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Feb. 2008 issue of F&SF

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Gordon Van Gelder
Posted on Tuesday, December 04, 2007 - 09:07 pm:   

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

NOVELETS
Retrospect -40- Ann Miller
If Angels Fight -131- Richard Bowes

SHORT STORIES
Balancing Accounts -6- James L. Cambias
Memoirs of the Witch Queen -63- Ron Goulart
Petri Parousia -83- Matthew Hughes
Bread and Circus -93- Steven Popkes
Philologos; or, A Murder in Bistrita -113- Debra Doyle and James D. Macdonald

DEPARTMENTS
Books to Look For -28- Charles de Lint
Books -32- Elizabeth Hand
Coming Attractions -106-
-Films: Look, You Fools... -107- Lucius Shepard
Curiosities -162- Peter Tremayne

Cartoons: Arthur Masear (160).
COVER BY KENT BASH FOR "BALANCING ACCOUNTS"
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Gordon Van Gelder
Posted on Thursday, December 27, 2007 - 09:35 am:   

Some of the checking copies of F&SF we send to ourselves arrived today. I expect the rest will arrive tomorrow. I was hoping copies of this issue would arrive before Xmas, but so it goes.
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Sam Wilson
Posted on Thursday, December 27, 2007 - 03:39 pm:   

Bought it yesterday. So far, liked the Goulart (only thing I've read so far). He's always a reliable entertainer.
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Pat Swift
Posted on Friday, December 28, 2007 - 03:17 pm:   

My copy arrived in the mail yesterday. The only thing I've read so far is Peter Tremayne's article. I've always liked "The Uninvited" the movie and found the background on the writer very interesting.
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John William Thiel
Posted on Saturday, December 29, 2007 - 02:45 pm:   

Looks like a nice enough issue. I see the ad for "Off Armageddon Reef" and was a little brought down trying to picture the locale described in the title, but I should have known it mean a space reef, kind of a metaphorical view. The title means near to it, stresses the importance of the location. The lines of text at the top of the ad sound like a SciFi Channel television announcer. I don't agree that that announcer knows what time it is or what's happening. The book sounds like it has a lot to say, even an axe to grind: "implemented a religion designed to keep Safehold society medieval forever." Medievalists will have a different view of it than other people.

On the back, "Paraworld Zero". It sounds like a very indefinite realm, and the ad makes it sound like the "world" is television. Did the reviewer who wrote "Poison Study" really say "Funny and imaginative" or express this in some longer form? There should be rows of dots if that's an abstract from a sentence.

I'll read "If Angels Fight" first. I want to know how that would alter circumstances and if it would contribute to a different reality perspective.
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Blue Tyson
Posted on Sunday, December 30, 2007 - 10:49 pm:   

My favorite was the book geek one.

Fantasy and Science Fiction 669 Ratings
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John Joseph Adams
Posted on Monday, December 31, 2007 - 07:53 pm:   

Over on my blog, I just posted an interview with James L. Cambias, author of "Balancing Accounts":

http://www.johnjosephadams.com/?p=1354
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Matthew Peterson
Posted on Tuesday, January 01, 2008 - 10:10 pm:   

Hi John,
I am the author of Paraworld Zero and the creator of the ad on the back of the F&SF edition that you're referring to. I just happened to come across your comments, so I'll answer them. How's that for service?

Paraworld Zero is one of many worlds that exist in the paraverse (i.e. lots of Parallel Worlds). It's a different take on the multiple dimensions idea. The ad portrays the three main "parallel" storylines that run throughout the book. It's sort of like "Harry Potter meets Star Wars."

Yesterday, Paraworld Zero was ranked #540 on bn.com and #9 for "Magic and Wizards" on Amazon, but the numbers are slowly climbing back up. Must have gotten a bunch of orders from a club or something.

