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Fantasy & Science Fiction, January 1996 (The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, #536)

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Novelets Annie's Shelter by Bonita Kale Javier, Dying in the Land of Flowers by Deborah Wheeler Bulldog Drummond and the Grim Reaper by Michael Cooney Short Stories Here We Come A'Wandering by Nina Kiriki Hoffman The Mall by Dale Bailey The Plight Before Christmas by Jerry Oltion In the Shade of the Slowboat Man by Dean Wesley Smith Go Toward the Light by Harlan Ellison Cover by Gar Novelets Annie's Shelter by Bonita Kale Javier, Dying in the Land of Flowers by Deborah Wheeler Bulldog Drummond and the Grim Reaper by Michael Cooney Short Stories Here We Come A'Wandering by Nina Kiriki Hoffman The Mall by Dale Bailey The Plight Before Christmas by Jerry Oltion In the Shade of the Slowboat Man by Dean Wesley Smith Go Toward the Light by Harlan Ellison Cover by Gary Lippincott for Bulldog Drummond and the Grim Reaper (by Michael Coney)


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Novelets Annie's Shelter by Bonita Kale Javier, Dying in the Land of Flowers by Deborah Wheeler Bulldog Drummond and the Grim Reaper by Michael Cooney Short Stories Here We Come A'Wandering by Nina Kiriki Hoffman The Mall by Dale Bailey The Plight Before Christmas by Jerry Oltion In the Shade of the Slowboat Man by Dean Wesley Smith Go Toward the Light by Harlan Ellison Cover by Gar Novelets Annie's Shelter by Bonita Kale Javier, Dying in the Land of Flowers by Deborah Wheeler Bulldog Drummond and the Grim Reaper by Michael Cooney Short Stories Here We Come A'Wandering by Nina Kiriki Hoffman The Mall by Dale Bailey The Plight Before Christmas by Jerry Oltion In the Shade of the Slowboat Man by Dean Wesley Smith Go Toward the Light by Harlan Ellison Cover by Gary Lippincott for Bulldog Drummond and the Grim Reaper (by Michael Coney)

23 review for Fantasy & Science Fiction, January 1996 (The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, #536)

  1. 4 out of 5

    John Loyd

    rounded up to five stars 9 • Here We Come A' Wandering • 16 pages by Nina Kiriki Hoffman Excellent/VG. This is the first chapter of Past the Size of Dreaming where Matt Black meets Edmund Reynolds. Edmund has been doing the work of Spirit for years and lately that has been being part of a wall. 32 • The Mall • 14 pages by Dale Bailey Good/OK. Ellis is taking the family on a vacation from the city. A rest stop has an incredible mall. 46 • The Plight Before Christmas • 10 pages by Jerry Oltion Good. rounded up to five stars 9 • Here We Come A' Wandering • 16 pages by Nina Kiriki Hoffman Excellent/VG. This is the first chapter of Past the Size of Dreaming where Matt Black meets Edmund Reynolds. Edmund has been doing the work of Spirit for years and lately that has been being part of a wall. 32 • The Mall • 14 pages by Dale Bailey Good/OK. Ellis is taking the family on a vacation from the city. A rest stop has an incredible mall. 46 • The Plight Before Christmas • 10 pages by Jerry Oltion Good. Mike doesn’t know what to purchase for Christmas presents. At his advertising firm sales are down across the board. Maybe it has something to do with the backspacer. 56 • Annie's Shelter • 20 pages by Bonita Kale Good+. Ziv is homeless and needs a place to stay. He talks his way into staying with Annie. Ziv wasn’t evil, but he was pushing it. The redeeming quality of the story is Annie being so upbeat. 76 • In the Shade of the Slowboat Man • 9 pages by Dean Wesley Smith Very Good. A vampire visits her mortal husband on his deathbed. Touching. 85 • Javier, Dying in the Land of the Flowers • 24 pages by Deborah Wheeler OK/Good. Javier gets a job to work on the island. Make some money so he can help his family. One of the patrons takes a shine to him. Then he learns he has a blood disease that'll probably kill him within months. Maybe the girl will pay for genetic therapy. 124 • Go Toward the Light • 9 pages by Harlan Ellison Good/OK. Matty is one of two Jews on the time traveling project. The other Jew derides his faith constantly. Case in point in the story of the one day supply of oil that lasted eight days. Matty believing it's a nice story. 133 • Bulldog Drummond and the Grim Reaper • 29 pages by Michael Coney Good/OK. Axford isn’t going to be prepared for the big promotion if they can’t solve a death maze. Bobbie is leading a robot through but it got killed, and they have no more because they short on cash. Bill used to be Bobbie’s partner, but when he suggested their business go a different direction she got rid of him. He started up a rival company and it’s prospering. He still loves Bobbie. With no robot she’s going into the Grim Reaper to solve it just like Calves did. But he didn’t that was just a fabrication that Bill made up before he left. Nice action, but I couldn’t see how solving the Grim Reaper would help sales.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Steve

