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The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction – September 2008 - Volume 115, No. 3, Whole No. 676
Edited by Gordon Van Gelder
Cover Artist: Cory and Catska Ench for
Review by Sam Tomaino
Fantasy & Science Fiction  ISBN/ITEM#: 1095-8258
Date: 23 July 2008

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

The September 2008 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction is here with stories by Carolyn Ives Gilman, Paolo Bacigalupi, Laura Kasischke, Michael Swanwick and Eileen Gunn. Robert Reed, Jim Aikin and Rand Lee.

The September 2008 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction is pretty good one. I liked all the stories but one.

The issue begins with another unique contribution from Paolo Bacigalupi, "Pump Six". Trav lives in a future Earth of the 22nd century where people have grown more stupid every year. He is in charge of keeping the sewage system working but Pump Six has stopped entirely. Bacigalupi gives us a frightening look at a possible future.

Laura Kasischke's "Search Continues for Elderly Man" begins with a man named Rentz opening his front door to a young boy and a dog on a leash. As we look at his past, the meaning of the visitors become clear in this poignant tale.

Carolyn Ives Gilman's "Arkfall" is the cover story and novella in this issue. Osaji lives on the planet Ben, a water world that is slowly being terraformed, but that is long in coming. People travel in arks which are self-sustaining but cannot be controlled. They just go with the flow. A disaster forces Osaji and an obnoxious but daring man named Jack into uncharted territory. What they find changes everything for good in this exciting story.

Veteran writer Rand B. Lee's "Picnic on Pentecost" is a well-written tale of the last survivor of a crew that finds a unique world. Michael Swanwick and Eileen Gunn write "Shed That Guilt! Double Your Productivity Overnight!" as a series of letters between the two of them, one offering the other a unique service to make her a more productive writer. This is funny but it seems a little too much of a writers' in-joke.

It wouldn't be an issue without a story from Robert Reed and "Salad for Two" is one that only he can write. It starts off with a young girl named Gillian working checkout at a supermarket and making friends with an older man before she heads off for college. He helps her out and we get a long history of the world changing through Gillian's eyes. As can be expected with a Reed story, this goes off in an entirely unexpected direction but does not disappoint.

Last of all, I'm sorry to say, comes a story that I found disappointing. "Run! Run!" by Jim Aikin. The story features a woman looking back on her childhood in which her father helped care for unicorns. This is believable but the rest of the story is not. We are told that the entire world has been converted to Christianity but it's not made clear how this has happened. It seems that this is the case just so the author can make up some cardboard villains who are not very interesting.

The one story, notwithstanding, this is a good magazine and you should subscribe!

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