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December 2007 issue of F&SF

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Fabrice Doublet
Posted on Wednesday, October 03, 2007 - 10:16 am:   

This message board is a bit sleepy these days.
What about the December issue?
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Gordon Van Gelder
Posted on Wednesday, October 03, 2007 - 02:00 pm:   

THE MAGAZINE OF
FANTASY & SCIENCE FICTION
December • 59th Year of Publication

NOVELETS
The Bone Man -49- Frederic S. Durbin
Finisterra -123- David Moles

SHORT STORIES
Osama Phone Home -6- David Marusek
Stray -36- Benjamin Rosenbaum and David Ackert
Don't Ask -90- M. Rickert
Who Brought Tulips To the Moon? -99- S. L. Gilbow

POEMS
She Rides -122- Sophie M. White

DEPARTMENTS
Books to Look For -27- Charles de Lint
Musing on Books -31- Michelle West
Plumage from Pegasus: Survival of the Fannish -86- Paul Di Filippo
Coming Attractions -116-
Films: Flavorless, Odorless Soulless -117- Lucius Shepard
Index to Volumes 112 & 113 -159-
Curiosities -162- David Langford

COVER BY CORY AND CATSKA ENCH FOR "FINISTERRA"
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Fabrice Doublet
Posted on Wednesday, October 03, 2007 - 02:17 pm:   

Marusek? Great!!! Osama? hum hum...perhaps not so great... an horror story?

M. Rickert? I'm asking: a Christmas Witch story?

Who Brought Tulips To the Moon? The Flying Dutchman, of course!

Finisterra? nothing to do with french Finistère?
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Fabrice Doublet
Posted on Wednesday, October 03, 2007 - 02:27 pm:   

Or the spanish Finisterra Cape? Anyway, it must be a celtic legend?
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Robert Brown
Posted on Wednesday, October 03, 2007 - 05:32 pm:   

The last thing I read by Durbin was "The Place of Roots," which was quite nice. Good to see a new one.
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Gordon Van Gelder
Posted on Monday, October 15, 2007 - 01:17 pm:   

The magazine THE FIX has just relaunched and they've reviewed the Dec. 2007 issue: http://thefix-online.com/2007/10/14/fantasy-and-science-fiction-december-2007/
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Blue Tyson
Posted on Wednesday, October 17, 2007 - 11:14 pm:   

Fabrice, the Osama story is very good. Not horror.


Fantasy and Science Fiction 667 Ratings
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GSH
Posted on Sunday, October 28, 2007 - 11:22 am:   

Frederic S. Durbin's "The Bone Man" was nicely timed for the season. Highly evocative writing! It makes for a good late-night read.
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Gordon Van Gelder
Posted on Tuesday, October 30, 2007 - 09:38 am:   

The first copies of the December 2007 issue that we mailed to ourselves finally arrived today. Post office must be backed up with holiday catalogs or something.
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GSH
Posted on Tuesday, October 30, 2007 - 10:37 am:   

It's certainly gratifiying to see the post office will be providing speedier delivery in return for their rate hikes.
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ccfinlay
Posted on Tuesday, October 30, 2007 - 10:53 am:   

Gordon, we received our copy out in Boondock, Ohio, a week or so ago, so some addresses slipped through the catalogjam.
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Gerry Daumiller
Posted on Tuesday, October 30, 2007 - 06:13 pm:   

Our Hastings bookstore has the December issue, but I haven't received my subscription copy yet.
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John William Thiel
Posted on Saturday, November 03, 2007 - 10:43 am:   

The cover makes one wonder what planet is being explored, and upon discovering it illustrates "Finisterra" one turns to this story and finds a fine piece of work about a realm existing outside the imagination, a surrealist realm overseen by artists--a very satisfying discovery. "Don't Ask" has that same quality of existing outside of visualizable realms. The stories bring into a form of focus the remote unknown. I'm happy to see such writing again. They are good reads if one wishes to avoid the turbid problems of this life for a spell in an unknown beyond.

Those not reading Paul Di Filippo's column will be missing some outstanding humor.

Of Sophie M. White I would ask, "WHO Rides?" I think it would contribute to an understanding of the poem if this question were to be answered.

