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The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, January/February 2017 (The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, #729)

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  84 ratings  ·  21 reviews

Homecoming by Rachel Pollack
Vinegar and Cinnamon by Nina Kiriki Hoffman
One Way by Rick Norwood
Dunnage for the Soul by Robert Reed
There Used to Be Olive Trees by Rich Larson
The Regression Test by Wole Talabi
A Gathering on Gravity's Shore by Gregor Hartman
On the Problem of Replacement Children: Prevention, Coping, and Other Practical Strategies by Debbie Urbanski
Paperback, Volume 132, No. 1&2, 256 pages
Published (first published January 2017)
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3.75  · 
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Jan 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Starting to deeply enjoy this magazine, best I've read yet. It's a pleasure to see the writers of the future showing their stuff here. I've added two to my favorites list: Rachell Pollack (insane, prolific, where the hell is she coming up with all this? Mind-screw, thrill), and Rich Larson (loved his sci-fi world, characterization and dialogue). I enjoyed all of them (I skipped one but won't say which). The first, Vinegar and Cinnamon: adorable. Can't wait to read the next one in my book shelf, ...more
Dec 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I'll update as I read each story. However, as is my MO, I began with the Robert Reed novelette: Dunnage for the Soul.

I love It costs $, unlike Merrium, but it's only failed me--by not containing the word I was searching--once thus far, in nearly 6 months.

It defines "dunnage" as "baggage, or personal effects," along with other unrelated twists on the definition. In the story, the protagonist tells us it speaks to wood that's so crappy, we might find it in a garbage pile. I could
Beth Cato
Feb 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
A good issue overall. My favorite pieces happened to be short stories: "Wetherfell's Reef Runics" by Marc Laidlaw (which I read, quite appropriately, in rural Hawaii) and "On the Problem of Replacement Children: Prevention, Coping, and Other Practical Strategies" by Debbie Urbanski (which was difficult for me at points because of the emotions it evoked). I was happy to "Kingship" by Mary Soon Lee as well--she's one of my favorite poets.
John Loyd
Jan 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fsf
Awesome issue. A new #1. Surpasses the all-time greatness of the Jul/Aug 2015 F&SF. (Context, I've now read 769 speculative fiction magazines.)

7 • Vinegar and Cinnamon • 20 pages by Nina Kiriki Hoffman
Excellent. In a fit of anger Maura turns Sam into a rat. Sam takes a minute to figure out what has happened and then starts using his rat senses. He is particularly fond of the increased ability to smell, his hearing and use his whiskers to sense his surroundings, but he doesn't want to be a r
Generally a good issue with almost every story enjoyable.

“Homecoming” by Rachel Pollack —
One of the continuing Jack Slade stories, a series I recall only vaguely because installments are pretty far apart. Jack is Harry Dresden in NY with a more active supernatural community. In this installment, he retrieved something for a client, then wishes he hadn't. The magic here is of the "whatever the plot requires” style, so it's hard to get too involved in the action. ***

"Vinegar and Cinnamon" by Nina
Josée Lepire
Nov 10, 2017 rated it liked it
La qualité des nouvelles est en général moyenne. Les histoires sont parfois un peu trop banales, tandis que les bonnes histoires ont ne font qu'effleurer le genre.

Vinegar and Cinnamon, de Nina Kiriki Hoffman, est une histoire banale, dont la seule caractéristique est d'être dans un univers où la magie existe. L'univers est bien mis en place, et l'atmosphère de village rural est bien écrite, mais il demeure que la trame de l'histoire en elle-même m'a laissée indifférente.

Regression Test, par Wol
Kam Yung Soh
An above average issue, with interesting stories by Rachel Pollack, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Rich Larson and Wole Talabi.

- "Homecoming" by Rachel Pollack: a interesting fantasy story about a person who can travel into fantasy realms around the world. In this case, a woman asks him to find a missing part of her soul. Doubts arise as he performs his job but it is only on returning the soul that he discovers he may have unleashed an ancient horror on the world and it may be up to him to save it. But th
I'm going to have to break it down by story.

"Homecoming" by Rachel Pollack

Fourth story in a series. The preceding stories, which I have not read, are "Jack Shade in the Forest of Souls" (July/August 2012); "The Queen of Eyes" (September/October 2013) and "Johnny Rev" (July/August 2015). The series is about Jack Shade, a noir-ish private investigator, occultist and shaman. In this story--well, novella--he tries to help an ordinary suburban woman get part of her soul back. Things go disastrously w
10 short stories + 1 poem and articles - 4.5 stars

Vinegar & Cinnamon by Nina Kiriki Hoffman - Very original, very fun! A rat! Magic! Food! and a cat named Slaughter! Sausage, kale, and white bean soup - must try that :D A different type of coming of age story. - 5 stars

The Regression Test by Wole Talabi - Surprising! As is usual for writers from other cultures. Based on memory upon memory, an interesting test. I hope it's used in the future.- 5 stars

A Gathering on Gravity's Shore by Gregor H
Sep 05, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Homecoming by Rachel Pollack - I've enjoyed the two Jack Shade stories I've read (this and "Johnny Rev" from F&SF Jul/Aug 2015) so I'm happy to see that a collection called The Fissure King will soon be released. It will have the four previously published stories and a new one.

