Monday, June 02, 2008

Review: Fantasy & Science Fiction July 2008

I would like to start by saying that I have been a fan of F&SF for better than 30 years. In that time I would hard pressed to find a story that I didn't like let alone any one particular issue. So when I received the July 2008 review issue, I was truly looking forward to some quality fiction. F&SF, because I suspect of its' wider editorial content or style needs, often has something for everyone. This issue certainly did not disappoint in that department. The book reviews and movie commentary was interesting and the stories again diverse. That being said, my only complaint is more a comment on what I like and don't like to read. I find alternate history tales taxing. To be honest, I don't consider them science fiction or fantasy (though in the loosest sense of the term I guess it is someone's fantasy...) speculative fiction surely, but little in the way of “science”. Next, Nazis and torture, two more plot devices that I can do without. Combine all three and you have a recipe that, for me at least, is going to be hard to get through. So that being said A. Cowdrey Poison Victory was not my cup of tea. On the flip side Michael Blumlein The Roberts is a wonderful answer to the question, “What do you get the person who has everything?”. The images in the novelette are almost cyberpunk in nature and at times wildly original. The other novelette FulBrim's Findings has the makings of a religious quest perhaps or maybe like last year's Hugo nominated story The Last Reef or maybe Tk Tk Tk from a couple of seasons ago. A searching for the underlying answers. And you know the feeling you get after reading one of these stories if they are really well done. You know, “There was an answer, but not the one the hero needed” and you are really drawn in and melancholy all at the same time. The short stories, in which I think F&SF really shine are top notch. Lisa Goldstein puts a fantasy twist on the many worlds idea with her short, Reader's Guide - or even better example of the style: The House Beyond Your Sky by Ben Rosenbaum, that feeling of a world just above or beyond ours and I think she really pulls it off. James L. Cambias is not a writer that I had been familiar with before, but I will look forward to anything new in the future. His The Dinosaur Train is a very normal Circus with one extra twist which could have gone the way you would consider and done well, but James does something very courageous and takes us on a coming of age yarn. Bravo! So, I would say that the July 2008 issue is well worth a look. The further beauty is that is available from, Fictionwise and Audible! SWEET!

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