To reiterate from our Part I Teasers post: it was Mike Resnick’s hope in starting Galaxy’s Edge magazine that: “Most of the new stories are by less-well-know (but not less talented) authors.” In keeping with that spirit, our Editor Lezli Robyn filled this final, and extra-large issue ~ Issue Sixty-Two: May 2023 ~ with twenty-two spectacular stories.

This week we’re bringing you a second taste, more teasers, the next bite of the second eleven stories of those stories, and our hope still? That you’ll read on, fall in love, and find your next favorite author! ♥


by Samantha Murray

Samantha Murray’s fiction has appeared in ClarkesworldStrange HorizonsThe Magazine of Fantasy & Science FictionLightspeedInterzone, Fantasy MagazineBeneath Ceaseless Skies and Escape Pod, among other fine places, and been collected in The Best Science Fiction of the Year. Samantha is a two-time Aurealis Award winner, and her work has been translated into Chinese and Vietnamese. You can find her on twitter @SamanthaNMurray. Samantha lives in Western Australia in a household of unruly boys.


You make a list of the things you will do when the stars come back.

  1. Have a big party with all of your friends. A star-party; outside, on the side of the grassy hill that slopes down towards the creek, where you can lay on a blanket and be filled up with the night air and look up and up and up and feel thankful and glorious. Of course it won’t actually be a big party though, because if you invite all of your friends it will only be two of you since you only have one friend. But it will still be awesome.
  2. You’ll make more effort at school. You won’t copy Lise’s answers in Chemistry anymore. You’ll study for the tests. You’ll complete all of your homework, instead of ignoring it or leaving it to the last minute or losing it scrunched up in the bottom of your bag. You’ll do it during the day because at night time you’ll climb onto the roof and talk to the stars like you used to do.
  3. You’ll teach your little brother to play chess, like he’s been bugging you to do for ages. You’ll be kinder and nicer and have more patience with him in general even when he’s annoying. You promise you will if only the stars when the stars come back.
  4. You’ll kiss your friend Lise. If she wants to. At the star-party when you are both looking up at the sky. You will definitely do this when the stars come back …


by Auston Habershaw

Auston Habershaw is a science fiction and fantasy author whose stories have been published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science FictionBeneath Ceaseless SkiesAnalog, and other places. He lives and works in Boston, MA. Find him on his website at


I climbed down into the dark canyons of Sadura with Hito Ghiasi’s head in a mesh sack.

This far down into the frontier planet’s abyssal crevasses, only a vestige of civilization was in evidence. Indelible spray paint marked the stone walls in Dryth characters—signs for construction crews, planetary geologists, and so on. Here and there was a seismic sensor spiked into a fault line—a little nub of steel with a blinking green light, reminding the locals that they were no longer alone.

Between these marks and strung between the canyon walls stretched kilometers of semi-organic cables, crisscrossing at crazy angles and fused together with crystalized binding agents in a complex network of webs. The work of the Quinix, the locals—the arachnids. The people paying me for the head.

My meeting with the arachnids wasn’t for an hour. I always arrive early—best way to stay alive in the contract killing business …


by Robert P. Switzer

Robert P. Switzer lives and writes in London, Ontario, Canada. His fiction has been published in Tales of the UnanticipatedOn SpecNeo-opsisAndromeda Spaceways, and Space & Time. Robert’s story “Vibrations of the Wishful Kind” appeared in Issue Forty-Two of Galaxy’s Edge.


Being friends was great, but being more than friends would be even better, and as Zoe watched Ange innocently lick her lips, she imagined a kiss, a hellishly good kiss, probably the most amazing kiss ever.

They were both almost through their third beer, which meant they would soon call it a night and head their separate ways. It was looking a lot like the other dozen times they’d gone out for drinks, except that tonight Zoe had decided to be honest.

“Hey,” she said. “I really enjoy spending time with you.”

Ange smiled. “I enjoy spending time with you too.”

The smile encouraged Zoe. “Sometimes I wonder what it would feel like to kiss you.”

Time seemed to slow right down, and Zoe had a chance to imagine ways Ange could respond. Maybe she would lean forward and say, “Come over here and find out.” Alternatively, maybe she would reach across the table and slap Zoe in the face. Other responses were no doubt possible, but for some reason Zoe was convinced it would be one of those two …


by Stephen Lawson

Stephen Lawson is a veteran of the Navy and of the Army National Guard. He lives in Louisville, Kentucky, with his wife. Stephen’s writing has appeared in Writers of the Future, Galaxy’s EdgeDaily Science Fiction, and several anthologies. He won the Jim Baen Memorial Short Story Award in 2018.


Alexander Northcott floated in space in his EVA suit. He’d watched his ship, the Arrow, disintegrate into nothing just minutes ago. Only he had survived—fortunate that he’d been doing hull repairs, but now doomed to die alone in the vacuum. The Arrow had been on an exploratory mission, far from any known inhabitable world, and well out of range of anyone who would hear a distress call.

