Here are the stories, all 11 of them in the order I read them, and my tweets:
- "Where the Summer Dwells" by Lynda E. Rucker. Atmospherically foreboding, two sets of friends with one friend in common explore a decrepit set of train tracks.
- "A Diary From Deimos" by Michael Alexander. A clever-enough reimagining of the American Civil War as a conflict between Earth and colonists on Mars. But to what end? Felt like it hit the same notes rather frequently. I see that there is a historical "A Diary From Dixie" which this presumably is intended to reference.
- "Arc" by Ken Liu. An interesting story to read on the night of having taken your eldest child to college though maybe moreso with me, personally, than for some others. A very personal examination of the first person to receive hyper-longevity treatments.
- "12:03 PM" by Richard Lupoff. Story of a man wandering in time and space. He gets some answers but also some new questions. Third in a series of stories by Lupoff.
- "Give Up" by Richard Butner. Story of a man climbing a virtual Everest in his back yard. It has a fantastic beginning and middle but I found the ending to be underwhelming.
- "The Sheriff" by Chet Arthur. Entertaining Old West story with light fantasy elements.
- "Close Encounters" by Andy Duncan. An old man reluctantly revisits his prior experiences with aliens.
- "Theobroma Valentine" by Rand B. Lee. Strange story of psych workers orbiting a world of cacao farmers. Had a sort of mystery vibe to it along with the SF.
- "Troll Blood" by Peter Dickinson. Charming story. Took a few pages to hook me but once it did, I was hooked all the way.
- "The Goddess" by Albert E. Cowdrey. Pre-(US) Civil War story with Kali potentially influencing events. Alas, despite that appealing description, I wasn't crazy about this one.
- "Father Juniper's Journey to the North" by Grania Davis. Gods (and devils?) at work in 18th Century California.
Of the stories, the ones by Liu, Arthur, Duncan, and Dickinson were my favorites. If pressed to pick a single favorite, it would most likely be the Peter Dickinson story, though I could imagine myself picking a different one in a different mood.
Fantasy and Science Fiction is the one of the "big three" which I was still picking up on the newsstand rather than getting it via subscription. I say "was" because after completing this issue, the next thing I did was go to their website and subscribe. If you have an interest in short fiction in the speculative fiction genres, this venerable publication is well worth your time.