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The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, May/June 2020

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CONTENT:

NOVELLA
"Byzantine" by Holly Messinger

NOVELETS
"Stepsister" by Leah Cypess
"Birds Without Wings" by Rebecca Zahabi
"Who Carries the World" by Robert Reed

SHORT STORIES
"Hornet and Butterfly" by Tom Cool & Bruce Sterling
"Eyes of the Forest" by Ray Nayler
"Warm Math" by Rich Larson
"An Indian Love Call" by Joseph Bruchac
"In the Eyes of Jack Saul" by Richard Bowes
"Another F*cken Fairy Tale" by M. Rickert

ebook

First published May 1, 2020

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About the author

C.C. Finlay

63 books91 followers
Former Editor, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. Author of The Prodigal Troll, the Traitor to the Crown Series, and Wild Things, plus dozens of short stories. World Fantasy Award Winner, and finalist for the Hugo, Nebula, Sidewise, Sturgeon, and Locus Awards. Teacher at Clarion and elsewhere.

Married to novelist Rae Carson.

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5 stars
15 (22%)
4 stars
33 (49%)
3 stars
16 (23%)
2 stars
2 (2%)
1 star
1 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 22 of 22 reviews
Profile Image for Nataliya.
714 reviews11.3k followers
December 7, 2021
This review is for Nebula Award-nominated novelette “Stepsister” by Leah Cypess:

Fairytales pre-Disneyfication tended to be grim and often vengeful. The world was dark and cruel, and the stories reflected that. Put Disney Princess gloss on them all you want, but Brothers Grimm had their versions of Cinderella’s stepsisters chop off bits of their feet and then have their eyes plucked out by birds, Hans Christian Andersen has his Little Mermaid commit suicide rather than enjoy the happily-ever-after, and Sleeping Beauty was raped and impregnated with twins by the king, while unconscious.

Yeah.

Maybe that’s why fairytales retelling remain popular — because somewhere deep inside we sense that the sanitized technicolor version of these tales are just NOT RIGHT.

I mean — look into those innocent eyes — there must be something sinister hiding there.


“She was right to punish them. I was there, Garrin. I saw how they treated her. Her stepmother was the worst, but her daughters were eager learners. And jealous besides. Ella was better than them, far better, and yet she was the one forced to stay home and scrub dirt off their shoes while they got to go to the castle and dance with dukes.”

By better, of course, she meant prettier.”

This story is narrated by the new king’s illegitimate brother who once has a brief infatuation with Cinderella’s stepsister. Cinderella is now a ruthless queen Ella; her husband Ciar is an entitled prick, and there’s fairy magic in the background.

And honestly, I was pretty lukewarm about it. Maybe it’s because I am overall indifferent about fairytales or their retellings, or maybe because the supposed twist of a goody-goody character turning out to be a ruthless monster is not a new trick, or maybe because the interesting parts (blood sacrifice to the fae, the identity of Amelie) are just mentioned in passing, while page time is devoted to less interesting events. Or maybe it’s because our narrator Garrin does not have much agency, more or less stumbling along until the “big moment” in the end of the story, which made me want to see this through someone else’s eyes. Or maybe it’s that odd wistfulness in the narration that did not quite fit the voice.

Whatever it is, it left me unengaged and grumping that maybe it’s time for authors to come up with original stories instead of relying on nostalgia for childhood tales, and then something about “those kids” needing to get off my lawn.

3 stars.

————-

Read it free here, on the author’s website: https://www.leahcypess.com/short-stor...

————

My Hugo and Nebula Awards Reading Project 2021: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...
Profile Image for John Loyd.
1,082 reviews29 followers
May 24, 2020
6 • Hornet and Butterfly • 19 pages by Tom Cool, Bruce Sterling
OK+. The artificial island that Hornet was living on was destroyed by a typhoon. Four cyborg cops try to roust him for hoarding in a time of disaster. He resists successfully, but now has to protect himself from more cops that they're sure to send. Here the story is looking fantastic, but more elements are introduced, a woman grown from a vat, she leaves via helicopter, everyone else is on a refugee ship. It lost my interest.

