Tag: F&SF

F&SF January 2008 Acquisitions

F&SF‘s January acquisitions include:

  • The Political Prisoner – Charles Coleman Finlay (28,000 words)
  • The Visionaries – Robert Reed (8400)
  • The Monopoly Man – Barry B. Longyear (6900)
  • Quickstone – Marc Laidlaw (11,500)
  • Songwood – Marc Laidlaw (6400)
  • Arkfall – Carolyn Ives Gilman (21,000)
  • Dazzle Joins the Screenwriter’s Guild – Scott Bradfield (7300)

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WIRED Science interviews Paolo Bacigalupi

Correlations, the blog of the PBS series WIRED Science, has part one of an interview with Pump Six author (and frequent F&SF contributor) Paolo Bacigalupi today as their "Science Fiction Friday" feature. (And stay tuned throughout the weekend for more of the interview.)

What made you make the decision to start writing science fiction specifically?

I grew up reading science fiction and I think that was probably the biggest thing.  I grew up on Heinlein and my father’s science fiction collection.  My father was a big SF reader and those were really the first books that I read.  They were science fiction and fantasy.  Heinlein’s CITIZEN OF THE GALAXY.  It was STARMAN JONES.  It was things like THE HOBBIT by Tolkien.  Those were the first books that I read where I actually remembered what I’d read afterwards and actually cared about the characters enough to want to run home and finish reading whatever book I was reading.  So I’ve always had a connection to the genre because of that– those big adventure stories that science fiction and fantasy provided.

I think when I first sat down to write a book – when I was first sort of testing out the idea of being a writer – I just naturally gravitated to the idea that I would write science fiction.  I read so much of it, I was familiar with it, and I liked it, and so that was where I started out thinking that if I was definitely going to write a book, it was definitely going to be science fiction.  This original book that I was going to write, it was all set in the future China world, sort of the version that you see in "Pocketful of Dharma," and it was entertainment–it was pretty fun to write.  It was interesting in it’s own way, but science fiction was just sort the thing that seemed like it was the natural thing.  

Read the whole interview, and be sure to leave some comments to encourage WIRED Science to continue this series of SF author spotlights!

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TIME’s Time Machine

Check it out, a new magazine is launching, and at a really affordable price, too:

The wonderful world of science-fiction pulps is populated with lithe heroes, bosomy heroines, bug-eyed monsters and space-suited villains from Mars. It is also garishly illuminated with the latest pseudo-scientific jargon. Readers of Thrilling Wonder Stories, Amazing Stories, Weird Tales, etc. take such words as teleportation, parastasis and rhodon-deracts in stride.

Into this world of science and sex this week stepped a new contender, the Magazine of Fantasy, a slickish, 35¢ quarterly. Published by the American Mercury’s bustling Lawrence Spivak, who also runs radio’s Meet the Press program and puts out a string of mystery publications, Fantasy is designed to lift imaginative fiction up to the level of the highest brows.

Click here to read the rest of this breaking news story. Oh, wait, this was published in 1949…

That’s right–the launch of F&SF was covered in TIME. This was an interesting thing to stumble across, and one of the reasons the web is really great.

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"Retrospect" by Ann Miller

image Ann Miller, whose story "Retrospect" appears in the February 2008 issue of F&SF, said in an interview that the story actually started as a poem. "I was fooling around with the idea of how different books, if they were sent back in time, would change history and working with the play of ideas when I realized I’d need a larger vehicle to explore the concept properly," she said. "The first line of the story was initially the first line of my poem."

The story concerns a fledging auction agent who unwittingly gets involved with a circle of book lovers who are considering sending a book back in time, Miller said. "As the story develops, the protagonist discovers that the glittering world he has chosen, of high-stakes auction and finance, cannot sustain him and he gravitates toward his new circle of friends whom he feels are more genuine," she said. "They also ultimately betray him, and the unfolding of the narrative involves the choice the protagonist makes, given these experiences, when history has been changed and he has the chance to change it back."


