Future Science Fiction Digest #12 (e-mag review).

‘Future Science Fiction Digest’ is a quality magazine serving up international short Science Fiction for anglophone readers to broaden their tastes. This issue features the following stuff.

‘Old People’s Folly’ by Nora Schinneri concerns a meeting of old and young, cynicism and idealism, post-apocalyptic and civilised. In Samsonville, 313 A.F. (after the flood), Setti finds a shiny silver disc that projects a hologram of Jasmin, a personality uploaded into the disc before civilisation collapsed. Setti wants to tend her garden, keep her bees and mind her own business. Jasmin wants her to help the boy from the village who sits weeping on the nearby cliff. An uplifting story with likeable characters.

‘The Life Cycle Of A Cyber-Bar’ by Arthur Liu, translated by Nathan Faries, starts with a man walking into a bar and getting into a fight. Part two is told from the point of view of a man already in the bar. Part three is told from the point of view of…I won’t say. Slightly mad tale in a Douglas Adams way, but great fun.

‘When A Sleeping Seed Blooms’ by Alexandra Seidel tells of Annuet, a xenoarchaeologist working completely alone on an isolated world in the Waste which may contain artefacts relating to Tullur, the ancient almost legendary empress of a bygone age. A perfect scenario for monsters to awaken, but that doesn’t happen. The quiet narrative builds tension gradually, and the revelations and discoveries pile up to a satisfactory conclusion.

‘Nobel Prize Speech Draft Of Paul WinterHoeven, With Personal Notes’ by Jane Epenson is a comedy story about the eponymous Paul who feels pain more deeply than anyone else and invents a device to let them know it. Much modern communication works to get you to feel another’s pain, and empathy is important. As the title hints, Paul succeeds, but there’s a serious glitch. Amusing tale, especially for the hard-hearted, though who would own up to such a thing nowadays when we’re all so soft and warm and fluffy.

‘When The Mujna Begins’ by Oleg Divov has you wondering all the way through what a ‘mujna’ is. Whatever it may be, the citizens of Russia have a chance to vote for it. They have all been issued with a small electronic device with a single button and on a certain day they can, if they want, press the button and vote in favour of the mujna. The Russian people have little faith in their government, but it doesn’t seem to care whether or not they vote.

There is much discussion about the matter. An odd piece. A note at the end by translator Alex Shvartsman states that the Russian word for which ‘mujna’ is used has no direct equivalent in English, but the nearest would be a mix of ‘bullshit’ and ‘f*ck- knows-what’. Author Oleg Divov is both commercially successful and critically acclaimed back in Mother Russia.

I’ve yet to read a bad issue of ‘Future Science Fiction Digest’. Even if the stories don’t thrill you, they make you think. I hope it continues. This is another fine selection which I recommend.

Eamonn Murphy

September 2021

(pub: UFO Publishing, 2021. 100 page e-magazine. Price: £ 2.99 (UK), $ 3.99 (US). ASIN: B09G3HJZFP

check out website: http://future-sf.com/issues/issue-12/

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