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John Joseph Adams
Posted on Monday, October 10, 2005 - 08:25 am:   

THE MAGAZINE OF FANTASY & SCIENCE FICTION
December 2005 - 57th Year of Publication

NOVELETS

Walpurgis Afternoon -8- Delia Sherman
The Last Ten Years in the Life of Hero Kai -126- Geoff Ryman

SHORT STORIES

Poppies by Moonlight -44- Sydney J. Van Scyoc
An Incident at the Luncheon of the Boating Party -60- Allen M. Steele
The Cure -67- Robert Reed
When the Great Days Came -78- Gardner Dozois
The Last Akialoa - 87- Alan Dean Foster
Cannibal Farm -102- Ron Goulart

DEPARTMENTS

Books to Look For¬ -33- Charles de Lint
Books -37- James Sallis
Plumage from Pegasus: Nothing to Fear But Books Themselves -83- Paul Di Filippo
Coming Attractions -119-
Films: Earth Hits the Fan -120- Lucius Shepard
Competition #70 -159-
Curiosities -162- Dennis Lien

CARTOONS

Danny Shanahan (43), Arthur Masear (66)

COVER

BRYN BARNARD FOR "THE LAST TEN YEARS IN THE LIFE OF HERO KAI"
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John Joseph Adams
Posted on Monday, October 10, 2005 - 08:25 am:   

Review:

http://www.sfrevu.com/Zine-Column.php?Search=200510
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R.Wilder
Posted on Monday, October 10, 2005 - 03:40 pm:   

Gardy! Great Gargoo! Sheik Dozois Luthor!!
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F.Dreier
Posted on Tuesday, October 11, 2005 - 11:39 pm:   

If I've counted correctly, "The Cure" is Robert Reed's 50th story for the magazine.
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Gordon Van Gelder
Posted on Wednesday, October 12, 2005 - 05:37 am:   

I did a fast check in the files and I think you're correct about "The Cure." And when the new "Raven" story runs in the January issue, that will be #51. And there are more in inventory.
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S. Hamm
Posted on Wednesday, October 12, 2005 - 03:59 pm:   

With a very slight uptick in productivity, Robert Reed could be the Edward D. Hoch of F&SF.
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Rob Darnell
Posted on Thursday, October 13, 2005 - 02:56 am:   

How long have you guys been buying Reed's stories? Just curious about how fast he churns and sells.

I did try to google him and maybe find that information for myself, but all I could find were sites devoted to The Brady Bunch. I never knew how much Robert Reed (Mike Brady) hated that show.

"There was one episode where Alice and Carol were making some strawberry desserts in the kitchen. The script called for Mike to walk in and say, 'Wow, it smells like Strawberry Heaven in here!'. Bob Reed looked over the script on the set, and upon reading that line-- he quietly closed his script book, went to his trailer, and locked the door. I knocked for ten minutes before he opened up. Finally, when he did, I asked him what the problem was. Bob said, 'What's the problem?? I'm supposed to say 'Wow, it smells like Strawberry Heaven in here!!' I quipped back, 'Yeah, so?' Bob became furious. 'SO?? Sherwood, are you ignorant, or do you honestly not know that Strawberries, when cooked, have NO aroma??' I told him that I, in fact, had not known this-- and I begged him to shelve his pride about is, and just do the damned scene. Finally, after hours, he agreed to do the scene. But Bob had the last laugh. When we were finally rolling, and he entered the kitchen as Mike Brady-- he changed the line, saying, 'Wow, I feel like I've died and gone to Strawberry Heaven!' --and that's what we kept."--Sherwood Schwartz.