He watched his oxygen reserve diminish—sixty percent, then forty, then twenty. He considered pulling off his helmet in the vacuum to speed the process, but he couldn’t bring himself to do it. Available oxygen gave way to carbon dioxide, and Alexander Northcott’s vision grew black at the edges. Soon, he was unconscious …


by Mike Resnick

Mike Resnick, along with editing the first seven years of Galaxy’s Edge magazine, was the winner of five Hugo Awards from a record thirty-seven nominations and was, according to Locus, the all-time leading award winner, living or dead, for short fiction. He was the author of over eighty novels, around 300 stories, three screenplays, and the editor of over forty anthologies. He was Guest of Honor at the 2012 Worldcon.


April 4:

What am I doing here?

We have no servants, we never go out, we never have company. The furniture is all decrepit and ugly, the place always smells musty, and although the rest of the village has electrical power, Victor refuses to run it up the hill to the castle. We read by candlelight and we heat with fireplaces.

This is not the future I had envisioned for myself.

Oh, I know, we made the usual bargain—he got my money and my body, and I got his title. I don’t know what I thought being the Baroness von Frankenstein would be like, but this isn’t it. I knew he owned a centuries-old castle with no improvements, but I didn’t think we’d live in it full-time.

Victor can be so annoying. He constantly whistles this tuneless song, and when I complain he apologizes and then starts humming it instead. He never stands up to that ill-mannered little hunchback that he’s always sending out on errands. And he’s a coward. He can never just come to me and say “I need money again.” Oh, no, not Victor. Instead he sends that ugly little toady who’s rude to me and always smells like he hasn’t washed …


by Monte Lin

While being rained on in Oregon, Monte Lin edits, writes, and plays tabletop roleplaying games. He has stories in Cossmass InfinitiesCast of WondersFlame Tree Press, Dark Matter, and Ignyte-nominated nonfiction at Strange Horizons. He is also Managing Editor of Uncanny Magazine and Staff Editor for Angry Hamster Press.


The Moon was bleeding again. Selene’s mother gestured to the crimson circle high in the sky, her silver chain in her hands, whispering a hurried prayer. Selene merely shrugged.

To Selene, the Moon had always bled, a carmine drop slowly forming every month underneath. People held a collective breath before each plump drop fell onto their world. And then she would hear rumors of an ichorthing rampaging through the land. Once, when she was small, Selene had wished aloud to see an ichorthing, and her mother clamped her hand on her arm and shook her, shouting, “Never say that! This is why we live out here. Let the ichorthings demolish those fools, collecting in the village like so much bait.” So now, Selene kept her wishes to herself …


by Lisa Short

Lisa Short is a Texas-born, Kansas-bred writer of fantasy, science fiction and horror. She currently lives in Maryland with her husband, youngest child, father-in-law, two cats and a puppy. Lisa is a member of SFWA and HWA and can be found online at and on Twitter and Instagram @Lisa_K_Short.


Miz Igwe kept Nolly late after class. Usually Nolly didn’t mind that, because Miz Igwe always had a lot of interesting things to say, but today it did bother her. She tried not to show it, though, smiling her best all through Miz Igwe’s speech about still haven’t heard back from your mama ’bout enrolling you in those special classes! til her cheeks were tight and sore.

Mama didn’t mind if Nolly took the special classes, not at all, but Mama wasn’t so good about returning people’s messages. As Nolly broke into a trot towards Halcyon Complex’s Main Terminal, she tried to fix it in her head to tell Mama to talk to Miz Igwe when she got home, but thoughts of Ivory kept intruding—Ivory, who had won that week’s class game for the first time ever, and the prize, too. There weren’t always prizes for winning one of the class games, and sometimes even when there were, the prizes were boring; Nolly had won enough of them herself to know all about that. But this one was Ivory’s prize, and Nolly had wanted to see it more than anything. Even then, she hadn’t managed it; the other kids had crowded too tight around Ivory, clamoring to see it themselves, and then Miz Igwe had held Nolly back when the end-of-class bell had rung …


by Stewart C Baker

Stewart C Baker is an academic librarian and author of speculative fiction and poetry, along with the occasional piece of interactive fiction. His fiction has appeared in NatureLightspeedand Galaxy’s Edge, among other places, and his poetry has appeared in FantasyAsimov’sand numerous haiku magazines. Stewart was born in England, has lived in South Carolina, Japan, and California, and now lives within the traditional homelands of the Luckiamute Band of Kalapuya in western Oregon, along with his family—although if anyone asks, he’ll usually say he’s from the Internet.


1. Dust ’em

“Listen, little lady,” the guy in front of the door is saying with a sneer. “There’s two types of swordsman …”

Chiyome’s already heard enough to peg his type, so she tunes out his braggadocio and pulls out a bag of nanite dust. She’d hoped to use her status as the Shingen warlord’s only child to bluff her way in to the Shadow Shogun’s presence, but the dust works too. She blows a handful in his face and he shrieks, drops his sword, then follows it to the floor, thrashing in the station’s artificial gravity.

