Beneath Ceaseless Skies, #55

Beneath Ceaseless Skies is an online magazine featuring literary fantasy. They publish stories that offer engaging adventure fantasy in “vivid secondary worlds, written with a literary flair.” This pro-rate magazine typically releases two stories per issue and two issues a month. The format provides a continuous variety of fiction for eager fans without overwhelming the casual subscriber.
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Posted in December 2010, November 2010 | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

A brief introduction to Hungarian science fiction and fantasy

Hungary is a small country in the middle of Europe, with a population of ten million and a language that has its closest relatives in the Ural Mountains. Consequently the number of science fiction and fantasy fans is small, and the number of writers even smaller, basically everyone knows everyone else. I’ll try to give a brief overview of the Hungarian sci-fi and fantasy scene without getting lost in the details: just some facts to whet the reader’s appetite for my following articles.
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Posted in December 2010, November 2010 | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

The Key, 3 December, 2010

The second installment of our weekly aggregator of interesting writing about genre fiction available on the web.
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Editors’ Note, November/December 2010

Welcome, readers.
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Posted in December 2010 | Tagged | Leave a comment, October 27-November 11, 2010

Halloween may be the annual celebration most closely associated with October, but is also making this the month of its new yearly tradition of “steampunk fortnight,” honoring that currently ubiquitous subgenre.  During this period both the articles and the short fiction appearing on the publisher’s blog feature the theme, including the first two stories covered in this review.  These are, respectively, Felix Gilman‘s novelette “Lightbringers and Rainmakers,” and Eileen Gunn‘s short-short “The Perdido Street Project.” Gilman’s “Lightbringers” is a novelette set in the same universe as his recent novel, The Half-Made World (the first three chapters of which can also be found on Tor’s web site, along with a “Review of Sorts, With Academic Shenanigans Throughout,” by Mike Perschon). Continue reading

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Clarkesworld Magazine, #49 and #50

Clarkesworld, #50

Clarkesworld is a monthly magazine with fantasy and science fiction content. Each issue contains at least two pieces of original fiction from new and established authors, and non-fiction texts that can include articles and interviews. In some issues you can find podcast versions of the stories too. Clarkesworld was first published in October 2006. So, if you don’t know it yet, you have a lot of material to dig into. Continue reading

Posted in November 2010 | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Extraterrestrial Stories

No doubt UFOs seem to prefer the airspace above The United States, mainly regions far from urban centres where you can find only drunk and insomniac travellers. But even if it is assumed all alien ships have arrived there, we can not but notice that other countries also have reported alien encounters. In Bolivia it is not uncommon to illuminate the skies and the dark spaces of our history with stories of alien contacts. These stories may not reach the level of those of Spielberg films, but they are our own contact with the stars.

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Posted in November 2010 | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

The Key, 26 November, 2010

When I was at SFContario last weekend, I attended a panel on “Review and Criticism in the SF Field”, which gave me a lot of good ideas to apply to The Portal . . . among them (as proposed by Patrick Nielsen Hayden) creating a weekly aggregation of interesting writing about genre fiction available on the web. Hence “The Key” was born.

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Posted in November 2010 | Tagged | 3 Comments

Solaris, Issue 175, Summer 2010

Solaris Issue 175

When talking about short fiction in the French Canadian SF scene, one name stands out: Solaris. It is not only one of the oldest ongoing genre magazines (only Analog and F&SF are its seniors), its quality is reflected in the number of awards it and the stories found in its pages have won. Continue reading

Posted in October 2010 | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Shimmer, Issue 12

What kind of magazine is Shimmer? What kind of stories do Beth Wodzinski and her staff choose for inclusion, do they hold true to their criteria, and in the end do all of the components mix and match and meld into a compelling collection of modern fantasy fiction?

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Posted in October 2010 | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Sybil’s Garage, no. 7

Sybil’s Garage no. 7 marks its growth with a new format in its print version and a movement from ISSN to ISBN. No. 7 contains eighteen stories of various lengths (along with poetry and a long essay on Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds), ranging from science fiction to fantasy, to magic realism, to fable, and in form from traditional to experimental. Every story had something for me to like: vivid description, playful language, a character to root for, mystery, poignancy, tragedy, an intellectual puzzle, a sting in the tail. Continue reading

Posted in October 2010 | Tagged , , , | 13 Comments

Bolivia: A sci-fi country

Bolivia is not a country of science. Obviously there are universities and patents, research and technological advances, but this happens largely through foreign aid, or in minimum percentages compared with other countries. The reason for that is due to lack of investment in R&D departments of major industries and university departments. This does not prevent the country from becoming exceptional in applied sciences and in the adaptation and use of foreign technologies in a different context of the intended one. That said, it is easy to understand why a country where there isn’t a lot of science, has not produced a lot of science fiction. Continue reading

Posted in October 2010 | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

France – a land of literature, and imaginary fiction?

