Sheree Renée Thomas: The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, May/June 2022 (EBook, 2022, Spilogale, Inc.) 3 stars

Average issue of F&SF, with more shorter pieces of fiction.

3 stars

An average issue, with lots of shorter pieces of fiction and only a few longer ones. The stories that I found more interesting are those by Fawaz Al-Matrouk, Ai Jiang, Julie Le Blanc, Taemumu Richardson, Shreya Ila Anasuya and John Wiswell.

  • "The Voice of a Thousand Years" by Fawaz Al-Matrouk: an interesting story of an old man who discovers a voice coming from a musical instrument in his workshop that turns out to be a 'spirit' that desires to see the world. The old man tries to fulfill it by creating automations for the spirit to inhabit, but fails each time. Until he, and the spirit, decides to make one final attempt that may yet be their final act.

  • "Cold Trade" by Aliya Whiteley: traders from space travel under the ocean of a world to try to trade with large, deep ocean dwellers who only appear interested in moving around a large formation on the bottom. The traders are desperate to make a trade to save their reputation (the result of a disaster from their previous trade). But the resulting trade option would be born out of desperation and the strained relationship between the traders themselves.

  • "Give Me English" by Ai Jiang: an interesting story of a world where words in various languages is currency, and you lose the ability to hear or speak the word once you've sold it away. In this world, a girl in the US from China is trying to make a living in a world where words are hoarded or flaunted by the rich, and the poorest are silent.

  • "The Canopy" by Norman Spinrad: after the elevator breaks down in a high rise apartment, one person goes on a rooftop adventure to get to her apartment, in a city where the homeless have to occupy the rooftops. The journey would lead to a new way of viewing the people who live there.

  • "Green Street: Or A Recapitulation in Reverse. A Report From the Map Cell of Turret 15, Compiled By S. R. Mandel, Chief Cartographer. Excerpted from The Knowledge Project: An A-to-Zed is that City We Adjust Know" by S. R. Mandel: a story about a report of people who unexpectedly find themselves in a street full of greenery, and a department head that despairs when his department (tasked with documenting and finding the street) is shut down. But the head still has hopes of finding it.

  • "Breathless in the Green" by Octavia Cade: a being who inhabits a lake and drowns children over the ages sees the latest victim. But the girl would prove to have a different opinion about being drowned, and go on to challenge it to change is ways about what kind of people to drown.

  • "Ninety-Five Percent of the Ocean" by Jennifer Hudak: a girl sees her other side, which resides in the ocean. Both would be incomplete until they decide to meet and face the world together.

  • "The Hunger" by James Enge: a girl has had enough and run off to meet her fate in the Skeleton Garden. But along the way, she meets an unexpected traveller who shows her that even skeletons hunger for more than just life.

  • "The Mechanic" by Julie Le Blanc: on a dusty world, an old woman goes to town to get spare parts. It would need kindness for her to recover from a robbery and to finally finish the work she has begun in her home on something she loves.

  • "Modern Cassandra" by Julia August: a funny story short about a girl who meets Apollo and gets prophecies that she emails to those involved. Now, if only we responded to her.

  • "An Ill-Fated Girl Happens to Meet an Ill-Fated Man" by P. H. Lee: boy meets girl, they fall in love, boy losses girl, and tears fall from heaven in sympathy, to the anguish of an Empire.

  • "Nightmares Come From Stolen Dreams" by Taemumu Richardson: in a strange future, a 'snake charmer' and her giant many headed snake survive by making customers' dreams seem real. But then a company tries to use them to make its own dream drug, and the nightmares begin.

  • "The Angel's Call" by Jae Steinbacher: in a future where 'angels' walk the Earth, created by an alien ship, one girl still to transform in an angel struggles with her destiny, while trying to save her lover from a cult group.

  • "Mother, Mother" by Shreya Ila Anasuya: the story of the anguish a grill feels for the kids is her mother and how a spiritual mother goddess tries to comfort her. But the goddess is also mother to all the creatures of the jungle, and she cannot answer their cries while she comforts the girl, unless the girl decides to release her.

  • "L'enfant Terrible" by Mark H. Huston: a small creature lost in our world is captured by a wizard. As we learn its origins in the story, the world learn to fear where it came from.

  • "The Big Many" by Albert E. Cowdrey: as disasters hit the world, all one man can do is to save his daughter before saving the others that could be saved.

  • "The True Meaning of Father's Day" by John Wiswell: a humorous tale of time travellers meeting up for Father's Day in a restaurant. They try to one up each other with exploits into the past that set up the current gathering, only for one to finally declare why they are all gathered there in the first place.