Behind her, Rui whistles. “What’d you give him?” The other woman asks.

“You know how my father’s always talking about unsanctioned violence and other threats to order?”

“Sure, but I always figured he only says it because he’s the one doing the sanctioning. No offense.”

“None taken. The point is, every time this guy even thinks about violence for the next 4 hours, this will happen.”

“Not bad.”

“Not bad? It’ll take you longer to beat the next one with your naginata, I bet.”

“A bet, eh?” Rui cups Chiyome’s chin in one long, slender hand and tilts her head up. “Well and good, then. We’ll bet a favor.”

“A favor and a kiss.”


by Storm Humbert

Storm Humbert is a writer currently living in Michigan. He has an MFA from Temple University, where he studied with Samuel R. (Chip) Delany, Don Lee, and other awesome faculty. Storm has been published in Andromeda SpacewaysApexInterzone, and many anthologies, including Writers of the Future #36.


When Dibsy Parkin was twelve, walking home from school, she saw a turkey buzzard struggling in the ditch on the side of the road. It was struggling because I’d worked good and hard to get a piece of my body from the tomb in the woods out into the open, and that piece was lodged in the buzzard’s throat. Not many have gotten to smell a buzzard’s throat (and fewer still know that spirits can smell), but I was inclined to believe I was suffering more than the bird.

Dibsy rushed over, undaunted by the buzzard’s raised wings. It was too weak to hurt her, but she had no way to know that. Dibsy was good, and Dibsy was brave. Say what you want about her life choices, but she had that going for her.

She wrestled the bird’s mouth open, and there we came face-to-face for the first time. Well, face-to … sternum bone chip, let’s say. She went to work, but I’d been in there a while, and even though I’d already found a mark, I needed the bird to die. A lich can never absorb too much life energy. Plus, I could see it plain as death on her face—Dibsy cared about this bird. So, I kept my anchoring barbs in until the buzzard was beyond help, then I let Dibsy pry me free. Oh, anyone with a conscience might’ve cried if they’d heard her once I was out.

“Come on birdy,” she said. “Come on!”


by Marissa Tian

Marissa Tian is an Asian, first-generation immigrant. She works as a trader in the financial industry and writes in her free time for passion. Her work was a winner of Stories That Need to Be Told 2022 contest. She lives in Houston, TX with her husband and three fur babies.


The crickets and owl carrying on their nighttime dialogue outside and his wife’s breathing heavily in her dream next to him were Kang’s only company at midnight. He tossed and turned but couldn’t ease his mind.

Only two clay jars of rice were left. Would they last through the next harvest? Maybe he should plant more while it was still April … and add some cucumbers to the garden for pickling. They’d need much more food this year with their daughter growing up.

Kang stroked his wife’s long hair a few times and rolled gently out of bed, so the wooden bed wouldn’t squeak.

The room was roughly four times the size of their bed and contained all of their belongings—a loom, a wooden bucket, a three-foot-tall cabinet which double-functioned as a dining table, two stools, and a bamboo basket on the floor in the corner.

Kang tiptoed to the basket and squatted. His daughter was tucked in a blue blanket inside. Bright moonlight shone through the wooden window onto her smooth skin. Her eyes were closed to the world, and her tiny hands rested at her sides. In the corner of her lips, a thin line of drool dripped. Kang couldn’t help but smile. He reached out his hand to wipe it but stopped midway and pulled back. His hand was too rough for her skin …


by Fu Qiang, translation by Roy Gilham

Fu Qiang, a representative of the Chinese science fiction writers born in the 1980s, is a fan of science fiction, murder mysteries, and animation. He has a PhD in Physics from Beijing University, and his scientific research is currently focused on green energy and low-carbon management solutions. He has published the science fiction novels The Abyss of Time, Grab the Planet, and Her Secret, as well as a series of short novellas, The Loners’ Game.

This story recommended in this issue, “The Black Zone: Murder in the Locked Room,” was originally published in the 13th volume of the Chinese edition of Galaxy’s Edge. The detective partners Gao Yun and Fang Hui, however, made their first appearance in the Chinese edition’s very first volume, back in 2018. In this series of stories, this resourceful detective duo—with very different personalities—display a physicist’s understanding of advanced technology along with a deep love of science fiction, which has made them popular among readers.

Here, on a planet shielded within a black zone, in a forbidden region isolated from the outside world, what kind of cosmic mystery awaits to be solved?

Please enjoy.


Ai Er sat stiffly at the wooden table, shivering as the dry, cold wind blew in through the open window. If the deeds of this detective duo hadn’t been so legendary across the Internet, he wouldn’t have journeyed to such a remote asteroid to ask for help. He never imagined the famous detectives would work out of this nondescript wooden house. Looking at the room’s shabby furnishings, he wondered how they survived the winter here.

Gao Yun, a stout, muscular man with scars on his face and upper arms, was busy at the coffee machine. Ai Er guessed he was from military background. But it was the woman staring at him across the round table that made him uncomfortable, the greed in her eyes at odds with her beautiful face. Looking at Fang Hui, Ai Er felt less like a client, and more like a fat sheep thrown to the wolves.