The blurb from Maria Snyder ("Flame throwing pigeons and demonic dumpsters. Funny and imaginative.") is actually the full, unedited blurb I got from her. I only needed a short quote for the back of the book and that's what I got. By the way, I met Maria way back when her writing career was just starting (I'm not sure if Poison Study had even come out yet). She is a very nice lady.
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Gordon Van Gelder
Posted on Wednesday, January 02, 2008 - 08:03 am:   

Sam Tomiano at SFREVU.COM reviews the issue here: http://www.sfrevu.com/php/Review-id.php?id=6679
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John Joseph Adams
Posted on Wednesday, January 02, 2008 - 08:55 am:   

The Fix reviews it here:
http://thefix-online.com/reviews/fsf-feb-2008/
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John William Thiel
Posted on Wednesday, January 02, 2008 - 10:47 am:   

"Paraworld Zero" sounds interesting, knowing you put that much into advertising it.
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Sam Wilson
Posted on Wednesday, January 02, 2008 - 03:09 pm:   

J. W. Thiel:

The three dots indicating an omission is called an ellipsis.

I am biding my time to find the right opportuniy to use one as a marketing tool.

When K. K. Rusch edited F&SF, my submissions were rejected with "Interesting, but not right for F&SF." I am considering collecting those short stories into a book, and putting a blurb on the cover: "INTERESTING..." --Kristine Kathryn Rusch, HUGO WINNING AUTHOR AND EDITOR.

Or go all the way: "INTERESTING...right for F&SF" etc etc. But then, someone might look at the copyright page and see nothing published in that periodical.

"Oh what a tangled web we weave..."

:-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-)
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John Joseph Adams
Posted on Wednesday, January 02, 2008 - 09:26 pm:   

Oh, ellipses are great. I had someone take the most scathing review I've ever written and turn *that* into a nice pull quote by judicious use of ellipses. That was highly amusing.
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John Joseph Adams
Posted on Wednesday, January 02, 2008 - 09:28 pm:   

Oh, I should point out it was just for fun, not for a book or something.

I've heard of publishers actually truncating quotes deceptively, though. For instance, I think it was Tom Disch who reviewed a Whitley Striber book (Communion, I think). Communion is a book about alien abduction that claims to be non-fiction, and Disch, in a review that totally slams the book, begins with something like If its true, Communion is the most important book ever published. You can probably guess which part the publisher slapped on the book jacket.
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S. Hamm
Posted on Wednesday, January 02, 2008 - 11:05 pm:   

Junior Hamm recently purchased a used copy of the 1969 Avon PB edition of The Red House Mystery by A.A. Milne. Page One bears a blurb from Raymond Chandler ("An acknowleged masterpiece . . . timeless") that Junior found rather shocking, because he'd read "The Simple Art of Murder," whence came the quote, and knew that Chandler, after a sentence or two of faint (and ironic) praise, had spent the next four pages shredding Milne's book as the work of a naif and an ignoramus.

Them as desires to read Mr. Disch's takedown of Whitley Streiber, which is still, in my opinion, the funniest book review I've ever read, will find it in his 2005 collection On SF. My only complaint with that superb volume is that it does not contain Disch's almost-as-good, and quite admiring, review of Charles Portis's Masters of Atlantis.

And while I'm thinking of it, how 'bout a special Disch ish of The Magazine Of?
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Gordon Van Gelder
Posted on Friday, January 04, 2008 - 05:54 pm:   

By the way, this month's online reprint is "First Tuesday" by Robert Reed: http://www.sfsite.com/fsf/fiction/rr01.htm
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John Joseph Adams
Posted on Monday, January 07, 2008 - 12:36 pm:   

This week's interview is with Richard Bowes, author of "If Angels Fight," from the Feb. 2008 issue:

http://www.johnjosephadams.com/?p=1387#more-1387
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Gordon Van Gelder
Posted on Monday, January 07, 2008 - 08:21 pm:   

Some comments from one of our readers (posted with permission):


Feedback on the 5 short stories from the Feb 2002 issue:

1) "Ballancing Accounts" by James L. Combias.
A clever concept, well-enough written. A bit confusing as to whether the humans or Edward were the bad guys. A non-climax ending.

