Clarkesworld Magazine Issue 19
The world of Fade to White presents us with an alternate history—a quite believable alternate history in which the United States falls into a dystopia of McCarthyism and the Cold War is anything but. In addition, leave it to her to create a dystopian from a time where its formation would be much more believable than today—a time that was riddled with fear, and loss was known in countless households.
Fade to White follows the story of this nation through the eyes of two youths coming to an age where they will do their good and Christian duties to serve their country as their country sees fit. Sylvie, who is able to recognize the pointlessness and cruelty of it all—the need for deception and lack of meaning; Martin who dreams of being a Husband and fulfilling the greatest roll of man—to be husband and father to his family.
Original review posted at Bunbury in the Stacks. View all 5 comments. Aug 15, Ben Babcock rated it liked it Shelves: ebook , hugo-nominee , science-fiction , read , alternate-history , utopia-dystopia. You have much more room in which to create a world than a short story, where a glimpse at the larger picture is often all that you can afford. On the other hand, unlike a novel, there is no requirement to have a lengthy plot. She uses the length of the novelette to delve in and out of different parts of this world, even as she constructs a simple plot about coming of age after the apocalypse.
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This is a country recovering from the aftermath of nuclear warfare. McCarthy is in the White House. With much of the population infertile, those who can reproduce are valued for this act, elevated to the role of Mother and Father. Since fertile men are in much smaller supply than women, each Father has four households that he visits in a weekly rotation.
Sterile men and women become civil servants, imbibing by order of the state a drug that suppresses their sex drives and makes them happy with their lot in life. The underlying irony of this story is simple: America won the war, presumably, only to turn into the very type of paternalistic, fascist state that they were fighting against. Mutually assured destruction was not so mutual, but it was definitely assured, and now the survivors are trying to pick up the pieces.
Valente handles the horror of this world with a light touch, guiding us towards the realization of what has happened but not actively preaching against it. I found this to be a very effective and satisfying way of handling the story. It reminds me of something that an author out of previous generations, someone like Bradbury, might have written.
It has that same concern with using science-fiction to depict what society could become, if certain excesses occur. And it has the same dour tone mixed with a kind of dark but situational humour. View 1 comment. Sep 16, Graham rated it really liked it. This is the first copy of Clarkesworld I have read and I must say that it shows all of the other speculative fiction monthly magazines a clean pair of heels. I have been reading Analog and Asimov for many years. Recently I've felt that they have become a little formulaic. I found Clarkesworld from a recommendation on the podcast "The Starship Sofa" if you like sci-fi and have not heard this podcast - what are you doing!
The thing I particularly like is the verity of stories a This is the first copy of Clarkesworld I have read and I must say that it shows all of the other speculative fiction monthly magazines a clean pair of heels.
The thing I particularly like is the verity of stories and the way the Editor looks for quality stories rather than what is the current fashion. One of my big gripes with Analog is that it was not challenging me, giving me what I like rather than pushing me towards new things. The non fiction stuff is also excellent. The interview with Mieville is very well done. Some great questions which draws out a lot of interesting stuff on Mieville's writing process.
I might have said this before, but the subscription service through the Kindle is exceptional. I just set it up and the moment the next issue arrives it is delivered to my device - Magic! The Clarkesworld people seem to like the system as well. This makes me happy, as I feel the path between my money and the creative people is as short as possible.
There is no publishing, marketing, distributor, agent or other company creaming off my subscription. It may not be strictly true as I am sure that Amazon take a cut but I'm sure more of my money gets to the "starving artist" than if I had bought the physical product from a book shop. Jan 24, Catherine rated it really liked it Shelves: short-story , sci-fi-fan , dystopia.
Catherynne Valente could write for the back of cereal boxes and I'd read them; luckily she writes tremendous stories instead, and I get to read them and soak up her words for a little while. It put me in the mind of Atwood's The Handmaid Tale but instead of an unknown future date FTW occurs during the reign of McCarthy and the problem with fertility leads squarely at the feet of th Catherynne Valente could write for the back of cereal boxes and I'd read them; luckily she writes tremendous stories instead, and I get to read them and soak up her words for a little while.
It put me in the mind of Atwood's The Handmaid Tale but instead of an unknown future date FTW occurs during the reign of McCarthy and the problem with fertility leads squarely at the feet of the boys. There was a nice twist at the end view spoiler [ that Martin is the "Stone" being left comments in the scripts for the creepy adverts and that Sylvia and Martin share the same Father hide spoiler ] but fair warning, this is a dark short story.
