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Current Issue Highlights

July/August 2023

When a humble tinker’s apprentice in a failing colony has a chance at the adventure of a lifetime (or more), it may also mean leaving his home behind to face its fate; what choice can he make? Find out in our lead story next issue, “The Tinker and the Timestream,” by Carolyn Ives Gilman.

Then we present a pair of fact articles for your enjoyment: a deep dive into planetary formation from Kevin Walsh, in “Why are the Keplerians so Different?” as well as a “Big Ideas” piece about extinctions and the Fermi Paradox from Howard Hendrix, “The Passenger Pigeon and the Great Filter.”

And of course we have a bunch of material thematically-appropriate for the April Fool’s Day season, including the answer to a classic SF question in “The House on Infinity Street,” by Allen M. Steele; the truth about “What Women Want,” from Katherine Tunning; a quest for lost love upended in “Incommunicado” by Andrej Kokoulin; the most caveating an emptor can do when considering “The Problem with Bargain Bodies” by Sarina Dorie; a failed health inspection that works out for everyone in Leonard Richardson’s “Meat”; and much more, from Robert R. Chase, Rajnar Vajra, Shane Tourtellotte, Stanley Schmidt, Aubry Kae Andersen, Adam-Troy Castro, and then some.

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To Fight the Colossus
by Adam-Troy Castro

The aftermath of the great war deposited me on a breathtaking port city called Aeskir, on a dazzling world called Aevii.

This was about as fine a place to end up as I could have hoped. Many thousands of worlds across human space had been scoured of life by the savage conflict that would forever be remembered as Cort’s War, but Aevii had survived intact in large part because all the worst fighting had taken place systems away. It resolved itself, or rather the woman the war was named for found some way to resolve it, long before any of the fires got to Aevii. It made the world much more important, politically, than it had been, and there was already talk after the destruction of New London that this should become the seat of the new alliance that would take over after the fall of the Confederacy. READ MORE


The Jangler
by Wil McCarthy

“I’m going to switch it on now,” the Witch Doctor said. “Are you ready?”

Tobey nodded.

“I need you to affirmatively consent, out loud,” the Witch Doctor said. “For the camera.”

Which was dumb, because Tobey had, over the past five days, signed or initialed or thumb-printed close to a hundred screens worth of forms. His consent was about as affirmative as it could possibly be. He felt his anger rising. READ MORE


Dandelion Seeds Swirling Over a Manhole
by Kenton Yee

In the hole with a halo at the center of a galaxy. In an alley on Nob Hill. Candlestick Park. . . .



Guest Editorial: Just Another Earth That Fell To Man?
by Howard V. Hendrix

“If human species decimate or domesticate all and only those megafaunal species that do not decimate or domesticate themselves, then do human species, as megafauna, decimate or domesticate themselves?”

That reads like a strange exercise in set theory, on the order of “No set can contain itself as an element of itself, but any set can include itself as a subset of itself.” Or “The empty set is a proper subset of every set except for the empty set.” Only not quite so paradoxical. READ MORE

The 2022 Analytical Laboratory Results

Once again, we’d like to thank everyone who voted in our annual poll on the previous year’s issues. Your votes help your favorite writers and artists by rewarding them directly and concretely for outstanding work. They help you by giving us a better feel for what you like and don’t like—which helps us know what to give you in the future. READ MORE

Alternate View: Ejected Black Holes and 3-Body Physics
by John G. Cramer

The stately planetary orbits of our Solar System are, in a sense, deceptive. Their regularity fails to convey the wild gyrations that can occur when three or more massive objects move in close gravitational orbits. In our galaxy, low-mass stars tend to be isolated single stars, while the more massive stars tend to cluster in combinations of two or more participants, often moving in complicated orbits. In particular, when three-star systems form close together, their orbits tend to be chaotic, and they usually stabilize with two stars in close orbit and the third star more distant or ejected altogether. READ MORE

Reference Library
by Rosemary Claire Smith

Science fiction aficionados fondly proclaim our genre to be a literature of ideas. For lots of us, the bigger the idea, the better we like it. Take all those massive construction projects that captivate our imaginations—endlessly sprawling cities, towering space elevators, super-sized space stations, and asteroid-sized vessels to transport Earth-dwellers of all varieties to distant planets, some ripe for terraforming and others better left alone. The genre is filled with ambitious endeavors tracing their roots to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, the modern Prometheus. READ MORE

Upcoming Events
by Anthony Lewis

Check here for the latest conventions upcoming in July and August. READ MORE

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