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Rich Horton’s Best of the Year

Over at the Asimov’s forum, Rich Horton just posted the table of contents to his two year’s best volumes for 2008. I’ve bolded stories from F&SF:

Science Fiction: The Best of the Year, 2008 edition

  • Greg Egan, "Dark Integers" (Asimov’s, 10-11/07)
  • Bruce Sterling, "A Plain Tale From Our Hills" (Subterranean, Spring)
  • Charles Coleman Finlay, "An Eye for an Eye" (F&SF,June)
  • Karen Joy Fowler, "Always" (Asimov’s, April-May)
  • John Barnes, "An Ocean is a Snowflake, Four Billion Miles Away" (Baen’s Universe, 8/07)
  • Ekaterina Sedia, "Virus Changes Skin" (Analog, October)
  • Paul Di Filippo, "Wikiworld" (Fast Forward 1)
  • Tim Pratt, "Artifice and Intelligence" (Strange Horizons, 8/6/07)
  • Ken MacLeod, "Jesus Christ, Reanimator" (Fast Forward 1)
  • Robert Reed, "Night Calls" (Asimov’s, 10-11/07)
  • Jack Skillingstead, "Everyone Bleeds Through"(Realms of Fantasy, October)
  • Nancy Kress, "Art of War" (The New Space Opera)
  • Holly Phillips, "Three Days of Rain" (Asimov’s,June)
  • Alexander Jablokov, "Brain Raid" (F&SF, February)
  • Mary Robinette Kowal, "For Solo Cello, Op. 12" (Cosmos, Feb/Mar)
  • Will McIntosh, "Perfect Violet" (On Spec, Summer)
  • Geoffrey Landis, "Vectoring" (Analog, 6/07)
  • Michael Swanwick, "The Skysailor’s Tale" (The Dog Said Bow-Wow)

Fantasy: The Best of the Year, 2008 edition 

  • Daryl Gregory, "Unpossible" (F&SF, October/November)
  • Kelly Link, "Light" (Tin House, Fall)
  • Zoran Zivkovic, "The Teashop", (12 Collections and the Teashop)
  • Noreen Doyle, "The Rope" (Realms of Fantasy, April)
  • William Alexander, "Buttons", (Zahir, Summer/07)
  • Holly Phillips, "Brother of the Moon", (Fantasy)
  • Andy Duncan, "A Diorama of the Infernal Regions", (Wizards)
  • Rachel Swirsky, "Heartstrung", (Interzone, 6/07)
  • Carrie Laben, "Something in the Mermaid Way" (Clarkesworld, March)
  • Matthew Johnson, "Public Safety" (Asimov’s, 3/07)
  • Benjamin Rosenbaum and David Ackert, "Stray" (F&SF, December)
  • Marly Youmans, "The Comb" (Fantasy, December)
  • Garth Nix, "Sir Hereward and Mister Fitz Go to War Again" (Baen’s Universe, 4/07)
  • Karen Joy Fowler, "The Last Worders", (Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, 6/07)
  • Theodora Goss, "Singing of Mount Abora" (Logorrhea)
  • David Barr Kirtley, "Save Me Plz" (Realms of Fantasy, October)
  • Erik Amundsen, "Bufo Rex" (Weird Tales)
  • Ian R. MacLeod, "The Master Miller’s Tale" (F&SF, May)

He notes that "each volume is waiting on author approval for one story."

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"Philologos; or, A Murder in Bistrita" by James D. Macdonald and Debra Doyle

image James D. Macdonald, whose story written in collaboration with his wife Debra Doyle, "Philologos; or, A Murder in Bistrita," appears in the February 2008 issue of F&SF, said in an interview that the story is about a scholar in search of a rare book. "With overtones of paranoia and undertones of unresolved sexual tension," he said. "It’s also an origin story for one of the non-protagonists but major supporting characters in [our novel] Land of Mist and Snow."

The origin of the story, Macdonald said, comes from a line in Land of Mist and Snow, in which one of the characters, Captain William R. Sharps, USN, says, in a letter to Commodore Vanderbilt: "I found the lost ur-text of the Grey Book (in the wine cellar of a fortress in Carpatho-Ruthenia — an amusing story, worth telling over brandy and cigars, but not germane to my present communication), and bent my energies toward transcribing and translating those portions which had been purged from the younger MSS."

