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The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction – August 2008 - Volume 115, No. 2, Whole No. 675
Edited by Gordon Van Gelder
Cover Artist: Kent Bash
Review by Sam Tomaino
Fantasy & Science Fiction  ISBN/ITEM#: 1095-8258
Date: 26 June 2008 / Pub Info / Table of Contents /

The August 2008 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction is here with stories by Charles Coleman Finlay, Marc Laidlaw, Richard Mueller, Scott Dalrymple, Steve Popkes and Rand Lee.

The August 2008 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction is another good one. I liked all the stories but one was exceptional.

The issue begins with "Childrun" by Marc Laidlaw. In his introduction, Gordon Van Gelder states that F&SF has published a number of stories involving bards, mentioning specifically Manly Wade Wellman's John the Balladeer and Phyllis Eisenstein's Alaric. That's heady company, indeed! He says that there were two stories with Marc Laidlaw's Gorlen Vizenfirthe published in 1995 and 1996 and promises more. Based on "Childrun", I'll be looking forward to them. In this story, Gorlen enters a town with a sign on its walls saying "Childrun". He is let in by a young schoolteacher, Ansylla Chordacio. She shows him her school and her only student. Thus begins a wildly imaginative tale in which Gorlen finds out what is really happening in this haunted town.

This issue's cover story is "The Political Prisoner" by Charles Coleman Finlay. Max Nikomedes is a "political officer" on the planet Jerusalem. Founded by religious fundamentalists, the planet had been taken over by secularists, 20 years earlier. Max is an agent for one of the leaders but political strife puts him in a prison camp. In a powerful story, reminiscent of Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Finlay shows us the meaning of survival –- and more. This will be on my Hugo short list for next year.

Next comes an amusing little piece from new writer, Scott Dalrymple, "An Open Letter to Earth" is just that, a missive from aliens, clearing up a few misunderstandings and giving a little advice. Steven Popkes's "Another Perfect Day" features Sam Prokofiev gets a visit from someone who says he's traveled back in time. There is something else going on in this clever story. Rand Lee contributes "Bounty" about four young men capturing "dangerous" quarry. In a subtle, but effective, tale, Lee lets us know the real danger.

Finally, we have "But Wait! There's More!" from Richard Mueller. Cullen McSherry is an out-of-work script writer who gets a job writing an infomercial. But the product here is souls and that works some changes for all involved. Mueller has written a dark little story with quite a bite.

That's another great issue of F&SF. You really should subscribe!

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