New science fiction and fantasy stories by Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam, David Tallerman, C. Allegra Hawksmoor, Caroline M. Yoachim, Greg Kurzawa, Rebecca Campbell, Georgina Bruce. Cover art by Wayne Haag, interior illustrations by Ben Baldwin, Richard Wagner, Dave Senecal, Martin Hanford. Book reviews, including an interview with Libby McGugan and Jonathan McCalmont’s Future Interrupted column. Film reviews by Nick Lowe. DVD/Blu-ray reviews by Tony Lee. The 200th Ansible Link by David Langford. 100 pages, full colour throughout.
The Damaged by Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam
illustrated by Ben Baldwin
I can’t escape my job. Everywhere I go I see ads for the company. On the subway, the sidewalks with our company logo engraved in concrete, the talking billboards which feature the intertwined bodies of flawless men and women in the downtown AdZones. I’m good at what I do. PlayMatez look and feel real: warm skin, a clean but undeniably human smell. Only “real” isn’t a word we’re supposed to use. Of course they feel real. They are real. What I mean is they feel the same as blood-and-guts people do. They walk, talk, and fuck the same.
Except for the damaged ones.
Bad Times to be in the Wrong Place by David Tallerman
illustrated by Richard Wagner
Darlene had been shouting that morning, and I guess I’d been shouting back, both of us going at it pretty hard.
It was all about the pickup, who got to drive and when. Or maybe it wasn’t. Maybe it was about other things: money, and children, and forgiveness, and the way we didn’t seem to have much of any of those, even after five hard years. But neither of us was going to make the other see sense with all that language passing back and forth. I grabbed my coat, shouted something mean and easy that I knew I’d regret later, and got out.
The Labyrinth of Thorns by C. Allegra Hawksmoor
illustrated by Dave Senecal
The first thing you notice is the cold.
It isn’t the insidious, wet creep of the city seeping through into your bones, but the bright bite of frost against your skin. The forest is an endlessness of sinuous black lines, dissecting the fog that hangs motionless in moonlight. Still as a caught breath. You feel as though you could melt through it, like cigarette smoke melts into wet air.
Beneath the Willow Branches, Beyond the Reach of Time by Caroline M. Yoachim
illustrated by Martin Hanford
It was the most difficult surgery Takeshi Saito had ever performed. Not because of the operation itself, but because his wife, Laura, was the one on the surgical table with her skull cut open. He wanted to be in the room with her and hold her hand while he performed the operation. Foolishness. Laura wasn’t here – her mind was stuck in the past. Extracting the memory unit from her brain was his last hope for finding her.
Predvestniki by Greg Kurzawa
illustrated by Richard Wagner
Ben pressed his forehead and palms against the cold glass of the picture window. Twenty-three floors below, ice floes clogged the Moskva, bumping for position in the sluggish current. On the opposite bank, walkers bundled against the weather followed a towpath along the curve of river. The path skirted the park and disappeared under the covered span of the Pushkinsky pedestrian bridge.
Without turning away, Ben said to his wife, “Myra, look at this view.” But she had already carried her things into the bedroom. Under his breath, Ben added, “Derevo, derev’ya.”
Lilacs and Daffodils by Rebecca Campbell
He is unrecoverable.
The time/space location: Sunday afternoon in April, when it’s rained, but the sky is still pale grey and light. You have sandwiches for supper, and tea. At 7:17 pm – after the supper dishes are washed and dried – you think about something Dr Quatermass said on TV and realize, suddenly, that you want to know something that you did not previously know you didn’t know.
Wake Up, Phil by Georgina Bruce
illustrated by Richard Wagner
Laura Harrison pinned the image to the soft grey foam of her cubicle wall. It was a picture she’d torn from a magazine – a sweet-looking real puppy, chewing on a flower. Its big brown eyes expressed a mixture of fear and happiness – excited to be chewing the flowers, worried it was going to get into trouble for it. Not too worried, though. No one was going to beat this little sweetie or put it out into the Glare. Laura thought if it were her puppy she might punish it with some enthusiastic hugs or belly rubs. Not that she would ever be able to have a puppy, a real one. It was just a dream.
Ansible Link by David Langford
The 200th Link! News and obituaries
Book Zone by Paul F. Cockburn, Barbara Melville, Duncan Lunan, Stephen Theaker, Lawrence Osborn, Jack Deighton, Mathew S. Dent, Simon Marshall-Jones, Elaine Gallagher, Juliet E. McKenna, Iain Emsley, Andy Hedgecock, Maureen Kincaid Speller, Ian Sales, Ian Hunter, Jonathan McCalmont, Jim Steel
Book reviews including The Eidolon by Libby McGugan (with author interview conducted by Paul F. Cockburn), World After by Susan Ee, Benchmarks 1–3 by Algis Budrys, The Rabbit Back Literature Society by Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen, Drakenfeld by Mark Charan Newton, On the Steel Breeze by Alastair Reynolds, Parasite by Mira Grant, Dream London by Tony Ballantyne, Shades of Milk & Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal, Libriomancer + Codex Born by Jim C. Hines, Happy Hour in Hell by Tad Williams, Doyle After Death by John Shirley, The Man With the Compound Eyes by Wu Ming-Yi, Wonderbook by Jeff VanderMeer, Johnny Alucard by Kim Newman, plus Jonathan McCalmont’s Future Interrupted column
Mutant Popcorn by Nick Lowe
Film reviews including Frozen, Carrie, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Gravity, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Walking With Dinosaurs: The Movie, Wolf Children
Laser Fodder by Tony Lee
DVD and Blu-ray reviews including Man of Steel, Big Trouble in Little China, Elysium, Upstream Colour, Riddick, Scavengers, Games of Thrones Season Three