Jonathan Bender has been uploaded for some time, and is part of a skeleton crew of uploads out in deep space when he is a self-contained unit is a portable can. He sees himself as Jonathan Bender, born in 1951, but he is claimed as salvage, as he has a value as The Bender Relic. His rescuer takes him back Earthside, where is canned status does not prevent himself falling for his beautiful captor, nor help her out of political shenanigens. The story suggests that there may be more to follow. If you find Charles Stross too fast and dense for you, by a factor of, say, 100, then this could be perfect for you.
Joseph P. Martino. A Bridge in Time.
Fairly routine story about an engineer who gets caught up with someone involved in time travel shenanigens.
Ekaterina Seda. Virus Changes Skin.
Scientist fiction, although not the normal scientist fiction, as the scientist is a) female and b) a scientist of color. B) is the crux of the story, for as a child her parents decided to have a virus treatment which turned her white and unkinked her hair in order for her to get on better in society. It’s only a short story, and skin tone and hair type are the only aspects of ethnic identity touched on, as her situation is contrasted with her scientific work against a backdrop of global warming, especially the viral work she does with corn. In such a short space that the story provides it by its nature goes very quickly from set up, through a few quick moral debates, and then straight into the denouement. It’s a very sketchy outline of something that could easily be written at much, much greater length, and a lot of issues are given a very cursory treatment.
Alex Kasman. On the Quantum Theoretic Implications of Newton’s Alchemy.
Altogether more of the usual type of scientist fiction, of a lighter type, in which a young grad student gets a job with a very strange scientist. Suspend your disbelief on the coat peg as you enter the door.
Tom Ligon. El Dorado.
A bit of a cheek-blower for me, in terms of struggling to engage with a lot of technical mumbo-jumbo presented in BLOCK CAPITALS through online text based communications. At one point there are eight and half columns, purely of dialog, all in blocks, which includes the likes of
“ICEMAN: YOU MAY BE RIGHT. WE’RE THINKING NEWTONIAN PHYSICS. BUT IN RELATIVITY, F=M*a BECOMES F=y3*M*A. y IS THE LORENZ FACTOR, WHICH AT 0.9999999 C IS 707…”
Which reminds me so much of Harrison Ford’s response to that Star Wars script : ‘George, you can write this shit, but you sure as hell can’t say it..”
Anyhoo, there’s a noble sacrifice from a crusty space guy.
Barry B. Longyear. The Hangingstone Rat.
More adventures of Darger and Surplus… whoops, wrong story…. More adventures of Jaggers and Shad, the one of whom is a human uploaded into a duck. Set in the rural SW of England, the two are called out to a remote spot, and the one which is a mallard is blown to smithereens. His colleague sets out the solve the whodunnit, and all is revealed (in a bit of an infodump at the end – maybe there were clues earlier in the story, or maybe it was never intended to be a whodunnit).
Still the top-selling SF magazine in the world, so clearly doing something right for a lot of SF readers!