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The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction - November/December 2015– Volume 129, Nos.5&6, Whole No.722
Edited by C. C. Finlay
Cover Artist: David A. Hardy
Review by Sam Tomaino
Fantasy & Science Fiction Magazine / eMag  ISBN/ITEM#: 1095-8258
Date: 26 October 2015

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

The Nov/Dec 2015 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction(#722) has stories by Carter Scholz, Tim Sullivan, Lisa Mason, Jeffrey Ford, Maria Dalvana Headley, KJ Kabza, Harvey Jacobs, Bruce McAllister, Naomi Kritzer, Norman Birnbach, and Robert Reed, plus the usual features.

The Nov/Dec 2015 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction(#722) is here and it's got all good stories.

The fiction in the issue starts with "The Winter Wraith" by Jeffrey Ford. -+- Henry's wife Mero is in China. She usually takes the ornaments off their Christmas tree and stores them carefully, but in her absence the tree has stayed up too long, drying up. Henry takes it down himself and throws the dead tree in the yard. It disappears in a snowstorm. Things continue to get stranger as something seems to be in the house. Very unsettling story.

"Hob's Choice" by Tim Sullivan -+- Hob Dancer and his great-great-grandmother Uxanna Venz from "Through Mud Obe Picks a Way" in the Nov/Dec 2013 issue are back, Hob is on Cet 4, a world exploited by humans to the detriment of the native population. He winds up involved with the resistance but is still not sure what is going on. Uxanna shows up to explain what is going on and Hob learns how to communicate with the Cetans. Things get better for the natives. A good story, but a little talky.

"The Thirteen Mercies" by Maria Dalvana Headley -+- Eternal soldiers perform mercies that are anything else but: justifications of horrible acts. Chilling.

"Gypsy" by Carter Scholz -+- Convinced that Earth, forty years from now, is doomed, Roger Fry has built a ship to transport twenty people to Alpha Centauri. Four don't even make the launch, but sixteen are on their way. Several are awakened out of hibernation along the way to make adjustments: Sophie, Fang, Sergei, Zia, Rosa. We get Roger's story and theirs and a bittersweet, surprising ending. A richly told tale.

"Her Echo" by KJ Kabza -+- The Old Wise Woman of Tall Bright Hills, releasing her Reflection, her Shadow and her Echo. The first two become interested in beautiful youth who wanders into the Hills, but when he sees them, he runs away. He is attracted to Echo, who is indifferent to him but Echo does something with that. Brilliantly done very short story.

"The Fabulous Follicle" by Harvey Jacobs -+- With help from the mystic Mrs. Trankxyona, Morris Fein opens his own barbershop with special clients - werewolves. He succeeds, but his partner becomes tiresome and a bad influence. One of his customers helps him find a way out. Great story!

"Dreampet" by Bruce McAllister -+- Our narrator's Senior VP for the Domestic Pleasure Animal Division of DreamPet. He designs pets unlike any a child ever dreamed of. He loves his job, but his home life is in shambles. His wife cheats in on him. His son hates him. Even his daughter doesn't really appreciate the pets he makes just for her. He finds a way to compensate using something from the company's dark side. Good character study, but you can't like anyone in the story.

"Cleanout" by Naomi Kritzer -+- When their widowed mother is in a coma and will not likely wakeup, our narrator and her sisters, Magda and Nora, cleanout her house of all the junk their parents accumulated. Their parents had always said they came from a town named Bon in one of the former Central Asian Soviet Republics. They could never find Bon in a map in that area and their parents' origin was a mystery. We get a nice hint at the end of this wonderful, touching story.

"It's All Relative at the Space-Time Café" by Norman Birnbach -+- Bohr and his former girlfriend, Jenny, meet in the eponymous bar. Their friends all have very familiar names and say very familiar things. A lot of jokes here and the story is pure fun.

"The City of Your Soul" by Robert Reed -+- Another wild tale from Reed. Our central character is a "you" that is boarding a plane for Seattle. You and other passengers catch a CNN story that a city of 80,000 people has vanished. You board the plane and are incommunicado with the internet or any other source of news. When the plane lands, the story has vanished. The city is still in Brazil. You and the other passengers wonder. If you think that's strange, wait until you get to the end. Another great, unique story from Reed.

"Tomorrow is a Lovely Day" by Lisa Mason -+- Benjamin's life and the world's is not the best. But he and the world keep reliving the same crappy day because of mad scientist's manipulation of time, What can he do? You'll see in this wild tale.

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