inspiration, Reading, Reviews

Fantasy & Science Fiction

TLDR: For some great short science fiction, check out Freezing Rain, A Chance of Falling by L.X. Beckett, Morbier by R.S. Benedict, and the Intergalactic Medicine Show.

A while back I got a two year subscription to Fantasy & Science Fiction (F&SF) magazine so I could immerse myself in short fiction that sells and better understand the market.

Blecch! So much for fun reading.

Partly due to my attitude going in and partly due to the goals of F&SF, I was not engaged by most of the stories I read. It seems to me that F&SF is aiming for an enormous diversity of stories, diversity in both form and content. And while I have no problem with diversity of content, if your story doesn’t feature one or more characters with a problem and/or objective that I could describe on fortune cookie paper, I’m probably going to lose interest.

That being said, I came across two stories in the July/August 2018 issue that really popped for me:

Freezing Rain, A Chance of Falling by L.X. Beckett


Morbier by R.S. Benedict

In Freezing Rain, Beckett really understands how to make readers empathize with a character by making that character suffer, and boy does the protagonist suffer. I also felt that Beckett did a great job keeping the morality of the protag gray. He’s done some bad things and he feels conflicted about what he’s done, not totally remorseful, he also feels like he’s been unfairly punished. It’s a great story with a character in a bad spot, making bad decisions that end up piling the shit deeper and deeper, but it does have a solid ending (unlike far too many stories, it seems).

In Morbier, Benedict puts the reader down in the trenches of minimum wage caterers working for the rich and famous. The camaraderie and crass humor feels genuine, probably because the author has worked as a caterer. There’s also a great slow build of tension up to a cool twist ending that has that wonderful feature of being unpredicted, but obvious in hindsight.

Lastly, if you’re looking for free scifi and fantasy, the magazine Intergalactic Medicine Show has put up all its back issues for free. You can just go and download e-reader ready versions of all past issues!


3 thoughts on “Fantasy & Science Fiction”

  1. Hey, thanks for the heads up Neil. I’ll go check out the stories you recommend and The Intergalactic Medicine Show. I’ve got reasons to despise Orson Scott Card, but I’ll read the stuff on this website by other authors.

    As I think I told the group, I’ve been perusing other authors who write stuff similar to mine and my reaction to most of it was like yours was to F&SF Magazine.

    Liked by 1 person

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