Vinegar and Cinnamon by Nina Kiriki Hoffman - What happens when a teenage boy gets turned into a rat by his wizard sister. This was really sweet! Loved the family interaction (including Slaughter the cat!) and the vivi
Leroy Erickson
I almost gave this issue 4 stars just because of the story "Alexandria". There is a mix of a couple of very good stories but then a couple that felt like a total waste of time.

Nina Kiriki Hoffman - Vinegar and Cinnamon - 4 stars
- A nice little story of youthful magicians and how much fun it might be to live as a rat for a day or so.

Wole Talabi - The Regression Test - 4 stars
- A variation on a Turing test verifying whether a human intelligence has been properly reborn in a computer.

Gregor Hartm
Samuel Lubell
Feb 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, magazines, sf, stories
I thought this a very strong issue. I especially liked the Nina Kiriki Hoffman story, Vinegar and Cinnamon, about a girl magic user who accidently turns her brother into a rat. He discovers that although he couldn't access magic when he was human, as a rat he has the power to turn anything into food. "The Regression Test" was clever, about a woman checking to see if the AI which is replicating her mother's thought patterns has not diverged from the original. There's a nice twist. "A Gathering on ...more
Updating as I go:

“Homecoming” by Rachel Pollack; 2.5/5 stars
My feelings on this are very mixed - on the one hand it had some really interesting parts, but on the other hand I have to confess that it felt like one of the concluding chapters to a greater novel. I found myself a bit lost on the who's who's and the what's what's. Not bad, overall, but I probably would have liked it a lot more had it been a novel.

"Vinegar and Cinnamon" by Nina Kiriki Hoffmar; 4/5 stars
Quite, quite awesome. Story foc
Oedipuss Wrecks
Jan 12, 2017 rated it liked it
Overall a very strong issue.

Below, I provide star ratings without any commentary. Utterly useless to anyone else, I know. But I like to be able to look back at the end of the year and easily be able to find and re-read anything I rated 4 or 5 stars. 3 stars means that I was entertained and read the whole story. 2 stars means that I was frustrated by something about the story and may have skimmed to finish. 1 star means there is something about the story that I actively hate.

"Alexandria" by
Tom Loock
Jan 07, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: ebook, fantasy, sf, stories
Not as exciting as the last couple of issues; still, I do recommend subscribing to the MoF&SF for the overall high quality of the stories!

My favourite was the wonderful short story by African writer Wole Talabi, but I'm glad I read it on my Kindle (words like 'furfuraceous' and 'ensorcell' are not in my personal vocabulary ...)
I also enjoyed Monica Byrne's story about a lighthouse in Kansas. Rick Norwood's story about a one way-sphere was great, but the rushed ending was a major disappointm
Deborah Replogle
Feb 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I have started getting this series as an eread through one of the few places I've seen it offered.
Here's a new novella from Rachel Pollack called Homecoming, about her private investigator Jack Shade, occultist and shaman.
And I liked Rick Norwood's One Way which starts as a paper being presented at a conference that is totally ignored, and then the concept takes over the world.
And Debbie Urbanski's Onthe Problem of Replacement Children, Coping and other Practical Strategies, wh
Eco Imp
Jun 14, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, sci-fi
As always, I like the Jack Shade stories. In this edition, it is Homecoming.

The story that hit me the most was On the Problem of Replacement Children... I shuddered when I read the therapy options knowing that some of them were real in the past. The story also hit home as I have often drawn a line between the her then and her now. I guess I felt my DD was "replaced" at the age of 5. My beautiful, smiling, laughing, outgoing girl turned into a sullen teenager-ish persona as more and more ASD symp
Feb 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Probably my favorite since I subscribed last summer. Not really a bad story among them. Homecoming I didn't like at the beginning but by the end I was enjoying it.

Dunnage For the Soul, There Used to be Olive Trees, Alexandria and Wetherfell's Reef Runics were my favorite of the bunch, but like I said, there really wasn't a single one I didn't like.
Feb 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ebook, own
Rue Baldry
Aug 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lit-mags, sci-fi
This is a particularly good edition. No filler, though the novella, Homecoming, might have been sharper as a novelet, or more fully satisfying with a fuller conclusion as a full-blown novel.

The other stories are all engaging and feel fully realised. There's speculative science in One Way, philosophy on our own humanity in Dunnage for the Soul and On the Problem of Replacement Children [...], intelligent, emotional fantasy in There Used to be Olive Trees and Vinegar and Cinnamon and humour in Wet
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Kerry Booth
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Larry Van Guilder
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Feb 11, 2018
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Michael Frasca
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Jan 25, 2017
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Editor: The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction (

Author: The Prodigal Troll, the Traitor to the Crown Series, and Wild Things, and dozens of short stories.

Awards: nominated for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer (2003), the Hugo Award (2003, 2009), the Locus Award for Best Magazine (2016), the Nebula Award (2003, 2009), the Sidewise Award (2003) Sturgeon Award (2009)