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The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction – February 2008 by Gordon Van Gelder
Edited by Gordon Van Gelder
Cover Artist: Kent Bash
Review by Sam Tomaino
Fantasy & Science Fiction  ISBN/ITEM#: 1095-8258
Date: 20 December 2007

Links: Magazine Website / Pub Info / Table of Contents /

The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction delivers its February 2008 issue with nice little stories by Richard Bowes, James L. Cambias, Ron Goulart, Matthew Hughes, Stephen Popkes and the husband and wife team of Debra Doyle and James D. McDonald. It also features a promising first story by new writer Ann Miller, as well as the usual features.

The February 2008 issue The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction is another good one with all the stories getting a Very Good from me.

The issue gets off to a nice start from one of F&SF's regular authors, James Cambias with "Balancing Accounts". This is an unusual story, told entirely from the point of view of an artificially intelligent spaceship called Orphan Annie. Annie accepts a mysterious job which pays well, the transport of a box with something warm inside. She finds out the job is more complicated and dangerous than first thought and must use all her ingenuity to complete the task. Next, we get an impressive debut, "Retrospect", from a new writer named Ann Miller. The story begins with a question, "If you could give a book, any book, to someone who lived before, what book would you choose and to whom would you give it?". We get a look into the world of literary auctions and are introduced to some wonderful characters. The story ends well, too. I hope to see more from Ann Miller. She makes a fine start, here.

Veteran Ron Goulart follows with "Memoirs of the Witch Queen". Paul Sanson is a ghost-writer who is working with "witch-queen" Inza Warburton on her memoirs. Things are going a little slow and Paul has some problems with his life. Inza is all too willing to "help" him out. Goulart gives us his usual wry tale. Matthew Hughes shows us in "Petri Parousia" that he can write tales set in our own time. Wally Applethorpe is a brilliant genetic scientist who can take your DNA and recreate the DNA of your ancestors, going back far in time. As usual, things go too far in this very amusing story.

I like stories with a sports theme, and Stephen Popkes' "Bread and Circus" is part of that tradition. Mike Paderewski coaches the Providence Braves, a minor league DinoBall team. That's right, the game is played with intelligent dinosaurs. Paderewski doesn't have to worry about his players taking steroids. He's got bigger problems. The husband and wife writing team of Debra Doyle and James D. Macdonald contribute "Philologos: or, a Murder in Bistrita", set in the same world as their alternate history novel, Land of Mist and Snow. William Sharps (PH.D, Harvard, 1844) is in a dining room in Bistrita, Romania, when he overhears two men plotting to kill him. He is in town with the promise of being able to read a copy of a book of arcane lore. He soon finds himself accused of murder and plunged into high adventure. Last of all, there is "If Angels Fight" by Richard Bowes. It tells of a classic Boston political family named Bannon. The narrator, an old friend of the family, is asked to locate a lost sheep, the narrator's old friend Mark. But Mark Bannon is more than that. He has a special power his family can use. He's also supposed to be dead. Bowes gives us a nice little story and also a look into old Boston and some real-life political lore.

Gordon Van Gelder puts together another perfect issue and has discovered a talented, new author. Reward him by subscribing!

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