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Gordon Van Gelder
Posted on Wednesday, June 09, 2004 - 05:11 am:   

NOVELLAS

THE TRIBES OF BELA -41- Albert E. Cowdrey


NOVELETS

THE CONDOR'S GREEN-EYED CHILD -6-Robert Reed


SHORT STORIES

START THE CLOCK -106- Benjamin Rosenbaum
THE LIBRARY -129- Carol Emshwiller
RELICS OF THE THIM -147- Matthew Hughes


DEPARTMENTS

BOOKS TO LOOK FOR -31- Charles de Lint
BOOKS -35- Elizabeth Hand
FILMS: FORGET ABOUT IT -123- Lucius Shepard
COMING ATTRACTIONS -160-
CURIOSITIES -162- Jason Van Hollander

CARTOONS: Bill Long (30), Frank Cotham (105), Joseph Farris (128).

COVER BY CORY AND CATSKA ENCH FOR "THE TRIBES OF BELA"
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Elizabeth
Posted on Wednesday, June 09, 2004 - 06:50 am:   

August is out and I still haven't received my July copy! Being up north is a pain.
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John Joseph Adams
Posted on Wednesday, June 09, 2004 - 09:02 am:   

Elizabeth --

Subscribers and newstands haven't received the August issue yet. We just received our copies at the editorial office.
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Robert Burke Richardson
Posted on Wednesday, June 09, 2004 - 09:59 am:   

"Being up north is a pain."

It has its down sides, but it's worth it to live in a country where we know Barbra Streisand is terrible.
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Thomas R
Posted on Wednesday, June 09, 2004 - 02:56 pm:   

Oh we Americans know that too. Further South is Mexico, but I think they have the sense to just ignore her.
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E Thomas
Posted on Wednesday, June 09, 2004 - 07:05 pm:   

Hey, I like some Barbara Streisand songs... :P (mostly her musical stuff)

As I got older I noticed she milks the notes for all they are worth, though...kind of distracts from the song.
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Marguerite
Posted on Thursday, June 10, 2004 - 03:25 am:   

She's in a different category of trouble...when I was younger, my spouse and I went to see The MIrror Has 2 Faces--to our surprise, we quite enjoyed it. I tried to watch it again recently, because I do so like Jeff Bridges--and I found it unwatchable. Put cloves and pinneapple all over her, and she's a perfect ham.

Anyway. Good to see another Robert Reed story!
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Patrick Samphire
Posted on Thursday, June 10, 2004 - 08:23 am:   

Good to see another Ben Rosenbaum story. It's been too long since the last one.
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kundor
Posted on Monday, June 14, 2004 - 02:36 pm:   

Wow. I just read "Start the Clock" and it was really good. Is that a standalone story or are there others in the same universe?
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Benjamin Rosenbaum
Posted on Tuesday, June 15, 2004 - 06:51 am:   

Thanks, Patrick and Kundor!

There aren't any other stories by me in that universe, yet. I like the universe though. So who knows? Maybe there will be.

There are, however, two predecessor stories to "Start the Clock".

One is a story I did my last week at Clarion West 2001 -- Patrick may remember it! -- called "What Do We Lack", about a (nontraditional) family in a somewhat Doctrovian 22nd-century post-scarcity Europe arguing about whether to have a baby. The story suffered from the readers not being able to understand what the big deal was, or to believe that having babies would have gone out of fashion.

I could never get that story to work, but after (independently) writing "Start the Clock", I said to myself: "Hey! This is actually a rewrite of 'What Do We Lack' with a better setup!"

The other predecessor story is Diana Sherman's play "Summer Children" from the Exquisite Corpuscle project (http://www.frankwu.com/Corpuscle.html) which should be out some time late this year or next year from Wheatland Press.

My assignment for Exquisite Corpuscle was to write a story in response to "Summer Children". The play takes place during the outbreak of an aging-arresting virus, so naturally, like a good SF writer, I asked myself, "what's the world going to look like 30 years later?"

So in that sense, Diana Sherman's play is set in the same universe...

And Mary Anne Mohanraj's poem "Catch Me If You Can" is a response to "Start the Clock":
http://www.mamohanraj.com/03/catch.html
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Benjamin Rosenbaum
Posted on Tuesday, June 15, 2004 - 06:52 am:   

As for Barbara Steisand, I remember liking her in "Yentl"...
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Offended Fan
Posted on Tuesday, June 15, 2004 - 05:12 pm:   

Barbra.