25 • Stepsister • 36 pages by Leah Cypess
Good/VG. Five years after the magical ball where Ella met Ciar. Garrin is caught in an impossible situation. King Ciar wants his lifelong friend and bastard half-brother to bring Jacinda back to the castle and Queen Ella is demanding that he doesn't.

61 • Eyes of the Forest • 16 pages by Ray Nayler
Good. Man had to retreat into the caves on this planet. Now only the wayfinders are brave enough to traverse the open land. Sedef is being mentored by Mauled by Mistake. Better than run of the mill man vs. nature story.

101 • Byzantine • 46 pages by Holly Messinger
Very Good/Excellent. A physician's apprentice, more of a slave, has a great talent for communicating with spirits. One in particular, the narrator, takes a keen interest in the boy. It's because the boy is different and life away from him is boring. Oh and by the way, war is imminent, Constantinople is going to fall after a siege by the Sultan's forces.
Love the inner monologue, in general. Here it was great and quite humorous.

147 • Warm Math • 9 pages by Rich Larson
Good. Rozier is stuck in an escape pod with and Insurrectionist. They don't have enough fuel to make it to Barlo unless they shed some mass.

156 • An Indian Love Call • 16 pages by Joseph Bruchac
Good. Billy is sucked into another adventure by his mad scientist friend Arlin. This time Arlin has created some pheromones that have lured Musha to his house.

172 • Birds Without Wings • 19 pages by Rebecca Zahabi
Good+. Alex and Zoe are sight seeing across Europe on a budget. To save money they are hitchhiking. It's been hours of standing in the rain when a car finally stops, but they only have room for one. It's either split up or no one gets a ride. In the car they start talking about fakes. One of the passengers shows her a video of a molt caught on camera. I just reread that section. I had a preconceived notion of what was going to happen and I missed a crucial difference.

208 • In the Eyes of Jack Saul • 10 pages by Richard Bowes
Good+. Jack has some dealings with some upper crust men as a Mary-Ann. (That term is new to me, not sure if it's colloquial or coined for this story.) Following one of his clients he sees Dorian Gray. He's drawn at first, but ends up despising him.

218 • Who Carries the World • 29 pages by Robert Reed
OK. Perri is killed in an avalanche. Well until he regenerates. Everyone on the Great Ship is immortal. He's retrieved from under the rubble by She Who Carries the World. He later recognizes her as Aurum a girl who went missing millennia ago. We get some back story for Aurum, both from her perspective and from Perri and his wife. The blurb helps, but I still don't see the job requirements of carrying the world.

247 • Another F*cken Fairy Tale • 9 pages by M. Rickert
Good. Lucy is an eccentric old woman. She has the urge to build a sand castle today, but gets interrupted by a foul mouthed fairy that gets stuck in the sand.
Profile Image for Kam Yung Soh.
676 reviews31 followers
May 28, 2020
An average issues with interesting stories by Ray Nayler, Holly Messinger and a hilarious story involving American Indians by Joseph Bruchac.

- "Hornet and Butterfly" by Tom Cool and Bruce Sterling: in a flooded future world, one person struggles to stay alive in a world turned upside down. But doing so may need him to subjugate himself to a person born to be in the upper classes.

- "Stepsister " by Leah Cypess: a story that continues on from the ending of a familiar fairy tale, but with unusual twists involving the best friend of the king who is sent to fetch the stepsister of the queen. As the tale unfolds, we discover that this happy ever after story involves not so happily married people, fey magic, and decisions that will affect the lives of all involved.

- "Eyes of the Forest" by Ray Nayler: on a strange alien world, human runners form the only way to connect human refuges, for the world is deadly despite not having the concept of predator or prey. And now one beginner runner will have to make the run of her life to save the life of another.

