Diary of a Network Geek

The trials and tribulations of a Certified Novell Engineer who's been stranded in Houston, Texas.


Review: Fantasy and Science Fiction Magazine

Filed under: Art,Fun,Personal,Review,Things to Read — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:47 am for you boring, normal people.
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I got a free review copy of Fantasy and Science Fiction Magazine last week.

F&SF Mag, as I will refer to them for the rest of this post, had a deal which I was lucky enough to get in on. They offered a free review copy of their July issue for bloggers who would be willing to review that issue and, well, blog about it. They kept up their end of the deal, so, now, I’m keeping up my end.

F&SF Mag is, in general, fabulous. The July issue will be no exception. Now, I haven’t read all of it yet, but what I have read lives up to the already high standard that they have set for as long as I can remember.
In this issue, you’ll find one novella, two novelets, three short stories and all their regular columns. The novella is The Roberts by Michael Blumlein. The novelets are Fullbrim’s Finding by Matthew Hughes and Poison Victory by Albert E. Cowdrey. The three short stories are Reader’s Guide by Lisa Goldstein, Enfant Terrible by Scott Dalrymple and The Dinosaur Train by James L. Cambias. Now, I haven’t heard of any of these authors, but, frankly, that doesn’t mean much as I’ve been reading a lot of non-fiction the past several years. Also, they may be short-form stars, but, honestly, there just aren’t that many venues available to showcase fantasy and science fiction short work any more. It’s one of the reasons I wanted to get this magazine and why I’ve bought it regularly in the past.

I read Reader’s Guide by Lisa Goldstein, Enfant Terrible by Scott Dalrymple and The Dinosaur Train by James L. Cambias, but I plan to read the longer work, too, eventually.
Reader’s Guide is a story about a kind of librarian in a special kind of library filled with potential books, as well as books that have already been written. The story follows the protagonist through a transformation to a new, deeper understanding of the library and the people who haunt it. But, to tell you more than that would, I think, ruin the story.
I also read Enfant Terrible by Scott Dalrymple. This story was about a very special little boy and his somewhat symbiotic relationship with another life. Again, to say more would ruin the story and, as this story is better than the last, I’d hate to diminish your pleasure in reading it.
The third, and best, story I read was The Dinosaur Train by James L. Cambias. I wouldn’t be surprised if this author ends up being an award winner in the near future. The Dinosaur Train was about a family who own and operate a dinosaur circus. Sadly, the circus has seen better times and, what’s worse, their main attraction, a huge sauropod, is sick. The plot is driven by both this, and the conflicts within the family. It is, as I already mentioned, the best story of the bunch. I look forward to reading more from this author. And, I must admit, I may have had a bit of deeper resonance with this story due to my own family’s history in the circus business.

The short story, indeed, all short fiction, is a very different art than the epic-length novel. Sadly, it seems to be a dying art. There are fewer and fewer venues that we might find this form and, thankfully, Fantasy and Science Fiction Magazine shows that form in my favorite genre very well. I’m glad that they seem to still be doing so well. If it’s been some time since you’ve looked at magazines with short fiction, I highly recommend getting the next issue of Fantasy and Science Fiction Magazine. It’s worth every penny and then some!

Oh, and if you’re interested in getting a subscription to Fantasy and Science Fiction Magazine, they have a special offer for bloggers who did a review. Just click this link!


  1. James Cambias has been a finalist for the Nebula, Tiptree, and John W. Campbell Awards although he hasn’t won anything yet. Hopefully, he’ll continue to find new readers who appreciate his short fiction. You might also like his story “Balancing Accounts” in the February F&SF.

    Comment by Charlie Finlay — 5/20/2008 @ 8:26 pm

  2. Hey, thanks for the update on that, Charlie. I’m sure it won’t be long before he’s winning awards left and right.

    Comment by the Network Geek — 5/21/2008 @ 4:59 pm

  3. Writing science fiction takes a special writer.

    Comment by Terry Finley — 5/21/2008 @ 7:34 pm

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