A very good issue. I'm not sure Shepard is keeping up with comic books, though, and staying in the spirit of an Action reader.
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John Joseph Adams
Posted on Monday, November 05, 2007 - 01:15 pm:   

I conducted a short interview with David Moles about his F&SF story "Finisterra". You can read the interview here:
http://www.johnjosephadams.com/?p=1260
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Fabrice Doublet
Posted on Tuesday, November 06, 2007 - 02:38 am:   

Since Marusek's story is a reprint from the Technology Review, let me point out that there's a very good Greg Egan Story in the last issue.

Steve Fever

You can register and have free access to the stories published there
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Fabrice Doublet
Posted on Saturday, November 10, 2007 - 02:47 am:   

"Osama Phone Home": well, good story. A bit frightening. I'm not sure I want to believe such "amateur" private intelligence organisations can exist and prosper. An American Al Qaeda of sorts (patriots, not terrorists of course...well, I'm not sure about it: rather "well-intentioned" terrrrorists, but terrorists nonetheless). Or to believe that professionnal intelligence agencies wouldn't notice that (or notice that and doing nothing, maybe?).
The Bush-bashing at the beginning of the story and the "Hillary '08" sticker was annoying and irrelevant to the core of the story. Or was it in fact a purely political story?
Entertaining, to a point, but not outstanding.
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David de Beer
Posted on Sunday, November 11, 2007 - 09:08 am:   

Osama phone home was rather disappointing to me; not a big fan of this mode of story-telling though (intriguing opening, bulk of story as infodump and synopsis of story rather than story, conclusion). Still, there were a couple of nice, subtle touches along the way that kept me reading till the end. I liked the Hilary '08 sticker touch, though, made me laugh.
One thing that I do like, what Marusek did here, was deliver a story that should have appeal and resonance to both left and right of the political divides.
was ok, but not my cuppa.

Mary Rickert's Dont Ask, was superb - uncomfortable subject excellently handled and kudos to her for not opting for any easy outs, but tackling it head-on.
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Aragon Duran Ramos
Posted on Monday, November 12, 2007 - 01:01 am:   

I would say Osama Phone Home was somewhat interesting, in a distant kind of way. It kind of forces you to keep it at arm's length with the aforementioned 'mode'.

Finisterra was great. Brilliant choice of cover- I absolutely had to flip over to it and read it first. I did question a bit at the end-- would these people really be a sedate civilized culture, receiving her with open arms? I expected a more hostile welcome from savage survivalists. But perhaps my image of them is off.

The Bone Man had the effect of a train in reading, slowly gaining momentum. The title is important, because without it I wouldn't have been curious enough to get through the beginning. It picked up nicely in any case.

Solid issue to me personally.
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Fabrice Doublet
Posted on Monday, November 12, 2007 - 06:24 am:   

Stray by Benjamin Rosenbaum and David Ackert.
Nice little tale. I enjoyed it very much, very touching. Only criticism: too short. I hope there will be other stories in future issues to see how Ivan evolves and copes with his humanity.
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Gordon Van Gelder
Posted on Monday, November 12, 2007 - 06:36 am:   

Everyone's comments in this thread are excellent---thank you all for the feedback.
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Jason Sanford
Posted on Monday, November 12, 2007 - 03:06 pm:   

I'll second the other posters who've praised "Finisterra" by David Moles. This was a great story with a strong sensawunda and an equally compelling main character. I particularly love how the beginning of the story both contrasted with the ending and mislead me on how the story would play out. I praised the story in more detail last week on my blog.
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Fabrice Doublet
Posted on Tuesday, November 13, 2007 - 07:11 am:   

The Bone Man by Frederic S. Durbin

Excellent. The atmosphere of an American rural town is well sketched (I like stories set in rural America. So different from France; Halloween is also an exotic American feature: they (business lobbies?) tried to implant it in France a few years ago, but after some success the first two years, it didn't take root so far). The pace is leisurely at first and then accelerates: tension is slowly building up and I read the story with a growing anticipation for what would happen ... Conlin is not a lovable character, but I could identify with him nonetheless. Durbin's craft is impressive.
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Fabrice Doublet
Posted on Wednesday, November 14, 2007 - 04:17 am:   