- "Byzantine" by Holly Messinger: a fascinating fantasy story set during the fall of the city of Byzantine. In the city lives a young apprentice anxious to learn secrets from the books of his master. His curiosity catches the attention of a spirit who feeds on the essence of humans and is willing to cooperate with the apprentice by giving him knowledge in return for feeding from him. But as Byzantine comes under siege, the spirit mistrusts the apprentice whom it suspects wants to control it too. It is not until the fall of Byzantine and what happens afterwards does the truth of who is the master and who is the apprentice becomes evident.

- "Warm Math" by Rich Larson: two passengers escape in a pod from an exploding ship. But the pod must lose mass if it is to have a chance of making it to a planet in time for a rescue. As the choice as to how to lost sufficient mass becomes more obvious, it will be up to the passengers to resolve their differences, remember their past and to decide which passenger has more to lose.

- "An Indian Love Call" by Joseph Bruchac: a hilarious story involving two Native Americans, one of who makes a concoction that accidentally calls out a legendary creature who needs they will now have to fulfil; or else.

- "Birds Without Wings" by Rebecca Zahabi: a couple hitch-hike to a town in a world facing a strange invasion of 'shifters' who can take over the shape and form of a human. When they are forced to separate and then meet-up again, something is different about one of them.

- "In the Eyes of Jack Saul" by Richard Bowes: in Victorian England, a male prostitute who has won the hearts (and secrets) of many of England's top men meets a beautiful young man with the name of Dorian. His 'infatuation' with Dorian would lead him to a secret involving a painting.

- "Who Carries the World" by Robert Reed: set in his Great Ship series of stories about a huge world
travelling around the galaxy, a near immortal man meets with an accident that nearly kills him. He is rescued by a woman whom he knows from his past. But his recovery would involve a strange ritual and a discovery about the world that they travel on.

- "Another F*cken Fairy Tale" by M. Rickert: a short piece about an old woman who apparently rescues a fairy. In return, the fairy provides a gift that would provoke whispers among the people that she is a witch. Is she?
Profile Image for Fernando Goulart.
40 reviews7 followers
May 24, 2020
My favorite stories:

“Byzantine” by Holly Messinger
“Stepsister” by Leah Cypess
“Warm Math” by Rich Larson
“Birds Without Wings” by Rebecca Zahabi
“Eyes of the Forest” by Ray Nayler
“Another F*cken Fairy Tale” by M. Rickert
Profile Image for Jordi.
246 reviews9 followers
July 3, 2020
Here’s a ticket to difficult times in Constantinople, to future floating cities turned upside down, to a Europe where fear of strangers has spread more than ever, to troubling decisions in deep space,… Here’s some highlights of the trip.

Bruce Sterling returns with a story co-written with Tom Cool, “Hornet and Butterfly”, which he describes as “what cyberpunk would look like if somebody had invented it in 2019 in Hong Kong”. As in Sterling’s early stories, violence and poetry go hand in hand in a vertiginous swirl. Loved it.

“Byzantine” is the F&SF debut of Holly Messinger, another highlight from the issue, taking us to the last days of Constantinople, as seen through the eyes of a peculiar character, a physician’s assistant who settles a dangerous deal with a sort of god. Really good atmosphere mixing history and fantasy.

“Birds Without Wings” sees Rebecca Zahabi coming back to F&SF, in this case with an interesting horror tale set in a fictional Basque Country (a region between Spain and France), where a couple of British backpackers are doing hitchhiking to reach an old pilgrimage trail (El camino de Santiago). However, these are specially dangerous times for wandering the roads, as creatures of unknown origin passing as humans (called shifters or fakes) have started to appear in different parts of Europe. Somewhat reminding of the aliens from the Invasion of the Body Snatchers, but a really well crafted story, which is what really matters in the end. Highly recommended.

“Warm Math” by Rich Larson is also a turn of the screw on another classic SF idea, in this case “The Cold Equations” by Tom Goodwin. In the original story there was an ethical dilemma when a pilot discovers a stowaway on a small emergency ship with critical medical supplies, that only has fuel to sustain the weight of one passenger... Rich Larson gives it a smart twist, with his peculiar sense of humor.