Look for happy endings elsewhere. Jul 07, Jenny Reading Envy rated it really liked it Shelves: short-stories , post-apocalypse-and-dystopia , read , hugo-winners-or-nominees , sci-fi-fantasy. A short story in list form, or maybe little vignettes, of all the ways a mantis might kill its mate. I don't know how to evaluate this story, as itself, or compared to Valente's other works? Put up against her other works, I miss the emotional, intimate, beautiful langua A short story in list form, or maybe little vignettes, of all the ways a mantis might kill its mate.
Put up against her other works, I miss the emotional, intimate, beautiful language. The story itself is Or maybe I just personally can't connect to a story about reproduction. Either way, and I can't believe the blasphemy of my statement, this won't be my pick to win this year. Jul 19, John Wiswell rated it it was amazing. Full disclosure: I didn't buy this story; it was part of the Hugo voting packet.
Summary Bibliography: Neil Clarke
It's terribly short and utterly worth a shot, being a description about either a culture of mantises or mantis-like beings. It's a study in very grimly comical misandry, about all the ways that cruel female mantis-wives slay their witless and perhaps suicidal mantis-husbands. Its perspective refuses to consider why the mantis-husbands consent to death over and over, giving the sense of a culture of systemic violence Full disclosure: I didn't buy this story; it was part of the Hugo voting packet.
Its perspective refuses to consider why the mantis-husbands consent to death over and over, giving the sense of a culture of systemic violence or a biological imperative. It's dark, but is so bald about its violence, especially with its elaborate titles and lists of executions, that it can't help being comical.
I was tickled by it. Shelves: sci-fi , fantasy , non-fiction , magazines. There were two wonderful non-fiction pieces here - I enjoyed the Mieville interview in which he talked about his personal writing process, and the piece about Plausibility and Truth by Daniel Abraham aka James S.
Intriguing fiction stories as well - nothing amazing, but all had some unusual approaches to their subject matter which would probably be of interest to any writer. I particularly enjoyed the dark contemporary fantasy story "Honey Bear". This is an issue worth re-reading. Jun 09, Stephanie Franklin rated it really liked it Shelves: new-read , hugo. It's a very strange "story," and a little esoteric for my taste. Merged review: An interesting take on a dystopia, though I was left a little confused by when this was supposed to take place. I liked having the ad copy in between the sections of narrative, since that gave some good color to the world.
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Feb 23, Emy rated it it was amazing Shelves: format-pocket-evernote , Fade to White One word for this story - haunting. This is another short where I feel driven to know more about the people and the world a war torn, alternate s America. Jun 07, Tanya Spackman rated it it was amazing Shelves: sci-fi-fantasy , hugo-nebula-nominee. Loved it. A snapshot of a fascinating post-apocalyptic world. I want to spend more time in this world. Sep 20, David rated it really liked it Shelves: read-in , science-fiction , z-catherynne-m-valente , nuclear-war , by-women , might-read , favorite-author , alternate-history , ebook-only , short-story.
I read only the Catherynne M. Valente story. It would make an excellent novel. SF The narrator suffers a near-fatal car accident, but new technology lets him be productive again. Near-Future SF Elspeth offers body mods from traditional tattoos all the way to high-tech things with active programming. A mystery girl with special requests turns her world upside down.
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Prasetyo Plastics by D. Hard SF In which the end of the world is brought to you by plastics. Post-Human Jin is a mercenary hired to protect archeologists investigating an ancient ship built by the extinct human race. Real Ghosts by J. SF Adventure Riva vows to find the spirit of his dead father, lost in space somewhere, and lay him to rest on their home planet with the gods of their ancestors. Far-Future SF An uplifted octopus finds a mysterious capsule in the water and wonders if one of the long-vanished humans might be inside it.
SF Liaison Rulii must travel into a war zone to find a missing human linguist whom his king wants to meet in just three days. Post-Apocalypse Alois wants to go back to the university—not spend the rest of his life guarding an old bridge.
Clarkesworld Magazine - Science Fiction & Fantasy
Even if it does talk to him about the world before the collapse. SF Horror As Nigredo, discovered observing, flees from a torture chamber, we learn about girls who were sold to men who tortured them to death.
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