Fantasy Magazine tells you what it’s about right there in the masthead: “From modern mythcraft to magic surrealism.” No ambiguous names, no hunting around to get a feel for the sort of stories they publish. They feature a new piece of fiction every week and publish regular non-fiction articles focusing things of interest to fans of fantasy, from reviews of contemporary films and books, to interviews with their authors and features on pieces of the genre which have been around for years, but not necessarily noticed or looked at with the eyes of a fan of fantasy. I’m sure there are those out there who can convince you that it is, indeed, a magazine when everything can be read on their website and there’s no physical copy you can hold in your hand; I’ve always liked something I can hold, but I’m still dubious of the label “magazine TV shows” so you probably shouldn’t worry too much. For a little under five dollars, you can buy a copy of Fantasy Magazine Issue #4, but from the date on the cover it seems they switched to digital format a while ago. The fiction is easily accessible under its own tab in the main navigation bar, and is brought from the authors at a pro-rate of 5c a word. This review will be looking at the four stories published in January 2011.
Our first story highlight for the year! You can click on the Short Story Highlight tag to see previous posts, where we highlight various stories by international writers.
Fantasy Magazine starts off the season, with South African writer Lauren Beukes‘ story, Ghost Girl:
You think of a city as a map, all knotted up in the bondage of grid lines imposed by town planners. But really, it’s a language—alive, untidy, ungrammatical. The meaning of things rearranges. The scramble of the docks turns hipster cool and the inner city’s faded glamour gives way to tenement blocks rotting from the inside. It develops its own accent, its own slang.
Sometimes it drops a sentence. Sometimes the sentence finds you. And won’t shut up.
I’m walking through the gardens on my way to an exhibition on Pancho Guedes, the crazy post-modern Mozambican-Portuguese architect, because that’s my major if you hadn’t guessed (only 3 ½ years to go). A voice drifts down out of a tree and says, “Hey, cute student guy, wait up…”
A girl drops down from the branches where she’s been perching like some tree frog in black. She starts strolling along behind me, imitating my walk like a bad mime.
I turn, irritated. “What are you doing?”
“Attaching,” she says. “It’s what the dead do when they get lonely.” – continue reading!
Lavie Tidhar’s latest short story is online: Monsters, published at Fantasy Magazine.
I first ate a man when I was eight years old. In the history of humanity, cannibalism is more common than you might think. Rather than the mark of a savage, as several rising civilizations on the continent of Europe tried to make it, eating another person’s flesh is a mark of the outmost respect. On the islands, people ate people for centuries. Later, we learned to talk of the devel I kakai man, the cannibal spirit—the word devel comes to us from the English devil, brought over by the missionaries along with bibles and guns. But one does not eat another human being out of anger, or greed. One, rather, eats from respect. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust is a lie, brought to us but never truly believed. We believe in renewal, and a man’s remains, once digested, will then in turn feed the trees in a man’s garden. The mango you bite into has been fertilised with the bodies of those who tended and ate from it before.
But I digress. – read the full story.
The latest story at Fantasy Magazine is Logovore, by Filipino writer Joseph F. Nacino:
He lives on words.
Literally, he eats them for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Sometimes he has them for snacks too.
For example, the word “effervescent’” is a tasty morsel, a bit on the spicy side with a light tinge of sweetness. Or the words “cavalcade” and “arboretum” are good together, the former’s saltiness combining well with the basil after-taste of the latter. He loves the feel of words on his tongue before he swallows them.
Of course, he eats and drinks what other people do. No point in letting others see what you really are. Like now, sitting with his fellow college English teachers from Ateneo de Manila University at a bar along Katipunan Avenue—he is drinking San Mig Light beer and eating appetizers like sisig and tokwa’t baboy while exchanging gossip.
It’s fun, sometimes. Sometimes being the operative word, of course.
So Cherie goes and tells him to pass the varsity player even after he drops all his classes.
No shit! Well, what did he expect?
Yeah. It’s all about winning, I know. What I hate is if you get on Cherie’s bad side. She can be a real nasty bitch when she puts her mind to it.
He can’t resist now and then snatching words around him. For example, a couple is talking dirty to each other at a nearby table. Words like “torrid” and “climax” are aphrodisiac to him—until someone says “orgasmatory” and he loses all appetite.
New words always leave a bad taste in his mouth.
I still don’t get what the new program is all about.
Me, all I understand is that I’m overloaded with students clamoring for classes.
You’re overloaded? Almost all my subjects have been cancelled because there haven’t been enough students!
He wonders if there are others like him. Others who share his preference. Are there others who like the taste of Cyrillic? French? Or even a dialect like Bisaya with its hard words like “kadyot” or “pesteng yawa”?
That’s one way he eats. The other is a bit. . . noticeable.
What’s the problem?
I’m trying to remember this poem by Neruda. But there’s this word at the tip of my tongue that I can’t. . . Aggh!
He smiles at the taste blossoming on his tongue, like a claret of good wine, dry and sharp like blood: “melancholy”.
Hey Kathy! Over here!
It’s at that moment that Kathy walks into his life. – continue reading.
Mexican writer Silvia Moreno-Garcia‘s latest story, Bloodlines, is now up at Fantasy Magazine:
Elena flipped the picture of San Antonio de Padua on its head and placed thirteen coins before him. She split a coconut, bathed it in perfume and whispered his name. When neither worked, she phoned Mario. Five minutes later she was yelling at the receiver. My mother was shaking her head.
