F&SF March-April 2015

“The Mantis Tattoo”

“…I’m not surprised to find that Berger has done it well; his story “Subduction” was my favorite F&SF piece from 2014, from the first Finlay-edited issue. This one combines the best of two genres: a neat trickster story from the folklore tradition, and paleontological speculation about the way modern humans might have prevailed in a contest between the species… RECOMMENDED”

— Lois Tilton, Locus Online Reviews

“The best story here is Paul M. Berger’s ‘The Mantis Tattoo’… suspenseful and entertaining enough to take a worthy place in the long roster of ‘prehistoric stories…”

— Gardner Dozois, Locus

“Paul M. Berger demonstrates an impressive feat of exotic and atmospheric world-building… [He] has created two endearing characters and I hope he will return to them in future stories.”

— Jerard Betts, Tangent Online

“Berger’s piece has a definite sense of story, characters easy to care about, unambiguous (and frequently-thwarted) goals, a clear plot arc, ample adversity, and awful stakes. The bad guys aren’t just dumb muscled lunks, but viciously clever magic-using bullies that are heavily muscled lunks. Definitely a must-read.”

— C. D. Lewis, Tangent Online

“Great story.”

— Sam Tomaino, SF Revu


2014 Locus Recommended Reading List “Excellent adult fantasy, tapping lightly into archetype but keeping the focus on the characters who have to face primordial forces of immense power — and pay the price for it. Tying the Earth’s great fault-lines to dragons is an inspired notion, and the prose makes it a joy to read. RECOMMENDED”

— Lois Tilton, Locus Online Reviews

“This is an excellent story, full of telling details and subtle character interactions. Despite having no memory, Oliver comes across as a strong person but the real star of the story is Moira, who is tough, independent and the unacknowledged saviour of her island and everyone on it.”

— Patrick Mahon, SFcrowsnest

“Also good here is “Subduction” by Paul M. Berger, a strong fantasy in which a mysterious stranger who can’t remember his past drifts into a small town in the Pacific Northwest, and finds himself tugged relentlessly toward a strange destiny.”

— Gardner Dozois, Locus


“Stereogram of the Gray Fort, in the Days of Her Glory”

Locus Recommended Reading List, 2010 Honorable Mention, The Year’s Best Science Fiction, Twenty-Eighth Annual Collection, edited by Gardner Dozois “I was impressed last year by Paul M. Berger’s Interzone piece ‘Home Again’.  Now he contributes a brilliant story to Fantasy, one of the stories of the year so far, ‘Stereogram of the Gray Fort, in the Days of Her Glory’.” — Rich Horton, Locus


“Small Burdens”

Honorable Mention, The Year’s Best Science Fiction, Twenty-Eighth Annual Collection, edited by Gardner Dozois “A very different take on changelings.  RECOMMENDED.”

— Lois Tilton, Locus Online Reviews


“Home Again”

Locus Recommended Reading List, 2009 “One of those subtle, little gems that stay with you a long time… This one was only a page and a half and you have to read it carefully and, then, read it again. It will reward you.” — Sam Tomaino, SF Revu “Nice work, very short…Berger very sharply sets up a stinger at the close.” — Rich Horton, Locus “It’s a neat concept, and a neat character study, and both come together (as they need to) in a stinging closing cadence.” — Niall Harrison, Torque Control (in Vector, the critical journal of the British Science Fiction Association) “Beneath a warm and loving family scene, we glimpse something disturbing in this effective short-short.” — Lois Tilton, The Internet Review of Science Fiction “A quick, smart story that asks the reader to read between the lines, and is just too nice to spoil by giving any more details.” –Bill Ward, Tangent Online

Polyphony 6

“Winter in Aso”

“The only exuberant story here, the only story told with any élan, is “Winter in Aso” by Paul M. Berger, set in contemporary Japan and giving a modern twist to Japanese folk traditions of women able to transform themselves into animals.” — Paul Kincaid, Strange Horizons Honorable Mention, The Year’s Best Science Fiction, Twenty-Fourth Annual Collection, edited by Gardner Dozois

Twenty Epics

“The Muse of Empires Lost”

“A fine and perverse fable of power and purblindness.” – Nick Gevers, Locus “It’s all very nicely, and spookily, done.” — Rich Horton, Locus   “Interesting world-building, ambiguous characters, and a twist at the end make this one of the anthology’s stronger pieces.” — Victoria Strauss, SF Site “The science fiction setting does nothing to detract or distract from the fantastical atmosphere or the depth of emotions displayed as Jemmi and Yee struggle to use each other’s powers for their own gain.” — Rose Fox, Strange Horizons

All-Star Zeppelin Adventure Stories

“Voice of the Hurricane”

“This opening story is deliciously strange.” – Sherwood Smith, SF Site “This is a brilliant story, full of evocative nautical imagery. So cleverly conceived, it is easy for the reader to suspend their disbelief despite this story’s impossible setting…Berger has provided some excellent narration and authentic characters, and this was the perfect choice to open this anthology.” — Jason Fischer, Tangent Honorable Mention, The Year’s Best Science Fiction, Twenty-Second Annual Collection, edited by Gardner Dozois