Priceless.
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Gordon Van Gelder
Posted on Thursday, October 13, 2005 - 05:25 am:   

Our Robert Reed sold his first story to F&SF in '87 and it came out in the Dec. 1988 issue.
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Gordon Van Gelder
Posted on Thursday, October 13, 2005 - 05:27 am:   

I forgot to add that you could have found Robert Reed's first F&SF sale in our online bibliography: http://www.sfsite.com/fsf/bibliography/fsfstorieswhor02.htm
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Rick Hauptmann
Posted on Thursday, October 13, 2005 - 07:10 am:   

Here is a web site devoted to Reed: http://www.starbaseandromeda.com/reed.html
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Rob Darnell
Posted on Thursday, October 13, 2005 - 09:32 am:   

He sure does have a steady flow of sales, one can't help gape in awe.
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R.Wilder
Posted on Thursday, October 13, 2005 - 01:35 pm:   

That guy needs to slow down and smell the posies.
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Rick Hauptmann
Posted on Thursday, October 13, 2005 - 02:42 pm:   

He probably does that while out running.
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Gordon Van Gelder
Posted on Thursday, October 27, 2005 - 07:07 am:   

Our subscription copies of the December issue arrived today (10/27/05).
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R.Wilder
Posted on Thursday, October 27, 2005 - 07:56 am:   

At last... I'm beginning to feel withdrawal symptoms.
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John Joseph Adams
Posted on Sunday, October 30, 2005 - 09:30 pm:   

http://www.tangentonline.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=562&Itemi d=259
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John Thiel
Posted on Wednesday, November 02, 2005 - 06:18 am:   

Saw issue, read same--that is, scanned out the contents page, though doing that was going right to Dish-wah's story, and finding a story with the same interesting spirit as Murray Leinster's "The Wabbler" (found in the Judith Merrill anthology BEYOND HUMAN KEN, if you want to see something that reads something like what Gardner wrote). The story seems also to answer the question posed by Yeats--what rough beast, its hour come round at last, slouches toward Bethlehem to be born? Dozois' beatnik-like rat is doing something like that. Similar in mood, I find Goulart's story to be threatening to the international news hookup. A spooky guy. Can this be the Destruction-of-Earth issue? Is Steele's story going to be about the "aborted" (none of the projected guests were foetuses) Carribbean SF cruise? The thought must have crossed his mind in titling the piece, but no, it's a time-travel piece, albeit with a rather fannish air, as its printing history suggests.

I'll go on to read the rest of the issue--what I've read so far has got my interest up in the issue.
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R.Wilder
Posted on Wednesday, November 02, 2005 - 08:51 am:   

I've enjoyed what I've read so far. But Life keeps jumping up and keeping me from completion. Got the Goulart and Ryman left.
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S. Hamm
Posted on Wednesday, November 02, 2005 - 02:10 pm:   

The electronic edition of the December issue is available for downloading at Fictionwise, but not at EReader.
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Chris Cevasco
Posted on Monday, November 07, 2005 - 01:19 pm:   

I just read Gardner Dozois's "When the Great Days Came," in the latest issue, and wow ... what a great little tale! Creepy and compelling, particularly for someone like me who lives in NYC and sees these scampering fellows with some regularity (and doesn't much care for them!). Nice ending too--as subtle and understated as it is powerful and disturbing. I have a feeling this one will be rattling around in my brain for a while.
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R.Wilder
Posted on Tuesday, November 08, 2005 - 01:24 pm:   

"I have a feeling this one will be rattling around in my brain for a while."

I read the Dozois three times. When I first saw how short it was I was initially bummed. I wanted something big "A Dream at Noonday" or "A Knight of Ghost and Shadows," because I'm greedy. But "When the Great Days Came" is a perfect little gem of a story.

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Michael Samerdyke
Posted on Thursday, November 10, 2005 - 07:36 am:   

I thought "The Last Ten Years in the Life of Hero Kai" by Geoff Ryman was the best story this issue. It was epic and philosophical and dealt with a fresh setting.

Close on its heels was "The Cure" by Robert Reed, a sneaky tale of paranoid horror.