But the reader never does hear that "amusing story" in the course of the novel, Macdonald said. "In fact, I had no idea when writing the novel what the story was that he had to tell. But that line sat in the back of my mind and the story asked to be told."


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Year’s Best Science Fiction, Vol. 25

Gardner Dozois has posted the contents of his forthcoming Year’s Best Science Fiction volume, the 25th annual, which reprints the best of 2007:

  • FINISTERRA, David Moles
  • LIGHTING OUT, Ken MacLeod
  • SAVING TIAMAAT, Gweyneth Jones
  • VERTHANDI’S RING, Ian McDonald
  • SEA CHANGE, Una McCormack
  • GLORY, Greg Egan
  • AGAINST THE CURRENT, Robert Silverberg
  • BEYOND THE WALL, Justin Stanchfield
  • KIOSK, Bruce Sterling
  • LAST CONTACT, Stephen Baxter
  • THE SLEDGE-MAKER’S DAUGHTER, Alastair Reynolds
  • THE SKYSAILOR’S TALE, Michael Swanwick
  • STEVE FEVER, Greg Egan
  • TIDELINE, Elizabeth Bear
  • THE ACCORD, Keith Brooke
  • LAWS OF SURVIVAL, Nancy Kress
  • THE MISTS OF TIME, Tom Purdom
  • CRATERS, Kristine Kathryn Rusch
  • STRAY, Benjamin Rosenbaum & David Ackert
  • ROXIE, Robert Reed
  • DARK HEAVEN, Gregory Benford

I’ve bolded the titles that appeared first in F&SF.

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Free Fiction: F&SF’s Preliminary Nebula Ballot Nominees

The Preliminary Nebula ballot is out. Members of SFWA will now vote on those stories, and the top five (or more if there are ties) will end up on the final ballot. But you don’t have to be a SFWA member to take advantage of the free fiction now posted on F&SF’s website. All of our stories that made the preliminary ballot are now available online, for a limited time.



Short Stories

Check the SFWA.org Nebula page as well, for more free fiction from other sources.

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"If Angels Fight" by Richard Bowes

image Richard Bowes, whose story "If Angels Fight" appears in the February 2008 issue of F&SF, said in an interview that the story was inspired by a trip he and his sister made to the old neighborhood. "It brought back a lot of memories including the politicians. I knew kids whose fathers were in politics. But politics was almost like popular entertainment–everyone knew about it, talked about it, rated politicians," Bowes said. "And the Kennedy family was a constant presence. JFK’s mother came from there. It was where her father, ‘Honey Fitzgerald’ had his mansion, until it burned down one night. Her relatives still lived in the neighborhood. The story’s roots were my trying to give a feeling for that lost, almost mythic moment. John F. Kennedy himself makes and appearance as an impatient young senator who’d just had to attend an aging relative’s birthday party."

"If Angels Fight" starts with the unnamed narrator being asked by Carol Bannon, the scion of a Boston political dynasty to help her find her long lost brother Mark who was a childhood friend of the narrator. "The narrator has helped the family with this several times over the years. The difficulty tracing Mark Bannon is that to all intents and purposes he died some years before," Bowes said. "The rest of the story is the narrators search in the byways of intrigue and politics and his memories of Irish Boston in the 1950’s when politics was a sport, a hobby, a way of life."


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F&SF, February 2008

The February 2008 issue of F&SF is now on sale. Also, on the F&SF website is this month’s bonus story, First Tuesday by Robert Reed (reprinted from our February 1996 issue).

Here’s the table of contents:


  • Retrospect  – Ann Miller
  • If Angels Fight – Richard Bowes


  • Balancing Accounts  – James L. Cambias [interview]
  • Memoirs of the Witch Queen  – Ron Goulart
  • Petri Parousia  – Matthew Hughes
  • Bread and Circus – Steven Popkes
  • Philologos; or, A Murder in Bistrita – Debra Doyle and James D. Macdonald



  • Arthur Masear


  • Kent Bash for "Balancing Accounts"



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