For the past nine years, I have had a subscription to a little magazine called Analog Science Fiction and Fact. This year I wanted to read short fiction from a lot of different places. More Uncanny, more Asimov’s, more from Tor.com. I also backed two other magazines on Kickstarter: horror magazine The Dark, and the return of Amazing Stories, both of which gave me subscriptions as a backer reward. On top of that, I also have a lot of back issues of Analog, going back to the sixties. With so much to read, I found myself with a lot of unread magazines on the magazine rack and my kindle. I decided that the best plan of attack would be to let my Analog subscription lapse and add it to a rotating roster of magazines.
Then I received my finale notice in the mail. Last chance to renew or I would miss out.
And I couldn’t do it.
I just couldn’t give up my bi-monthly Analog subscription. At least, not yet. Maybe when I run out of storage space it’ll be easier, but for now, I want my familiar and reliable stories showing up in my letterbox.
So, since I’ve been a bit quiet, and since I have a few new goodies to show off, I thought I would share the results of my latest fiction buying rampage.
Firstly, the last few months of Analog. I’m still on the May/June issue, which is good, though it keeps getting pushed aside for anything on my kindle. Since I do a lot of reading whilst on my breaks at work, I find it easier to read on my kindle, since I don’t need to actually hold the book and can therefore eat at the same time. I suppose the fact that this issue’s novella, The Last Biker Gang by Wil McCarthy wasn’t really my thing hasn’t helped me get through this one. But things have picked up. Currently up to My Base Pair by Sam J. Miller, which has an interesting premise (A fad that involves having kids that are clones of celebrities) that is disturbing because of how likely our society is to actually do something that fucked up if we had the technology.
I’m really looking forward to the July/August Issue, with it’s lead novella being A Stab of the Knife by Adam-Troy Castro. This is a crossover between two of Castro’s popular series, and after how much I enjoyed Blurred Lives (Analog Jan/Feb 2018) and The Cowards Option (Analog March 2016) I’m looking forward to the characters from both stories meeting up.
A few days ago, I got the first issue of my new subscription in the letterbox. As I said before, I backed two magazines on Kickstarter, and one of my rewards for Amazing Stories was a subscription to the print magazine. Amazing Stories was one of the first SF magazines, first printed in 1926, and having gone through various incarnations since then. This current magazine is the first time Amazing has been printed since 2005.
I am really looking forward to getting into this. Amazing Stories aims to deliver optimistic, wonder-filled stories that take a more positive view on the human future, which is something that tends to be missing from well, everything lately. Also, I just love the look of the magazine. It’s a lot bigger than my other magazines, a throwback to the bedsheet format of old. And the artwork has a retro vibe as well.
My kindle backlog is also growing. I have three issues of The Dark to go through. I’ve been enjoying the magazine so far. The issue I have finished, #37, had a few standout stories, two of which were reprints (Beehive Heart by Angela Rega and The Crow Palace by Priya Sharma), but The Hurrah (aka Corpse Scene) by Orrin Grey was new and really stood out. It’s a story of a woman trying to find tapes of a rare no-budget horror film her dead mother stared in, and as you’d expect, things get a little spooky.
I also have a Uncanny Vol. #23 and #24 waiting to be read: the Shared-Universe Dinosaur issue and the Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction issue. Most Uncanny material can be read free online, but I prefer reading from a book or kindle to a computer.
Issue #23 is part of the Destroy series of magazines, that has previously appeared in Lightspeed. Uncanny’s Disabled People Destroy issue seeks to:
“Destroy science fiction. Why? Because disabled people have been discarded from the narrative, cured, rejected, villainized. We’ve been given few options for our imaginations to run wild within the parameters of an endless sky.
This issue destroys those narratives and more.”
The entire summery can be found here.
I am really looking forward to this issue, as I imagine I’m going to encounter a lot of stories that tackle important subjects and themes that I wouldn’t come across otherwise. Science Fiction as a genre has not always been the most inclusive place, and for decades the types of voices that were heard was limited. I’m really glad that magazines like Uncanny are so dedicated to broadening the field. And of course, the dinosaur issue will be amazing because it’s about DINOSAURS.
Besides all the short fiction, I also bought myself a nice new hard-cover illustrated book last weekend. And The Ocean Was Our Sky, written by Patrick Ness and illustrated by Rovina Cai. I’ve mentioned Cai before, after I found her illustrations of Seanan McGuire’s Wayward Children series. Her pictures make this book look beautiful, and every review I’ve seen promises an amazing reverse-Moby-Dick story. This is another book I cannot wait to jump into.
So, I think that’s everything I’ve bought on this latest fiction binge. I should start reading and doing less… oh wait, no, there’s something else. Something bigger.
I found Peter F. Hamilton’s Void trilogy in Vinnies* for $4.50. I read the two novels of Hamilton’s commonwealth saga years ago and loved them, but the sheer size of his books has made me reluctant to read more of his work. Looks like I’m committed to this trilogy though. I have no idea when I’ll have the time to read the books, but I couldn’t not buy them. Look at all that book. 2292 pages of space opera for under $5, how could I say no to that? Op shops are awesome.
Okay, that’s all. Now I’ve got no more time to write. I have to start reading all these stories if I ever want to finish them. It’s important I focus and dedicate myself to reading through this pile of short (and obscenely long) fiction.
Oh but wait, Space Opera by Catherynne M. Valente is available at my library now. Distraction time!
*St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Shop. I’m pretty sure those exist overseas, but not sure if they’re called Vinnies elsewhere.