Reading Fantasy & Science Fiction

The folks at Fantasy & Science Fiction put word out that they’d send a free copy of their September issue to bloggers who agreed to write about what they’d read. I’ve been reading Fantasy & Science Fiction off and on for probably two decades now, but hadn’t picked up a copy in a while, so I was definitely willing to see what they’re up to these days — especially on their nickel! This will be the first of a handful of posts about the September issue of Fantasy & Science Fiction — what I like, what I don’t like, what I think overall. I’ve decided to read it more or less straight through, as time permits, and post on each story or article as I read them.

Of course, I broke that rule with my first reading. Kevin Haw’s “Requirements for the Mythology Merit Badge” has an intriguing title and is short, so it caught my eye when I was first flipping through the magazine. “Requirements…” presents a kind of “archaeology of the future”, a single document detached from any explaining context or framework to help situate it, leaving the reader to imagine — as best s/he can — what sort of events led up to the creation of this:

1. Explain to your Merit Badge counselor what Mythology is and how it differs from folklore. Describe Participatory Mythology and why we study it. Discuss how the events of 23 September 2006 forever changed mankind’s relationship with the gods and explain why no one made note of it at the time.

What happened on September 23 last year?! “Requirements…” is good fun, and only a few pages long, with each requirement getting a little more foreign to our, merely mortal, worldviews. (I like, too, that in the post-whatever world, the Boy Scouts are still sexists who insist on believing in something called “mankind”. Never change, Scouts!)

After reading that piece, I started over at the beginning of the magazine, which I’ll post about later. I hope to finish the September issue of Fantasy & Science Fiction while it’s still on news stands, but life being what it is (which is complex and busy) I can’t make any guarantees.

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