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the genre's premiere review magazine for short SF & Fantasy since 1993

Z: Zombie Stories, edited by J. M. Lassen

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Z: Zombie Stories

Edited by J. M. Lassen

(Night Shade Books, October 2011)

“Family Business” by Jonathan Maberry
“The Wrong Grave” by Kelly Link
“The Days of Flaming Motorcycles” by Catherynne M. Valente
“The Barrow Maid” by Christine Morgan
“You’ll Never Walk Alone” by Scott Nicholson
“The Dead Kid” by Darrell Schweitzer
“Seven Brains, Ten Minutes” by Marie Atkins
“The Third Dead Body” by Nina Kiriki Hoffman
“The Skull-Faced Boy” by David Barr Kirtley
“The Human Race” by Scott Edelman
“Deepwater Miracle” by Thomas S. Roche (original)


Triangulation: Last Contact

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Triangulation:  Last Contact

Edited by Steve Ramey & Jamie Lackey

(Parsec Ink, July 2011)

"A Claw from the Western Paradise" by Gwendolyn Clare
"The Good Daughter" by Aaron Polson 
"Ghost Horses and Dream Dogs" by Shanna Germain 
"The Gold in the Straw" by Amanda C. Davis 
"The Bright Air That Breathes No Pain" by Eric Schaller 
"Boll Weevil" by Nathaniel Lee 
"The Customs Shed" by John Walters 
"Ezekiel" by Desmond Warzel 
"Ocean Daughters" by Jaime Lee Moyer 
"City of Bones" by Deborah Walker
"In Ruins" by J. M. Odell 
"In the Shadow of God, There is Fire" by Sandra M. Odell 
"Lord God Bird" by Sarah Frost 
"Norms" by Cynthia Ward 
"To Rule, Do Nothing" T. F. Davenport 
"Zafir, the Saudi Superhero" by Madhvi Ramani 
"Twilight’s Last Gleaming" by H. L. Fullerton 
"A Lack of Charity" by James Beamon 
"To Give the Perfect Dewdrop" by Dawn Lloyd 
"The Party" by Christopher Nadeau
"The Reel" by H. M. Tanzen 
"The Last Cyborg" by M. Yang  .
"A Feast of Kings" by David Sklar 
"The Charnel Pit" by Stephen Gaskell 
"God in the Machine" by Charles Patrick Brownson 
"Seedling" by Eric Zivovic
"The Loss of Pain" by Amy Treadwell
“Mikeys” by Robert J. Sawyer (reprint, not reviewed)


The Year's Best Science Fiction and Fantasy 2011, ed. Rich Horton

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The Year's Best Science Fiction & Fantasy 2011

Edited by Rich Horton

(Prime Books, 2011)

"Flower, Mercy, Needle, Chain" by Yoon Ha Lee
"Amor Vincit Omnia" by K.J. Parker
"The Green Book" by Amal El-Mohtar
"The Other Graces" by Alice Sola Kim
"The Sultan of the Clouds" by Geoffrey A. Landis
"The Magician and the Maid and Other Stories" by Christie Yant
"A Letter From the Emperor" by Steve Rasnic Tem
"Holdfast" by Matthew Johnson
"Standard Loneliness Package" by Charles Yu
"The Lady Who Plucked Red Flowers Beneath the Queen's Window" by Rachel Swirsky
"Arvies" by Adam-Troy Castro
"Merrythoughts" by Bill Kte'pi
"Red Bride" by Samantha Henderson
"Ghosts Doing the Orange Dance" by Paul Park
"Bloodsport" by Gene Wolfe
"No Time Like the Present" by Carol Emshwiller
"Braiding the Ghosts" by C.S.E. Cooney
"The Thing About Cassandra" by Neil Gaiman
"The Interior of Mister Bumblethorn's Coat" by Willow Fagan
"The Things" by Peter Watts
"Stereogram of the Gray Fort, In The Days of Her Glory" by Paul M. Berger
"Amor Fugit" by Alexandra Duncan
"Dead Man's Run" by Robert Reed
"The Fermi Paradox is Our Business Model" by Charlie Jane Anders
"The Word of Azrael" by Matthew David Surridge
"Under the Moons of Venus" by Damien Broderick
"Abandonware" by An Omowoyela
"The Maiden Flight of McCauley's Bellerophon" by Elizabeth Hand


Panverse 3, ed. Dario Ciriello

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Panverse 3, edited by Dario Ciriello

(Panverse Publishing, September 2011)

“Orion Rising” by Jason Stoddard
“Junction 5” by Gavin Salisbury
“The Man Who Ended History: A Documentary” by Ken Liu
“Martyrs” by Don D’Ammassa
“Dust to Dust” Tochi Onyebuchi


Eclipse 4, edited by Jonathan Strahan

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Eclipse 4: New Science Fiction and Fantasy, edited by Jonathan Strahan
(Night Shade Books, May 2011)