The Allen M. Steele story was also enjoyable, but not on the same level with the Ryman and Reed. (Sounds like a law firm.)
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Gordon Van Gelder
Posted on Thursday, November 10, 2005 - 02:41 pm:   

I'm looking for a writer who will publish under a pseudonym Robin Rithmetic so as to be able to put "Reed, Ryman, and Rithmetic" on the cover.

Of course, I could also enlist Allen Steele, Mic Cheetham, and Robert J. Howe to make for a cover of "Steele, Cheetham & Howe." (Was it the Marx Brothers who had "Dewey Cheatem and Howe"?)
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Matt Hughes
Posted on Thursday, November 10, 2005 - 06:13 pm:   

I could write you a rabble-rousing manifesto under my pseudonym: Jacques Hughes.

Matt Hughes
Black Brillion now in paperback
The Gist Hunter & Other Stories now in stores
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Gordon Van Gelder
Posted on Thursday, November 10, 2005 - 08:01 pm:   

Matt---

Only if you collaborate with Richard Dreyfus.
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liz Hand
Posted on Friday, November 11, 2005 - 12:21 pm:   

I always thought Dewey, Cheatam & Howe was from the guys on Car Talk.
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Gordon Van Gelder
Posted on Friday, November 11, 2005 - 12:35 pm:   

Liz---

Maybe you're right. I know the Marx bros. had Shyster, Flywheel, and Shyster but I thought I remembered this one as being theirs also.
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Melissa Mead
Posted on Monday, November 14, 2005 - 06:25 pm:   

I'm a little behind the times, it looks like, but I just finished Walpurgis Afternoon and loved it. It was just...fun.
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Jared Evers
Posted on Tuesday, November 15, 2005 - 12:09 pm:   

Actually, Dewey, Cheatem and Howe was The Three Stooges. And one of my all-time favorite bits of comedy.
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Gordon Van Gelder
Posted on Tuesday, November 15, 2005 - 02:19 pm:   

Thanks for supplying the answer, Jared.
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Jared Evers
Posted on Tuesday, November 15, 2005 - 07:40 pm:   

My pleasure! Have to put this senseless amount of pop culture trivia to use somehow. It's just cluttering up my head.
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Gordon Van Gelder
Posted on Wednesday, November 16, 2005 - 05:41 am:   

A reader from Holland sent along his reactions to the December issue. I though some people here might find them interesting, so we got his permission to reprint it:


Dear all,

Last week I was in San Jose and bought the December edition of a leading American magazine: Fantasy & ScienceFiction.

First impression: Size of a book, recycled paper, no colors inside.
Second impression: Right format to hold if you read it. Advertising never distracts from what you really want: reading the stories.

It contains two novelettes and six short stories, of which I will give briefly my opinion.
Please keep in mind it is only my opinion. If I don't like a story, that might say more about me, than about the story.
Also I read the magazine having a jet-lag due to the time difference between the US and Europe and during the 10 hour flight back from San Jose.....!

OK, the stories:

Walpurgis Afternoon (Delia Sherman)
Pages: 24
Genre: Fantasy
My personal rating: 10

Through the eyes of a modern housewife we see her life changing if suddenly, in a single night, a new large house appears next to her own. More incredible events happen until she find out what her new neighbors are.

Perfectly written: all the time you want to know what will happen next; characters very convincing. No problems with giving the highest ranking, pity there is nothing above the highest ranking.


Poppies by Moonlight (Sydney Van Scyoc)
Pages: 16
Genre: Fantasy
My personal rating: 8

Female accountant travels two weeks each year long distance to her stepbrother to get his life back on track. This year she noticed that for the first time in his life he seems to be able to do that himself, due toÖ a strange visitor.

Nice, but I donít care that much about the frustrations of an accountant with her lifeÖ


An Incident at the Luncheon of the Boating Party (Allen Steele)
Pages: 7
Genre: Science Fiction
My personal rating: 10

Woman from the Cronospace Research Center (24th century) makes a time travel to 1880 for research. She violates by accident one of the rules of the CRC and ends up expelled from active research, but happy.