There was a rumbling sound outside the window, and a blast of hot air rippled the curtains. Ai Er gazed out of the window. His company’s large spaceship had set sail, climbing into the sky at a slow, steady acceleration. He cleared his throat …


Follow Arc Manor Books at:
Twitter / Facebook / Instagram

AI in Science Fiction: The X Files Season 1, Ep. 7

I’ve been rewatching The X Files season 1 lately, and I’ve been politely surprised by how good the first few episodes are. Episode 3, Squeeze, is a particular favorite of mine.

But one of the other early episodes in season one made me think about the state of AI in science fiction. More specifically, how our perceptions of artificial intelligence have changed since The X Files season 1 aired in 1993.

Artificial Intelligence in The X Files

The X Files season 1, episode 7, “Ghost in the Machine” presents the main villain as an evil AI that has full control over an office building.

The Central Operating System (COS) has the ability to monitor video surveillance, overhear incoming and outgoing phone calls, analyze digital documents, and control power to the Eurisko building.

When the COS learns that the president of Eurisko is going to cut the program that supports the COS product line, the AI locks the president in the bathroom and electrocutes him to death.

Enter Mulder and Scully. The investigation commences, and the COS kills an FBI agent by smashing him in an elevator shaft.

Eventually, the COS is defeated when Mulder infects it with a virus that Brad Wilczek, the original creator of the AI, gave him.

“Ghost in the Machine” Origins

“Ghost in the Machine” is named after the 1967 book by Arthur Koestler, a popular philosopher and political activist. The book wrestles with the duality of the mind-body relationship, none of which really appears in The X Files episode.

The title might also be seen as a spoof off the cyberpunk anime and manga Ghost in the Shell, first serialized in 1989. And the Central Operating System villain in The X-Files, is reminiscent of HAL from 2001: A Space Odyssey.

That being said, the episode isn’t that bad. It still has the clever banter between Mulder and Scully, it has a particular style that makes it entertaining. The Guardian listed it as one of The X Files best episodes, which, as far as I’m concerned, isn’t really accurate, but to each their own.

the x files season 1
The X Files season 1, episode 7,
image from BBC America

No Deviation on a Theme

It is, however, very clear that the writers had a limited grasp of computer technology and artificial intelligence. When you compare “Ghost in the Machine” to other computer-centric literature of the times, it just doesn’t stack up, and even plays off the cliches that so many other writers try to avoid.

Neuromancer, William Gibson’s 1985 dive into cyberpunk, popularized artificial intelligence, both as positive and negative forces in the sci-fi genre. Max Headroom also brought AI into the limelight, with the film Max Headroom: 20 Minutes into the Future (1985).

The predecessors, the giants in the genre, set down a pretty solid base for experimentation with artificial intelligence. However, the writers for “Ghost in the Machine”, seemed to strip the theme down to it’s basest of forms, preying on the fear of hyper-intelligent computers.

It’s no secret that the writers were out of their element, Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa admitted they were not “computer literate” and were disappointed by the final product.

 “Ghost” doesn’t make any mention of the Turing test—the test designed to determine if an artificial intelligence has reached levels of sentient, human-consciousness—and you’d think Mulder would know about the test. And to mention AI and not the Turing test just felt incongruent to me.

Not to mention the fact the COS speaks impending doom with its synthesized voice; as a 2021-viewer, it just seemed like a thing of the past. I’m not ignoring the fact that the show aired in 1993, I’m only saying that even for it’s time, “Ghost” was a bit behind the advance of science, and science fiction.

The one part that did stick out to me about the episode was the government’s intense desire to get their hands on the COS. The Department of Defense does all in its power to control the AI and use it as a weapon, which fits right in with the whole jist of The X files season 1.

The show, particularly in the early seasons, is all about how the government is using very advanced technology – most of it from aliens—to build bigger, better war machines. So “Ghost” fits in to that theme pretty succinctly.

The Redemption Arc

This episode was supposed to be one rooted in science, but it came off kind of bland and fell upon the cliché of fanciful hackers. The way Mulder stops the COS is with a virus that overrides the screen with a flood of numbers in bright green color.

Anyone who knows even a bit about computers knows that’s not how it works.

And the writers knew that. They knew that their lack of computer savvy impacted the storytelling in the episode, so years later, in season 5 of The X Files, they attempt a computer/AI show again.

Except this time, they employed the tech genius of William Gibson and Tom Maddox. The episode is called “Kill Switch” and focuses on artificial intelligence and virtual reality.

I will say that “Kill Switch” is much better than “Ghost” in terms of believability. Perhaps down the line we’ll do an in-depth comparison of the two episodes.

For now, I’m content with saying that even though some critics raved for “Ghost”, it only goes to show you how computer literate the media was in 1993. And that wasn’t very.

But, the positive reviews for “Kill Switch” affirm that artificial intelligence in science fiction can always be done right, and will continue to intrigue viewers.

