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Gordon Van Gelder
Posted on Wednesday, June 13, 2007 - 01:23 pm:   

THE MAGAZINE OF
FANTASY & SCIENCE FICTION
August 58th Year of Publication

NOVELLAS
Murder in the Flying Vatican -42- Albert E. Cowdrey

NOVELETS
At These Prices -6- Esther M. Friesner
A Wizard of the Old School -114- Chris Willrich

SHORT STORIES</u>
The Mole Cure -103- Nancy Farmer
The Tomb Wife -145- Gwyneth Jones

DEPARTMENTS
Books to Look For -31- Charles de Lint
Musing on Books 36- Michelle West
Films: And the Hollywood Raths Outgrabe -97- Kathi Maio
Coming Attractions -160-
Curiosities -162- F. Gwynplaine MacIntyre

CARTOONS: Arthur Masear (30), M. Nadler (96), Tom Cheney (113).
COVER BY TOMISLAV TIKLUN FOR "MURDER IN THE FLYING VATICAN"
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Elizabeth L
Posted on Wednesday, June 13, 2007 - 08:10 pm:   

Looking forward to Albert Cowdrey's piece. I really liked his "The Revivalist" novella in the March 06 issue and could have kept reading if there had been more to read. Hoping his newest offering is as entertaining.
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Miljenko Cvitanovic
Posted on Thursday, June 14, 2007 - 11:58 pm:   

>COVER BY TOMISLAV TIKLUN

Did you mean 'Tikulin'? Because I know of Tomislav Tikulin from Zagreb (i.e., where I live as well). Is this his premiere on the cover of F&SF?

Oh, and "Murder In The Flying Vatican" is one of the best titles I heard this year :-)
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Gordon Van Gelder
Posted on Friday, June 15, 2007 - 05:29 am:   

Yes, Tikulin. Looks like we got it wrong in the issue. And yes, this is his first F&SF cover.
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Gordon Van Gelder
Posted on Friday, June 15, 2007 - 06:54 am:   

We're experimenting with running fiction reprints on our Website. This month we have Chris Willrich's first Gaunt and Bone story posted: http://www.sfsite.com/fsf/fiction/cw01.htm

The story probably won't be up for long---a month, most likely.

Feedback on the experiment is most welcome (as is feedback on the issue in general).
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Dave Truesdale
Posted on Friday, June 15, 2007 - 03:53 pm:   

My feeling is that the approach you're going with is a sound one. By this I mean giving the potential magazine buyer a look at an earlier story from an author as a teaser for his or her story in the current print issue. In this first instance, an online taste featuring the same characters as the story in the print issue.

Will future online reprints also have recurring characters from a story in a current issue, or just a previous, but separate story by the same author?
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John William Thiel
Posted on Monday, June 18, 2007 - 11:14 am:   

A nice-looking issue, and I was pleased to see my ad in the Marketplace.

Do your news-stand sales climb when you have a particularly effective outer-space cover?

I'm wondering if the novella title is expressed in Australian slang. I'll have to read it to find out.
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Ken Brady
Posted on Monday, June 18, 2007 - 12:02 pm:   

Gordon, I think your experiment marks a great step forward. Allowing people to read F&SF stories online can only enhance the recognition the magazine and its authors receive.

What's your reasoning for having each story only remaining online for a month?
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Richard R. Horton
Posted on Monday, June 18, 2007 - 03:52 pm:   

Can I nitpick Michelle West's review of Divergence just a bit? This is actually Tony Ballantyne's third novel, and the third and last of a trilogy. The first novel was Recursion, published a few years ago in the UK, but not until, I think, just last year in the US. Events and characters (one in particular) from Recursion are referenced quite a bit in Divergence.
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Gordon Van Gelder
Posted on Monday, June 18, 2007 - 07:54 pm:   

Thanks for pointing that out, Rich. That was my bad---I fact-checked the review, but I got crossed up over which book was which in Tony's series. (The covers on the Bantam editions are nice, but they all blur together in my mind.)

