Sheree Renée Thomas: The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, March/April 2023 (EBook, 2023, Spilogale, Inc..) 3 stars

An average issue of F&SF

3 stars

An average issue with interesting stories by Tade Thompson, Jonathan Louis Duckworth, Nuzo Onoh, Eleanor Arnason, Mathew Lebowitz, Kathleen Jennings and an unusual urban fantasy piece by Peter S. Beagle.

  • "The Sweet In The Empty" by Tade Thompson: a fantasy story involving a quest by a father and his son for a fabled oasis. But what they do there would involve freedom, sacrifice and, later, vengeance.

  • "The Station Master" by Lavie Tidhar: a short episode in the life of a station master in charge of a small train station on Mars.

  • "Spookman" by Jonathan Louis Duckworth: an interesting tale of a man who can see and talk to ghosts, who is given the job of finding the son of a local bullying leader in an unusual forest. In there, he finds plenty of horror, but also a boy who does not want to return home. Resolving the dilemma would take some violence.

  • "The Weremouse Of Millicent Bradley Middle School" by Peter S. Beagle: a fascinating tale of a teacher whom the narrator believes is a witch. As it turns out, she is one and casts a curse on the narrator's sister after a confrontation. And now, they have to figure out a way to remove the curse and, possible, get rid of the teacher.

  • "Piggyback Girl" by M. H. Ayinde: a story of a future where people will pay to get inside the head of social media influencers and other people, leading to consequences when the access is done illegally.

  • "Mnemonic Longings" by Marlon Ortiz: set far in the future, a spaceship wakes up its passenger, a soldier, and together they try to find out what happened to the enemy they were fighting and what should they do if there is no more enemy to fight.

  • "Moonlight, Wing-Wake In Fog" by Rick Hollon: a short tale telling an episode of a violent encounter between men and various shapeshifting inhabitants on an island who choose to fight back, rather than hide.

  • "The Madding" by Nuzo Onoh: the story starts with a cursed area in a town before going back to tell the story of how it came about from the point of view of a child with unusual hair. As the story progresses, we learn of the tragedy that would come that would be the result of witchcraft of a dark kind.

  • "Mr. Catt" by Eleanor Arnason: a light fantasy piece about a wealthy cat named Mr. Catt who decides one day to get a dragon. The search who lead to finding a dragon in a dangerous part of town and make Mr. Catt relook his desire for a dragon as a pet.

  • "Escape Velocity" by Amanda Dier: a degenerative disease robs a pilot of a role in a spaceship. A radical solution resolves the problem, but only time will tell if it also robs the pilot of her ability to still make friends with her crew.

  • "Pantoum On A Generation Ship" by Lauren Bajek: on a ship travelling through space, a worker prepares for the arrival of another generation.

  • "The Subway Algorithm Is Half-Constructed" by Marie Vibbert: a socially awkward graduate student working on an AI for train routing meets another student working on another AI. A misunderstanding leads to a falling out. It would require an explanation by a professor involving another AI to let to a better understanding.

  • "Solar Boy" by K. C. Ahia: a deckhand on a solar sailing spaceship comes up with a solution to save the launch of a ship and, perhaps, some people's dreams.

  • "Ouroboros" by Mathew Lebowitz: a virtual reality headset, possibly coupled with hallucinogenics, sends a user into an alternate possible virtual reality. Or perhaps it is the real reality and his real life was just a dream.

  • "The Five Lazy Sisters" by Kathleen Jennings: a fairy tale about five sisters who don't wish to continue doing what their grandmother does. So they go into the woods to entice a giant to do their work for them.

  • "Remembered Salt" by E. Catherine Tobler: a house with chicken legs for in search of her witch, based on her longing for a place with salt.