Barbra Streisand
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Amused Observer
Posted on Tuesday, June 15, 2004 - 06:31 pm:   

Seriously Offended???

and for those in dire need of BraBra Streisand entertainment...
This section contains statements and speeches by Ms. Streisand.
"The Truth About Corporations and the Taxes They Pay"


http://www.barbrastreisand.com/statements.html
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Robert Burke Richardson
Posted on Wednesday, June 16, 2004 - 01:31 am:   

Wow, looks like my Barbra Streisand quip really pulled this thread off-topic. My work here is finished :-)
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Robert Burke Richardson
Posted on Wednesday, June 16, 2004 - 01:36 am:   

On topic, I'm glad to see a novella as well as a novelet for August -- I've really loved most (and probably all, though I'd have to check) of the longer stories F&SF has published in the last few years.
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John Klima
Posted on Thursday, June 17, 2004 - 07:02 am:   

Should I have gotten this in the mail yet? I checked my shelf last night and it's not there... :-(

JK
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Robert Burke Richardson
Posted on Thursday, June 17, 2004 - 01:06 pm:   

^I just got the July issue, so I wouldn't worry. Depending on your geographic location, it should be along in the near future. :-)
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Niall Harrison
Posted on Thursday, June 17, 2004 - 04:25 pm:   

Hell, I haven't even seen the June issue yet...mind you, I'm in the UK.
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John Thiel
Posted on Sunday, June 20, 2004 - 06:09 pm:   

You can't beat the July issue.
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R.Wilder
Posted on Monday, June 21, 2004 - 09:24 am:   

I'm going to beat it as soon as I finish beating the June issue, which will be sometime between 8pm and 11pm this evening.
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Gordon Van Gelder
Posted on Saturday, June 26, 2004 - 09:06 am:   

Subscription copies of the August issue have begun showing up---we haven't received all our copies yet, but half of them showed up in Hoboken, NJ, this past week.
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Robert Burke Richardson
Posted on Saturday, June 26, 2004 - 09:54 am:   

^This is the issue with the new Canadian distributor, right? It'll be interesting to see when it shows up.
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John Thiel
Posted on Monday, June 28, 2004 - 12:58 pm:   

Mr. Van Gelder and staff:

As I surmised, you were unable to match the July issue in the following one. It's very sedate by comparison. But I suspect you weren't trying to, and want each individual issue to have its individual qualities. The cover art is as usual outstanding among magazines, and Carol Emshwiller, who as I recall was Ed Emsh's wife and appeared first as an author in your magazine, is a feature name at the topside, so let's see what's in the issue.

One notes in the Marketplace that more and more ads take computer responses; here's the Ordinary World diverting into a new mode right in its own territory, a lot like what might be in a story in the magazine. Don't know whether I should look up the vampires who are advertising or not. If they're anything like the fellow on MAD, MAD HOUSE, I don't know if I would like them. Another thing I don't find very appealing is LADY CHURCHILL'S ROSEBUD WRISTLET. It's being respected as equivalent to the Big Three in certain quarters, but I don't think Small Beer has the right idea about the genre.

"The Tribes of Bela" sounds like another swinger from an earlier epoch, and I wondered how the author would handle his theme and find a common ruse; the whole thing's documented in a future file and being studied by people other than the reader. Why that viewpoint?

Elizabeth Hand reviews Leslie What.

That's a good cartoon on page 30; I see through the windows the neighbors are jumping. Kind of like conditions around here. One can't get out much because there's nowhere to go, and everybody stays indoors or on the highway. One can't take nature walks due to the insects. Everybody's starting to complain about it.

I can't complain about your latest issue; but as I say, the July issue was what was outstanding.
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CCC
Posted on Saturday, July 03, 2004 - 08:22 am:   

Start The Clock, my favorite story for this issue.
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John Thiel
Posted on Wednesday, July 14, 2004 - 08:48 am:   

And that's about all there is to say about the August issue.
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Patrick Samphire
Posted on Wednesday, July 14, 2004 - 08:58 am:   

John, I'm interested when you say "I don't think Small Beer has the right idea about the genre". What exactly is the right idea about the genre? Is there only one "right idea"?
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Jer
Posted on Thursday, July 15, 2004 - 01:23 pm:   

Benjamin Rosenbaum: Have you ever read the novel, Gun, With Occasional Music, by Jonathan Lethem?

The novel has a group of people called Babyheads that are interesting, and your story brought them to mind. Very different ideas, but similar in a way, too. I think you might enjoy his writing, if you haven't read the chance to read any of his works yet.

Er, I suppose the point of this post, by the by, is to say that Start the Clock was my favorite of the issue (and just plain really good, too).

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Patrick Samphire
Posted on Friday, July 16, 2004 - 01:30 am:   

I, too, thought that Start the Clock was an excellent story. I like the way Ben has taken a basic "what if" and come up with a convincing, original setting, then added a great set of characters and a touching storyline.

I see the relationship between this story and "What Do We Lack", Ben, but I think this is a far better story. Congratulations.
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Jer
Posted on Friday, July 16, 2004 - 10:23 am:   

"read the chance to read" -> had the chance to read.

