Challenging Destiny Challenging Destiny
New Fantasy & Science Fiction

Number 25, December 2007

[magazine cover]

Cover illustration by Les Edwards


Rich Horton mentions this issue is his end-of-year summary on his blog. He says: "From #25 I really enjoyed a rather traditional story -- but very well done -- by Marcelle Dubé: 'Jhyoti'. The heroine is a low-caste woman trying to make it in the Academy. Doing some research, she finds evidence of terrible abuse and murder of a low-caste woman by a higher-caste person -- can she risk her career, and disappoint her patrons, by investigating this? There are no surprises here, but it was quite satisfying." You can find his comments here.

Sam Tomaino reviews this issue on SFRevu. He says: "A.R. Morlan's 'Pretty Birds' is a poignant tale of Arna who lost her unborn child at 5 months into her pregnancy. The child literally disappeared from her womb, leaving no trace. In group therapy, she meets two other women who had experienced the same thing. All of them are seeing fleeting visions of their children. In one case, one leaves behind physical evidence. What is happening? Arna, eventually, finds out in my favorite story in this issue." You can read the entire review here.

Lois Tilton reviews this issue on The Internet Review of Science Fiction. She recommends Arwen Spicer's "God of Lemons" and says: "Severe cultural dissonance is the mode when sixteen-year-old Karen Nguyen of twenty-first-century California suddenly finds herself somewhere in the company of Peter Abelard, Charles Darwin and T.E. Lawrence... The author does a good job of expressing the different attitudes of the characters to the questions of damnation, sin and guilt, reflecting not only their origins but their individual experiences in life." You can read the entire review here.

Paul J. Iutzi reviews this issue on The Fix. You can find the entire review here.

Here are some sneak previews of the stories you'll find in the twenty-fifth issue of Challenging Destiny:

Death and Taxes by Suzette Haden Elgin

Bill loved his StarSpangly motorhome, and he wasn't going to give it up. But his wife had died last night, and he was supposed to turn in the RV so that someone else could make use of it. So he did what any rational person would have done in that situation. He stuffed his wife's body into the refrigerator...

Kelmscott Manor: In the Attics by C. A. Gardner

Georgie's friend Topsy was dying, worn out from trying to make the world a better place. They loved each other, but had never acted on that love -- even though their spouses had had many affairs. Now Topsy handed her a letter which explained how he had obtained an unbelievable machine from a man named H. G. Wells...

God of Lemons by Arwen Spicer

Karen Nguyen was listening to her iPod on the bus to the Embarquedero. The next thing she knew she was waking up in a forest. But the trees didn't look like any trees she'd ever seen before, and they were in rows. The three people with her claimed to be Charles Darwin, T. E. Shaw, and Peter Abelard. They decided they were in hell...

Expectations by James Wesley Rogers

Parker was a normal, and having a good week. He saved a convict's life, and helped his friend become class president. He was interviewed on national television, and was invited to a very exclusive party. At the party he decided to try a pill which supposedly made you believe in God like old people and rejects...

Jhyoti by Marcelle Dubé

Cadet Jhyoti was working on her final field assignment for exo-anthropology. She broke into the bashravi to find the secrets of the body washers. But she tripped over a dead body, and was found by the yighsilchi. Who would leave a dead body like this, and who killed the woman?

Pretty Birds by A. R. Morlan

Arna had been pregnant, but she hadn't borne a child. One ultrasound she had seen her baby, and the next ultrasound the baby had disappeared. Once in a while Arna would see a baby girl lying on the back lawn, but she wasn't crazy. Another woman in her group was having similar experiences...

The Keys to the Yellow Kingdom by Matthew Sanborn Smith

Carlos had spent a lot of money to get here. He had climbed the pyramid and now stood in front of the Wonderbox, which supposedly could grant his wish. He would wish to become a famous writer. But then a man appeared, the creator of the machine, who told him the machine didn't work quite the way he thought...


Kim Stanley Robinson's Science in the Capital review by James Schellenberg

James reviews Kim Stanley Robinson's latest series, consisting of Forty Signs of Rain, Fifty Degrees Below, and Sixty Days and Counting. These books deal with the very real possibility of severe climate change in the near future. In the April issue of Locus, Robinson said: "I have always believed that science fiction is the best way to express modern American life, because everything is changing so fast and because we're in a gigantic techno-surround that we can never escape."

Interview with Spider Robinson interview by James Schellenberg & David M. Switzer

Spider Robinson has written many novels and short stories, winning the Hugo, Nebula, and John W. Campbell awards. His novels include the Callahan's series, set in a bar, the Stardance trilogy, which he wrote with his wife Jeanne, and Variable Star, a book he completed based on the notes of Robert A. Heinlein. He has written reviews for several magazines, and The Crazy Years is a collection of his essays.

Where Are They Now? compilation by David M. Switzer

We've been interviewing a Canadian author in each issue since Number 3, and we thought for this 25th issue we would see what all of those authors have been up to lately. We have an update for each one of them, many in their own words.

10 Visionaries of the 21st Century editorial by David M. Switzer

Dave discusses the work of 10 visionaries who have influenced him: Noam Chomsky, the Dalai Lama, Suzette Haden Elgin, Biruté Galdikas, Jane Goodall, Thom Hartmann, Ralph Nader, Daniel Quinn, Joan Slonzewksi, and David Suzuki.

Last modified: October 15, 2008

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