Finally, another story I enjoyed quite a lot was “Who Carries the World”, from veteran writer Robert Reed. It is a part of a cycle set in the “Great Ship”, a derelict generational ship with the size of a planet found and occupied by humans. Strange and hypnotic, one of those stories where you don’t really grasp everything, but if you let yourself go, it’s absorbing.
Profile Image for Michael Frasca.
258 reviews7 followers
May 25, 2020
My favorite stories:

- Stepsister by Leah Cypress. One should avoid getting sucked into the maelstrom of a dysfunctional family, especially when they are the First Family. A new viewpoint on an old tale. With fae.

- Eyes of the Forest by Ray Naylor. Words are important because they define the world and the way we see it. The wrong word can kill you, but the right word can save you.

- Plumage from Pegasus: Faster, Publisher! Binge! Binge! by Paul Di Filippo. Pity the binge-oholic! New definition: a three book series = 1 tolkien.

- Books to Look For by Charles de Lint. I fully agree with de Lint’s criticism of authors and publishers suddenly ending a novel with ‘to be continued’ in next book. Dovetails nicely with DiFilippo’s PfP.

- Byzantine by Holly Messinger. An intricate love-hate dance between a sociopathic adolescent and an ifrit plays out during the 1453 siege of Constantinople. Told from the viewpoint of the ifrit.

- Warm Math by Rich Larsen. Tense claustrophobic story about two survivors of a military catastrophe in space. At first glance, it’s a new take on Tom Godwin’s The Cold Equations, but I think it’s more akin to Hitchcock’s Lifeboat.

- An Indian Love Call by Joseph Bruchac. Just your typical cryptozoic love story. With a heaping spoonful of other indigenous stories. Tell your kids to watch out for the Old Toad Woman!

- Birds Without Wings by Rebecca Zahabi. Change is good—right? And you should keep on loving someone through change—right? Even if they are now a shapeshifter—right? A horror-ful love story.

- Films: The Disease Of Class Divisions by Karin Lowachee. Lowachee’s review of two recent Korean movies—Parasite and Kingdom—riffs on the dichotomy between the haves and have-nots. It’s always nice to find an unexpected gem (Kingdom) to add to your film queue.

- Who Carries the World by Robert Reed. Ceramic brains + near immortality + The Great Ship = unlimited opportunity. It is not surprising that some entities will take advantage of the situation.

- Another F*chen Fairy Tale by M. Rickert.
Does F*chen mean:
Fachen- German for ‘to kindle’
Fachen- A Scottish fae monster
Fechen- Spanish for ‘to timestamp’
Fichen- Spanish for ‘to file’
Fochen- Irish for ‘a good feast’
Fuchen- a Chinese horsetail whisk
Fychen- Cymraeg for ‘small’

What meaning(s) applies to this story?
Profile Image for Leif.
Author 3 books19 followers
July 25, 2020
Will return with more in depth review, but this was a very good issue.
Profile Image for Mary Soon Lee.
Author 80 books53 followers
Read
June 28, 2020
As ever, F&SF is well worth reading with its eclectic mix of stories. I am usually most drawn by likable characters, but this time one of my favorites -- Holly Messinger's novella "Byzantine" -- drew me by its voice and the fascination of its setting and premise, holding my attention despite my limited sympathy for both the main characters.

Another of my favorites, Ray Nayler's science fiction story, "Eyes of the Forest," combined a strange alien world with thoroughly likable characters and a compelling situation. M. Rickert's fantasy short story, "Another F*cken Fairy Tale," played with an unusual character pairing: a 98-year-old woman with a whim to build a sandcastle, and a swearing, cantankerous fairy. It managed to be sweet without being saccharine, and pleased me very much.

