world and the story, itself, is just top rate. It's hard to create a fantasy world in just a novelette but Corradi pulls it off handsomely.
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