I agree with David on Mary Rickert's "Don't Ask". Superb.
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John Joseph Adams
Posted on Thursday, November 15, 2007 - 07:16 pm:   

A review in The Fix:

http://thefix-online.com/reviews/fantasy-and-science-fiction-december-2007/
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Fabrice Doublet
Posted on Friday, November 16, 2007 - 04:30 am:   

"Who Brought Tulips To the Moon" by S. L. Gilbow

Well, the story didn't completely work for me. The idea of killing old people who are becoming a charge to the society in not new in SF fiction.
I didn't really understand the nead to go to the moon for that. Why can't they do it on Earth? Going to the moon must be very expensive, although the justification for doing so is avoiding costs to the society and family.

The main character is a complete mystery for me: he apparently doesn't react to his daughter's decision to organise his passing, he doesn't react to his daughter's death at the end of the story, but he seems to be very sensitive to being called "jackass" by an unknown passersby.
The twist at the end of the story seems a bit "outré".

On the other side, there's a certain poetic quality to the story.

Mixed feelings about that story.
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Jason K. Chapman
Posted on Friday, November 16, 2007 - 07:50 am:   

I have to say I really don't think "Osama Phone Home" works. My problem isn't with the politics. It's with my feeling that, without the real-world politics, there's nothing left--no characters to care about, or even to be curious about. It feels like an outline for a story, rather than a story, and one that depends on the topic to engage the reader, rather than the story.

I think "The Bone Man" is just brilliantly written and "Finisterra" is worth the price of the issue.
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Fabrice Doublet
Posted on Saturday, November 17, 2007 - 05:02 am:   

"Finisterra" by David Moles

Whoa! This one is a winner. Great World Building. The story and the cover art are both superb. Sure hope we'll see further stories about Finisterra and Bianca. Novel stuff here. A great story closing a great issue closing a great F&SF year.
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Gordon Van Gelder
Posted on Friday, November 30, 2007 - 07:44 am:   

The subscription copies we sent to ourselves finally arrived in Hoboken today.
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David Sanders
Posted on Friday, November 30, 2007 - 11:31 am:   

When I received the December issue, I did a double take at the cover, as the balloon reminded me of the balloon on the cover of the January 1974 issue:

http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b254/davebazooka/1974-2007.jpg
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Dave Truesdale
Posted on Friday, November 30, 2007 - 11:30 pm:   

I marvelled at "Finisterra" 's world-building/creation. It is a wonderful story, with world-building echoes of Harlan's collaborative MEDEA collection (re the world-building of an airborn ecology), but different enough to be its own creation. It also smacks of the wildly imaginative stuff published in _Thrilling Wonder Stories_ and its ilk from the 30s, but is grounded--with one or two excellent, crucial, sentences of scientific explanation (the entire world of Sky was created by somebody else, those lines and a few others in that passage)--that made it work for me, and plugged a gap that I was beginning to worry about. I couldn't help myself, I really liked this one. Moles must find a way to incorporate more stories from this interesting world. He's taken too much time researching and creating it to let it go with just one story.

"The Bone Man" was strongly reminiscent of Bradbury ala the small town/Fall flavor, but otherwise is its own fine story; though, somehow and in some undefined way I wanted a bit more from the ending. We all sorta saw it coming; not in the details, but we all knew the bad guy/outsider was gonna get it. Still, a solid effort and I enjoyed the ride.

And S. L. Gilbow's "Tulips" story (what a terrific title!) was subtle and superb. This is definitely an author to watch. The author's first story in the Feb. issue also dealt with a societal sanction on the theme of death (through lottery), this time through euthanisia; in the previous story "Red Card" with sanctioned murder, which is _much_ scarier.

In both cases getting "rid" of people for different reasons is explored, through wildly different means and scenarios--again, both sanctioned by the government. Euthanasia, of course, is the more palatable scenario for some, but still raises numerous philosophical, moral, ethical, and religious questions to be contentious, and therefore in its own way just as thought-provoking as the more distasteful policy raised in "Red Card" which explores state-sanctioned murder.