My favorite story, however, was Leah Cypess's novelette "Stepsister," which I liked very much indeed. To say it is a retelling of Cinderella from an unexpected point-of-view is accurate but inadequate. It is a wonderful retelling, making me care about the narrator so much that I yearned for the story to follow a certain shape. The shape it did take, while different, felt truthful and satisfied me. A standout story.
Profile Image for Leroy Erickson.
435 reviews10 followers
June 5, 2020
A pretty good collection of stories in this issue.

Tom Cool & Bruce Stirling - Hornet and Butterfly - 3 stars
- I don't really know what this story is trying to say. In a future of ecological disaster, an artificial island on the ocean is flipped by a storm. A highly trained assassin kills police, goes to a friend for help, observes a specialized human butterfly being born, and on and on to no real aim.

Leah Cypess - Stepsister - 4 stars
- Cinderella has her stepmother and stepsisters stoned to death after she becomes queen, but one stepsister is saved and sent off to live in secrecy until years later. An interesting extension to the fairy tale.

Ray Naylor - Eyes of the Forest - 4 stars
- Humans on an alien planet have to struggle to survive the hostile environment. One trainee ranger hits a crisis situation and has to save her mentor. A nice story with some unique ideas of alien plants.

Holly Messinger - Byzantine - 4 stars
- A retelling of the fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Turks. In this story, the city contains many spirits which feed on death.

Rich Larsen - Warm Math - 4 stars
- A man is in an escape pod in which he fled an exploding space ship. He and the other resident of the pod spend a long time discussing the fact that with the amount of mass in the pod and the amount of fuel that they have available they won't be able to reach safety. Something or someone has to go. At the end of the story, there's a major twist which makes things even more interesting.

Joseph Bruchac - An Indian Love Call - 4 stars
- A scientist experimenting with pheromones ends up attracting a female Sasquatch, or some variation thereof. He and his friend then have to find her a husband. A fun story.

Rebecca Zahabi - Birds Without Wings - 4 stars
- A very odd variation on stories of possession or shape changing. Some life form is occupying humans on Earth, and they can jump from one person to another, with the previously occupied body unfortunately being killed. Well written.

Jerry Oltion - Science: Starlink, Star Junk - 3 stars
- A discussion of the high number of satellites which are currently in Earth orbit and the plans to orbit an even much higher number in the future. The discussion focuses on the potential for collisions and the effect on astronomical observations.

Richard Bowes - In the Eyes of Jack Saul - 3 stars
- Homosexual prostitution in British high society. An odd story.

Robert Reed - Who Carries the World - 3 stars
- On a gigantic alien spaceship which has been taken over by humans long ago, people end up being, basically, immortal with brains that have been converted to indestructible bio-ceramic material and bodies that can self heal no matter how badly they are damaged. At this point "She Who Carries the World" enters the picture, and I have no idea what they're talking about. Three stars just for the basic idea.

M. Rickert - Another F*chen Fairy Tale - 5 stars
- A very old woman, fairly recently widowed, accidentally meets a foul-mouthed fairy, saves her life, provides her a place to live and becomes her friend. Things are never the same after that. Fun.
Profile Image for Benjamin DeHaan.
Author 23 books2 followers
October 9, 2020
Favorites were “Byzantine”, “Eyes of the Forest”, and “Warm Math”.

“Byzantine” caught me off guard. I’m normally not into historical fiction but I blazed through this story. Fantastic! I’ll try to find more stories set in ancient history settings!
Profile Image for Dana.
Author 2 books6 followers
June 20, 2020
Some stories were excellent, others just didn't work for me.

However, I REALLY liked:
"Stepsister" by Leah Cypress
"Birds Without Wings" by Rebecca Zahabi
"Byzantine" by Holly Messinger
"Eyes of the Forest" by Ray Naylor
Profile Image for Michael Whiteman.
329 reviews4 followers
January 4, 2021
Hornet And Butterfly - Tom Cool & Bruce Sterling **
A combat-adapted posthuman living on a gigantic raft city tries to survive as a refugee after a storm turns the whole city upside down and destroys it, then chases after a more advanced posthuman. Rather too old school and fetishistic of its subject for me and somewhat meandering in its plot. 

