Skip to content

F&SF Mini-Reviews: Rest of the issue Edition

I just finished reading the September issue of the Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction.

If We Can Save Just One Child…, by Robert Reed was an excellent observation and criticism of the one percent doctrine (the concept, not the book) and the culture of fear built up around it.

In the story, we meet paranoid character after paranoid character fixated on the current crisis: trafficking in clones of people who did not consent to the cloning. This ‘bootleg cloning’ is an all-consuming fear; it doesn’t matter that there are on average 3.5 cases each year.

I enjoyed reading this piece quite a bit. It seemed long on message and short on plot, but I hardly think that is a complaint in this case.

The Merchant and the Alchemist’s Gate, by Ted Chiang is an interesting time-travel piece. It treads the well-worn track of “one cannot change the past or the future.” That theme is explored in the frame story and the three sub-stories. The evocative setting, Baghdad and Cairo during the Golden Age of Islamic Culture, does a good job of freshening up the moral. Mr. Chiang does a very good job of weaving the stories in a comprehensible manner; while I wasn’t terribly surprised at the outcome, I was pleased by the way he showed the protagonist’s gains in understanding that resulted from the outcome.

Those were all the stories in this issue. This issue will be on the news stands until August 29, 2007. I encourage everyone to pick up a copy.

I was surprised by the overall quality of the magazine. I will have to keep a closer eye out for it in the future.

This series (and the other content on this site) was my first attempt at writing reviews. As is probably very easy to tell, I am still working out the kinks. Hopefully, they weren’t too painful.

Previous parts in this series: