A quick whizzthrough the issue, stories skimmed/read to varying degrees.
Eric James Stone. That Leviathan, Whom Thou Hast Made. The protagonist is a Mormon elder on Sol Central Station, with a small human congregation in the multi-denominational chapel. There’s also a number of alien ‘swales’ and in coming in contact with one of them he finds out about an aspect of their society that by his/our standards is wrong, as stories of this type tend to do. He resolves to confront the aliens, and in doing so succeeds in changing their millenia-old practices, through demonstrating the love of our saviour, the Lord Jesus. Fortunately, Stone doesn’t let him get the earth girl!
David D. Levine. Pupa. The protagonist is a juvenile in an insectoid race who have recently come into conact with Earth. On the cusp of entering maturity, she witnesses her mother die, and has to find a way to save herself and her siblings. She is able to get through the portal to Earth, and meets up with a juvenile of our race – a child of the black President of the United States. Through translation devices they are able to communicate up to a point, with the earth girl giving a clue to the reader regarding a famous song from an ancestral hero (try as I might I can’t figure it out!). (Addendum : the story is online here.
Richard A. Lovett. Spludge. First Contact that includes an alien baby urinating on the President’s face.
Kristine Kathryn Rusch. Red Letter Day. On graduation day most students now get a letter from the future,from their future selves. The story explores the impact of not getting a letter, and through the main character, reasons behind the non-delivery, and issues around self-determination etc. It’s only a few pages long, but felt much, much longer, and not in a good way.
K.C. Ball. Flotsam. Quin has the misfortune to be stuck in an orbiting spacecraft with two female companions – who are an item, and who hate him with a passion. Fortunately, a meteorite impact enables him to save the day.
Jerry Oltion. The View From the Top. Inappropriate crying threatens a career in space.
Kyle Kirland. Sandbagging. Scientist fiction in which a global computer AI resolves to address the global overpopulation problem.
Sean McMullen. Eight Miles. The pick of the issue for me, in a story with more than a nod to Jules Verne, in which a hot air balloon pioneer in 1840 is contracted to take a paying passenger and his strange companion to great heights, to prove the nature of that companion. Just how high is the crux of the matter.