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The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction February 2009 - Volume 116, No. 2, Whole No. 680
Edited by Gordon Van Gelder
Cover Artist: Kent Bash
Review by Sam Tomaino
Fantasy & Science Fiction  ISBN/ITEM#: 1095-8258
Date: 24 December 2008 / Pub Info / Table of Contents /

The February 2009 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction is here with stories by Fred Chappell, Charles Coleman Finlay, Mario Milosevic, Eugene Mirabelli, and a Classic Reprint by Jack Cady.

The February 2009 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction

The issue begins with "Shadow of the Valley" by Fred Chappell. This one features Falco, the shadow trader, introduced in the March 2007 issue with a story called "Dance of Shadows". Here, he is sent by his master Astolfo, to the dread land called the Dark Vale and to harvest plants that could be sold to the wealthy. Falco will be competing against his rival Murrano in this endeavor and enlists the aid of a band of five thieves who have fallen on hard times. The journey into, through and from this Dark Vale and the perils they face make for a fine fantasy story with, I hope, more sequels to come.

"The Texas Bake Sale" by Charles Coleman Finlay is set in a future in which the United States of America has collapsed and remnants of it do what they can to survive. Captain Dave A Mungus, leads a group of Marines in the Texas Panhandle and spies a convoy carrying what looks like fuel. He and his men decide to take advantage of that and do some "friendly" trading via a "bake sale". The story has some interesting things to say about how men survive and how they justify their survival in extreme circumstances.

In "Winding Broomcorn" by Mario Milosevic, we are introduced to Dwayne, a former minister, turned broom-maker, whose wife has died. One day, he gets a commission from a woman named Kate for a special broom. In making this, his life changes and he is helped by the experience. This was a nice little contemporary fantasy.

Finally, there is "Catalog" by Eugene Mirabelli. John Mousse finds himself in a strange world that looks, somehow, familiar. At first, it seems like he's in a sports car catalog; next, a Playboy magazine, complete with pin-up. Then, he meets Roderick and Madeleine Usher and a woman named Annabel Lee. He likes all this and thinks he can now find his dream girl. Mirabelli, again, gives us a very different, but very good, fantasy.

The issue is rounded out by the novella-length classic reprint, "The Night We Buried Road Dog" by Jack Cady. When this was first published, I had taken a break from short fiction reading, so this was new to me. It's set back in the early 1960s, mostly in Montana, and stars an enigmatic man named Jesse Still. When his beloved Hudson car, Miss Molly "dies", he buries it and starts a true auto graveyard. He likes to ride fast but there seems to be someone else out there faster, someone who calls himself the Road Dog. The mystery behind what is really happening and a unique narrator's voice certainly justifies the reprinting.

F&SF continues to celebrate its sixtieth year in fine style. Subscribe and follow it into its sixty-first.

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