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Science fiction and fantasy can encompass so much, from far-future deep-space sagas to quiet contemporary tales to unreal kingdoms and beasts. But what the best of these stories do is the same across the genres—they illuminate the whole gamut of the human experience, interrogating our hopes and our fears.
With a diverse selection of stories from major award winners, bestsellers, and rising stars, chosen by series editor John Joseph Adams and guest editor Charles Yu, The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2017 continues to explore the ever- changing world of SFF today, with Yu bringing his unique view—literary, meta, and adventurous—to the series’ third edition.
“Superb…This mostly dystopic, sometimes darkly humorous collection of 20 hard-hitting stories feels timely, confronting contemporary cultural crises.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Nick Lowe's movie reviews begin with " Eyelid retractors comfortable? Well, no matter; unendurable searing pain is the brom-com buddy of truth. Eyes front, chin up, and feel free to bite down on the gag when you need to scream; we’re about to make you a man. Ten films from now, you’ll have had everything Hollywood knows about masculinity force-injected into your cortex direct through the optic nerve, and all without the use of a single needle. Oh, no need for that pleading look; trust me, it’ll be real horrorshow. Nurse, the drops, and – action!" Don't miss Nick's analysis of Ted, Brave, The Amazing Spider-Man, The Dark Knight Rises, The Lorax, Ice Age 4: Continental Drift, The Dinosaur Project, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World and Sound of my Voice
Usually, artwork is commissioned to illustrate a story, but we're turning things on their heads! Our cover this month is from the multi-award-winning artist Julie Dillon, and it served as the inspiration for Kathleen Kayembe's science fantasy novelette "The Ocean That Fades Into Sky." It's a tale that asks "What happens to the gods of a planet when human beings arrive to terraform it?" If you're a fan of superhero stories, you'll enjoy the new fantasy short from Adam-Troy Castro called "The Minor Superhero at Home, After His Series Ends." We also have fantasy reprints by Debbie Urbanski ("The Portal") and Kurt Fawver ("The Convexity of Our Youth").
Our first original SF short is set in a war-torn futuristic India. It's called "This Way to Paradise," by Rati Mehrotra. Our other piece of original science fiction--Matthew Kressel's "Truth Is Like the Sun"--looks at the effects of the first pop music concert broadcast from space. We're also reprinting science fiction by Max Gladstone ("The Iron Man") and Nancy Kress ("Cocoons").
Of course in the nonfiction department, we have our usual assortment of author spotlights. Our feature interview is with frequent LIGHTSPEED contributor Ashok K. Banker. We also have the latest installments in our book and media review columns.
If you're an ebook reader, you'll get to enjoy an ebook-exclusive reprint of "Fallow" by Sofia Samatar, and an excerpt from AN ILLUSION OF THIEVES by Cate Glass.
About the Author: Debbie Urbanski is a writer living in Syracuse, New York. Her work focuses on aliens, relationships, cults, belief, and family, or some combination of those themes. Her stories have appeared or are forthcoming in The Southern Review, Midwestern Gothic, Gulfcoast, Terraform, and elsewhere.
About the Recommender: The Sun is an independent, ad-free magazine that for more than forty years has used words and photographs to evoke the splendor and heartache of being human. Writing from The Sun has won the Pushcart Prize and been selected for numerous anthologies, including Best American Short Stories and Best American Essays.
About the Publisher: Electric Literature is an independent publisher amplifying the power of storytelling through digital innovation. Electric Literature’s weekly fiction magazine, Recommended Reading, invites established authors, indie presses, and literary magazines to recommended great fiction. Once a month we feature our own recommendation of original, previously unpublished fiction. Recommended Reading is supported by the Amazon Literary Partnership, the New York State Council on the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts. For other links from Electric Literature, follow us, or sign up for our eNewsletter.
This month, our cover art is by Reiko Murakami, illustrating a new science fiction story by John Grant ("The Law of Conservation of Data"). We also have a new story from E. Catherine Tobler ("Mix Tapes from Dead Boys"), along with SF reprints by Chris Beckett ("Marcher") and James Tiptree, Jr. ("The Last Flight of Doctor Ain"). Plus, we have original fantasy by Alvaro Zinos-Amaro & Adam-Troy Castro ("A Touch of Heart") and Debbie Urbanski ("How to Find a Portal"), and fantasy reprints by A.G. Howard ("Stitches") and Will Ludwigsen ("Acres of Perhaps"). Our nonfiction department is serving up our monthly book review column, as well as Carrie Vaughn's assessment of the new Wonder Woman movie. Speaking of Carrie, we're also giving our readers a chance to really get to know her, as she's the subject of this month's feature interview--and if you're an ebook reader, you can get a little taste of her new novel, BANNERLESS, out this month from John Joseph Adams Books. Our ebook edition also has a reprint of the novella "From Whence You Came," by Laura Anne Gilman. You'll also get a bonus excerpt from AN OATH OF DOGS, by our own Wendy N. Wagner.
Homecoming Rachel Pollack
Vinegar and Cinnamon Nina Kiriki Hoffman
One Way Rick Norwood
Dunnage for the Soul Robert Reed
There Used to Be Olive Trees Rich Larson
The Regression Test Wole Talabi
A Gathering on Gravity's Shore Gregor Hartmann
On the Problem of Replacement Children: Prevention, Coping, and Other Practical Strategies Debbie Urbanski
Alexandria Monica Byrne
Wetherfell's Reef Runics Marc Laidlaw
Kingship Mary Soon Lee
Books To Look For Charles de Lint
Books James Sallis
Science: Brainless Robots Stroll the Beach Pat Murphy and Paul Doherty
Television: Stranger (Yet Oddly Familiar) Things Tim Pratt
Curiosities David Langford
CARTOONS: Arthur Masear, Bill Long.
Cover by Charles Vess For "Vinegar and Cinnamon"
This story was originally published in Day One, a weekly literary journal dedicated to short fiction and poetry from emerging writers.
After she had the baby, her husband hired a nanny so that she could continue painting. She was under thirty—young and pretty enough to still have potential. But as baby Lila grows, that potential fades, along with her hope for a certain kind of future; the energy she had put into her art morphs into frustration, her thwarted expression to anger. But when this anger turns to violence—and a social worker at her daughter’s school calls her to account for it—she has more excuses than interest in change. So is it any surprise that Lila leaves as soon as she can and never looks back? Told with bitter honesty, How to Lose Your Child is the story of a mother’s ambivalence and the tragic effects of her misdirected resentment.