Keeps your attention. Science Fiction, in which the science just makes the story possible, without being the story.



The Cure (Robert Reed)
Pages: 11
Genre: ?
My personal rating: 7

Author writes a best seller that really influences public opinion in the US. He sends his plot for a next book to his agent: a thriller showing that some foreign power influences US media to undermine public trust in the government. After that he is killed by an anonymous murdererÖ

Suggestion is clear: That power exists and stops him writing about itÖ But where is the Fantasy or Science Fiction? Why is this in this magazine?
Could have been 2 pages or so shorter also.


When the Great Days Came (Gardner Dozois)
Pages: 5
Genre: Science Fiction
My personal rating: started at 8 suddenly dropped to 5

The end of the human race is coming, seen from the view point of a ratÖ
While reading the story I thought: GreatÖ What will happen?
After the last line, I thought: So? Thatís it?
That is why my rating dropped from 8 to 5.


The Last Akialoa (Alan Dean Foster)
Pages: 16
Genre: ?
My personal rating: 8

Scientist searches for a rare bird in a swap. Is more or less betrayed by his companions.

Good story, no doubt on thatÖ but what is the Fantasy of Science Fiction part of it.
And a bit lengthy. Subtracted a point for both so ended on an 8


Cannibal Farm (Ron Goulart)
Pages: 18
Genre: Science Fiction
My personal rating: 4

The government hires two private investigators to find back a secret agent.

SF in a bad James Bond style. Every time the good guys are in trouble, they have another stupid secret new something that blows away the ugly villains. Ridiculous.


The Last Ten Years in the Life of Hero Kai (Geoff Ryman)
Pages: 33
Genre: donít know
My personal rating: donít know

Canít rate it, canít tell you about it. Started to read it twice, stopped both times after a few pages. Didn't want to spend my time on it.


So far the individual stories, back to the magazine. Last note: All Fantasy stories play in this world. None of the stories plays in a new created reality in which the supernatural is a normal part of that world.

Final impression: If you donít mind reading English and see it somewhere: buy the magazine and take a look yourself.
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Fred Rabouw
Posted on Wednesday, November 16, 2005 - 12:16 pm:   

Mister van Gelder,

[1] The dutch posting of my message you can find on:
http://www.purefantasy.nl/forum/viewtopic.php?t=511&sid=2d357f9716c9a13705731d5f 78ee830d
The forum of the Dutch magazine PureFantasy.

[2] On my very latest point:
"All Fantasy stories play in this world. None of the stories plays in a new created reality in which the supernatural is a normal part of that world."
I noticed the same in other magazines.
I would like to see more fantasy stories that create an alternative world in which the supernatural is normal part of that world.
When you look at the fantasy trilogies and larger series, this "second-reality-fantasy" is almost the standard....
When reading short stories it is not.

Is that a selection of the editors? Do they not want this second-reality-fantasy in the short stories or it is that the writers don't offer them?

Regards
Fred Rabouw



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Jonathan
Posted on Wednesday, November 16, 2005 - 01:55 pm:   

Just to offer a passing opinion: I was knocked out by the Ryman, and thought it extraordinary. The writing, the concept, the execution, were pretty much note perfect. I do think it'll divide readers though. I already know a couple people who were left completely cold by it, which I don't understand, but accept.
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Liz
Posted on Wednesday, November 16, 2005 - 07:33 pm:   

I really liked the Ryman, FWIW.
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Fred Rabouw
Posted on Wednesday, November 16, 2005 - 08:24 pm:   

I agree with Jonathan it will divide readers.
As I mentioned in the beginning of my summary:
"Please keep in mind it is only my opinion. If I don't like a story, that might say more about me, than about the story. "

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Matthew
Posted on Thursday, November 17, 2005 - 07:27 am:   

Hero Kai was easily the best story in the issue
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Fred Rabouw
Posted on Thursday, November 17, 2005 - 11:18 pm:   

