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Fantasy & Science Fiction: Vol. 125, No. 1 & 2 (Jul/Aug 2013) Whole #708 (2013)

by Gordon Van Gelder(Favorite Author)
3.75 of 5 Votes: 5
Spilogale, Inc.
The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction
review 1: 10 stories, 2 rated columns = 4.2 starsThe Color of Sand by KJ Kabza - Don't eat the beach glass. Or, maybe you should. :D - 4 starsOh Give Me a Home by Adam Rukunas - An illuminated man fights against big Agro. - 4 starsHalf a Conversation, Overheard While Inside an Enormous Sentient Slug by Oliver Buckram - When killing in self-defence, have your story ready. - 4 starsThe Year of the Rat by Chen Quifan, trans, by Ken Liu - Reminiscent of Frankenstein... Grisly, like war. Sad, like war. - 4.5 starsKormak the Lucky by Eleanor Arnason - A Story of elves, their human slaves and a dog made of iron. Any story with a dog in it wins, in my book! - 4 starsThe Woman Who Married the Snow by Ken Altabef - A tale of snow and loss and ill made choices. - 3.5 starsThe Miracle Cure by H... morearvey Jacobs - Delicious stones and diamonds feature highly in this story. - 3.5 starsThe Heartsmith's Daughters by Harry R. Campion - A tale of love which begets 3 daughters and 4 hearts. - 5 starsThe Nambu Egg by Timm sullivan - It's amazing where they can store eggs nowadays. ;) - 4 starsIn the Mountains of Frozen Fire by Denis Winslow Mallard Codswallop Bourginon Cushing as Recounted by the Official Enigma Club Raconteur, Rus Wornam (Originally published in The Enigma Club All-Adventure Magazine, June 1919) - This story gets high marks because of the creative descriptions alone! - 5 starsScience by Pat Murphy & Paul Doherty - about gut flora and fauna, fecal transplants. - 5 starsPlumage from Pegasus by Paul di Filippe - column. Just how different is SF from F? Funny! - 4 stars
review 2: An average issue of enjoyable stories, but none that were particularly breath-taking."The Color of Sand", by KJ Kabza - A mother and her young son move onto the tranquility of a beach where talking sand-cats reside in the dunes. The boy swallows a colored pebble in attempted imitation of the cat (for which the pebble gives voice) only to discover it physically alters him in other ways, leading the mother and son to seek a way of reversing its effects. The premise sounds rather silly, but the story is actually serious with a magical beauty. A lovely fable of change and abilities. "Oh Give Me a Home", by Adam Rakunas - A small-time rancher with genetically modified bison faces a court suit and seizure of his animals by a large, morally corrupt agricultural company. The story seems inspired by the practices of Monsanto, and at times reads like a thinly disguised rant against them. This I appreciate, but as a story it never really held interest, with an ending that felt anticlimactic and easy."Half a Conversation, Overheard While Inside an Enormous Sentient Sea Slug", by Oliver Buckram - Exactly as the title says. A humorous sci-fi twist on a murder mystery."The Year of the Rat", by Chen Qiufan (translated by Ken Liu) - I have really enjoyed Liu's stories and am just as excited to see more translations of otherwise inaccessible science fiction/fantasy. In this, recent graduates of college with no employment opportunities choose to enlist in a new war fighting giant genetically-modified rats throughout China. The highlight of this issue, the story touches aspects of academia, war, and science in an interesting, well-crafted tale."Kormak the Lucky", by Eleanor Arnason - An Irish man is taken into slavery by Norwegians in the post-Roman era and ends up in Iceland, being passed from owner to owner, both human and magical, surviving and making do with the 'ride' through life. Featuring elves and fairies it isn't the type of fantasy I normally enjoy much, being close at heart to a fairy tale. But, Arnason writes well and the story of Kormak's life is entertaining and familiar in his complacency to what life throws his way, magical or otherwise."The Woman who Married the Snow", by Ken Altabef - An Inuit shaman learns a lesson about loss and pain when he tries to help a woman who has just begun to get over the presumed death of her husband, lost while whaling, discovers his corpse returned by the sea. The story focuses nicely on the magical reanimation of the corpse by the spirit of the snow, and the realization of error by the shaman rather than the pain of the widow."The Miracle Cure", by Harvey Jacobs - A doctor discovers the astounding reason behind apparent miracle cures of patients with gallstones prior to surgery. Not a bad story, but not much to it beyond the novel scifi idea behind this unique harvesting of gallstones."The Heartsmith's Daughters", by Harry R. Campion - The second story dealing with the loss and attempted replacement of loved ones. In this case the replacement is partially successful, though still devastatingly flawed. Another story that is a lot like a fairy tale, it is emotionally powerful in its best passages."The Nambu Egg", by Tim Sullivan - A man uses a rare item of great worth to confront and ensnare a rich businessman as justice for past crimes. The backstory and the motivation of the characters are slowly revealed over the course of the story, making it sort of like the climax of a Murder She Wrote episode or similar, only set in a SF universe. Again, enjoyable, but nothing fantastic."In the Mountains of Frozen Fire, by Denis Winslow Mallard Codswollop Bourginon Cushing, as Recounted by the Official Enigma Club Raconteur, Rus Wornom (Originally Published in The Enigma Club All-Adventure Magazine, June, 1919)", by Rus Wornom - The longest title I have yet seen for what is accurately described as a 'yarn modeled on the pulp tales from a hundred years ago'. The title does say it all: this story is cheesy and absurdly written, intentionally bad like a B movie. Yet entertaining and funny. In small doses this works, though this one verges on being too long. An over-the-top story like this once in awhile is welcome, and was an amusing way to close out the issue, a trifle. less
Reviews (see all)
I read 'The Heartsmith's Daughters' today on the bus home and it almost made me cry. Great story.
There were some good ones in here. Year of the Rat stands out most in my memory.
A very strong issue overall, although far more fantasy than sf.
Four stars just for the clever Oliver Buckram story.
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