    CONTENTS ⏹️Fiction: ▪️"Here We Come A'Wandering" - Nina Kiriki Hoffman ▪️"The Mall" - Dale Bailey ▪️"The Plight Before Christmas" - Jerry Oltion ▪️"Annie's Shelter" - Bonita Kale ▪️"In the Shade of the Slowboat Man" - Dean Wesley Smith ▪️"Go Toward the Light" - Harlan Ellison ▪️"Bulldog Drummond and the Grim Reaper" - Michael Coney ⏹️Non-fiction: ▪️"Editorial" - Kristine Kathryn Rusch ▪️"Books to Look For" - Charles de Lint ▪️"Brief Reviews: Books" ▪️"Science: Yours, Isaac Asimov" - Isaac Asimov This is a sor CONTENTS ⏹️Fiction: ▪️"Here We Come A'Wandering" - Nina Kiriki Hoffman ▪️"The Mall" - Dale Bailey ▪️"The Plight Before Christmas" - Jerry Oltion ▪️"Annie's Shelter" - Bonita Kale ▪️"In the Shade of the Slowboat Man" - Dean Wesley Smith ▪️"Go Toward the Light" - Harlan Ellison ▪️"Bulldog Drummond and the Grim Reaper" - Michael Coney ⏹️Non-fiction: ▪️"Editorial" - Kristine Kathryn Rusch ▪️"Books to Look For" - Charles de Lint ▪️"Brief Reviews: Books" ▪️"Science: Yours, Isaac Asimov" - Isaac Asimov This is a sort of holiday issue of F&SF. There are three stories with some connection to Christmas and one about Chanukah. There is even a statement saying that the cover "gives our holiday issue a festive feel." I have to disagree about the cover, unless the holiday being commemorated is Walpurgisnacht. The cover by Gary Lippincott illustrates the tale "Bulldog Drummond and the Grim Reaper." The rather tenuous connection to Christmas is that the virtual reality scenario being developed in the story is to be ready for sale at Christmas. The game puts the player in the persona of Hugh "Bulldog" Drummond, the brave hero battling the evil forces of Carl Peterson, Master Criminal. From Wikipedia: Hugh "Bulldog" Drummond is a British fictional character, created by H. C. McNeile and published under his pen name "Sapper". Following McNeile's death in 1937, the novels were continued by Gerard Fairlie. Drummond is a First World War veteran who, fed up with his sedate lifestyle, advertises looking for excitement, and becomes a gentleman adventurer. The character has appeared in novels, short stories, on the stage, in films, on radio and television, and in graphic novels. Carl Peterson, Wikipedia states, was Drummond's greatest opponent. What the woman running the company that is working on this project does not know is that the original designer (and her former lover) has done so good a job that someone assuming the Drummond identity might actually be killed in the course of the game. Not, on the whole, a very Christmasy story. It is comic, though. "The Plight Before Christmas" by Jerry Oltion is also concerned with getting things ready for Christmas. The main character has two major concerns, choosing a Christmas present for his wife and working on an advertising campaign for an underwear company. What makes this a science fiction story is a new invention, making life easier - except when it doesn't. The invention is the "backspacer," which makes it possible for anyone to go back in time and redo a section of a life. Nina Kiriki Hoffman has a story that is actually about Christmas. This is "Here We Come A-Wandering," a sequel to Hoffman's wonderful story "Home for Christmas" (F&SF, January, 1995). Matt is a young woman, a drifter living on the streets. She has the ability to speak with inanimate things, and often to persuade them to help her. Matt is in a cemetery on Christmas Eve, when a man walks out of a stone wall. He had been in the wall for months; he "kind of melted in and helped the wall collect itself and strengthen its bones with its pieces." He might help strengthen Matt as well. This is sweet and touching, but not as splendid as the earlier story. The Chanukah story is "Go Toward the Light" by Harlan Ellison. This is a revised version of a story that originally appeared on National Public Radio in 1994. The story is narrated by a young secular Jewish man working on a time travel project, who helps perform the miracle that establishes Chanukah, by supplying the sealed container of oil that should have only burned for one day but instead lasted for eight. I am not always enthusiastic about Ellison's work, but I do think that this is good. In "The Mall" by Dale Bailey, a magical shopping mall, complete with amusement park, tempts a man and his family to stop their car trip and visit. It is nighttime, but the mall is open, offering many delights, all kinds of things to keep a person happy, perhaps even for a long time - a very long time. "Javier, Dying in the Land of Flowers" is a different kind of horror story, one with no supernatural elements. This is a tale of what might be the not very distant future, in which the poor fight for jobs to keep themselves and their families alive. Blood dyscrasias are also common with the poor in this future, but good medical care is available only to the wealthy. "In the Shade of the Slowboat Man" by Dean Wesley Smith should be a horror story too; the narrator is a vampire. But she has had the unusual experience of falling in love and marrying a normal human male, who has aged and grown ill while she has not. This is much more moving than other tales of vampires, even other sympathetically portrayed ones. It was nominated for a Best Short Story Nebula Award. Bonita Kale's story "Annie's Shelter" is not science fiction or fantasy. A cognitively impaired young woman meets a man who pretends to be an alien from another world. This is yet another moving story, but a hopeful one. The science column in this issue is made up entirely of letters from Isaac Asimov, who had written the F&SF science articles for years up almost to his death in 1992. Kristine Kathryn Rusch's editorial states that starting with this issue, F&SF was to have a second book review column with "short, impersonal reviews. A book guide, if you will, compiled by the F&SF staff." That new column in this issue is unsigned. It reviews five books, with particular praise for Bloodchild and Other Stories by Octavia E. Butler. In his "Books to Look For" column, Charles de Lint praises Reservation Blues by Sherman Alexie and Slow Funeral by Rebecca Ore, and calls Zod Wallop by William Browning Spencer "an instant classic." There are cartoons by Joseph Farris, Doug Grundy, John Jonik, and Henry Martin. I like the Jonik cartoon on page 45 best. The colors on the cover of my rather beat-up copy of this issue are all dark and not very impressive. The ones in the image of the cover in the thumbnail accompanying this Goodreads entry are very much better and I suspect that those are more in keeping with the original appearance of the magazine. I don't think that any of the stories in this issue are either bad or excellent. My favorites are "Annie's Shelter," "Go Toward the Light," and "In the Shade of the Slowboat Man."

