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The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction January/February 2017 Volume 132, Nos.1 & 2 , Whole No.729
Edited by C.C. Finlay
Cover Artist: Charles Vess for
Review by Sam Tomaino
Fantasy & Science Fiction Magazine / eMagazine  ISBN/ITEM#: 1095-8258
Date: 30 December 2016

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

The January/February 2017 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction (#729) has stories by Rachel Pollack, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Rick Norwood, Robert Reed, Rich Larson, Wole Talabi, Gregor Hartmann, Debbie Urbanski, Monica Byrne, and Marc Laidlaw, plus the usual features.

The January/February 2017 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction (#729) starts off 2017 with a very good issue.

The fiction in the issue starts with "Vinegar and Cinnamon" by Nina Kiriki Hoffman. -+- Sam's sister, Maura, is a wizard. One day, she gets mad at him and turns him into a rat. The experience is not entirely bad for Sam. Great little fantasy!

"The Regression Test" by Wole Talabi -+_ Titilope Ajimbobe is asked to take a Sorites Regression Test to determine if an A.I. version of her mother, called "Africa's answer to Einstein" has not deviated from what she was really like. Her grandson wants this for reasons of his own. She does not have a high opinion of him and we find out why. Good solid story.

"A Gathering on Gravity's Shore" by Gregor Hartmann -+- A follow-up to two previous stories, this one takes the the artist Franden to a party for the upper class of the planet Zephyr and an encounter with a remarkable woman. Things are looking up for him in this interesting series.

"Homecoming" by Rachel Pollack -+- This issue's novella features "private investigator, occultist and shaman Jack Shade", used in three of Pollack's previous stories. In this one, an ordinary woman named Carol Acker tells him that she feels that she is missing a part of her soul. He visits several locations to retrieve it and gives it back to her. Then, things get really interesting and Jack must save the world he has imperiled. Lots of wonderful detail here about the world that Jack lives in. Great read!

"One Way" by Rick Norwood -+- Harvey Gold is a disgraced college professor and Jerry Morgan is a boy genius. Unnoticed by anyone else but Jerry, Harvey has come up with a way to make a wall that molecules can pass through in only one direction. This produces amazing results just starting with cheap energy and beyond. But they do have to beat one little problem first. Good entertaining story.

"On the Problem of Replacement Children: Prevention, Coping, and Other Practical Strategies" by Debbie Urbanski -+- A bunch of case studies and advice and speculation about an epidemic of children being replaced by some sort of changeling. The style this is done, makes for a good piece of fiction.

"Dunnage for the Soul" by Robert Reed -+- A test is found that shows there is some "persistent electrical signature" (essentially a soul) that survives for a while after death. Tests show that even some animals have them and that some people have more than one. And some have none. People who are "soulless" experience discrimination and our narrator is one. He finds a way to fight back that is really chilling. Once more, Reed comes up with a new idea and does something great with it.

"Alexandria" by Monica Byrne -+- A couple of years after the death of her husband, a man of Japanese descent, Beth spends all the money she has to build a recreation of the Lighthouse of Alexandria in the middle of Kansas. Documentation from centuries afterward provide an interesting commentary on the aftermath. Only problem is that it's not entirely clear when she is building this thing.

"Wetherfell's Reef Runics" by Marc Laidlaw -+- On a fictional island of Hawaii, book dealer Ambrose Sahala winds up investigating the death of a man named Wetherfell who was writing a very odd book. There's an implication in the introduction that we will see more stories with this character. I'd like to see them.

The fiction concludes with "There Used to Be Olive Trees" by Rich Larson. -+- In some future Andalusia, Valentin leaves his town, frustrated that the implant inside him has not let him use what is called his nanoshadow to talk to machines. He encounters a "wilder" named Pepe who takes his nanoshadow to force his help in getting his people's autodoc to work. Valentin learns something about the way things work. I could have used some more detail about this world. Story was pretty good.

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