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The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction March 2009 - Volume 116, No. 3, Whole No. 681
Edited by Gordon Van Gelder
Cover Artist: Jill Bauman
Review by Sam Tomaino
Fantasy & Science Fiction  ISBN/ITEM#: 1095-8258
Date: 28 January 2009

Links: Fantasy & Science Fiction / Pub Info / Table of Contents /

The March 2009 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction is here with stories from Daniel Abraham, Yoon Ha Lee, Marc Laidlaw, Robert Reed, and a Classic Reprint from Robert Bloch.

The March 2009 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction has some fine new stories and a classic reprint.

The issue begins with "The Curandero and the Swede" by Daniel Abraham. A man takes his fiancée to meet his family down in Atlanta and is worried about what his family will think of her. But that's not what takes up most of the story. His Uncle Dab starts telling him about a man they called the Swede (even though he was African-American) who is afflicted with strange bumps all over his body. That story leads to another story and a few more, all of them interesting. The "curandero" is a Mexican "miracle man" who the Swede seeks out for help. Abraham does bring us back to the original narrator and threads the needle very nicely.

Yoon Ha Lee's "The Unstrung Zither" takes place in a future time when a Chinese empire holds sway over a number of colony worlds. Xiao Ling Yun is a musician who is asked by the leaders of the Empire to analyze five young rebels who have killed many Empire subjects. The Empire and its rebels use gliders based on phoenixes and dragons and that operate on some sort of musical principles. Lee tells an interesting story of a very different culture.

"Quickstone" by Marc Laidlaw is another story of Gorlen, the bard whose one hand is that of a living stone gargoyle. Gorlen is seeking the gargoyle who has his hand and finds him outside of a town called Dint. This gargoyle is named Spar and he protects Gorlen as they travel with other gargoyles to meet the Deepweller, in a cave in the far depths of the world. This is a rousing fantasy and leaves room for stories that have even greater possibilities which I will be looking forward to.

It wouldn't seem like an issue of F&SF without a Robert Reed story and the one in this issue is "Shadow-Below". This is another story in a series from Reed about a Lakota Indian boy named Raven and his world. This one focuses on Raven's uncle Shadow-Below as he leads a group of rich people along a river, teaching them about being hunter-gatherers. One of them is a bright young girl named Mara Bounty who Raven had rescued a while back. Reed tells us an interesting story with hints on things to come. I'll be looking forward to what comes next.

The Plumage from Pegasus is "An Editor Darkly" by Paul Di Filippo. An editor wants to find a secretive author whose books she is publishing. The end of her quest will give you a laugh.

As Gordon has been doing this year, he gives us a Classic Reprint and this one is one of the greats, "That Hell-Bound Train" by Robert Bloch. It was great reading it again and re-discovering why it won the Hugo for Best Short Story of 1959. As enjoyable as the story is the short article by William Tenn on how he came to buy it.

An editorial reveals that The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction will be going to a bimonthly double issue schedule next month, due to increasing postal rates. I'm hoping this is a good thing and encourage you all to subscribe and support this worthy magazine.

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