If you liked this article, check out some of our other blog posts about popular science fiction television!

Latest GALAXY’S EDGE issue highlights

Issue32CoverRGB400PXOver at the Galaxy’s Edge website, issue #32 has been released this month. Here are some highlights:

If it is an interview with an award-winning author you are after…


Joy Ward is the author of one novel. She has several stories in print, in magazines and in anthologies, and has also conducted interviews, both written and video, for other publications.

Catherine Asaro is the author of numerous award-winning science fiction and fantasy works. She holds a doctorate in chemical physics and directs the Chesapeake Math Program. It might be easier to list the awards she has not won than those she has won. Dr. Asaro has served twice as president of SFWA. She was a jazz and ballet dancer and is still a musician.

Joy Ward: How did you get into writing science fiction?

Catherine Asaro: When I was a kid I used to make up stories. When I was really little they were about this sort of nebulous girl who was, when I was five, she was seven, and she’d go out and save the galaxy. I didn’t know I was making up stories. I thought everybody did this. I would daydream.

Then I found science fiction. Space Cat was my first set of science fiction stories. I thought this was just cool, the idea of these kids going to the moon or this cat going with this astronaut to Venus and so I started reading science fiction voluminously.

I had a brother and a father who liked it so I’d steal their books—until my father found out I was stealing books with sex scenes. Then the books all disappeared. I didn’t quite get them (the sex scenes). But I just loved the science fiction, and I always made up stories. I didn’t know at first why many of the books didn’t quite work for me. All I knew is that when I made up stories, the central character, and I didn’t think about it for many years, but she was always a girl.

Around the time I was twelve or thirteen, I started making the connection. There are no girls that play substantial roles in these books. Even when they are, they’re usually there to support a male character. It wasn’t that I was making some great statement by stopping reading. I just kind of lost interest. I couldn’t find books that spoke to me since I was becoming a teenager and I’d figured out that boys were different than girls, in very interesting ways, ways I wanted to explore more. The books didn’t really speak to me, but I did keep making up the stories in my mind. I never made the connection with that and the fact that I was making up stories about very strong female characters who ruled civilizations and went out on adventures until the boy next door—actually it was the boy across the street. We were down in the park, you know, doing that sort of flirting thing that teenagers—thirteen, fourteen year olds—do. He said, “Tell me your stories.” So I started telling some and he listened, and he goes, “Well that’s cool.” Then he said, “But how come all the main characters are girls?” Until that point I hadn’t made the connection. Then I thought, well should I make main characters the guys? I thought, well sure yeah, but then I thought I don’t have to do it; it’s my stories. But I did. I mean it wasn’t on purpose. The guys are in there, the romantic interest. So the cats got replaced with handsome young pirates….

To read the rest of the interview go to the website, but if it is a column about science fiction you are after, here is an excerpt out Robert J. Sawyer’s latest offering for Galaxy’s Edge #32…


Robert J. Sawyer is the Hugo, Nebula, Campbell Memorial, Heinlein, Hal Clement, Skylark, Aurora, and Seiun Award–winning author of twenty-three bestselling science-fiction novels, including the trilogy of Hominids, Humans, and Hybrids, which won Canada’s Aurora Award for the Best Work of the Decade. Rob holds two honorary doctorates and is a Member of the Order of Canada, the highest civilian honor bestowed by the Canadian government. Find him online at

One of my proudest moments came at the Toronto Public Library’s Book Lover’s Ball in 2007. The conclusion of that fundraising banquet was the presentation to me of the annual Toronto Public Library Celebrates Reading Award—and yes, I was happy to receive this honor, but my pride was not in the trophy but rather in the zinger I was able to deliver as it was about to be handed to me.

See, it was incumbent upon the previous year’s winner to present the award to the new recipient, and the year before the winner had been none other than Margaret Atwood. In bestowing the award, Margaret concluded her comments with “…and I’d just like to say how pleased I am to be seeing this go to a science-fiction writer.”

To which I immediately responded, “And Margaret, I’d just like to say how pleased I am to be getting this from a science-fiction writer.” My quip brought the house down.

Then and now, Atwood was most famous for her 1985 novel The Handmaid’s Tale, the story of a future America in which a far-right Christian group has seized power and is subjugating women. But Margaret had always denied publicly that her book was science fiction. In fact, there was an old TV interview between her and her publisher, the late great Jack McClelland, on this very point, with them both agreeing at once that referring to her then-forthcoming novel as SF would have been marketing suicide.

Fair enough. Michael Crichton’s publisher had earlier made the same decision, and that had propelled him out of the SF sales ghetto onto bestsellers’ lists worldwide; I don’t begrudge anyone their marketing strategies in this parlous business of books. (Still, the world knew better: The Handmaid’s Tale was nominated for the Science Fiction Writers of America’s Nebula Award and won the first-ever Arthur C. Clarke Award from the British Science Fiction Association.)

