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The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, March/April 2020

(The Alchemy Wars #0)

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  75 ratings  ·  27 reviews
March/April • 71st Year of Publication


COME THE REVOLUTION -83- Ian Tregillis


THE LAST LEGEND -36- Matthew Hughes
HACKSILVER -204- Elizabeth Bear


Kindle Edition, 258 pages
Published (first published March 1st 2020)
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Average rating 4.07  · 
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Start your review of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, March/April 2020 (F&SF, #748)
John Loyd
Mar 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fsf
4.4 stars rounded down. Several really good stories to offset those that didn't connect with me.

8 • Kikelomo Ultrasheen • 23 pages by Dare Segun Falowo
Poor. Daughter of a hairdresser, Kiko, is born with a birthmark, meaning she may be taken by the Onidiri. She learns different hair styles. Many years later her father dies and mother bites off her ear. She goes to Lagos. There was probably symbolism and other stuff that I didn't catch. I didn't connect with the characters and didn't have a sens
May 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
"A Feast of Butterflies" by Amanda Hollander and "The Last Legend" by Matthew Hughes is on my list of the Best Short SFF of March 2020: ...more
Leroy Erickson
Mar 19, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fandsfmag
Nothing really good, but nothing really bad either, in this issue.

Dare Segun Falowo - Kikelomo Ultrasheen - 3 stars
- The daughter of a hair dresser in Nigeria (?) grows up also learning how to style hair in all of the special ceremonial forms, but ends up being taken into a fantasy/supernatural group at the end of the story. Very hard to understand all of the cultural references, or even to know if they are real or fantasy.

SL Huang - The Million-Mile Sniper - 2 stars
- A sniper in space who has
May 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
Favorite Stories:
The Man I Loved by James Patrick Kelly: This was SO GOOD, this was one of those stories that improves your day, makes you smile and has makes me want more stories from the Happy Valley Tavern.
The Last Legend by Matthew Hughes: I had no clue until the very end where this story was going
Of the 12 stories only 2 were duds (in my opinion)
...Also some of the cartoons were hilarious!
Kam Yung Soh
Mar 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
A better than average issue with good tales by Matthew Hughes, Gregor Hartmann, Amanda Hollander, Elizabeth Bear and a fantastic tale involving thinking mechanicals beings by Ian Tregillis.

- "Kikelomo Ultrasheen" by Dare Segun Falowo: an African fantasy story about a girl blessed or cursed with the ability to affect people by weaving and perming their hair. When she is forced to run away to the city, she falls into company of people who can use her ability until she returns years later to her mo
Mar 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This issue contains an Alchemy Wars prequel novella, "Come the Revolution", by Ian Tregillis. Queen Mab's awakening, her life, and her freedom, make for a compelling tale. ...more
Apr 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Last Legend by Matthew Hughes—colourful, fantastical, wowza.
Come the Revolution by Ian Tregillis— a robot tragedy, and the robots get my sympathy.
A Feast of Butterflies by Amanda Hollander— I don’t like spiders and snakes, but I couldn’t put it down.
Hacksilver by Elizabeth Bear— A high five out of five! This one hits all the spots.
Death on the Nefertem Express— Suspense, all the skills of Agatha Christie in a quick read, and a snappy ending.
The Man I Love by James Patrick Kelly— R
Apr 20, 2020 added it
I picked up this issue of F&SF specifically for Come the Revolution, a prequel novella to The Alchemy Wars, a brilliant alternate history series that was the perfect combination of concept and execution.

It was great to be back in this imaginative alt-history world and I really enjoyed seeing the backstory and humble beginnings of the mad Queen Mab, who eventually goes on to lead a robot “Clakker” army seeking vengeance on humanity. This story moves with alacrity and Tregillis is once again in fi
Patrick Hurley
Apr 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Man I Love" by James Patrick Kelly was my favorite, but I also enjoyed SL Huang's "The Million Mile Sniper," Amanda Hollander's "A Feast for Butterflies," Elizabeth Bear's "Hacksilver," and Ian Tregellis's novella. A very solid issue overall! ...more
Apr 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
If I had to choose a single story from this issue of F&SF I think I would go for “Kikelomo Ultrasheen”, from Dare Segun Falowo - a story inspired in local Nigerian mythology, drawing also from childhood memories of the author. One of those stories that is so well written that you simply forgot you are reading, while strange moons and new gods appear in front of you - hypnotic.

Other stories that I loved were the novella “Come the Revolution” by Ian Tregillis, or “A Feast of Butterflies” by Amand
May 22, 2021 rated it liked it
My first foray into a modern literary magazine--and it was quite a hoot. Even recognized one of the authors (a friend!). Really enjoyed this and am considering whether I should subscribe. On the one hand, I like the idea of supporting this kind of writing, but I also know that I have a limited amount of time to read--I'd like to get some novels in there too :).

