Current Issue Highlights
May/June 2023 will feature “Lemuria 7 Is Missing,” a thrilling new novella by Allen M. Steele. See if you can figure out the solution to this harrowing mystery! We’ve also crammed in an exciting novelette by R. Garcia y Robertson. Here the challenge is to survive the “Mars Gambit.” Don’t miss either tale.
We have a deeply moving story about a young person and a “Sexy Apocalypse Robot” from Sandra McDonald; Andy Dudak plunges us into an extremely tense tale about “Games Without Frontiers”; Chris Willrich provides us with clues for escaping “The Second Labyrinth”; we meet “The Fifteenth Saint’ in Ursula Whitcher’s new story; and Zack Be lets us know why “The Visions Are Free After Exit 73.” The perils of the “Boomerang” are revealed in a new story by Bill Johnson & Greg Frost; Lavie Tidhar breaks our hearts at the “Zoo Station”; and Tom Purdom provides us with an “Exit Contract.”
Robert Silverberg’s Reflections tends “The Garden of Deleted Words”; “Not Prediction, but Predication: The True Power of Science Fiction” is the subject of Ray Nayler’s Guest Editorial; James Patrick Kelly’s On the Net discusses the complicated process of “Translations”; Kelly Lagor’s Thought Experiment delves into “Shakespeare, Freud, and the Unconscious in Forbidden Planet; Kelly Jennings’s On Books reviews works by Stephen King, T. Kingfisher, John Scalzi, Kelly Robson, and others; plus we’ll have an array of poetry and additional features you’re sure to enjoy.
Lemuria 7 Is Missing
by Allen M. Steele
The history of sea and air travel is replete with mysterious disappearances. Since the times when Egyptian galleys and Phoenician trading vessels sailed the Mediterranean, ships have set out upon sun-freckled waters, their captains and crew confident in the belief that nautical skill, favorable winds, and the mercy of the gods would guide and protect them in their travels.
But the sun can vanish behind threatening clouds, the wind can shift directions and become ominously strong, the gods may forsake the most pious seamen, and even an experienced captain can make mistakes that will bring doom upon his vessel and crew. When these things happened, ships didn’t make their scheduled landfalls and it soon became coldly apparent their sails would never again be seen above the horizon, and the cries of wives who’d just become widows were once more heard in seaport towns. READ MORE
The Fifteenth Saint
by Ursula Whitcher
Sannali Emenev did two things with his life: he read a book with one page, and he ran a city.
Neither of these was his official role. There were eight judges in Junpalto. Every one of the eight of them got up in the morning, pulled a stretchy cap over their braided hair, placed a flowing wig over the cap, and sat in state to hear the problems of the city. But the first judge was brand new, the second was exhausted, the third was busy looking after his aging father, and the fourth was distracted by bickering among the Companies. So it ran through the list, and the conclusion was that if you needed someone to rearrange a department or reform a school, you spoke to Judge Emenev.
The book was private. Emenev rarely spoke of it, even to his clerk: it was the sort of thing hermits in the canyons or starfarers who had listened to voices in the deep cared about, not rational and responsible city folk. READ MORE
What if Pomegranates. . .
by Laurel Winter
What if pomegranates
had been out of season?
What if Persephone
Guest Editorial: Not Prediction, but Predication: The True Power of Science Fiction
by Ray Nayler
It has become a cliché: the popular idea that science fiction authors predict the future, divining the next decade or generation’s technologies in advance of their discovery, reading the state of 2100 or 3100 from the guts of the present.
These discussions inevitably degrade into arguments over what William Gibson did or did not get right about cyberspace, or how Isaac Asimov somehow “failed,” in his Foundation series, to predict the internet. Lately, given the global specters of rising autocracy and reactionary populism, discussions abound about what Orwell foresaw in 1984 about the present political state of the world, and what he “missed.” READ MORE
Reflections: The Garden of Deleted Words
by Robert Silverberg
Like most writers, I have vivid dreams. Some of them are gone by morning; others remain, and I tell them to my wife, Karen, when she awakens—she listens politely, but she isn’t entirely awake yet and therefore isn’t entirely impressed—and some are so bizarre that I share them with a few friends. I don’t write fiction any more, but in the days when I did, some of my best dreams found themselves into short stories or novels, and I was always grateful for those gifts that my sleeping mind had given me. READ MORE
On the Net: Translations
by James Patrick Kelly
SF set in space is a literature of speculative gizmos, some more likely than others. We writers love to deploy faster-than-light drives in their many incarnations, despite their patent impossibility. Our more realistic starships often come equipped with force fields, ray guns, and cold sleep pods for hibernating astronauts. Given vigorous handwaving, none of these inventions need threaten our readers’ suspension of disbelief. One common tool in the kit of our interstellar explorers is the universal translator https://electronics.howstuffworks.com/gadgets/travel/universal-translator.htm. Some versions are powered by a hyper-AI that can pick up alien languages on the fly—particularly handy in first contact stories. Given recent strides in machine translation https://www.betranslated.com/blog/mobile-apps-for-effective-translation, maybe the universal translator isn’t so farfetched. READ MORE
Thought Experiment: Shakespeare, Freud, and the Unconscious in Forbidden Planet
by Kelly Lagor
Forbidden Planet was MGM Studio’s only entry in the science fiction B-movie boom of the 1950s. The script caught the imagination of the film’s entire crew, who at the time worked at the most glamorous studio in Hollywood, and the resulting film became much more than a standard creature feature. Instead they made a Freudian adaptation of William Shakespeare’s The Tempest (1611), set on an alien planet. Despite critical acclaim, the film flopped, in large part because the audience for this movie didn’t exist yet. It would, however, become a harbinger of science fiction spectaculars to come, and to this day it remains a truly remarkable film. READ MORE
by Kelly Jenning
Interestingly, although I didn’t plan it this way, a common thread runs through the books in this review—they’re all looking, in one way or another, at our human ability to reshape the world through the power of story-telling, of art, of the imagination. Since this ability has been fascinating to me since I first noticed it (during a production of Man of La Mancha I saw at age eleven), that might explain why I felt such an affinity for all of these novels. READ MORE
The SF Conventional Calendar
by Erwin S. Strauss
The late spring schedule is jam-packed this year. I’ll be at Norwescon, HELIOsphere, RavenCon and BaltiCon, and maybe others. Don’t forget to make plans for PemmiCon, or maybe a China trip for WorldCon. 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