But soon Atwood went beyond merely denying her work was science fiction to dumping on the science-fiction genre as a whole—and that I could not abide. On the BBC One TV program Breakfast News, Margaret dismissed SF as merely “talking squids in outer space.” (One of these days, I really must ask Ted Chiang if the talking squids from outer space that feature in his 1998 Nebula Award–winning novella “Story of Your Life,” later filmed as Arrival, were a gentle rebuke of Ms. Atwood.)

I knew that Margaret knew better. She’d been a customer at Toronto’s Bakka Books, now the world’s oldest extant science-fiction specialty bookstore, when I was a clerk there in 1982; I regret not having saved the carbon paper with her autograph from the credit-card slip she signed when I sold her a book…

To read the rest of this column, go to the website, or continue on to read some book reviews appearing in the latest issue…


Jody Lynn Nye is the author of forty novels and more than one hundred stories, and has at various times collaborated with Anne McCaffrey and Robert Asprin. Her husband, Bill Fawcett, is a prolific author, editor and packager, and is also active in the gaming field.

Though Hell Should Bar the Way
by David Drake
Baen Books
April 2018
ISBN-13: 978-1481483131

David Drake’s RCN books featuring Captain Leary have been a top-selling series for years. The Republic of Cinnabar Navy universe is one of star empires and full of shifting alliances and cutthroat espionage. David Drake has commented that it is modelled on the period between the two Punic Wars between Rome and Carthage. Interestingly, both heroes serve in the navy of a mercantile oligarchy similar to Carthage. Which is not as dark as it sounds since his characters are unaware of their historical precedent. It is not beyond Mr. Drake to find a way for the merchant princes to win this time.

What makes Though Hell Should Bar the Way noteworthy is not only the writing and great story, but—and this is something rare in our era of twelve-book trilogies and never-ending series—it’s the first book of a new series set in the same RCN universe. It introduces a new character, Roy Olfetrie, who becomes a member of Leary’s crew and then things happen to him, lots of things, mostly very unpleasant.

The book focuses on this new character. Olfetrie was a cadet but had to quit when his father is discovered to have been stealing massively from navy contracts. When the book opens, Olfetrie is struggling at an unskilled job at a shipyard. He is provoked into decking the obnoxious son-in-law of the owner. Fortunately he does this in front of several of Leary’s crew, who are impressed by his guts, and soon finds himself as the captain’s third officer on a ship carrying a diplomatic delegation to a minor star empire.

Roy finds himself approached to become a spy. He is shanghaied, then enslaved, but through nerve and a bit of financial cunning soon changes not only his situation, but an entire planet’s future. Along with Drake’s typically great action, gritty realism, and well-drawn characterizations, you also see more of a fascinating universe from a new perspective.

Whether you have read the rest of the RCN novels or not, this book is a quick, fun read. If you are new to the series, this is a great place to start, knowing that there are half a dozen more good books set in the same worlds already available.

Once it starts rolling, you cannot put Though Hell Should Bar the Way down. In other words, it’s exactly what we expect from any military science-fiction novel by such a master of the field. Highly recommended for hard SF readers, action junkies, military SF fans and those who enjoy a multi-world jaunt fraught with betrayal, heroism, and desperation.

by Michael David Ares
TOR Books
March 2018
ISBN-13: 978-1250064806

If you are a fan of Dashiell Hammett’s Sam Spade, this is a book you will really enjoy. A police detective is on the hunt for a serial killer across a dystopian New York City that is facing its first real sunny day in forty years. The concept was obviously inspired by the exact opposite situation in the classic Isaac Asimov story Nightfall. But here, due to an atomic war in Asia complicated by massive global warming, the sun has been obscured for decades over much of the Northern Hemisphere. A somewhat shrunken Atlantic Ocean has flooded half the borough, and Manhattan is in the middle of political and social unrest with a serial killer enhancing the near panic any change, even a return to sunlight days, often brings. The mystery works, the main character is very human while still being as hard-edged and determined as any pulp detective. If you will enjoy an urban murder mystery, cutthroat politicians, and the seamy underside of a dystopian New York City, don’t miss Dayfall.

by Kristen Simmons
TOR Teen
March 2018
ISBN-13: 978-0765336637

This dystopian story is one of the best and most colorfully drawn dark futures out there. More importantly, the book does not preach but simply uses the setting as the basis of a really well told action story with suitable doses of both romance and coming-of-age troubles and angst.

With a dramatic increase in carbon dioxide the oceans have risen not a few feet, but hundreds. All that remains of California are mountain-top islands. Humanity has been driven up the sides of the Rocky Mountains. Thousands huddle at the base of the last real city, mostly facing starvation and oppression on the shores of an enlarged Pacific Ocean wracked by massive storms.

Ron Torres is the sheltered son of the charismatic president of this last city. He and the elite live opulent lives. Ron and a friend, who is the token underprivileged student at his private school, decide to sneak out and see one of the almost daily riots. Neither youth is ready for either the sheer hopelessness of the poorer areas or the dangers of the reality of desperate people rioting and police putting them down using extreme force. The friends are separated, and Ron finds himself imprisoned by mistake, then fleeing with a fellow prisoner, the street- and ocean-savvy Marin. It soon turns out that Marin was the daughter and is now sister of a pirate leader whose base is an island that is really a gigantic floating aggregation of plastics and waste. The young protagonists fall into a series of adventures, betrayals, romance, and sea-faring saga all involving with a plot to relocate the poor to an island paradise that does not really exist.

