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The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction July/Aug 2015 Volume 129, Nos.1&2, Whole No.720
Edited by C. C. Finlay
Cover Artist: for Johnny Rev
Review by Sam Tomaino
Fantasy & Science Fiction  ISBN/ITEM#: 1095-8258
Date: 28 June 2015

Links: Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction / How to Purchase / Pub Info / Table of Contents /

The July/Aug 2015 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction(#720) has stories by Rachel Pollack. Tamsyn Muir, Van Aaron Hughes, Matthew Hughes, Richard Chwedyk, James Patrick Kelly, Oliver Buckram, Betsy James, Naomi Kritzer, and Gregor Hartmann.

The July/Aug 2015 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction(#720) is a pretty good one.

The fiction in the issue starts with "The Deepwater Bride" by Tamsyn Muir -+- Hester Blake is a member of a family of seers in which you "were mother of a seer, or a seer and never a mother and died young". She is a seer and living spending the summer with her aunt who would like to make life normal for her. That isn't possible when omens start to appear. According to archives, these prefigure that "one of the pelagic kings has chosen a bride". These are some sort of Lords of the Deep. What her family has done in these instances is just watch and record. But Hester seeks out the prospective bride, a pretty girl named Rainbow Kipley and becomes friends with her. Things take a different turn. Nicely imaginative fantasy.

"Dixon's Road" by Richard Chwedyk -+- On a terra-formed planet, a man appears at the restored home/museum of a deceased poet named Laura Michel. It turns out he is the planet engineer, Jim Dixon, who was her lover. He had to leave to work on other planets but has now returned, aged little because of traveling at light speed. He is given a tour by the curator and a letter from the poetess. A poignant, well-written, love story.

"Oneness: A Triptych" by James Patrick Kelly -+- Three encounters involving science fictional sex. If you like that kind of thing, pretty good.

"Johnny Rev" by Rachel Pollack -+- One of her ongoing series involving Jack Shade, Traveler (magician), in a New York City where magic exists. He had made a duplicate of himself and thought it destroyed but it is now back and a Revenant which can invade dreams. The doppelganger actually hires him using his own card, making it a job he cannot turn down. The doppelganger wants him to get rid of his original which is Jack. What does he do? Fun adventure story with a nice tour of the magical environs of the city.

"This Quintessence of Dust" by Oliver Buckram -+- Something has wiped out human and animal life on Earth and robot Judy43 must continue to do her job. She succeeds somehow in this good little tale.

"The Body Pirate" by Van Aaron Hughes -+- In a future in which man has learned to separate body and soul and shift them around with the souls taking the form of blackbirds. The bodies can even live without a soul. The story features shifting pronouns and splitting the narrative into two columns when soul and body separate. Adele is excited about a new process called Freebird which will make all this shifting around easier, but, as usual, things do not go as planned. Couldn't quite get into this one.

"Paradise and Trout" by Betsy James -+- Hally Kass is a boy who dies and sets out on a journey under orders from his father. But he always was a rebellion sort. He has his own way of doing things. OK.

"The Curse of the Myrmelon" by Matthew Hughes -+- Another story of the Archonate, one of those dealing with Raffalon, the thief. But this one actually features his sometimes employer, Cascor the Discriminator, who occasionally uses magic for his investigations. He is hired by Onoffrey Ulph, a "tallyman in a mercantile establishment" who has noticed that extra items have been appearing and then disappearing. He believes he is under a curse and Cascor is hired to investigate. He discovers no curse but a vile conspiracy in this fun detective story. Another delightful tale from Hughes.

"The Silicon Curtain: A Seastead Story" by Naomi Kritzer -+- Another Seastead story "a chain of man-made islands built by people who want more freedom and less government". In this continuing story, our heroine, Rebecca, "Beck" Garrison, is developing a relationship with her mother and planning to leave the Seastead for California. She agrees to accompany her friend, Thor, on a mission to Sal which is only accessible by speedboat. Things turn out to be more complicated (as usual) but our resourceful Beck finds a way to save the day. Another entertaining story in this series.

"Into the Fiery Planet" by Gregor Hartmann -+- Franden is a resident of a settled moon of the planet Vado called Zephyr. He is tasked with coming up with a way to make it a tourist attraction. Not a great payoff at the end.

There's also a Plumage From Pegasus: "Babel in Reverse is Lebab" by Paul Di Filippo. This isn't all that amusing and also unnecessarily insults a deceased author I knew.

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