Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Sci Fiction, January 2005

Posted by frankh at 11:34 AM
I'm falling behind a little on the mundanespotting, but here's a rundown on the first month of stories on Sci Fiction (available for free on a certain cable channel's web site).

1) "Nocturne" by J.R. Dunn (January 5, novelette) -- near future noirish biotech; mundane
2) "Follow Me Light" by Elizabeth Bear (January 12, short story) -- contemporary biological fantasy
3) "The Five Cigars Of Abu Ali" by Eric Schaller (January 19, novelette) -- contemporary Near Eastern fantasy
4) "A Man of Light" by Jeffery Ford (January 26, novelette) -- contemporary weird fantasy

AFAIK, Sci Fiction is the top sf/f short fiction market, and is reliable for good writing. It probably survives as a rounding error in a big spreadsheet somewhere--perhaps as a warning never to even think about starting an actual sf magazine. As a form of patronage it works pretty well. One day I expect one of the nerd billionaires to step up and do something similar (but probably not as long as the real magazines are still breathing).

Although the other stories are all fantastic, the Dunn is solidly mundane, though the science is not featured heavily (if you are looking for that). Featuring a billionaire and an obsession with music, it uses a "security consultant" as viewpoint character. This story has a lot going on in about ten thousand words. At times it is a bit too "breathless" at this length, but I would find it dreary if bloated into a much longer form. It's a worthy effort, and I give it a mild recommendation for mundane sf reading.