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John Joseph Adams
Posted on Sunday, March 11, 2007 - 08:54 pm:   

What was your favorite story in the Mar. 2007 issue? Vote in the poll! Let your voice be heard!

http://www.tuginternet.com/jja/journal/archives/005210.html
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Dave Truesdale
Posted on Monday, March 12, 2007 - 07:29 am:   

I'm conflicted as to my favorite story from the March, 2007 issue of F&SF.

I'll probably settle on Wolfe's novella "Memorare," but it didn't grab me as much as it has others who've extolled its virtues, I'm afraid. I've mentally divided it into halves. The first "half," which deals with the idea/creation of the asteroid mortuaries I enjoyed quite a bit. The idea is rather novel (and cool), and I liked the way Wolfe worked out the mechanics/details of them. Very nice. It held promise for all sorts of comment on human behavior re death, (i.e. how we want to be remembered and why, etc., etc.) but instead the story went in a different direction and only touched on the sociological/psychological reasons for why it is so crucial for us to be remembered.

What didn't grab me was the other half of the story. I just don't really care that much how a guy deals with the mundane problem of his ex-wife and a new girlfriend. Just doesn't interest me (in a science-fiction sense, that is), and it's no fault of the story; it's just a topic that leaves me cold and holds no interest for me. Of course, if I were a fella who'd _had_ an ex-wife, I probably would have enjoyed this major part of the story a bit more. Notwithstanding Swanwick's theory that Kit and Redd and Kim may be aspects of the same woman; interesting perhaps, but still the working out of a domestic theme that doesn't do much for me on a sfnal level in an otherwise clever SF tale. Again, this is my problem and not the story's. But overall, and probably because of its "weight" (i.e. length and depth), I'd vote this the best piece in the issue.

Because of its optimistic, hopeful, upbeat _theme_, I'd vote for Levine's "Titanium Mike Saves the Day" as my second choice, but a close third (or maybe tied for second place) would be Donald Mead's "A Thing Forbidden."

Nothing wrong with David Gerrold's story; it was just of a slighter nature to my way of determining these things.

Dave
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Dave Truesdale
Posted on Monday, March 12, 2007 - 07:34 am:   

Wow, a tremendously big OOPS from me! I can't believe I grabbed the APRIL issue of F&SF instead of the MARCH. I get these things so early and have them laying all over the place, and...and...I feel like a real idiot! :-)

Please accept my apologies for responding to the wrong issue, John.

Dave
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Dave Truesdale
Posted on Monday, March 12, 2007 - 07:51 am:   

Let me try this again. :-)

My favorite story from the MARCH, 2007 F&SF is Fred Chappell's novelette "Dance of Shadows." Loved the idea of the shadow artists and how Chappell played with his "shadows." Quite clever. Loved the ornate prose, as well as how the story played out. It gets my number one vote because it is also a self-contained story. If I had any money to bet, I'd place some of it on this story being reprinted in a Year's Best next year.

Matt Hughes' "The Helper and His Hero" Part 2, would have been tied with the Chappell, but it was only part of the story begun in the Feb. issue. It gets my number two vote. Am a big fan of Bandar's exploits, and each story gets better. Likewise, I like the ornate prose (Matt has done a great job emulating Vance in this regard, while still making his tales his own).

Dave
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Jeff Stehman
Posted on Monday, March 12, 2007 - 11:01 am:   

I'm going with Devil Bats. A lot of good laughs in that one.

I greatly prefer Hapthorn over Bandar, but A Helper is a very close second.
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Hexx
Posted on Monday, March 12, 2007 - 01:59 pm:   

Although there is much to recommend in this issue, Fred Chappell's novelette "Dance of Shadows." is certainly leading the field by a mile in my estimation. Taking the whole Plato's forms and reversing his analogy while maintaining the whole archetype theme is wonderful. Plus, he writes a good sentence also :-P
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GSH
Posted on Monday, March 12, 2007 - 05:34 pm:   

While my March issue of F & SF is still waiting to be read, I'd like to applaud the outstanding cover art by Cory and Catska Ench--which apparently goes with "The Helper and His Hero".

Bravo!

The issue practically jumped off the Barnes & Noble magazine rack into my hand.
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Lim Teng King
Posted on Thursday, March 15, 2007 - 09:10 pm:   

Matthew Hughes' The Helper and His Hero is definitely my favourite story. I'm new to Hughes' stories on the Commons and its depiction of a world of common consciousness is truly intriguing. It's truly amazing to read a story crammed with concepts like the science and training of noonauts and the noosphere, archetypical entities and the Worm and the Sea of Preconsciousness it occupies.