Throwing the question out there: is anyone a subscriber? Hit me up and tell me what you think.
David Orgel
Mar 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
Ian Tregillis's novella, "Come the Revolution," is a stand-out. Superbly imagined and written, it's an original take on the robot trope. I've placed Tregillis's The Mechanical on my "Want to Read" list. ...more
May 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Another strong issue. Standouts for me were KIKELOMO ULTRASHEEN by Dare Segun Falowo and COME THE REVOLUTION by Ian Tregillis
Fernando Goulart
Mar 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A Great Edition full of great stories. My favorite were:

“The Last Legend” by Matthew Hughes
“Come the Revolution” by Ian Tregillis
“A Solitary Crane Circles Cold Mountain” by Gregor Hartmann
“A Feast of Butterflies” by Amanda Hollander, “Hacksilver” by Elizabeth Bear
Apr 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Time and time again I become more fascinated by the diverse mystery stories that appear in science fiction magazines such as Fantasy & Science Fiction. They are wondrous and imaginative and cleverly written. This particular issue was a real treat for me. It included a great mystery whodunit in the Agatha Christie tradition titled: Death on the Nefertem Express by Brian Trent. This story is a classic mystery with an other-worldly twist. I also really enjoyed another Sci-Fi crime story titled: The ...more
Benjamin DeHaan
Apr 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: short-stories
My favorites were “The Last Legend”, “Come the Revolution”, and “Say You’re Sorry”

Great cover this issue!
May 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5/5, rounded up. I ended up enjoying most of the stories in this edition. Favs included: "The Last Legend," "Come the Revolution," and "A Solitary Crane Circles Cold Mountain."

Of note, I haven't read Tregillis's Alchemy Wars series, but the prequel novella is still very enjoyable with no prior knowledge, and I might even pick it up later...
Jul 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Total Average: 4.2

Story Breakdown:
Kikelomo Ultrasheen - 4
The Million Mile Sniper - 5
The Last Legend - 4
Come the Revolution - 5
The Red Sword of the Celiac - 3
For My Shipmates at Journey's End - 4
Say You're Sorry - 4
A Solitary Crane Circles Cold Mountain - 5
4 Vesta - 4
A Feast of Butterflies - 4
Hungry is the Earth - 5
Hacksilver - 4
Death on the Nefertem Express - 4
The Man I Love - 4
Michael Frasca
Apr 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
My favorite stories:

- KIKELOMO ULTRASHEEN by Dare Segun Falowo. 
Braided hair as milestones in a journey through life. Wonderful poetic cadence to the prose. Be sure to read about Yoruba culture before reading this story!

In cinema, the surface reality is less engaging than the constructed myth. But sometimes the constructed myth pales in comparision to the hidden reality.

- THE LAST LEGEND by Matthew Hughes. A young boy is inexplicably orphaned, inexplicabl
Jun 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2020
Just finished Come the Revolution, by Ian Tregillis. Stunning story, and very apropos for the current moment vis-a-vis US race relations.

With one notable exception (and I'll get to that when I write up the review of the rest of the stories), this was a terrific issue, easily the best I've read from F&SF in the past 6 months.
Jun 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Each issue a Masterpiece

In my opinion this publication is mesmerizingly entertaining and enthralling. Each issue transports you to infinite realms of imagination. You are guaranteed to have your sense of wonder renewed and your heart touched by the profundity contained within.
Mark Catalfano
Apr 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
I liked "Death on the Neferten" by Brian Trent and also "The Last Legend" by Matthew Hughes.

This issue had a few stories from a cancelled Garder Dozois anthology "The Book of Legends"
Michael Whiteman
Oct 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
Kikelomo Ultrasheen - Dare Segun Falowo ***
A coming of age story for a young hairdresser, marked from birth by the Onidiri to heal people by removing bad ori (in the form of snakes and insects) from their heads. The conflict with her mother over her destiny was a little vague but a nice story overall. The second person works well for a "chosen one" style tale, and lots of detail on different hairstyles!

The Million-Mile Sniper - SL Huang **
Short piece framed as commentary on a film based on the t
Aug 24, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: magazines
All good stories with a couple that were outstanding for me. These would be The Last Legend by Matthew Hughes and Death on the Nefertem Express by Brian Trent. The second is a bit of a locked room mystery with a severe time constraint.
L.A. Jacob
If this is what the future of Sci-fi is, I don't wanna go there. ...more
Irene Grumman
Jan 06, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Absorbing Stories

Design a society, spend a day with a Viking, live with environmental destruction and some intriguing characters in this issue. I liked the combination of whimsy and seriousness, as well as good writing.
Come the Revolution - Ian Tregillis
Maklobellathistrogantus, mab for short, is a mechanical (robot) of the guild of the Brasswork Throne. Set in roughly the 1700s or 1800s Netherlands. A story of mechanical slavery. It's a prequel to his The Alchemy Wars trilogy. The story reminded me a lot of Detroit: Become Human.

Kikelomo Ultrasheen - Dare Segun Falowo
Hairdressing sure is magical.

The Last Legend - Matthew Hughes
A promising young boy has dreams of greatness but lives
Paul Retkwa
rated it really liked it
Jul 11, 2020
rated it really liked it
Sep 13, 2020
Tad Kilgore
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Jun 17, 2021
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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).


Other books in the series

The Alchemy Wars (3 books)
  • The Mechanical (The Alchemy Wars, #1)
  • The Rising (The Alchemy Wars, #2)
  • The Liberation (The Alchemy Wars, #3)

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