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Current Issue Highlights

May/June 2024

The first of three powerful novellas in the May/June 2024 issue is Rich Larson’s thrilling tale about a group of “Barbarians.” Complex and brutal interactions and betrayals make this story a true page turner/swiper! Michèle Laframboise takes us aboard an airship, where a young girl wrestles with securing sails, de-icing portholes, feathered stowaways, theft, and abuse, and ultimately reveals “Maragi’s Secret”; and, finally, the Old Man resurfaces for one more adventure in William Preston’s exciting tale about a desperate attempt “To Make an End”!

Kristine Kathryn Rusch treats us to a memorable story about  “Last Thursday”; Elena Pavlova’s first tale for Asimov’s is a stunning take on the unreliable narrator and a violent warning about “Renting to Killers”—this story was translated from Bulgarian by the author and Kalin M. Nenov; other new-to-the-magazine authors include Amal Singh, who deftly explains why “Azarem-2 Is Waiting for a Letter”; Chris Campbell, who turns back the clock in order to examine the mysteries that occur “In the Palace of Science”; and Leonid Kaganov, who introduces us to a terrifying alien known as “The Rattler.” Alex Shvartsman translated the latter tale from Russian. In addition, Christopher Rowe lands “Cynthia in the Subflooring,” and, with his quiet short story about “The Shadow Box,” M. Bennardo reminds us why we all love tales that capture that “sense of wonder.”

Robert Silverberg’s Reflections introduces us to: “More Shaggy Cousins”; James Patrick Kelly’s On the Net looks at fiction “Lengthwise”; Kelly Jennings’s On Books reviews works by Justin C. Key, Malka Older, Melissa Scott, Martha Wells, and others; Kelly Lagor’s latest Thought Experiment exposes us to “Giant Monsters, Kaiju, and the Bomb in Godzilla”; plus we’ll have an array of poetry and additional features you’re sure to enjoy.

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To Make an End
by William Preston

If a story begins with finding, it must end with searching.
—Penelope Fitzgerald, The Blue Flower

Last night had brought Shoshana’s first moments of belief. Isaac, her brother, had believed since the fringe idea had caught his imagination four years ago. Their parents had inexplicably vanished like thousands of others, lost like millions to more explicable causes in this ravaged time, leaving Shoshana to protect an obsessed adolescent. She had followed Isaac’s strange pilgrimage, thinking one day he would wake from it. But now they were climbing the final hill, and it seemed that her brother’s tale of a buried hero might be true. READ MORE


Arazem-2 Is Waiting for a Letter
by Amal Singh

Arazem unclasps his wobbly knee-joint, where the varnish has faded through the years. The bronze fibula and tibia peek out of the hollow cylinder of his thigh like three fingers, their wiring frayed, like vellus hair outcroppings. He applies oil to the joint, whirrs the rotator wheel to make sure it’s smooth. Mehdi Hassan’s ghazal wafts in his hibernation chamber from the other room, where Arazem has put the vinyl. If he has to make yet another journey to the Bureau tomorrow, he can’t afford a bad knee. Outside, the heat is relentless, the asphalt on the road melting into black puddles. He might have to reapply paint on his chassis to make sure he doesn’t overheat. Factory-grade coolants from Atul & Sons don’t work, and so Arazem has to go for something higher. Maybe Solezam from Apartment Four will lend him his coolant. His chassis is the same model as Arazem, and he is also waiting for directions from the Bureau. Much like Arazem, he is also lonely. READ MORE


A Night in Ibadan
by Ernest O. Ògúnyẹmí 

We were walking through a lucid town, clear
Of voice, but for a low generator ringing
Into the night. The woman wrapped in golden READ MORE


Vertical Farming and Reaching For a Better Future
by A.T. Greenblatt

There’s something truly special when you walk into a grow room of a vertical farm. If you stand in the center of it, one flight up and a half a dozen rows in, you are completely surrounded by green and growing things; above and below, stretching out on either side. There’s the smell of young plants and the beeping of crop trays being moved in and out of their positions, tracing their path along the tracks, traveling closer or farther away, sometimes in the row next to you or a level up. READ MORE

Reflections: More Shaggy Cousins
by Robert Silverberg

I continue to be fascinated by the idea that human beings who were not members of the species Homo sapiens, but can properly be regarded nevertheless as human, actually walked the earth at the same time as our ancestors. It has been the subject of several of these columns over the years. Up till now they have mainly discussed Neanderthal man, about whom we are learning more and more and whose resemblance to our species gets ever closer, though with some differences significant enough to require a separate species identity. READ MORE

On Books
by Kelly Jennings

I’ve been following Justin Key’s writing for some time, so I was pleased to hear about The World Wasn’t Ready for You, a collection of his short fiction. Some of these stories I had read before; others were new to me. Among the former is “Spider King,” which I previously reviewed for this column in May/June 2022. It’s a body horror story about an inmate, Darnell, who agrees to engage in a medical trial in order to obtain an early release from prison, and who ends up with a horrific superpower. Engaging and tightly written, “Spider King” is also a commentary on the ways in which the prison-industrial complex exploits Black Americans. This theme, the effects of systemic racism on Black citizens, runs through this collection. READ MORE

by James Patrick Kelly 

In theory, every writer is in charge of their own career. Sometimes fate intervenes—for good or ill—and nudges our trajectories. Maybe after we go all fan boy on our favorite Asimov’s writer at a con, she invites us to lunch and we strike up a lifelong literary friendship. Or just after we make our first sale, the magazine folds. Or we discover that our mother’s cousin’s wife is a literary agent who agrees to represent our first novel. Or the editor who buys our trilogy leaves and suddenly the middle book is a publishing orphan. These happenstances, which are totally unpredictable, are part of the writing life. READ MORE

The SF Conventional Calendar
by Erwin S. Strauss

Don’t forget the Glasgow WorldCon later this year, and Seattle in 2025. Plan now for social weekends with your favorite SF authors, editors, artists, and fellow fans. For an explanation of our con(vention)s, a sample of SF folksongs and info on fanzines and clubs, send me an SASE…  READ MORE

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