If someone had to describe France, what features would they first choose ? The French « gastronomie » is quite famous – our cheese and wine are considered leaders of the field by many. Then the monuments, of course – our Eiffel Tower, and more or less Paris as a whole might pop into the mind. Continue reading

Posted in October 2010 | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Polden, XXI Vek; October 2010

Polden, XXI Vek (Noon, XXI Century) is a Russian science fiction magazine, founded in 2002 by Boris Strugatsky. The Strugatsky Brothers, Arkady (1925-1991) and Boris (b. 1933) have dominated the Russian science fiction for decades. The magazine’s title is clearly derived from their novel Noon, XXII Century. In May 2007, the magazine became a 176-page monthly, with a printed volume of 13,000. It is also available electronically from The magazine shares its publisher with Vokrug Sveta (Around The World), the Russian counterpart to National Geographic. The Vokrug Sveta logo is displayed prominently on the front and back covers of Polden, as well as in several other places in the magazine. Continue reading

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Fantasy and Science Fiction, November/December 2010

“Dead Man’s Run,” the longest and by far the strongest of the stories in this issue, immerses the reader in the world of amateur competitive running, making a neat metaphor for the pursuit that frames the story. In Robert Reed’s novella, runner Lucas and the rest of his “pack” chase the man that they believe murdered their popular, well-liked runner friend Wade. More than a quick catch-me-if-you-can, Reed’s work is complicated by the specter of the dead man’s “backup,” made of all Wayne’s running data and associated hopes, fears and thoughts. Though based on Wade, this backup now has a mind and independence of its own, talking frequently to Lucas and others. What is this backup’s relation to Lucas? To the rest of the pack? To the dead man himself? Continue reading

Posted in October 2010 | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Mount København

Book Cover
Kasper Colling Nielsen: Mount København.
Publisher: Gyldendal, 2010.
176 pages, DKK 229.

Kasper Colling Nielsen’s debut book Mount København [Mount Copenhagen] is a wonderfully lopsided, indefinable work. Continue reading

Posted in October 2010 | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Strange Horizons, September 20-October 18, 2010

This review of Strange Horizons is my first gig for The Portal, and here’s hoping for a long run. As you all likely know, Strange Horizons is a weekly pro e-zine featuring fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and reviews.  Though I’m just reviewing fiction, I always glance at the poetry and articles to get a sense of the publication as a whole. Continue reading

Posted in October 2010 | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Bull Spec, Issue #3, Autumn 2010

Bull Spec is a quarterly print magazine (also available as a PDF) published in North Carolina by Samuel Montgomery. It’s a mix of fiction and nonfiction, though by page count there is a lot more nonfiction in this issue, consisting of several articles, interviews, and a book review section. There is also a graphic story (not reviewed here because it is in multiple parts), and there are several pieces of full-page art. Given the heft of this magazine, I expected more fiction, but the articles are interesting and the magazine as a whole is well produced. Continue reading

Posted in October 2010 | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Paraíso Líquido

Book Cover
Luiz Bras: Paraíso Líquido

This is a book you won’t be able to read in English in the near future. Published as a free edition under the auspices of the government of the State of São Paulo, Paraíso Liquido (Liquid Paradise) is the latest collection of short stories by Luiz Bras. Continue reading

Posted in October 2010 | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Ideomancer, Vol. 9, Issue 3: September 2010

Leah Bobet’s editorial for the September issue of Ideomancer is interesting because it helps to give shape to this quarter’s selection of stories, identifying a common thread linking the three pieces – namely, the subject of relationships. But what’s also interesting to me is that, having now read the stories, I wouldn’t necessarily characterise them in the same way as Bobet; I might place the emphasis differently. My pick of the issue is Catherine Krahe’s quietly threatening fairy-tale piece; Bobet describes this story as dealing with the period after a relationship has ended, which is certainly an interesting lens through which to view the piece – but I place a wider interpretation on Krahe’s story. Elsewhere in this issue, Lenora Rose tells of the (possible) outcome(s) of the union between a selkie and a human woman; here, I’d actually take the emphasis off the relationship aspect, as the element of prophecy seems much more prominent to me. Finally, there’s Sandra Odell’s tale of a couple in love, where I’d agree that the relationship is at centre stage; the nature of that relationship, however, may not be quite what it appears at first. Continue reading

Posted in October 2010 | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Some sort of introduction to Danish science fiction

With only 5,5 million inhabitants, speaking their own language, and with a long history of maintaining a mono-ethnic culture, Danish science fiction literature is in every way a small subject for study. Some attempts have been made to publish a science fiction magazine, but invariably they meet bankruptcy fast, or turn into very small-circulation fanzines. As science fiction magazines sprout science fiction writers, and later festivals to meet the writers, increasing the number of fans that read the writer´s stories – Denmark does not have a significant number of science fiction authors. Some stories are published, and some fans exist (and some fans write), but mostly Danish science fiction fans read foreign science fiction books. And by foreign we mean English books. Only VERY few fans will read German or French authors, even less Russian, Spanish, Italian – unless these are translated into English first. Maybe 50 foreign titles appear in Danish during a year, most will be juveniles, and a large majority will be Fantasy – and most of us will have read the books already the year before in their English edition … Continue reading

Posted in October 2010 | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Editors’ Note, October/November 2010

Welcome, readers. Some of you may have heard about us online, and some of you probably met Val in Columbus. Hi!

The Portal is a free, volunteer-run, online review of short-form science fiction, fantasy, and horror from around the world. We review work in English and also provide English-language coverage of short fiction markets, anthologies, and genre literary activities in many language communities. Continue reading

Posted in October 2010 | Tagged | 1 Comment