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The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction – May 2008 – Vol. 114, No. 5 – Whole number 472 by Gordon Van Gelder
Edited by Gordon Van Gelder
Cover Artist: Mark Evans
Review by Sam Tomaino
Fantasy & Science Fiction  ISBN/ITEM#: 10958258
Date: 26 March 2008

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

The May 2008 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction is here with some fine stories by Rachel Pollak, George Tucker, Robert Reed, S.L. Gilbow, Alex Jeffers, Albert E. Cowdrey and M. Rickert!

F&SF for May 2008 is another good one with the usual mix of talented authors. All the stories got a Very Good from me.

The prolific writer Robert Reed is here with another one of his unique stories, "Reunion." In this one, 12 out of the 22 living graduates of a small high school class have all been incredibly successful: in business, politics, the arts, sports, etc. They come together for a 30-year reunion. Attending the party is a young woman who has a connection to the class. She wants to know how it happened that they are all successful. She finds something out and it changes her life.

S.L. Gilbow is next with an amusing little story called "Rebecca's Locket." In a near future, it has become possible for people to have their personalities downloaded into a locket before they die. Jerry has done this and attends his own funeral wrapped around his wife's neck. Unfortunately, he proves to be a pain in that very place.

"Immortal Snake" by Rachel Pollak is a fine mythic tale about a land called Written in the Sky. It is a powerful nation that rules its neighbors. Its ruler is called Immortal Snake and he wields great power. However, he only rules until the astrologers of the land (called Readers) see things in the stars that say it's time for a change. When that happens they take the male and female companions chosen by Immortal Snake on his accession to the throne, kill them and serve them up as a stew to Immortal Snake. He cannot resist eating the stew and is poisoned, shedding his skin and dying. Then, a new Immortal Snake is chosen and the whole thing is repeated. When a new Immortal Snake ascends the throne, he picks his troublesome sister and a storytelling slave as his companions. When they fall in love, the nation is in for a change.

Alex Jeffers' "Firooz and his Brother" takes place in the ancient Middle East. Firooz is the young son of a merchant. On a journey from Samarkand to Baghdad, he finds an abandoned baby. He adopts the boy as his brother and calls him Haider. They both grow up and are very close, and Haider finds a way to return the love Firooz has shown him.

Albert E. Cowdrey calls his story "Thrilling Wonder Stories" but this is no space opera. Set in New Orleans at a time when one could buy that magazine in its original form, the story focuses on a boy named Farley. Farley is 11 but has come to realize that the man married to his mother is not his father. He fantasizes that his father is a Martian. He also fantasizes about a monster he calls Garmusk that lives in a drainage pipe. He scares another little boy with stories about this monster. This story takes a very dark turn and it shows why Cowdrey is the great storyteller of his city.

The issue's stories conclude with "Traitor" by M. Rickert. Alika seems like a happy little girl who loves her mother. But things don't seem quite right with this situation. Rickert tells us what is really happening in a very subtle way.

Once more, editor Gordon Van Gelder shows us why he won a Hugo Award. You should be subscribing!

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