I added the reactions of Jonathan, Liz and Matthew to my posting on the Dutch forum.
See second message on:
http://www.purefantasy.nl/forum/viewtopic.php?t=511&sid=2d357f9716c9a13705731d5f 78ee830d
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John Thiel
Posted on Monday, November 21, 2005 - 09:00 am:   

Seems like the double issues would be more of a Dutch treat.
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Fred Rabouw
Posted on Tuesday, November 22, 2005 - 05:09 am:   

Sorry, don't understand what you mean with that.
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OOC92
Posted on Wednesday, December 14, 2005 - 02:26 pm:   

I am sorry but I just read the Reed tale "The Cure" did not get it at all. I cannot tell if it is conspiracy, time travel, fiction killing the author, or what. Could someone start a yarn on this subject?
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Gordon Van Gelder
Posted on Wednesday, December 14, 2005 - 03:28 pm:   

To me, it seemed obvious that the narrator stumbled on exactly the sort of conspiracy he described in his fiction . . . which leads him to his doom. When the stranger says "You ought to know what I'm doing" at the end, that seemed like the clincher to me.

The very nature of the conspiracy seemed fantastic to me. That's partly why I called it a fairy tale in the header notes.
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Loquacious Lad
Posted on Wednesday, December 14, 2005 - 03:55 pm:   

I found Foster's piece the most interesting. The setting and character motivation were particularly well done, and the story progressed as it must. I wasn't bothered by the sparse f/sf content.
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Fred Rabouw
Posted on Thursday, December 15, 2005 - 01:28 pm:   

Mister van Gelder,

In most magazine I hardly see fantasy stories that create an alternative world in which the supernatural is normal part of that world.

When one looks at the fantasy trilogies and larger series, this "second-reality-fantasy" is almost the standard....
When reading short stories it is almost never.

Is that a selection of the editors? Do they not want this second-reality-fantasy in the short stories or it is that the writers don't offer them?

Regards
Fred Rabouw
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E Thomas
Posted on Tuesday, December 20, 2005 - 09:50 pm:   

Fred Rabouw has an interesting point. F & SF and many other short fantasy stories take place in a world much like our own, where the magic is either a surprise or a secret. Stories like Beagle's "Two Hearts," set in pure fantasy worlds, are out of the norm. I wonder if it is easier to write what what Fred Rabouw calls "second-reality-fantasy" stories when there are more pages to create the detail to make the new world convincing. Otherwise, the background of the stories may just lapse into cliche.
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Fred Rabouw
Posted on Wednesday, December 21, 2005 - 01:02 am:   

Thanks.

I noticed the same in the dutch fantasy magazines, and I think you have a point:
Short stories need a unexpected ending and letting the magic drop in as this unexpected ending is just easy for the author.

Regards
Fred Rabouw
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John Joseph Adams
Posted on Wednesday, January 04, 2006 - 07:49 am:   

Review:

http://www.bestsf.net/reviews/fsf0512.html
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John Joseph Adams
Posted on Sunday, January 08, 2006 - 03:11 pm:   

I realized I forgot to post a favorite story poll for the last couple issues:

Go vote for your favorite stories in the December issue:

http://www.tuginternet.com/jja/journal/archives/cat_polls.html

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John Joseph Adams
Posted on Wednesday, February 01, 2006 - 10:22 am:   

Fantasy & Science Fiction
December 2005 Favorite Story Poll Results!

The Last Ten Years in the Life of Hero Kai - Geoff Ryman 40% 10

Walpurgis Afternoon - Delia Sherman 24% 6

Poppies by Moonlight - Sydney J. Van Scyoc 8% 2

When the Great Days Came - Gardner Dozois 8% 2

An Incident at the Luncheon of the Boating Party - Allen M. Steele 4% 1

The Cure - Robert Reed 4% 1

The Last Akialoa - Alan Dean Foster 4% 1

Cannibal Farm - Ron Goulart 4% 1

I wasn't overly impressed with any of them. 4% 1

total votes: 25

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