Monday, November 1, 2010

F&SF Mar./Apr. 2010

One reason I haven't been doing these posts on the SF mags I've read this year is that I haven't read that many of them. However, I ran out of space in the nightstand drawer I store the unread mags in and that spurred me to get reading. It's no secret I like the anthology format and I consider F&SF to be the better of the two SF mags I read on a regular (well, sort of) basis.

Humor is difficult to writer because it is so easy for the words to fall flat on the page. A couple stories this time out worked well - "Epidapheles and the Insufficiently Affectionate Ocelot" by Ramsey Shehadeh and "The Frog Comrade" by Benjamin Rosenbaum. The former was a tale of a bumbling wizard narrated by an invisible chair named Door that mixed humor with an affecting character study of Door and the latter was a twist on the old princess and the frog story with a nice dose of Communism thrown in. Once you throw in Paul Di Filippo's "Plumage From Pegasus" about a penal system full of writers, you've got a nice set of humor.

The humor works well in contrast to darker stories, of which there were a few good examples. Dennis Danvers' "The Fairy Princess" is a story of a woman divorced from life and newly-sentient sex robots. "Blue Fire" by Bruce McAllister looks at the night a child Pope met a child vampire and what it meant for both of their souls.

You also get your classic themes and classic writers in this issue. The opening story was a take on mythology and time-crossed love ("Amor Fugit" by Alexandra Duncan) and the always dependable Albert E. Cowdrey gave us a story about art and death in "Fort Clay, Louisiana: A Tragical History." Mix that with the books column and the hide-and-seek nod to one of the stories in the classifieds and you get another good issue.

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