The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction July/August 2016 – Volume 131, Nos.1&2, Whole No.726
Edited by C.C. Finlay
Cover Artist: Monolithic Studios for
Review by Sam Tomaino
Fantasy & Science Fiction ISBN/ITEM#: 1095-8258
Date: 28 June 2016
Links: Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction / How to Subscribe / Pub Info / Table of Contents /
The July/August 2016 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction(#726) is a real good one.
The fiction in the issue starts with "Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful" by Gregor Hartmann. -+- Straight out of college, Jimmy goes to work for the Material Sciences Corporation. Jimmy and Dr. Vikram Karmakar discover a process that makes colorful light bubbles that make a great display. They begin to make a lot of money and take the process farther. Too far. Nicely done little cautionary tale.
"The Desert of Vanished Dreams" by Phyllis Eisenstein -+- Another tale of Alaric the minstrel with the power to transport to any place he could see or had been. He is traveling with a caravan across a desert. They need water and take a turn for a place the caravan master, Piros, knows. They find an immense walled area which has pipes from which they draw all the water they need. Piros has left them salt and other things in return but when a man from the caravan disappears. Alaric and Piros enter the city to rescue him. Alaric finds the startling secret to the city and rescues the man in a rich, wonderful story.
"Spells Are Easy If You Have the Right Psychic Energy" by Dominica Phetteplace -+- Thirteen short pieces that detail a young witch's attempt at different kinds of spells: Resolutions, love, beauty, glacier, snow, invisibility, etc. Nicely done and effectively told.
"The Vanishing Kind" by Lavie Tidhar -+- London in the 1950s, in an alternate history in which Germany won the war and the Germans are running everything. Gunther Sloam has come looking for an old girlfriend, Ulla Blau. He goes to the address she had written him in a letter. He does not find her there. He winds up accused of her murder and is interrogated by Kriminalinspektor Tom Everly of Gestapo Department D, who is narrating the story. Everly releases him and tells him to go back to Berlin. He does not go but investigates the murder, leaving a trail of dead bodies in his wake, until the conclusion. You'll see one twist coming but probably not the other. Very good story of the type we usually expect from Tidhar.
"An Open Letter to the Person Who Took My Smoothie from the Break Room Fridge" by Oliver Buckram -+- Professor Nemesis accuses his fellow super-villains in the Alliance of Doom and vows revenge, even though Cavewoman, AntiGandhi and the Logician all deny it. Hilarious!
"Last One Out" by K.B. Rylander -+- It has been more than 5000 days since a virus killed much of the world's population. Somehow, an old woman named Ella has survived, isolated on an island. Her only companion is her AI Filip, whom she can never teach to appreciate music. But Filip knows he must get Ella medicine or she will die. He is able to communicate with other AIs and achieves a great deal of success, all starting with his desire to help Ella. Poignant and touching, a beautiful story.
"Vishnu Summer" by David Prill -+- Audrey lost her left arm in a combine accident when she was a little girl. On a trip to the Cities, she saw a painting of many-armed Vishnu in a museum and became fascinated by him. Recently, her mother, who marches to a different drummer, was painted a picture of Vishnu on the side of their barn as part of a mural she has painted for years. Scenes on the mural have prefigured Audrey's life. One summer, a caravan of cars arrive in town. A man with three arms is accused of murder and is being tried there. When he sees Audrey in the crowd, he says he wishes he could give her one of his. Audrey gets friendly with him and with a reporter who is covering the trial. One night, Audrey's mother has one of her spells and Audrey goes to look at the mural which has changed. Beautifully written, reminiscent of Ray Bardbury.
"Killer" by Bruce McAllister -+- This is a follow-up to a tale that McAllister published in OMNI in 1987, "about a world where a doorway to heaven and hell appeared in Central Park". In that same world, our central character, Matthew, is a professional angel killer who believes angels are evil. He has an encounter with one. Interesting.
"Jesus Has Forgiven Me. Why Can't You?" by Betsy Phillips -+- Our narrator is a young woman who had a boyfriend named Larry who did not tell her he was married. She dumps him. He calls her a week later says that Jesus had forgiven him why can't she. Well, she just happens to know Jesus because her dad works for his Dad. He says that Larry never asked him for forgiveness. Together, they plot a little divine justice. Charming and amusing.
"The Thing on the Shelf" by David Gerrold -+- Gerrold takes 40 pages to tell us that his World Horror Award is haunted. He digresses a lot, some of which is fun. That's about it.
There's also a Plumage From Pegasus: "The London-Ehrenreich School of Applied Textual Fortitude" by Paul Di Filippo. A failed writer sins up for a new program which immerses him into the real world. Amusing!