“Slow as a Bullet” by Andy Duncan
“Tidal Forces” by Caitlan R. Kiernan
“The Beancounter's Cat” by Damien Broderick
“Story Kit” by Kij Johnson
“The Man in Grey” Michael Swanwick
“Old Habits” by Nalo Hopkinson
“The Vicar of Mars” by Gwyneth Jones
“Fields of Gold” by Rachel Swirsky
“Thought Experiment” by Eileen Gunn
“The Double of My Double is Not My Double” by Jeffrey Ford
“Nine Oracles” by Emma Bull
“Dying Young” by Peter M. Ball
“The Panda Coin” by Jo Walton
“Tourists” by James Patrick Kelly


Life on Mars: Tales from the New Frontier

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Life on Mars: Tales from the New Frontier
Edited by Jonathan Strahan
(Viking, April 2011)

“Attlee and the Long Walk” by Kage Baker
“The Old Man and the Martian Sea” by Alastair Reynolds
“Wahala” by Nnedi Okorafor
“On Chryse Plain” by Stephen Baxter
“First Principle” by Nancy Kress
“Martian Chronicles” by Cory Doctorow
“Goodnight Moons” by Ellen Klages
“The Taste of Promises” by Rachel Swirsky
“Digging” by Ian McDonald
“Larp on Mars” by Chris Roberson
“Martian Heart” by John Barnes
“Discovering Life” by Kim Stanley Robinson


After Hours: Tales from the Ur-Bar

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After Hours: Tales from the Ur-Bar
Edited by Joshua Palmatier and Patricia Bray
(DAW, March 2011)

“An Alewife in Kish” by Benjamin Tate
“Why The Vikings Had No Bars” by S.C. Butler
“The Emperor’s New God” by Jennifer Dunne
“The Tale That Wagged The Dog” by Barbara Ashford
“The Fortune-Teller Makes Her Will” by Kari Sperring
“Sake and Other Spirits” by Maria V. Snyder
“The Tavern Fire” by D.B. Jackson
“Last Call” by Patricia Bray
“The Alchemy of Alcohol” by Seanan McGuire
“The Grand Tour” by Juliet E. McKenna
“Paris 24” by Laura Anne Gilman
“Steady Hands And A Heart of Oak by Ian Tregillis
“Forbidden” by Avery Shade
“Where We Are Is Hell” by Jackie Kessler
“Idzu-Bar” by Anton Strout


Brave New Worlds: Dystopian Stories

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Brave New Worlds: Dystopian Stories
Edited by John Joseph Adams

"The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson
"Red Card" by S.L. Gilbow
"Ten With a Flag" by Joseph Paul Haines
"The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas" by Ursula K, Le Guin
"Evidence of Love in a Case of Abandonment" by M. Rickert
"The Funeral" by Kate Wilhelm
"O Happy Day!" by Geoff Ryan
"Pervert" by Charles Coleman Finlay
"From Homogenous to Honey" by Neil Gaiman & Bryan Talbot
"Billennium" by J.G. Ballard
"Amaryllis" by Carrie Vaughn
"Pop Squad" by Paolo Bacigalupi
"Auspicious Eggs" by James Morrow
"Peter Skilling" by Alex Irvine
"The Pedestrian" by Ray Bradbury
"The Things That Make Me Weak and Strange Get Engineered Away" by Cory Doctorow
"The Pearl Diver" by Caitlin R. Kiernan
"Dead Space for the Unexpected" by Geoff Ryman
""Repent Harlequin!" Said the Ticktock Man" by Harlan Ellison
"Is This Your Day to Join the Revolution?" by Genevieve Valentine
"Independence Day" by Sarah Langan
"The Lunatics" by Kim Stanley Robinson
"Sacrament" by Matt Williams
"The Minority Report" by Philip K. Dick
Just Do It" by Heather Lindsley
"Harrison Bergeron" by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
"Caught in the Organ Draft" by Robert Silverberg
"Geriatric Ward" by Orson Scott Card
"Arties Aren't Stupid" by Jeremiah Tolbert
"Jordan's Waterhammer" by Joe Mastroianni
"Of a Sweet Slow Dance in the Wake of Temporary Dogs" by Adam-Troy Castro
"Resistance" by Tobias S. Bucknell
"Civilization" by Vylar Kaftan

Reviewed by Rena Hawkins

When Brave New Worlds, a new reprint anthology of dystopian fiction from editor John Joseph Adams, landed in my mailbox, I expected to be impressed. After all, I had previously read other collections from Adams, including Wastelands, The Living Dead, and The Improbable Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, and I agree with the popular consensus that Adams is the current king of the anthology. Not only was I impressed by Brave New Worlds, I feel it's Adams' best anthology to date.