I hope F&SF will publish more serialisations in the future. I see Analag is currently going through a 4-part serialised story. How about it, GVG? A 3-parter perhaps?
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Daniel P. Haeusser
Posted on Friday, March 16, 2007 - 09:09 am:   

I would like to voice a preference against serializations. I'm not fond of Analog's recent focus on serials. A serial now and then is fine, but novels are aplenty in this world. I buy these magazines to read short fiction.
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Lim Teng King
Posted on Friday, March 16, 2007 - 10:51 am:   

I understand but a novel isn't quite the same. Having to wait a month at a cliffhanger break in the story is umm... delicious. It's interesting to see that a lot of Victorian novels by the literary greats like Dickens, Trollope and George Eliot were serialised in magazines before being collected together as novels.
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Dave Truesdale
Posted on Friday, March 16, 2007 - 02:10 pm:   

Both Daniel and Lim make good points re their preferences; mine are somewhere in between.

Back in the 40s especially, but even into parts of the 50s, there wasn't much of a market (if any, again primarily in the 40s) for an SF novel to be published as such. So, many of them were routinely serialized in the magazines. Then maybe a small press publisher would issue the novel in hardcover (and many are collector's items now).

As time went on and the SF novel (published first as such) increased, we saw fewer serializations in the magazines. Then, somewhere in the 80s (I'm guessing, w/o doing the research) only Analog continued to run _any_ serializations of novels.

Running serializations of novels was early-on a matter therefore of the market realities of the time.

I rather like seeing a serialization of a novel in the magazines today. Again, until F&SF began running a few here and there over the past few years, only Analog would run them. _If_ the serialization is run in a _monthly_ magazine, then I have no problem with it. If a serialization is run in a bi-monthly or quarterly magazine, then yes, it is much too long a wait for the reader; his interest will fade.

But--and here is where a different set of market forces come into play with the overall circulation of magazines down from 30 years ago--if Stan (at Analog) or Gordon (at F&SF) can hook a reader with the first part of a novel serialization, and the reader has only a month to get the next fix, then chances are the reader will stick with the magazine for at least the length of the novel (3 or 4 issues). After that length of time and having had a chance to immerse himself in, and hopefully read, the rest of the magazine during the rest of each month's wait, it is hoped the reader will subscribe, and the magazine wins (and so does the reader, because he has had the opportunity to see several issues of a magazine, has found he likes it, and subscribes).

So, I'm _for_ serializations in a monthly magazine, but _against_ them in a magazine with any other publication schedule.

But Daniel still makes a good point from the diehard short story _reader's_ perspective: he reads the magazines for short fiction and expects such magazines to run only short fiction.

The publisher or editor must then do a cost-effective analysis sort of balancing evaluation. How many possible readers might be _gained_ by running the occasional serialization, against the possible number of diehard short fiction readers who might quit reading the magazine altogether because of them?

My view is that there will be nary a diehard short fic reader who will quit a magazine because it runs the occasional serialization. They may grumble a bit, but won't quit--they love the short stuff too much. :-)

On the other side of the equation, the possibility of reaching new subbers because they might get hooked on the first part of a serial reaps more rewards for the publisher.

From the publisher's business standpoint, he can only win, for very few--if any--will stop reading a magazine entirely because of the occasional serialization. Plus the fact that the overwhelming majority of those already reading the magazine (either off the rack or via the subscription) like serials.

So, accurate or inaccurate, on the money or off the mark, there's my two-cents worth. :-)

Dave
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Sean Wallace
Posted on Friday, March 16, 2007 - 02:29 pm:   

I'd vote for Fred Chappell's "Dance of Shadows."
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Dave Truesdale
Posted on Friday, March 16, 2007 - 11:49 pm:   

Howdy, Sean,

Have you read anything similar to what Fred did with his "shadows"? Not the plot, but with his take on the idea? I'm not an expert on this one, so would value your take on this. To me it was very original, inventive, and well thought-out. Just the way he thunk it up and worked out shadow details into the plot/storyline was pretty novel (and relatively underplayed, given its originality).

Just thinkin' out loud. :-)

Dave
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Blue Tyson
Posted on Wednesday, September 12, 2007 - 03:25 am:   

Magic with Thirteen-Year-Old Boys - Robert Reed for me, here.

Fantasy and Science Fiction 659 Ratings

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