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Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 71 (Clarkesworld Magazine, #71)

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3.64  ·  Rating details ·  226 ratings  ·  62 reviews
FICTION
“Mantis Wives” by Kij Johnson
“Honey Bear” by Sofia Samatar
“Fade to White” by Catherynne M. Valente

NON-FICTION
“The Spell of History: Magic Systems and Real-World Zeitgeists” by Jeff Seymour
“In a Carapace of Light: A Conversation with China Miéville” by Jeremy L. C. Jones
“Another Word: Plausibility and Truth” by Daniel Abraham
“Editor’s Desk: Finding the Good in a Dar
...more
Kindle Edition, 66 pages
Published August 1st 2012 by Wyrm Publishing
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Community Reviews

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3.64  · 
Rating details
 ·  226 ratings  ·  62 reviews


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Heidi
Mar 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
Each year I eagerly await the nominations for the Nebula awards, and each year I am unsurprised if I see my beloved Cat Valente’s name pop up somewhere in the categories. This year she is nominated for the novelette category for her story Fade to White, which appeared in Clarkesworld Magazine in August of 2012. Obviously, I wanted to carve out some time for it.

Fade to White is just the sort of story I love. It doesn’t spoon feed you the world–it has more important things to do in its short time
...more
Ben Babcock
The novelette offers an opportunity to experiment in a way that short stories and novels don’t often do. You have much more room in which to create a world than a short story, where a glimpse at the larger picture is often all that you can afford. On the other hand, unlike a novel, there is no requirement to have a lengthy plot. With “Fade to White”, Catherine Valente depicts a world torn apart by war and a society that has changed dramatically to compensate. She uses the length of the novelette ...more
Graham
Sep 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is the first copy of Clarkesworld I have read and I must say that it shows all of the other speculative fiction monthly magazines a clean pair of heels. I have been reading Analog and Asimov for many years. Recently I've felt that they have become a little formulaic. I found Clarkesworld from a recommendation on the podcast "The Starship Sofa" (if you like sci-fi and have not heard this podcast - what are you doing! - download it NOW!)

The thing I particularly like is the verity of stories a
...more
Catherine
Jan 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Catherynne Valente could write for the back of cereal boxes and I'd read them; luckily she writes tremendous stories instead, and I get to read them and soak up her words for a little while.
Fade to White is a short post-apocalyptic story that can be read here: http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/valen...
It put me in the mind of Atwood's The Handmaid Tale but instead of an unknown future date FTW occurs during the reign of McCarthy and the problem with fertility leads squarely at the feet of th
...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
A short story in list form, or maybe little vignettes, of all the ways a mantis might kill its mate.

"Perhaps they wish to love each other, but they cannot see a way to exist that does not involve the barb, the sticking sap, the bitter taste of poison."


Merged review:

Nominated for the Hugo awards in the novelette category in 2013.

I don't know how to evaluate this story, as itself, or compared to Valente's other works? Put up against her other works, I miss the emotional, intimate, beautiful langua
...more
John Wiswell
Jul 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Full disclosure: I didn't buy this story; it was part of the Hugo voting packet. It's terribly short and utterly worth a shot, being a description about either a culture of mantises or mantis-like beings. It's a study in very grimly comical misandry, about all the ways that cruel female mantis-wives slay their witless and perhaps suicidal mantis-husbands. Its perspective refuses to consider why the mantis-husbands consent to death over and over, giving the sense of a culture of systemic violence ...more
R J K Lee
Aug 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: writers, sci-fi/fantasy fans
There were two wonderful non-fiction pieces here - I enjoyed the Mieville interview in which he talked about his personal writing process, and the piece about Plausibility and Truth by Daniel Abraham (aka James S. A. Corey). Intriguing fiction stories as well - nothing amazing, but all had some unusual approaches to their subject matter which would probably be of interest to any writer. I particularly enjoyed the dark contemporary fantasy story "Honey Bear". This is an issue worth re-reading.
Stephanie Franklin
Jun 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
It's a very strange "story," and a little esoteric for my taste.

Merged review:

An interesting take on a dystopia, though I was left a little confused by when this was supposed to take place. I liked having the ad copy in between the sections of narrative, since that gave some good color to the world.
Tanya Spackman
Loved it. A snapshot of a fascinating post-apocalyptic world. I want to spend more time in this world.
Emy
Feb 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Fade to White
One word for this story - haunting. This is another short where I feel driven to know more about the people and the world (a war torn, alternate 1950s America).
David
I read only the Catherynne M. Valente story. It would make an excellent novel.
Cathy
This story was a 2013 Hugo Award Nominee for Best Short Story and a 2013 Locus Award Finalist for Best Short Story. Unfortunately, I'm not sure if I got the point, if there was one. I wouldn't have liked it in any year, but for the Hugo it was up against Mono no Aware and Immersion, both of which I really liked, which is pretty weird, usually there are a couple of stories I don't love. Not that I'm a voter! And for the Lotus Award it was up against a good field too, they're usually the best judg ...more
Julia
Mar 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
4 stars

Long ago, the mantis women killed their husbands during mating, until they learned that death and sex were, in fact, not inseparable. But then the mantis men stayed, so the wives, for lack of anything better to do, started coming up with increasingly elaborate and artfully named ways to kill them: the Bitter Edge, the Strength of Weight, the Scent of Violets, and the Cruel Web, just to name a few.

This short story, however, isn’t interested in the many, many ways mantis women kill their h
...more
Jeremy Preacher
May 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: scifi, short-stories
Praying mantises, as is well-known, have a peculiar mating arrangement where the female devours the male as soon as copulation is complete. "Mantis Wives" examines the artistic possibilities in such an arrangement.