“She should have given him her menstrual blood to drink. Now there’s no way she’ll bind him. He’s out of love.”
“But they’ve had fights before. He’ll come back to beg her forgiveness before next week,” I said, and wished it true even though my wishes don’t count.
“Not this time.”
“Maybe there’s something you could do.”
“Ha,” my mother said.
The screaming stopped. Elena stomped through the living room and went to her room, slamming the door so hard San Antonio’s portrait fell to the ground and cracked. – continue reading.
This week’s Fantasy Magazine features a new story by Indian writer Swapna Kishore, Perhaps this is Kushi’s Story:
Elder Sister places pebbles to mark people in her sand village. She pats walls in place. She smiles in her know-it-all way as if to remind me that it is she who will marry the headman’s son and decide what our tribe does–all because she was born an hour before me. When she stands back to admire her work, I kick it in.
“Younger Sister, why?” She gives a mournful look.
“You hadn’t posted guards,” I mock. “A city is more than fields and huts and granaries.”
“Hmmm.” She flattens the sand and drags a twig to sketch a new plan, this time including watch towers. She cups her hands around moist sand to shape buildings again.
I hate it when she doesn’t fight.
She will take time to build anything worth kicking, so I turn to the Maasa river. The pebble I throw skims over the flat blue water, touching the surface once, twice, three times before it sinks. The air smells of river spray and fresh grass and ripe wheat—too peaceful for me. My dreams have soldiers flashing swords and cities full of buildings and the sounds of song and dance. In my dreams, I rule people.
My hand is moving to my bosom, as if that will stop the buzz of things I crave, when I notice Tribemother watching me. I straighten up; I do not want her to suspect anything. Tribemother’s face is so thick with wrinkles I never know when she is frowning. She must be over a hundred years old, because no one remembers her as young. They say she knows everything that can be known. They say she reads minds; at times like this, I worry it may be true.
Yet I have not done anything wrong. Not yet. – continue reading.
About the author:
Swapna Kishore lives in Bangalore, India, and writes both fiction and non-fiction. Her speculative fiction has appeared/ is forthcoming in Nature (Futures), Ideomancer, Strange Horizons, Sybil’s Garage 7, and other publications. For more about her, please visit her at http://swapnawrites.com.
Over at Fantasy Magazine, Rich Horton reviews four new Australian anthologies:
- Legends of Australian Fantasy, Edited by Jack Dann and Jonathan Strahan
- Belong, Edited by Russell Farr
- Scary Kisses, Edited by Liz Grzyb
- Baggage, Edited by Gillian Polack
Australia has quite a busy publishing scene in SF and Fantasy for a relatively small (demographically speaking) country. There are two fairly regularly appearing print magazines (Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine and Aurealis), and each year sees a number of original anthologies as well. To hand I have four 2010 anthologies, three from small presses and one from a major publisher. Not all of the books are restricted to Australian authors by any means, but in the way of things the majority of stories here are from that continent.
I’ll state upfront that not one of these books fully satisfies. Each is ambitious in its own way, and each has some nice work, but across the board I’d say there are two many minor stories, and indeed occasionally some very weak work. But for all that, there is, as I said, some nice work in each of these books: Let’s celebrate that. – read the rest of the review.
Netherlands-based Filipino writer Rochita Loenen-Ruiz has a new short story up at Fantasy Magazine entitled “Hi Bugan ya Hi Kinggawan”. Here’s an excerpt:
If not for the Mama-oh’s quick actions, you would have grown up without a mother. With a bamboo tube, and a woven blanket, she captured your mother’s spirit just as it was leaving her body, and so your mother was restored to life.
Your father came to see you when he was told all was well.
He looked at you, and he looked at your mother, then he took you in his arms and he gave you your name.
“We will call her Bugan,” he said.
“A wise choice,” the Mama-oh replied. “The Sky Goddess will be pleased.”
Prompted by a conversation with Jeff Ford, we thought we’d take a look at what stories have been published in 2009 from people who could be termed world SF writers. We’re focusing on people from outside of the traditional Anglophone world (so no US, UK, English-speaking Canada or Australia – all of whom have an obvious advantage), or American/British/etc. ex-pats overseas.
Caveat: my name pops up in these lists. Got to make a living somehow…
And next up is Fantasy Magazine (in descending order this time):
- Into the Monsoon, A.M. Muffaz (Malaysia), 18/11/09
- Lost for Words, Kenneth Yu (Philippines), 02/11/09 (winner of the Halloween Flash Contest)
- Jews in Antarctica, Lavie Tidhar (see?), 12/10/09
- Golden Lilies, Aliette de Bodard (France), 10/08/09 (also in audio)
- The Integrity of the Chain, Lavie Tidhar, 27/07/09
- The Most Dangerous Profession, Sergey Gerasimov (Ukraine), 06/04/09
- Birds, Jean-Claude Dunyach (France), 16/03/09 (translated by Cheryl Curtis)
- Teaching a Pink Elephant to Ski, Rochita Loenen-Ruiz (Philippines/Netherlands), 02/02/09
So, 8 stories by my count, making Fantasy Magazine our top international publisher so far!
Malaysian writer A.M. Muffaz’s story, Into the Monsoon, is up at Fantasy Magazine.