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The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction…

The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction January 2009, Vol. 116, No. 1

by Gordon Van Gelder (Editor)

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As a whole, this volume is mediocre. A few standouts are "The Perfect Infestation" and The Monopoly Man". The rest are a bit derivative and pointless.

The Minutemen's Witch - Charles Coleman Finlay. I skipped this one because I am not into civil war stories.

The Perfect Infestation - Carol Emshwiller. I think that this is the best story of this magazine. Its cute, fun, and a bit funny.

Seafarer's Blood - Albert E. Cowdrey. Meh. Unremarkable and pointless.

All in Fun - Jerry Oltion. It was an okay story - I thought that it was a bit over the top. At times, fun to read.

Rising Waters by Patrician Ferrara. An odd little story about the junk that comes floating down the river. A bit scary. But, generally, a pointless story.

The Monopoly Man by Barry B. Longyear. I liked this one. A ghost story that has an intriguing plot.

The Boy Who Sang for Others - Michael Meddor. A boy with a head injury channels the singing voice of dead people. Grandma knows how to fix it. I also like this one. Its a story of a clash of religion.

An Elvish Sword of Great Antiquity - Jim Aikin. A revenge story. Reminds a bit of Django unchained - Fun to read.

Changeling - Dean Whitlock. Meh. Man and an unattractive girl go off to find an island. I read it, but only because it was so short. ( )
  TheDivineOomba | Oct 2, 2013 |
At the end of 2008, I decided to stop purchasing copies of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, partly due to the lack of consistent, amazing, mind-blowing stories, partly in an effort to save money, and partly in an effort to save space (my current collection almost takes up an entire shelf!). Because of this, I declared: no more a-purchasin' F&SF!

Then, I discovered that my library allowed me to read a lot of magazines online through their patron systems, and lo and behold! Fantasy & Science Fiction! I thought I'd give it a try again, just to make sure I wasn't missing anything (but then got backlogged under a pile of other things, so I put it off until now...).

Needless to say, though I say it anyway, I wasn't thrilled with this issues' offering. There were several stories that were all right, and some that were just, well, not.

An Elvish Sword of Great Antiquity by Jim Aikin.

This story is set in a sort of early to mid 1900's world in which elves had the unfortunate circumstance of being conscripted into unwilling servitude. There's a dinner party, and ancient sword, and a bunch of mysterious and cryptic house elves, and a surprise ending. 4/5

Seafarer's Blood by Albert E. Cowdrey

A guy has dreams in which he's a viking, and finds out he sleepwalks in a very viking-like manner. Finds out he's soul swapping, and does everything he can to try to prevent his viking ancestor from pulling the old switcheroo. 3.5/5

The Perfect Infestation by Carol Emshwiller

Dandelion-fluff aliens invade earth, and try not to make the same mistakes as previous invasions. They possess dogs, but do not deviate from a dog's expected behavior. Hilarity or InvasionFail ensues. 3.5/5

Rising Waters by Patrician Ferrara

Classic reprint. Something about a flood. This long after reading it, I find I remember very little about it. Hence, not memorable (so why the reprint?) 3/5

The Minutemen's Witch by Charles Coleman Finlay

A revolutionary war-era tale about a Minuteman who uses scrying to see the outcome of a dispute, only a whole lot more happens than what he saw. Don't start the revolution without me! The entire story seemed like it was just for the purpose of staging the novels written in the same world. How about that? A commercial you get PAID to do! Not really interesting unless the Revolutionary War is your cup of tax-free coffee. 3/5

The Monopoly Man by Barry B. Longyear

A prostitute finds a new life after her old one crumbles down inside a comfy jacket owned by some years-dead rich guy who looks like the Monopoly man (You know, Rich Uncle Pennybags?). She enters a strange pay-it-forward rehab clinic and eventually becomes one of its counselors. She wishes to repay this kind stranger, and as such, takes on the man's over-privileged heiress daughter to try to work out her own addiction. 3.5/5

The Boy Who Sang for Others by Michael Meddor

A boy gets a head trauma, and now when he sings, he has the voice of dead people. His father and sister try to use the Bible to help, while his grandmother tries to use the occult. They eventually find a compromise. 3.5/5

All in Fun by Jerry Oltion

A boy gets his Christmas wish every year. One year, as an adult, he wishes to have fun. What follows is apparent "wish fulfillment" of the author: Trucks and SUVs crashing, bass-thumping cars exploding, cell phone users losing their phones in ironic or bizarre ways, you name it! If it annoyed the author, it's addressed here! 3/5

Changeling by Dean Whitlock

A grad student moves to a new town and meets a particularly ugly girl and a trash-talking parrot. I guess he falls in love or something. This story evaded me, or wasn't that memorable. 2.5/5

Kathi Maio also has a film review. I'm not sure if she liked the film or not (The Fall). I don't think she knows either.

All in all, I think I made the right decision. There are better things I can spend my time reading, and if I want to read the "best" fantasy, science fiction, horror, or what-have-you, I'll just pick up the appropriately named anthology, or follow the Hugo, Nebula, and other similar awards.

The Best in show?

An Elvish Sword of Great Antiquity. The title was good and the story was well paced, even if it was just a blatant metaphor for slavery and racism. ( )
  aethercowboy | Jan 27, 2010 |
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