Stepsister - Leah Cypess ***
A reimagining/extension of Cinderella, focused on a bastard brother of the prince in the years after Ella and Ciar's marriage. Keeps itself fresh without becoming too referential and nudge-wink, the love and fear of the mistrusting relationships between Garrin and the king and queen is well captured, caught between the king's order to bring Jacinda back to court and the queen's to leave her in exile. 

Eyes Of The Forest - Ray Nayler ****
On a world where all life creates its own light and darkness attracts deadly-efficient scavengers, Sedef makes a dangerous run across the forest to save her mentor, who is helping her learn to live as part of the local ecosystem rather than hiding in a human-focused enclave. The world itself is fascinating and imaginative, and the chase is urgent but with welcome touches of humour. 

Byzantine - Holly Messinger ***
Novella chronicling the relationship between a talented and ambitious young apprentice and an ifrit during the last days of Constantinople. A jarring snarkiness in the narration comes and goes - explainable by the framing but not a consistent voice, so feels a little awkward. Otherwise, the growing reliance and interdependence of the two main characters is well realised, and the plotting and scheming of them both is engaging. 

Warm Math - Rich Larson ****
Nice take on the Cold Equations set up, playing with memory and guilt, and makes a better set up of the situation while retaining a stark choice for the finale. 

An Indian Love Call - Joseph Bruchac **
Billy's best friend Arlin, a mad scientist, captures a bigfoot/Big People using pheromones and now they have to try to find her a mate. Some interesting parts about different perspectives on familiar stories but the tone and style here just weren't for me.

Birds Without Wings - Rebecca Zahabi ****
Zoe and Alex are hitchhiking across Spain, struggling to trust and be trusted by potential rides due to a wave of body snatching "fakes". Builds the tension nicely after they are separated and reunited and asks questions about living with and loving a replica of someone who is not the original. 

In The Eyes Of Jack Saul - Richard Bowes ***
Neat combination of Jack Saul, an historical gay sex worker or "Mary-Ann", with Wilde's Dorian Gray. The two tales mesh smoothly and bring a different perspective to each story.

Who Carries The World - Robert Reed ***
Loved the imagination of the Great Ship here, with it's alien and posthuman inhabitants, as well as the thoughts on death for essentially immortal beings, but overall it felt too vague, without anything to latch onto. 

Another F*cken Fairy Tale - M Rickert ***
An elderly woman living alone decides to go to the beach and build a sandcastle, unwittingly doing so right on top of a group of fairies. The idea of fairies, but sweary, had me groaning at the start but this turned into a sweet story about aging and wearing down, losing loved ones but keeping going and still finding a little magic in life. 
Profile Image for Poetreehugger.
502 reviews12 followers
June 16, 2020
Eyes of the Forest by Ray Nayler was riveting.
The Books To Look For column was a pleasure to read, and made me run to my iPad and order 3 of the books reviewed, right away.
The Plumage From Pegasus column, written by Paul Di Filippo, entitled “Faster, Publisher! Binge! Binge!” was by far my favourite piece in the magazine, a flowing, monumental tribute to (or apology for) that blessed of all addiction objects, reading. Specifically the ultimately satisfying experience of reading a long series, preferably longer than a trilogy ("That unit of fiction was known colloquially as "one tolkien." Gasp-laugh! Genius! Hilarious genius!)
All the rest of the short stories were good, but each with their own dark side that I found a little depressing. Once again, more to do with my tastes than with the skills of the writers.
I enjoyed this issue. Only took me a few days to tear through it.
Profile Image for Cheyenne.
367 reviews8 followers
November 12, 2020
Average Rating - 4.1 stars

Individual Ratings:
- "Hornet and Butterfly" by Tom Cool & Bruce Stirling - 3
- "Stepsister" by Leah Cypress - 4
- "Eyes of the Forest" by Ray Naylor - 4
- "Byzantine" by Holly Messinger - 4
- "Warm Math" by Rich Larsen - 5
- "An Indian Love Call" by Joseph Bruchac - 3
- "Birds Without Wings" by Rebecca Zahabi - 5
- "Into the Eyes of Jack Saul" by Richard Bowes - 4
- "Who Carries the World" by Robert Reed - 4
- "Another Fucken Fairy Tail" by M. Rickert - 5
Profile Image for VexenReplica.
224 reviews
September 19, 2020
3.5/5, rounding up.

