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The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction July/August 2013 Volume 125, Nos. 1&2 , Whole No. 708
Edited by Gordon Van Gelder
Cover Artist: Kent Bash for
Review by Sam Tomaino
Fantasy & Science Fiction  ISBN/ITEM#: 1095-8258
Date: 26 June 2013

Links: Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction / Pub Info / Table of Contents /

The July/August 2013 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction (#708) has stories by Adam Rakunas, Chen Qiufan, Eleanor Aranson, Rus Womom, KJ Kabza, Oliver Buckram, Ken Altabef, Harvey Jacobs, Harry R. Campion, and Tim Sullivan, a Plumage from Pegasus by Paul Di Filippo, plus the usual features.

The July/August 2013 of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction is here and all the stories are top-notch!

The fiction in the issue starts with "The Color of Sand" by KJ Kabza. -- Fairday and her son, Catch, move into a driftwood hut on the edge of the dunes, far from the village. A sandcat who calls himself Bone at first resents their being there but eventually accepts them. They find curious pebbles in pretty colors and Bone demonstrates that he can talk because he has a red one in his mouth. When Catch swallows a red one, he grows to giant size and the story truly begins. This one was rich in magic, quite fantastical and very beautifully told.

"Oh Give Me a Home" by Adam Rakunas is a first sale. -- Brewster Carlston Higley grows mini-bison and the big bad agricultural conglomerate doesn't like that so they are trying to sue them out of business. He has to do something to outwit them. Most of this is just arguments about the issues involved but the characters are pretty well-drawn. A pretty good first effort.

"Half a Conversation, Overheard While Inside an Enormous Slug" by Oliver Buckram -- This consists of the testimony of an extraterrestrial slug who was a servant to an abusive master, Lord Ash, who was murdered. The slug has very interesting properties and duties which make a difference in the story. All this is concisely in three pages and is quite amusing.

"The Year of the Rat" by Chen Qiufan (translated by Ken Liu) -- Our narrator is a recent college graduate who could not find a job. So he joined the Rodent Control Force to battle Neorats, genetically-modified rats who have become a problem. He has a friend everyone calls Pea who dies early in the story. One of the others in his group is Black Cannon who is the best at killing rats. As the story develops, our narrator discovers some things about the rats, and about what their mission really is. Imaginative tale with some images you will never forget.

"Kormak the Lucky" by Eleanor Aranson -- Kormak was born in Ireland but taken by Norwegian Vikings when he was young and sold to people in Iceland. He is something of a lazy slave and is sold over and over again. He escapes Egil, a blind, bitter old man and winds up living as a slave to light elves. He has various adventures, living with dark elves and, then, the fey of his native Ireland, who are the nastiest of all. The story is rich in fantasy and reads like a short saga. Very good.

"The Woman Who Married the Snow" by Ken Altabef -- The introduction tells us this is one of a series of tales from Altabef about the Inuit shaman Ulruk. A body is discovered frozen in ice that turns out to be Toonookyah who had fell off a whaling boat 5 years ago. He is so carefully preserved that his grieving widow begs Ulruk to restore him to life but Ulruk knows this is impossible. She still pleads to Apunsisuuq, the spirit of the snow, for help but this does not work out well. A well-told tale with great details about Inuit culture.

"The Miracle Cure" by Harvey Jacobs -- Dr. Tobey Chalmers is usually as skeptical as the next person when hearing of medical miracles but when, at a medical conference of gastroenterologists, she hears the story of Dr. Chang Yu about someone's gall bladder that had been full of stones turning out to be free of stones and exceptionally healthy when opened up for surgery, she believes it. She has heard this story before, even in her own hospital in San Diego. She embarks upon a quest to find out what is happening which involves staying up with gall stone patients the night before their operations. As you might expect, she does find out and the payoff is really good.

"The Heartsmith's Daughters" by Harry R. Campion -- A blacksmith has little time to live, so he makes three daughters for his wife to replace the triplets they lost soon after they were born. One has a heart of cold iron to guard the house, smith and her mother. One had a heart of brass and will continue his smith business. One has a heart of gold and will be a loving daughter. Evil men attack Goldheart and steal her heart. The two remaining sisters take action and another heart serves out revenges. Wonderfully imaginative, absolutely perfect fairy tale.

"The Nambu Egg" by Tim Sullivan -- A man named Adam Naraya is reconstituted on Earth from a planet named Cet 4. He seeks out a man named Hamid Genzler to offer him a Nambu egg, a great source of power. Through their conversation, which is most of the story, we learn what is really going on. Good, solid little piece of science fiction.

The fiction concludes with "In the Mountains of Frozen Fire" by Rus Womom. -- The full title of this is "In the Mountains of Frozen Fire by Denis Winslow Mallard Codswallop Bourginon Cushing as recounted by the Official Enigma Club Raconteur, Rus Wornom (Originally published in The Enigma Club All-Adventure Magazine, June, 1919)" and it is, indeed, reminiscent of the pulp tales of the early 20th Century. Agent M4, aka the Mongoose aka Commander Denis Winslow Mallard Codswallop Bourginon Cushing is in frozen Ghutranh seeking his nemesis, the Cobra. He is beset by three assassins (Zamir, Vladimir "Smiley" Korshowski, and The Blind Man) quickly dispatches them. He finds a map directing him to the Frozen Wastes, the Mountains of Frozen Fire. He has difficulty finding a guide but eventually acquires one named Slung Lo who tells him why the mountains are considered cursed. In 1273, something from the sky crashed there causing a flood that instantly froze destroying the town of Mulg. However, something deep beneath the ice still burned. Seven men went to investigate but only one returned telling how the others had gone mad and slew each other. M4 finds his way north for a while with Slung Lo and then alone for a rousing end to the adventure.

F&SF continues to deliver the goods every issue. You should subscribe!

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