Ken, we don't have the rights for publishing stories online indefinitely. Frankly, I'm also not convinced that leaving them up there permanently is a good idea. The idea of posting the story is to bring in new readers, not to create an online archive.
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Charles Coleman Finlay
Posted on Saturday, July 07, 2007 - 09:06 am:   

Another entertaining story by Cowdrey. The scope and range of his work amazes me.

Does this mean he'll be pulling this together with "The Tribes of Bela" into a novel at some point?
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Gordon Van Gelder
Posted on Sunday, July 08, 2007 - 07:15 pm:   

I was just saying the same thing about Cowdrey's work on the short fiction panel at Readercon, Charlie.

Bert hasn't said if he'll be collecting these stories into a novel the way he did with "Crux", but I'd bet that he hopes to do so eventually.

Meantime, he'll have stories in the next two issues and there's a fantasy novella in the works for next year.
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John Joseph Adams
Posted on Monday, July 09, 2007 - 09:49 pm:   

Tangent review:
http://www.tangentonline.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1092&Item id=259
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Jeff Stehman
Posted on Wednesday, July 11, 2007 - 07:14 am:   

I'm not in sync with that reviewer.

"At These Prices": I'm one of the some it appealed to. Light, but very entertaining. My pick for second-best of the issue.

"Murder in the Flying Vatican": I liked this one, and unlike the reviewer, felt a sense of peril after the villain was revealed. Given Kohn's history, I should have seen the ending coming, but I found it a very satisfying conclusion.

"The Mole Cure": Although second from the bottom for me this month, still worth reading.

"A Wizard of the Old School": Here we're closest to agreeing, as this is my favorite story in the issue. Happily, due to time constraints, I read the issue out of order and this story last.

"The Tomb Wife": I wouldn't have missed out on anything by not reading this story.

All in all, a good issue.
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Matthew Ilseman
Posted on Wednesday, July 18, 2007 - 04:12 pm:   

I have to agree "A Wizard of the Old School" is the best. The Gaunt and Bone stories remind me a lot of Lord Dunsany with some Fritz Leiber thrown in. The kind of Fantasy that existed before Tolkien (I worship Tolkien but I detest all the writers who are content ripping him off), a kind of storytelling that I'd like to see more of. I hope the stories eventually get collected.

"Murder in the Flying Vatican" is probably my second favorite story. Interesting mystery with some nice action toward the end.

"At these Prices" was fluff but entertaining fluff.

"The Tomb Wife" was an interesting combination of a ghost story and science fiction

"The Mole Cure" is the weakest, but is still worth reading for shock value.
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Dave Truesdale
Posted on Saturday, July 21, 2007 - 08:49 am:   

"The Tomb Wife" was my favorite. It dealt not only on the surface with ghosts and SF, but with deeper issues of a more personal epistomological nature, as well as with love and death--the two great themes in literature--and how one moves on from the death of a loved one as viewed by two distinct cultures. One culture decides that the living, remaining person cannot move on and live a life without the departed loved one/spouse, the other does. And it all comes to a _personal_ resolution because of the sfnal element as the catalyst at the end. I really enjoyed this thoughtful story.

Also enjoyed (for very different reasons) "A Wizard of the Old School." A nice, solid tale.

"The Mole Cure" was good fun for what it was, and reminded me of those goofy, one-off little idea stories that sprinkled Galaxy, F&SF, and other magazines in the '50s. This one also had a whiff of Lovecraft about it (the Shadow in the Tank, from the story), with a wink toward vampire-_like_ beings (Dr. Molnar) but whose existence is never really explained. Farmer is well known for her dark fantasy/horror stories, and I thought this one was a lot of fun.

Oddly enough, because I enjoy Albert Cowdrey's stuff, I didn't really think "Murder in the Flying Vatican" to be one of his stronger efforts. Oh, it was an _okay_ little corruption/murder mystery aboard a space station, but for my taste just didn't sing with enough inventive detail, or snappy dialogue, or unique background, or _something_ to make it work for me. Also, there were several little bits of business that didn't ring true for me, or just seemed too unrealistic for me to swallow: one is where Kohn gives a karate chop to the back of a robot's head (reminded me of a cheap 60s James Coburn secret agent flick) and one of its aluminum head plates goes flying--that scene. Too hokey for me. The other instance was when Kohn is tied up in zero-g and launches himself at the bad guy and bites him in the throat. Reminded me of that Conan story where Conan is crucified on a tree out in a desert, and when the vultures come to pick at him he bites one of their throats and drinks their blood to stay alive. (Laughing) Don't know why karate chopping and throat biting didn't work for me in this one, it just seemed a little _too_ much for me to swallow.