2) "Memoirs of the Witch Queen," by Ron Goulart.
Sad that this famous author would write such a weak story with such amateurish language. I imagine that he dashed it off without looking twice. The plebeian members of our fiction critiquing list (http://www.internetwritingworkshop.org) would have torn it up and
tossed it about.

3) "Petri Parousia" by Matthew Hughes.
Nicely imaginative premise, though requiring a strong willingness to suspend disbelief. The protag argues too hard about his negativity toward the scientist without sufficient details to make it believable. Assumes that the readers are traditional Christians who believe in God, which probably excludes a fair segment of them.

4) "Bread and Circus" by Steven Popkis.
Great and amusing idea. I never was sure whether football meant soccer or American football. The added conflict involving the wife seemed unnecessary. Overall, a fun read.

5) "Philologos: or, A murder in Bistrita" by Debra Doyle and James D. Macdonald.
This was an absolutely superb story that fully made up for the deficiencies of the other four. Beautifully written, marvelous word-painting descriptions, and great language. A true mystery all the way though, with every twist and turn unsuspected. In the end, our mild-mannered hero turns into a brave and Shirlock-Holms-like superman. You think he's going to get the girl, but no, he anticipated her perfidy and wins the day. Hooray!

Thanks for your evident dedication to your good magazine.

--
Greg
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Marian Powell
Posted on Tuesday, January 08, 2008 - 05:56 am:   

Is a time machine involved? Must be if it's also February 2002 or is this a paradoxical time loop?
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Matt Hughes
Posted on Thursday, January 10, 2008 - 04:53 am:   

Assumes that the readers are traditional Christians who believe in God, which probably excludes a fair segment of them.

I quibble. Not being a Christian myself does not preclude me from creating a fantasy world in which the premises of this story are operative. Do people have to believe in fairies to enjoy fairy tales?

I do, however, assume a reader's familiarity with the Da Vinci Code and the tale of the burning bush.

Matt Hughes
www.archonate.com
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Jeff_stehman
New member
Username: Jeff_stehman

Post Number: 20
Registered: 03-2007
Posted on Saturday, February 16, 2008 - 09:14 am:   

Balancing Accounts: Great choice for the opening story. I loved it, and it got me juiced to read the rest of the issue. My pick for best in issue.

Retrospect: I loved the atmosphere in the first half of the story. The second half... Well, time travel isn't my thing, but the ending made up for that.

Memoirs of the Witch Queen: It had its moments, but overall I didn't care of it.

Petri Parousia: Entertaining, though I'm not sure it's worth a second reading, which is unusual for Hughes. I do agree with his quibble. Seems an odd complaint.

Bread and Circus: I didn't care for the way the commentators were handled, but I thought the story was fun. Way to go, Tom!

Philologos: or, A Murder in Bistrita: I'm surprised at the positive comments GVG forwarded, given the protagonist can do no wrong. That said, I thought it was brilliant. Going against form makes it a delightfully surprising story. A very close second for best in issue.

If Angels Fight: Gave up after a few pages. A disappointing end to an otherwise fun issue.
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Fabrice_d
Junior Member
Username: Fabrice_d

Post Number: 108
Registered: 05-2007
Posted on Friday, February 29, 2008 - 11:03 am:   

For me, the oustanding stories in this issues were
1) "Balancing Accounts", a space opera novelette from the point of view of an AI. Sobering and entertaining.
2) "If Angels Fight" (though Gordon was "lying" when he announced a political tale, politics is only an aside in the story).
Cambias and Bowes, two authors I'm not very familiar with, and whose stories I hope to see in the future in F&SF.
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Gordon_van_gelder
Member
Username: Gordon_van_gelder

Post Number: 589
Registered: 04-2006
Posted on Friday, February 29, 2008 - 01:27 pm:   

We have one story each by Bowes and Cambias in inventory.
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Dave_truesdale
Junior Member
Username: Dave_truesdale

Post Number: 381
Registered: 02-2007
Posted on Friday, February 29, 2008 - 09:37 pm:   

"Cambias and Bowes, two authors I'm not very familiar with, and whose stories I hope to see in the future in F&SF."