I can't wait for Gilbow's third story (to see if it again touches on the theme of suicide or murder, or something entirely different), and am hoping he might, for the first time, see his name on the cover. I think he's earned it.

I liked almost all of the remaining stories in this issue as well, but felt like commenting on these two pieces in particular. The Dec. F&SF was a strong issue, and congrats to Gordon.

Dave
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Wolf Trubshaw
Posted on Wednesday, December 05, 2007 - 01:21 pm:   

On 2008-01-01 my little site dedicated to pulp magazines will officially launch, and as a F&SF subscriber, I will always have the latest issues reviewed there.

As a little test run, I thought I'll already load up the review for DEC 2007 (which is the latest issue for me, since JAN 2008 hasn't arrived yet).

I came up with a review scheme as well. It's explained under the "About" section.

The grey links will get activated upon official launch.

Review for F&SF DEC 2008
@ Mesmeric Magazines Mayhem:
http://www.mmmayhem.info/
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John William Thiel
Posted on Wednesday, December 05, 2007 - 02:54 pm:   

That looks like a good site that will be worth watching. Very professionally done.
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Jeff Stehman
Posted on Wednesday, December 05, 2007 - 06:00 pm:   

The Bone Man: I loved the character work in this one, but I didn't care for the ending. I felt a lot of buildup, but my response to the ending was "Oh, okay," which was a disappointment.

Finisterra: Great cover art, and the world-building matched. The story was okay.

Osama Phone Home: I liked this one. It was a fun read and an idea worth exploring.

Stray: A good story, but not my cup of tea.

Don't Ask: I didn't like it.

Who Brought Tulips To the Moon: Much of this one bored me, but I was pleasantly surprised by the ending.

Not a bad issue, but no stand-out stories for me. I'll be hard pressed to pick a favorite when the time comes.
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Fabrice Doublet
Posted on Thursday, December 13, 2007 - 01:19 pm:   

On Asimovs forum, Gardner Dozois wrote yesterday 12/12:

"I think that "Finisterra" was one of my absolute favorites of the year."
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John Joseph Adams
Posted on Saturday, December 29, 2007 - 08:44 am:   

Review:

http://anotherpieceofshooflypie.blogspot.com/2007/12/f-dec.html
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Sarah Sammis
Posted on Saturday, December 29, 2007 - 09:36 pm:   

I really enjoyed this issue. I've posted my final review tonight.

http://www.pussreboots.pair.com/blog/2007/12.html#fsf_finisterra
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John Joseph Adams
Posted on Tuesday, January 01, 2008 - 10:40 am:   

I've posted the favorite story poll for this issue. Vote on your favorite!

http://www.johnjosephadams.com/?p=1362
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Greg
New member
Username: Greg

Post Number: 4
Registered: 02-2008
Posted on Thursday, March 13, 2008 - 03:15 am:   

Who Brought Tulips to the Moon?

Here's a recent article about a proposed Lunar Ark that brought the title to mind. Scroll down to the 5th paragraph.
GSH
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Gordon_van_gelder
Member
Username: Gordon_van_gelder

Post Number: 709
Registered: 04-2006
Posted on Thursday, August 14, 2008 - 08:55 am:   

A few weeks ago, we got an order for a sample issue from someone near Fayetteville, Arkansas. I thought it was such a nice letter that I got permission to post it here:

Dear Mr. Van Gelder,

A few comments about the sample, (Dec. '07), you sent.

Benjamin Rosenbaum and David Ackert manag'd to create something original and emotionally involving, ("Stray"), from materials that have come across as trite and familiar.

If ever "creepy" couold apply to a work of fiction, "The Bone Man" is it! Frederic S. Durbin's to be commended for creating an atmosphere of dread with little, (if any), bloodletting. Done right, this would make a helluva movie. Sadly, the gorehounds & splatterpunks don't realize less is more...

As for David Moles' "Finisterra", (the best for last), here we have a rich tapestry of varied threads and colours, woven by a master hand. This begs to be a DUNE-siz'd novel, the MOBY DICK of science fiction.

I've enclosed $34.97 for a Year.

Carry on.

P.S. Great cover.

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