Unless, of course, Bert was having some fun and had his tongue buried firmly in his cheek. Who knows? ;)
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Sheila Finch
Posted on Saturday, July 21, 2007 - 10:52 am:   

"Don't know why karate chopping and throat biting didn't work for me... it just seemed a little _too_ much to swallow."

Well, Dave, vulture blood can do that to anyone. It tastes icky.
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Byron Bailey
Posted on Saturday, July 21, 2007 - 01:31 pm:   

It's not that bad if properly fermented. The vultures in the Conan story must not have been in the proper place for optimum fermentation, though. Otherwise, they would have waited until Conan was thoroughly dead before attempting to feast upon him. It's that high alcohol content that vulture's blood has when the vulture in question has been raised in a good environment which allows them to eat the things they eat without dying from horrible diseases. Yeah, I saw it on National Geographic. I may have had a little too much fermented vulture's blood that night to remember the exact name of the show, though.
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John Lodder
Posted on Thursday, July 26, 2007 - 07:27 pm:   

Dang. I missed the Gaunt and Bone story before it was taken down, but managed to dredge it out of Google's cache.

I liked "Penultima Thule," am liking "A Wizard of the Old Scool," and wanted to go back and read the first one. Thanks for posting it.
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John Joseph Adams
Posted on Thursday, August 16, 2007 - 06:45 pm:   

Vote in the favorite story poll!

What was your favorite story in the August 2007 issue?

http://www.tuginternet.com/jja/journal/archives/006086.html
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Blue Tyson
Posted on Thursday, August 16, 2007 - 08:42 pm:   

The Tomb Wife, for me:

http://notfreesf.blogspot.com/2007/08/fantasy-and-science-fiction-664-gordon.htm l

Mole cure last, others about even.

Not a bad idea perhaps to have the previous stories for series characters available for people to look at, if they were from some time ago.
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Andrew J. Breitenbach
Posted on Wednesday, September 12, 2007 - 12:48 am:   

You know, if Cowdrey ever decides to start a "novella of the month club", please sign me the hell up. I like his shorter New Orleans work quite a bit, but he just seems to stretch out and excel when given the larger canvas to play with, obviously enjoying what he's writing.

Much like R. Garcia y Robinson's novellas -- or stuff like Finlay's "The Political Officer" (yee-ha!) -- they may not necessarily be the deepest works, but boy are they fun to read.

And if that came off as a back-handed compliment, I sure didn't mean it that way. I enjoy the heck out of those stories.

(Which reminds me, I can't remember the last time I read a novella in "F&SF" I didn't like -- good going there Mr. GVG!)
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Gordon Van Gelder
Posted on Wednesday, September 12, 2007 - 06:51 am:   

Thanks for the nice comments. We have another Albert Cowdrey novella in inventory---I think it's going to run in the March issue. And maybe Charlie Finlay will see your comments and make time to work on the follow-up to "The Political Officer." (He has one in the works, but he keeps getting book contracts.)
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ccfinlay
Posted on Thursday, September 13, 2007 - 08:50 am:   

Thanks for the yee-ha!, Andrew. Like you, I'd also sign up for a Cowdrey novella-of-the-month club in a heartbeat.

I've turned in the first book and I'm working against deadline on the second (plus we're moving in just a couple weeks too), but the new novella in the Political Officer sequence only needs one more pass before it's ready to go out. Maybe I'll have to take a day between chapters on the book and make time to do that.
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Gordon Van Gelder
Posted on Tuesday, October 16, 2007 - 06:33 pm:   

Here's another review of this issue: http://journals.eyrie.org/eagle/archives/001076.html
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Gordon Van Gelder
Posted on Thursday, October 18, 2007 - 06:57 am:   

Best SF reviews this issue: http://www.bestsf.net/reviews/fsf0708.html

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