I wish there was a way to go back and edit posts.
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Benjamin Rosenbaum
Posted on Friday, July 16, 2004 - 11:18 am:   

CCC, Jer, Patrick, thanks for the kind words.

I have read Lethem's "Gun, with Occasional Music", now that you mention it, Jer. Great book. It wasn't a conscious influence, but now that you mention it, I see the connection with the Babyheads.
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Robert Burke Richardson
Posted on Friday, July 23, 2004 - 10:01 pm:   

This is the first issue that makes me feel like an insider. I was familiar with all the writers and knew the two worlds/universes that recurred. I was very glad to see Raven and Henghis again (when did that sneaky Matt Hughs become one of my favorite writers?), liked Bela and the Library, and especially Pirateland.

The stories here are challenging in more subtle ways, and all are well structured in a traditional sense (only 'The Library' has a somewhat cryptic ending). Coupled with the great fantasy cover art, I wonder if this issue will have more mainstream/casual appeal than most issues? Does newstand sell-through measure mainstream appeal at all?
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Michael Samerdyke
Posted on Tuesday, July 27, 2004 - 01:49 pm:   

I thought this was a rather weak issue. "Relics of the Thim" by Matthew Hughes was the only story I liked. It struck me as very funny and it didn't wear out its welcome.

"Tribes of Bela," with earth colonists being knocked off by a mysterious force, struck me as being too much like Forbidden Planet in its concept.
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Ahmed A. Khan
Posted on Tuesday, July 27, 2004 - 02:22 pm:   

I agree with Michael that this was a week issue and "Relics of the Thim" was the best story in it, in spite of the fact (pointed out earlier in this thread) that the protagonist doesn't do anything.

Other stories in the issue have been commented upon earlier in the thread except for "The Library", so I will add my comment here. This story mixes up a couple of age old SF tropes (including the Adam and Eve allegory). I would expect that stories with such themes, unless handled by well-known names, would be rejected outright by editors in general.
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Matt Hughes
Posted on Tuesday, July 27, 2004 - 03:44 pm:   

Ahmed:

I confess, I get by mainly on style. But it's fun to break the rules.

Matt Hughes
http://www.archonate.com/

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Robert Burke Richardson
Posted on Tuesday, July 27, 2004 - 06:44 pm:   

I find it strange that so many found this issue 'week'... especially with so many occurrences of the word breast :-)
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John Thiel
Posted on Wednesday, July 28, 2004 - 07:07 am:   

Patrick, "science fiction is science fiction" is the right idea about the genre; gypsies may be fantastic, but a fantasy story would be about them. Plus humor is a genre of its own, and I think that's the genre of the Rosebud Wristlet.

What, are they trying to breast the new space frontier?
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Patrick Samphire
Posted on Wednesday, July 28, 2004 - 07:57 am:   

Hi John. Not sure I follow totally what you're saying. I assume you are not saying that the genre of Lady Churchill's is humour? Are you saying that it contains a completely distinct genre by itself? I don't think I'd be convinced by that. I could see plenty of the stories they published in something like Strange Horizons, Flytrap, Polyphony or even F&SF.
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Ahmed A. Khan
Posted on Wednesday, July 28, 2004 - 10:33 am:   

Hey Matt!

Though I have not mentioned it earlier, I always enjoy your stories. Not all of them may be classics but they are - invariably - good reads. More power to you.

Ahmed
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Matt Hughes
Posted on Wednesday, July 28, 2004 - 11:11 am:   

Ahmed:

"Not all of them may be classics..."

That's okay, I'm not trying to write classic stories, just entertainment.

My books, now... they are, of course, works of stunning immensity that will endure though eons and ages may come and go.

Matt Hughes
http://www.archonate.com/
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Sean T. M. Stiennon
Posted on Monday, August 30, 2004 - 11:34 am:   

I actually liked Tribes of Bela quite a bit...it kept me very gripped through a long plane trip. Some of it was a little disturbing, but it was a rousing good adventure.

Aside from that, and Relics of the Thim, I couldn't really get into any of the issue's other stories. But those two were worth the price of admission...
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Jeffrey J Lyons
Posted on Tuesday, August 31, 2004 - 12:47 pm:   

Hey Ahmed! It's good to see you participating in this forum too!
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E Thomas
Posted on Wednesday, August 31, 2005 - 07:09 pm:   

Only a year belated, my review (reposted from the Asimov's forum).

F & SF August 2004

"The Condor's Green-Eyed Child" (novelet)
This novelette is a sequel to an earlier story with the character of Raven called "Buffalo Wolf," published in the March 2003 issue, which I haven't read. It follows a Native American boy who strays outside the boundaries to discover someone who needs his help. In my opinion, a fairly minor Reed story.