It is possible that it is intended to be cutting commentary on the state of marriage. It's possible it's just an exercise in fancy. I liked it, but it didn't speak to me particularly.

Merged review:

"Fade to White" is a brilliantly crafted dystopia, a 1950s America trying to pretend that
...more
Norman Cook
Jul 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: e-book
Kij Johnson seems to specialize in ultra-short, dark fantasies. “Mantis Wives” is certainly fantasy, but it is not really a story—there are no characters and no plot. It can only be described as preying mantis porn consisting of a 5-page list of “alternative” sexual techniques for the adventurous insect. While inventive and darkly humorous, I can’t condone this piece being nominated for the Hugo award, much less winning.

Merged review:

A trio of interrelated vignettes show a post-apocalyptic Unite
...more
John
Jan 27, 2013 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kim
Sep 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
"Honey Bear" by Sofia Samatar is a dark story filled with sunshine trappings: alien invasion, sterilization, the unconditional maternal love of an infant and a sunny day at the beach. (5 stars)

"Another Word: Plausibility and Truth" by Daniel Abraham is an excellent non-fiction commentary on plausibility in writing. Well worth a read for science fiction writers and aspirants. (4 stars)

"Mantis Wives" by Kij Johnson is a LeGuin-esque stream of mantropological prose about imagined mantis mating ritu
...more
Jon
Jul 01, 2013 rated it liked it
This story takes the idea that female mantises eat their husbands after mating, anthropomorphizes the mantises, and riffs on variations. Even if you find the joke funny (I didn't), it's just a one-joke story.

Merged review:

An alternate history story set in a world where apparently World War II and the Cold War involved more atomic weaponry. As a result, most of the US men are infertile, so the fertile "Husbands" are shared among the wives to help repopulate.

It's told in a very over-the-top style,
...more
Althea Ann
Jan 09, 2014 rated it liked it
"Love will tear us apart, again." Anthropomorphism of mantises who have made sexual cannibalism an art form serves as a commentary on human relationships. Creepy, but felt more like notes than a finished product.

Merged review:

A dystopic, Handmaid's Tale-influenced tale where WWII went far more nuclear than it did in our timestream. Most American men are infertile. Radiation is everywhere. And society is desperately clinging to the 1950's-style myth of a perfect America filled with blonde childre
...more
Sarah
May 31, 2013 rated it liked it
Mainly a poem; not entirely sure what the author was trying to say.


Merged review:

Retro literary sci-fi! Catherynn Valente is indeed either trying to pay homage or channel Bradbury or perhaps Asimov. And is successful! I had to check to make sure it was published recently. :)

Interesting society envisioned similar to A Boy and his Dog with a mid-50's society with a backdrop of licensed polygamy.
Alexandra
Jul 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Seriously brilliant vision of an alternative America, post-WW2 that turned into US vs USSR pretty much immediately, from what I can tell, and brought that war home to American soil. Interspersing advertising copy (complete with snarky editorial comments) was well played; the gender and race tensions are not shown-not-told. Quietly horrific when the two stories - from the perspectives of an adolescent boy and girl - finally got played out.
Ben Nash
Not so much a story as an art guide to future mantises. Interesting.

Merged review:

Alternate-history post-apocalyptic dystopia. Writing that out makes it seem like too many sub-genres smashed together, but this is really a good character-driven story about people in that setting. I immediately wanted to read it again, but I'm working with a deadline.
Megan
Jun 04, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: hugos-2013
I'm not sure I can say anything about Mantis Wives that won't be spoilery to some degree. It's not really a story, more of a Kama Sutra-type encyclopedia of methods of death that mantis wives "grant" their husbands...and it's treated as an art form.

I don't know, I just...don't know about this one. It was intriguing (and short), but odd.
Malapata
Oct 12, 2013 rated it liked it
En realidad sería más un 3.5.

Un cuento sobre una Norteamérica en la que la II GM acabó convertida en una guerra atómica contra el comunismo. Pero la historia no es sobre la guerra, sino sobre dos jóvenes apunto de convertirse en adultos en la sociedad que ha nacido de ella. Me ha gustado, pero le falta algo para terminar de redondear la historia.
Richard Guion
Jul 21, 2013 rated it it was ok
A bit depressing and the structure of the TV/propaganda buzzing in script-format did not work for me. I was more interested in seeing how people rebelled against the societal structure but that wasn't in the story.
Stephanie
Jul 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kindle, read-2013
Read as part of the Hugo packet 2013.

Loved this the first time I read this, loved it reading it again. So creepy and beautiful.

Merged review:

One of my favourite Valente stories, and one of my picks for the Hugo novelette category for 2013.
Stas
Enjoyable engrossing prose.
Depiction of hair-raising possibility of our future.
Disturbing on many levels.
In an odd twist, reminds me of Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451
Jeff Stockett
Jun 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
The more I think about this story the more brilliant it is. On the surface, it's just a story about insects. But by giving them emotions, feelings of love and sacrifice, we relate to them as humans. Then we feel the horror when they do very normal things for insects. It kind of blew my mind!
Julie
Jun 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Also hovering between a 3 and a 4. Delightfully creepy and unsettling, but woefully short.

Merged review:

Fallout 3 meets cross-media propaganda meets Bioshock and genetic engineering, in vignette form. Touching, intriguing, occasionally tongue-in-cheek funny, and absolutely fantastic.
Jacinda
Jun 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
brilliantly disturbing
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Neil Clarke is best known as the editor and publisher of the Hugo and World Fantasy Award-winning Clarkesworld Magazine. Launched in October 2006, the online magazine has been a finalist for the Hugo Award for Best Semiprozine four times (winning three times), the World Fantasy Award four times (winning once), and the British Fantasy Award once (winning once). Neil is also a six-time finalist fo ...more