None of the stories really stood out to me. Some body horror in a few, as well as fairy tale retellings. Introduced a new? game review section, looks to be cool. Watch out, IGN! There’s a new 3-letter all caps competitor in town. (Lol)

Nothing to hate, but middling selection for my tastes.
Profile Image for Yev.
542 reviews8 followers
Read
February 8, 2021
NOVELLAS
Byzantine - Holly Messinger
A young boy and an ifrit use each other in the last days of Constantinople.
ENJOYABLE

NOVELETS
Stepsister - Leah Cypess
A quite darkly amusing continuation of Cinderella taking place 5 years after she marries the Prince, now the King. The protagonist is the King's brother.
ENJOYABLE

Birds Without Wings - Rebecca Zahabi
A horror story about monsters that steal the bodies of others. Very similar to Shucked - Sam J. Miller which ran in the same issue as her previous story, which I quite disliked.
MEH

Who Carries The World - Robert Reed
I want to enjoy Reed's various Great Ship stories and novels, but I can't and it's unfortunate. This particular one is about a nigh invincible immortal, most people are now, searching for a girl he had last seen 12,000 years ago.
MEH

SHORT STORIES
Hornet and Butterfly - Tom Cool and Bruce Sterling
A jumbled and nonsensical mess of a cyberpunk story set in a raft refugee city and then mainland China. It's unfortunate because I've enjoyed some of Sterling's short fiction.
BLAH

Eyes of the Forest - Ray Nayler
Humans settle on a new planet, but the surface's flora and fauna are too deadly so they live underground. Those who dare brave the surface are called Wayfinders.
ENJOYABLE

Warm Math - Rich Larson
Two men are in an escape pod which needs to lose a lot more mass for one of them to survive. One man is in an escape pod and he needs to lose a lot more mass if he's to survive.
MEH

An Indian Love Call - Joseph Bruchac
Since 1971, Bruchac has published more than 120 books.
Guy makes a potion which attracts a female bigfoot to him and demands they find her a mate or else.
MEH

In the Eyes of Jack Saul - Richard Bowes
This is both historical fiction and fanfiction of The Picture of Dorian Gray.
OK

Another Fucken Fairy Tale - M. Rickert
A 98 year old woman meets a very rude female fairy.
OK
Profile Image for Desirae.
1,900 reviews139 followers
Read
December 21, 2021
"Hornet and Butterfly" by Tom Cool & Bruce Stirling
1/5 stars

description
At one point in the story it's noted that the Butterfly, a cyborg female is "naked, of course," and my first and only reaction was "of course." How else should a female, presented as an object, be shown to the reader. Unoriginal. Uninteresting. Vapid writing. No thank you.

"Stepsister" by Leah Cypress
4.5/5
description

Excellent. Really enjoyed this one. The story focus on Garrin, the bastard brother of Prince Cair, and Ella his queen, and Jacinda, her stepsister. None of these characters are who they seem to be. Would love to see this as a full extended novel. I have so many questions about Amelia...

"Eyes of the Forest" by Ray Naylor
2/5

description
I don't know, there didn't feel like a lot of story to this, although I do like the dynamics and the characters names - Mauled by Mistake is pretty epic. Everything else was a bit boring, if I'm being honest.

"Byzantine" by Holly Messinger
4.5/5

description
The word that comes to mind with this one is intrigued. From beginning to end I was intrigued about what would happen next. The writing and style were really good.

"Warm Math" by Rich Larson
3/5 stars

[image error]
A bit on the meh side for me. Nothing wrong with the writing it just felt underdeveloped for me.
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