One of the strengths of this book is the excellent portrayal of the emotions of the characters. The resentment of the oppressed and their desperation, the courage of the young heroes, and the greed and arrogance of those who just want to get rid of the annoying masses are an integral part of this very dark dystopia. This is a very readable cultural and high-seas adventure.

Chasing Shadows: Visions of Our Coming Transparent World
Edited by David Brin and Stephen W. Potts
TOR Books
January 2017
ISBN-13: 978-0765382580

The subtitle of this anthology is “Visions of Our Coming Transparent World.” All the stories relate to communication and human interaction as modified by technology, and privacy. There are over thirty stories by many of the top writers in SF. Each is categorized under such sections as Big Brother, Surveillance, No Place to Hide, and Lies and Private Lies. Some of the stories and short essays included were written from as far back as the 60s, though more than half of the stories are new.

In a way, it was hard to review this anthology. The usual approach doesn’t apply. At the risk of frightening off readers, I have to say that this is a collection of stories that has something important to say about an issue that is vitally important to your world today, not something you can very often say about a SF anthology. Each story in each topic shows how SF authors have been concerned about the questions of privacy, control of one’s own data or even oneself, and the consequences of technology that will affect the coming decades. More importantly this rather large anthology is brimming with excellent, well-written and sometimes frightening or uncomfortable stories.

Normally you pick out a few outstanding entries that justify the collection. But who to pick from this one is a problem. There are classics such as William Gibson’s “The Road to Oceana,” emotionally evocative classics such as Damon Knight’s “I See You,” and Robert Silverberg’s “The Invisible Man.” There are stories with an open warning such as Jack McDevitt’s “Your Lying Eyes” or David Brin’s “Insistence of Vision.” (You will never look at Apple glasses the same way again after reading David’s story.) The original stories in the volume are of equal quality and impact. There is no way to avoid one cliché phrase when describing these stories: thought provoking. Read this just after signing off from Google, or looking up someone on Facebook…

To read another four book reviews, or the short stories featured in this issue, go to the website. Here is the table of contents for GALAXY’S EDGE #32:


POLL: What is your favorite Superhero movie?

With the recent successes of solo superhero movies like Wonder Woman and Black Panther, the soon-to-be Box Office hit Deadpool 2, and the ongoing popularity of the ensemble hero movies The Guardians of the Galaxy and The Avengers, it is not surprising to discover Marvel and DC Comics are turning as many of their comics into movies as they can, in the coming years.

One of the reasons these movies are so successful is due to the experience that we–the normal muggles of the world–feel like we’re being let in on the secret lives of the superheros we dreamed of being when we were children. The sense of wonder these films evoke is just as thrilling as the exciting action scenes and amazing special effects.

But is there such a thing as too many superhero movies? With at least two movies coming out every year–Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War and Deadpool 2 have released this year alone, and it is only May!–will the superheros lose their shine? Generation X has already been alive for three re-imaginings of Superman, Batman and Spiderman,with all new actors portraying the lead roles each time they bring out a new version. How many times can we see an origin movie of Superman (even if the sets and actors and aesthetic is different), before we our jaw drops, not in a sense of wonderment, but to yawn?

One thing is certain, superhero movies have outlasted many other popular sf/fantasy fiction sub-genres of the last few decades. It is safe to say the separate, but somewhat overlapping, Vampire and Zombie-centric books, movies and TV shows are waning in popularity now–but they were the biggest hit five years ago. Somehow Superhero movies have only gotten more popular.

It makes me wonder if in a day and age of so much stress, terrorist attacks, political disappointments and personal loss, that we all find comfort in the thought that there could be someone, some hero, out there that could rescue us all.

The only thing left to wonder is, what is your favorite superhero movie? (Fill out the poll below!)

[polldaddy poll=9992736]

Poll: Star Trek Discovery First Season

The first season of new CBS television series Star Trek Discovery just came to a close. And whether you in the camp who dislike CBS restricting access to the show by only making it available to their “All Access” pay viewers, or not, for those who watched it the last closing moments of the first season were seen as a great capper to a season that might have had a rocky start, but is now in ascendance. Without giving away spoilers (some of our readers have not been able to view the episode yet) the ending was also seen as a great nod to Gene Roddenberry’s original creation, building excitement for what is to come for the second season.

Which makes us wonder…. So much of the conversation this season centered around whether the show was Star Trek enough. Well, obviously it is Star Trek by license. What we mean to say is how authentic to the canon and original Roddenberry vision was Discovery‘s portrayal? How successful was it in both standing on its own and staying true to its origins?