  3. 5 out of 5

    Kevin Phyland

    Nina Kiriki Hoffman opens proceedings with a further tale of Matt, the woman who can communicate with man-made objects, and her encounter with Edmund, who also lives a very strange life, in “Here We Come A’ Wandering”, and Jerry Oltion examines what the world would be like if everybody owned a ‘backspacer’ - a device for rewinding time - in “The Plight Before Christmas”. Following this is Dale Bailey’s terrifying journey into “The Mall”, which appears by the roadside in the middle of the night a Nina Kiriki Hoffman opens proceedings with a further tale of Matt, the woman who can communicate with man-made objects, and her encounter with Edmund, who also lives a very strange life, in “Here We Come A’ Wandering”, and Jerry Oltion examines what the world would be like if everybody owned a ‘backspacer’ - a device for rewinding time - in “The Plight Before Christmas”. Following this is Dale Bailey’s terrifying journey into “The Mall”, which appears by the roadside in the middle of the night and tempts you inside, while new writer (to me anyway) Bonita Kale has a touching and fulfilling tale of Annie, a young woman with intellectual challenges, who is taken advantage of by a manipulative young man in “Annie’s Shelter”. A remarkably even and high quality issue where even the stories I have not singled out are pretty good. Recommended issue!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Bruce Hill

  5. 5 out of 5

    OTIS

  6. 4 out of 5

    Mord

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ubikuberalles

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kevin Burns

  9. 5 out of 5

    Igraine

  10. 4 out of 5

    Heidi

  11. 5 out of 5

    Ashby Albright

  12. 5 out of 5

    Beth

  13. 5 out of 5

    Indigo

  14. 5 out of 5

    Leroy Erickson

  15. 4 out of 5

    Tina

  16. 5 out of 5

    Michael Joseph Schumann

  17. 5 out of 5

    Katlyn Jarrett

  18. 5 out of 5

    Delo White

  19. 4 out of 5

    Alexandra Smith

  20. 4 out of 5

    Dax

  21. 5 out of 5

    Nick Gibney

  22. 5 out of 5

    Dante

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Crowl

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