I was familiar to Fantasy & Science Fiction Magazine, but I never had the chance to read a full issue. When the editors of the magazine offered the reviewers the opportunity to get a free issue I didn't hesitate and I don't regret my decision.
"Fullbrim's Finding" by Matthew Hughes - The novelette opens the July 2008 issue and it's about a detective that is hired to find a missing person, Doldan Fullbrim, a seeker of substance. The investigation leads the detective to a far-away planet and in a cave where the seekers find their answers, even though those answers aren't exactly what they're looking for. I liked this story and I also liked the idea with God's helper.
"Books to Look For" by Charles de Lint - Charles de Lint reviews two interesting novels in his article, "Duma Key" by Stephen King and "Jack: Secret Histories" by F. Paul Wilson.
"Books" by James Sallis - In a different approach, but reviews none of the less, we find presented "The New Weird", the anthology edited by Ann & Jeff VanderMeer, and "The Dragons of Babel" by Michael Swanwick.
"Reader's Guide" by Lisa Goldstein - The portagonist of this story is a Shelver in a fantastic library. The main job is to shelve books, already written and not yet written. The library has books with every possible ending of the existing stories. I liked the idea of the story and I imagined some different endings for my favorite stories after I finished reading it.
"The Roberts" by Michael Blumlein - This novella is the center piece of this issue. Robert Fairchild needs women in his life to progress. In school he manages to find his calling after meeting his first love, Claire, and so he becomes an architect. When he's love for work affects the relationship with Claire, she leaves him. He is unable to make new projects until he meets Felicity, but inspired by her he throws himself again in work and she leaves him too. After a period of inactivity caused by the miss of a muse in his life, Robert is having made a manufactured woman that can't be hurt by him. When the work affects his relationship again, he and Grace make duplicates of him to take his place while he is absent. And from here you get the complication and the conflicts. Well, I didn't enjoy this story too much, mainly because I find it a little too long and too slow.
"Plumage from Pegasus: Galley Knaves" by Paul Di Filippo - This article is about the innovative methods that publishing houses choose for sending ARCs to reviewers and make the book reach the top of their reading pile. The article made me laugh and I was thinking if this method applied by the crime fiction publishers will inspire the fantasy, Sci-Fi and horror publishers the outcome would be one to remember forever.
"Enfant Terrible" by Scott Dalrymple - In this short story a man is searching for a parasite that feeds with neural energy. What I found interesting is that the story is told in the second person and that gives a sense of involvement to the reader.
"Films: Superpowers Do Not a Superhero Make" by Kathi Maio - Is an excellent review of the movie "Jumper" compared with the book it was based on. And I think it's not the first ecranization that doesn't follow the book exactly.
"Poison Victory" by Albert E. Cowdrey - This novelette is my favorite of this issue. It's an alternate history in which the Nazis win the battle of Stalingrad and the War World II. The main character is a war hero and a landowner in Führerburg, the new name of Stalingrad, but he reconsiders the war and its outcome. I know that this subject isn't new, but I always liked alternate history and I enjoy seeing what the authors make of this. I enjoyed this story a lot because it has some very interesting ideas and it's well written.
"The Dinosaur Train" by James L. Cambias - This story doesn't get much action. Basically is about a circus that displays dinosaurs and the story of a boy that takes care of them. When the star of the show fells ill, he must overcome his grandfather's conservatorism to heal her.
Overall the July 2008 issue of Fantasy & Science Fiction was a pretty entertaining read, with two stories I really liked "Poison Victory" and "Reader's Guide", another one close behind, "Fullbrim's Finding" and an article that was pretty funny, "Plumage from Pegasus".