Fabrice,

Rick Bowes is a delightful, interesting man, someone for whom I have the highest regard. His story "Streetcar Dreams" won the World Fantasy Award in 1998. I *think* he works in (or runs) an antique (or collector's) shop in NYC. Am I correct, Gordon, or am I misremembering or conflating something re Rick's line of work?
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Gordon_van_gelder
Member
Username: Gordon_van_gelder

Post Number: 590
Registered: 04-2006
Posted on Saturday, March 01, 2008 - 06:44 am:   

Rick worked in the Bobst library at New York University for ages and finally retired about a year ago. Selling antique and collectible toys has been a hobby of his. He used to sell at flea markets and on eBay, but I'm not sure if he's still doing so.

Jim Cambias is also a delightful and interesting man, by the way, who writes games like these: <http://www.zygotegames.com/>.
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Rickbowes
New member
Username: Rickbowes

Post Number: 36
Registered: 04-2006
Posted on Sunday, March 02, 2008 - 05:38 pm:   

My goodness, (almost) everyone is being so nice! And, as far as I know, I'm not even dead yet.

Gordon: I still sell antique toys on EBay. In fact, I spent the afternoon putting up old zoo animals. My moniker is "rick1844".
Dave: as I recall that World Fantasy Award came on your watch.
Fabrice: Thanks for liking the story. I thought "Angels" was about politics, or about the talent for politics. And editors never lie; they just operate on a different (and higher) level of truth.
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Rickbowes
New member
Username: Rickbowes

Post Number: 37
Registered: 04-2006
Posted on Sunday, March 02, 2008 - 05:41 pm:   

I had no idea Jim Cambias was a fellow game designer. I did lots of board games years ago. Not as uplifting as Mr. Cambias' stuff. Our biggest success was "Jack the Ripper" in which one player is the London police and the other is Jack roaming the streets killing prostitutes.
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Gordon_van_gelder
Member
Username: Gordon_van_gelder

Post Number: 592
Registered: 04-2006
Posted on Tuesday, March 11, 2008 - 05:53 pm:   

Here's another review of the issue, this one from BestSF: http://www.bestsf.net/reviews/fsf0802.html
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Gordon_van_gelder
Member
Username: Gordon_van_gelder

Post Number: 594
Registered: 04-2006
Posted on Tuesday, March 18, 2008 - 09:21 pm:   

Another review: http://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/reviews/magazines/fsf-2008-02.html
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Gordon_van_gelder
Member
Username: Gordon_van_gelder

Post Number: 600
Registered: 04-2006
Posted on Wednesday, March 26, 2008 - 07:47 pm:   

Another blogger speaks, er, writes: http://anotherpieceofshooflypie.blogspot.com/
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Radu_r_eugen
New member
Username: Radu_r_eugen

Post Number: 20
Registered: 08-2007
Posted on Wednesday, April 30, 2008 - 08:36 am:   

"Philologos: or, A murder in Bistrita" by Debra Doyle and James D. Macdonald

Mmmm, just in case this story will be re-edited :
"strigoi mort" means "dead strigoi" in Romanian, and "strigoi viu" means "living strigoi" BUT "strigoi vir" is a mistake. "Vir" doesn't mean anything in Romanian.
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Gordon_van_gelder
Member
Username: Gordon_van_gelder

Post Number: 632
Registered: 04-2006
Posted on Monday, May 05, 2008 - 07:38 am:   

Radu, I pointed out your post to Debra Doyle, who replied:

Thanks for passing the note along. There's nothing quite like the persistence of typos from source to story (if we'd only had a native speaker of Romanian handy to beta-read the darned thing!)
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Radu_r_eugen
New member
Username: Radu_r_eugen

Post Number: 22
Registered: 08-2007
Posted on Monday, May 05, 2008 - 02:42 pm:   

I'm glad the author thought it helped...after I posted the message I began to think that maybe I'm like mr. Bromfield from the Asimov's forums.

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