The July/August issue of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, put together by guest editor C.C. Finlay, is a wonderful collection of different twists on familiar themes. Charlie Jane Anders brings us a dark super hero tale with a delicious sci-fi angle in Palm Strike’s Last Case, while Haddayr Copley-Woods offers a fabulously warped tale of witch biology and motherly affection in Belly. Paul M. Berger’s Subduction gives readers a good slow burn that will make them rethink classic tropes, and Annalee Flower Horne has fun reducing the awesome arena of space opera to a humorous personal level with Seven Things Cadet Blanchard Learned from the Trade Summit Incident. Finally, William Alexander’s The Only Known Law takes quite a different view of first contact than any I’ve read before.
Other highlights of this issue include Spencer Ellsworth’s mind-tweaking take on the irregularities of irrigation in Five Tales of the Aqueduct, David Erik Nelson’s intelligent use of mathematics, science, and a resourceful hero in The Traveling Salesman Solution, Sandra McDonald’s witty presentation of post-apocalyptic education in End of the World Community College, and a Lovecraftian-styled relation of a horrific sea encounter by Ian Tregillis, Testimony of Samuel Frobisher Regarding Events upon His Majesty’s Ship Confidence, 14-22 June, 1818, with Diagrams.
Overall, C.C. Finlay proves that he not only has an eye for spotting excellent stories, but a penchant for putting together a solid issue full of complementary tales. I am happy to relate that The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction has agreed to bring Mr. Finlay back for two more future guest editing engagements. I am sure these will provide reading experiences as intriguing and enjoyable as the July/August issue turned out.