Current Issue Highlights



March/April 2018

Our lead story for March/April is from Alec Nevala-Lee: a strange vision in the remote Alaskan wilderness leads a pair of intrepid reporters to investigate, but will it ultimately be more—or less—than it seems? Find out in “The Spires.”

Then we pick up with Belisarius and his motley crew of criminals and mercenaries in the second installment of The Quantum Magician, from Derek Künsken. Bel has assembled the team he’ll need to pull off his plan, but is even the most advanced mind in the Known Systems capable of foreseeing every pitfall?

Then an experiment hides a shocking secret in “Lab B15” by Nick Wolven; a green World War II serviceman in a Boeing Superfortress gets more than he enlisted for in “The Tailgunner’s Lament,” from Brendan DuBois; an invasive ecosystem turns out to be more invasive than normal in Bruce McAllister’s “Frog Happy”; one chance to avert disaster rests with the last person anyone expects, in Brian Trent’s “An Incident on Ishtar”; Gregory Benford brings us a look at the science journals of 2116, in “Physics Tomorrow”; people will always find new ways to make a living, as we see in “The Streaming Man,” from Suzanne Palmer; an alien makes an all-too-human mistake with tragic consequences in “The Selves We Leave Behind” by Gwendolyn Clare; automated cars get a little too self-directed Mary Turzillo’s “Car Talk”; and desperate times call for desperate measures, in Susan Forest’s “Sun Splashed Fields and Far Blue Mountains.”

Plus we’ll have articles and stories from C. Stuart Hardwick, Tom Ligon, James Van Pelt, Tom Jolly, Rich Larson, and Jerry Oltion, as well as a Probability Zero from Bill Pronzini, and all our regular fact articles and columns.

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The Spires

by Alec Nevala-Lee

Bill Lawson studied the silent city. The photograph in his hands was the size of a postcard, creased at the corners and brittle with age. It depicted a cascade of roofs and chimneys emerging from what appeared to be a fogbank, its upper half obscured by clouds, with something like the spire of a church faintly visible in the distance. After examining the picture for another moment, he returned it to the man on the other side of the desk. “What about it?” READ MORE


Lab B-15

by Nick Wolven

The young man was sitting outside the parking garage, and right away Jerry thought that was weird. This was the Arizona desert, middle of summer. People didn’t sit outside. They especially didn’t sit outside ugly parking garages, on strips of hot concrete, with no grass in sight.

The boy was Arvin Taylor, one of the lab techs from the day shift. Not a person Jerry saw often, though technically one of his employees. He ought to be working, not lazing around outdoors.

“Arvin.” Jerry pulled up, rolled down the window. “What are you—?” READ MORE



Venus, As it Might Have Been

by Mary Soon Lee

July 22, 1972,
Valentina plummeted to Venus,
plunged through its poisonous vapors,
petrified, elated, alone. ... 


Reader's Departments

Guest Editorial: Time and Time Again 

by James Gunn

Time is like quantum physics. Its observable reality is contradicted by scientific theory. We notice it pass moment by moment; we recognize that the present emerges from an unending succession of previous moments; we understand that more moments stretch ahead into the fog of the yet to come; and we talk to each other as if we shared a common experience. And yet scientists tell us that our perception of time is subjective and dependent upon what we’re doing at the moment and even how fast we are accelerating—that time does not exist as an independent reality and that the arrow of time can go backward as readily as forward.  READ MORE


The Alternate View: When Virgo Joined Ligo

by John G. Cramer

The 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to Rainer Weiss, Kip S. Thorne, and Barry C. Barish, the founders of the LIGO gravitational wave detector project. (I should here comment that they are called gravitational waves because the term “gravity waves” refers to a certain kind of water waves that occur in the ocean.) The Nobel Prize was awarded after the advanced LIGO detector located in Hanford, WA, and Livingston, LA, reported the detection of three events interpreted as extragalactic gravitational waves from the merging of large black holes.  READ MORE


The Reference Library

by Don Sakers

Let’s talk about literary categories in general, science fiction and its many varieties in particular.

If you’ll bear with me, I want to sneak up on the subject by first talking about food. In the end, I hope you’ll agree with me that this business of literary categories isn’t so much like chemistry as it’s like cooking.

To begin with, consider sandwiches. We all know what a sandwich is . . . or do we? For years, the definition of “sandwich” has been fodder for argument across the Internet. READ MORE


Upcoming Events

by Anthony Lewis

Check here for the latest conventions upcoming in March and AprilREAD MORE