Based on the conversation we have read online, the answer varies greatly, and invariably leads to a discussion about all the Star Trek series, and how successful they were at various stages of their original showing. We decided to do a poll to gauge our readers mileage (or should that be warpage?) on the level of impact Discovery had in its first season. We look forward (as Roddenberry literally did) to seeing the results!

[polldaddy poll=9937650]

Read an insightful GALAXY’S EDGE interview with Nancy Kress!

Tomorrows-KinNancy Kress is one of science fiction’s crown jewels. She is a writer of powerful science fiction, having won Hugos and Nebulas. She also is known as a talented writing teacher.

September’s issue of sf and fantasy magazine Galaxy’s Edge has an insightful interview by the wildly talented author. To read her own personal thoughts on her career (and to access the full interview) you can click the magazine link to see the many options available for buying this wonderful 28th issue.

To whet your appetite here is an exclusive excerpt:

Joy Ward: How did you get started writing?

Nancy Kress: By accident. I had never planned on being a writer. When I was a child, I thought all writers were dead because the writers I was reading were Louisa May Alcott. I really did not realize that writing was a commodity that was still being produced. I thought it was like oil, there was a finite amount of it.

Then I discovered that there were actual writers living and this completely shocked me, but I come from a very conservative Italian-American family, and I grew up in the 1950s. So my mother sat me down when I was 12 and said, “Do you want to be a teacher, a nurse, or a secretary?” Because those were the only possible things she could think of, and I thought it over and I said, “Okay, I’ll be a teacher.” So I became a fourth grade teacher, and I was for four years. I enjoyed it. Then I got married and had my children. I was pregnant with my second child. We lived way out in the country. There were no other women at home. They were all older and had gone back to work. My then husband took our only car to work, and he was taking an MBA, so he often didn’t come home for dinner; he stayed for classes. I was there with my one-year-old- 18-month-year-old, very difficult pregnancy, and I was going nuts.

I started writing to have something to do that didn’t involve Sesame Street, and I didn’t take it seriously. It was a thing I was doing while the baby was napping, to try to have something of my own. I would send them out. They’d come back. I’d send them out they’d come back. After a year, one sold. After another year, a second one. After another year a third one sold, then it started to pick up and I began to take it more seriously, but I didn’t plan on doing this.

I remember (selling the first story) very well. It was to Galaxy, which is a magazine long-defunct. What I didn’t know is that everybody else had stopped submitting to Galaxy because it was trembling on the verge of bankruptcy. I had no connection with fandom. I didn’t know it existed, I didn’t know SFWA existed. I didn’t know conventions existed. When I first sold it, it turned out that nobody else was submitting anything, and they were desperate. So they published my story immediately then it  went bankrupt. It took me three years to get my $105. I wanted it, and I kept writing and I’d say, “This is my first sale. I want my $105.” And for that eventually I think he had pity and he sent me the check.

I did it. I did that was what goes through my mind. Three words, “I did it.” I didn’t think I could, but I did it.

To read more go to Galaxy’s Edge for options on purchasing issue 28!


Poll: If Earth were dying, would you stay or would you go?

I’m going to play Devil’s Advocate here. There are many people willing to raise their hands up when NASA asks, “Who wants to be one of the first 100 colonists of Mars?”, even knowing that means they are leaving all their loved ones behind, to go on what would certainly be very risky–possibly one way–trip to the red planet. When NASA introduced us to their newest Astronaut trainees last week, they all were emphatic when asked by a reporter if they would go, if asked.

But what if you were to find out that Earth was dying, in some irrevocable way that would most probably destroy the entire solar system. Would you be just as eager to be one of the very few people who could get on humanity’s Noah’s Arc, the only Starship leaving the solar system, in the hopes of finding a new world, knowing there was only a slim chance of success?

Or would you prefer to spend your last moments on Earth with loved ones, knowing you will certainly die, but being able to have the most time possible with friends and family before the end?

With either option, you lose your family, you lose your friends, regardless of what choice you make. Their lives are destined to become ashes in a destroyed Solar System. But you, you could have a chance to help humanity start anew in another star system, on another world. Is it worth the seemingly selfish choice to leave everyone else you love behind, to have the chance to start a new life, and ultimate a new family?

Humanity might technically survive with that second option, but will we lose our ability to be humane–something integral to our species’ identity.

[polldaddy poll=9766638]

Who is the most Wonder-ful Woman of all?

With Wonder Woman (and the movie’s amazing lead, Gal Gadot) taking the world by storm, many a conversation has been surrounding how empowering it is to have a strong female protagonist presented as the main hero in a movie production, as well as it being the first comic-book-series-turned-to-movie helmed by a female director, Patty Jenkins. Whether you think the movie lives up to the hype or not, the most important factor to take home about the buzz created around this movie is how really important it is to girls and women to have strong female role models represented in a field once dominated by male protagonists.

We created this poll to find out who are the science fiction and fantasy women that inspire you. Not only can you select more than one answer out of the options, but you can add your own, too, if you thought our list was lacking. We’d love to hear from you!

[polldaddy poll=9761942]