Most people are familiar with the idea of dystopian societies from novels, the best known being Brave New World (from which the anthology gets its name), The Handmaid's Tale, 1984, Fahrenheit 451, Children of Men, or Lord of the Flies. Readers tend to forget that dystopias have been a subject of speculative short fiction since the very beginning, as Adams reminds us by opening his anthology with "The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson, first published in 1948. The story is still as disturbing to me today as it was the first time I read it as a pre-teen. I think "The Lottery" best illustrates an idea Adams offers us in his introduction: “That’s part of what is so compelling about dystopian fiction: the idea that you could be living in a dystopia and not even know it.” Do the citizens of Shirley Jackson's imagined small town think they live in a dystopia? I doubt it. They would likely defend their horrifying tradition as necessary and right. Another story I first read as a teenager is "Harrison Bergeron" by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., set in a world where citizens are literally weighed down by their government. This story will forever change your outlook on the idea "all men are created equal." Adams fearlessly mixes the classics, such as "‘Repent Harlequin!’ Said the Ticktock Man" by Harlan Ellison and "The Minority Report" by Philip K. Dick with recent works like "Arties Aren't Stupid" by Jeremiah Tolbert and "The Pearl Diver" by Caitlin R. Kiernan. The stories support each other. The classics demonstrate the foundations of dystopian short fiction from which the others developed, while the new fiction offers fresh insight and ideas about what makes a dystopian society.

Several stories in the collection deal with reproductive freedom or the idea of population growth being strictly controlled such as "Amaryllis" by Carrie Vaughn, "Billenium" by J.G. Ballard, "The Funeral" by Kate Wilhelm, and “Evidence of Love in a Case of Abandonment” by M. Rickert. "Pop Squad" by Paolo Bacigalupi, a story where children are murdered as a method of population control, is often reviewed as being too dark and too disturbing. These reviews generally begin with, "As a parent…." These critics are missing the point. The reason "Pop Squad" disturbs us so much is because through the thoughts of his main character, Bacigalupi taps into the dark truth of parenting, the truth you're never supposed to admit to yourself or to anyone else; children are often loud, dirty, annoying, and inconvenient.

Some stories explore the idea that to live in a utopia, one must pay an awful price. "Of a Sweet, Slow Dance in the Wake of Temporary Dogs" by Adam-Troy Castro was a new story for me and the horror of that tenth, awful day stayed on my mind long after my reading ended. "The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas" by Ursula K. Le Guin asks if people can ignore a glaring atrocity in order to live in perfection.   

"Jordan's Waterhammer" by was another new story for me. In it, men are used as mining tools, easily discarded and replaced if they break down. When you consider today's endless news accounts of child labor and people working in deplorable conditions for pennies a day in many third world countries, this story is uncomfortably, unexpectedly realistic.  

The anthology closes with "Civilization" by Vylar Kaftan. While the story seems funny on the surface, underneath is the dark, unsettling idea that given any number of choices, humans will still manage to screw things up. And really, isn't that the essence of dystopian fiction?

Brave New Worlds: Dystopian Stories
Edited by John Joseph Adams
Night Shade Books (2011, $15.99)


Welcome to the Greenhouse

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Welcome to the Greenhouse: New Science Fiction on Climate Change
Edited by Gordon Van Gelder
(OR Books, February 2011)

"Benkoelen" by Brian W. Aldiss
"Damned When You Do" by Jeff Carlson
"The Middle of Somewhere" by Judith Moffett
"Not a Problem" by Matthew Hughes
"Eagle" by Gregory Benford
"Come Again Some Other Day" by Michael Alexander
"The Master of the Aviary" by Bruce Sterling
"Turtle Love" by Joseph Green
"The California Queen Comes A-Calling" by Pat MacEwen
"That Creeping Sensation" by Alan Dean Foster
"The Men of Summer" by David Prill
"The Bridge" by George Guthridge
"FarmEarth" by Paul Di Filippo
"Sundown" by Chris Lawson
"Fish Cakes" by Ray Vukcevich
"True North" by M. J. Locke

Reviewed by Nader Elhefnawy


Engineering Infinity, edited by Jonathan Strahan

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Engineering Infinity, edited by Jonathan StrahanEngineering Infinity cover

 “Malak” by Peter Watts
“Watching the Music Dance” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
“Laika’s Ghost” by Karl Schroeder
“The Invasion of Venus” by Stephen Baxter
“The Server and the Dragon” by Hannu Rajaniemi
“Bit Rot” by Charles Stross
“Creatures with Wings” by Kathleen Ann Goonan
“Walls of Flesh, Bars of Bone” By Damien Broderick and Barbara Lamar
“Mantis” by Robert Reed
“Judgement Eve” by John C. Wright
“A Soldier of the City” by David Moles
“Mercies” by Gregory Benford
“The Ki-anna” by Gwyneth Jones
“The Birds and the Bees and the Gasoline Trees” by John Barnes

Reviewed by Robert E. Waters


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