"The Tribes of Bela" by Albert E. Cowdrey (novella)
An outstanding science ficton adventure and mystery story. Security Forces Colonel Robert Kohn visits the intriguing planet of Bela to find a killer and keep the mines of Bela open. There is strange evidence on this planet of an intelligent life that lived on it in the distant past, as well as many other people who have the motive to kill someone. The pattern seems random, however, and more people continue to die as Kohn attempts to get to the bottom of it all... A highly successful SF novella in its own right, and probably one of the most successful SF/mystery blends I've seen in quite some time.

"Start the Clock" by Benjamin Rosenbaum (short story)
Rosenbaum is a favorite author of mine. He often does really, really different stuff. This one isn't as different as the last story I read by him; however, it's a great example of its type. "Start the Clock" is a great example of the subgenre where people stop aging normally or get stuck at certain levels of development. Our protagonist, in a SF future where children don't have to grow up, has to grapple with one of her friend's desires to grow up. Deliberate references to Peter Pan.

"The Library" by Carol Emshwiller (short story)
The blurb describes this Emshwiller story as a "fable." It has fantasy feel. It's a terrorists-go-after-the-library story that turns into an unlikely opposites attract/love story that echoes Adam and Eve.

"Relics of the Thim" by Matthew Hughes (short story)
This is the second "Henghis Hapthorn" story. Hapthorn is a detective in a far future world who has a part of his mind that has the ability to inexplicably solve puzzles and mysteries. The mystery part is usually fairly weak and not something a reader could deduce on their own. The characters aren't really likeable--Hapthorn really isn't a character I would want to meet--but they are fun stories to read, especially once you get into the swing of them. It seems almost unfair to judge each Hapthorn story on its own, since after I read a few of them I discovered that the really interesting part of the stories for me revolves around the ongoing plotline about Hapthorn's relationship with his integrator and a temporal being from another planet. In the stories, hints are building up that there is something not quite right about both of these characters, and I cannot help but be interested in this plotline and where it is going.

My favorite of the issue is definitely "The Tribes of Bela," followed probably by Rosenbaum's "Start the Clock."

--
Gardner Dozois pointed out that my two favorite stories from this issue are also collected in his most recent version of the Year's Best (the 22nd).
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R.Wilder
Posted on Wednesday, August 31, 2005 - 08:26 pm:   

I loved "The Tribes of Bela" which is quite different from Cowdrey's New Orleans stories. Those may have a different spin in future issues, I'm presuming, given this week's catastrophe.

The Henghis Hapthorn stories have been a great enjoyment in "F&SF" the past year or so. Here's hoping for more.

You're catching up ET...
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E Thomas
Posted on Thursday, September 01, 2005 - 09:47 am:   

Someone (Gordon Van Gelder? JJA?) pointed out recently that "Grey Star" was a hurricane story. I hadn't even thought of that because my main focus was on the characters and the ghostly quality of their story. Cowdrey is really interesting. He writes a lot of different kinds of things. Just when I think I can know what to expect from him, something very different shows up. Speaking of that, I hope he is all right due to the recent disaster problems...
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Gordon Van Gelder
Posted on Thursday, September 01, 2005 - 11:07 am:   

I asked Cowdrey to drop me an email when he's back up and running, but I expect that will be a while.
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Jetse
Posted on Friday, September 02, 2005 - 09:08 am:   

Albert Cowdrey was one of the (many) reasons for me to renew my subscription quite a while back (I always take the three-year deals).

I hope he's well, and I hope New Orleans will recover (although that will take quite a while), and that the death toll and damage are not too severe...

Some five years back, I was stationed on the Gulf coast (Ocean Springs, near Gulport, Mississppi) for about a year, and I love New Orleans.

Don't know what to say, except maybe that there are specialists in my home country (The Netherlands) that would love to help design surge walls for NOLA.
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John Joseph Adams
Posted on Tuesday, December 06, 2005 - 05:46 am:   

John, over at SF Signal (www.sfsignal.com) reviewed the new Year's Best Science Fiction, and had this to say:

# "The Tribes of Bela"by Albert E. Cowdrey [2004 novella] (Rating:5/5) [Read 11/24/05]

* Synopsis: Security Forces Colonel Robert Rogers Kohn arrives at a mining colony on the planet Bela to investigate a series of grisly murders.

* Review: Outstanding story that's part murder mystery, part adventure and part survival story. The murder mystery reminded me of Asimov's Robot mysteries in that the alien world was integral to the mystery. (I like to think that I smartly guessed the identity of the murderer, however in my usual fashion of suspecting everyone whenever a clue was dropped, real or misleading, how could I be wrong?) The adventure parts were as page-turning as the survival parts were grim. All told, this story, reminiscent of The Thing or Alien, was wonderfully told, rich and satisfying. Time to look up Cowdrey's longer works.

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