Asimovs March 2015


Suzanne Palmer. Tuesdays.

Rather unusually (i.e. the first time in about 15 years of reading Asimovs) there are some missing pages in this issue of Asimovs, including the first page of this story, which was a bit of a bummer.

However, Asimovs have put the story up on their site in full, so I haz read it, and was pleased so to do, as it’s a fine story, that gets better as it goes along, and has a neat twist in the final sentences.

It’s Tuesday, early morning, and the story takes the form of short segments focussing on the several characters – the two cops who have been called out to a diner, the guy who made the 911 call, the manager of the band whose tour bus is parked outside, and a couple of others who have pulled into the diner. All have a bit of a story behind them, each has their own character, and the cops have to try to find out just exactly what it was that came down from the sky, and what exactly it was, other than ‘big’. There’s some nice characterisation, nice dialog, and whilst it’s short and sweet, rather than lengthy an absorbing, I’m going to put it forward for consideration for The Best SF Short Story Award 2015.

Kathleen Bartholomew and Kage Baker. Pareidolia.

Bartholomew, sister and chauffeuse to the late Kage Baker, provides us with another in ‘The Company’ series, featuring a character first introduced in Baker’s first story ‘Noble Mold’.

As with many series, the law of diminishing returns meant that I stopped reading The Company stories some time ago.

Kit Reed. Military Secrets.

A dark story, only a few pages long, and somewhat unsettling as you try to understand just what is going on/what the author is driving at.

Reed looks at the nature of the impact of having a father declared ‘missing in action’, and puts forward a scenario of it being in a form of limbo that is literally like being in a bus with darkened windows, on a journey that never ends, but with others getting on and off the bus.

There’s a reference to British musician John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin in the final paragraph that confuses. Only joking, as presumably it’s the Scotsman who is remembered as father of the US Navy, whom is being referenced. Mind you, John Paul Jones whose status of ‘father of the US Navy’ is seen as one he shared with one John Barry, film score musician of James Bond fame. What are the odds of that?

I’m quite happy to ‘fess up to perhaps missing something in the story!

Gregory Norman Bossert. Twelve and Tag.

Clever stories within stories from Bossert, who has a crew of miners in orbit around Europa passing some offduty time with two new crew members by a game that involves each member telling two stories, with the others needing to guess which one is true, which is a fiction.

The crew members are nicely characterised, and as the stories unfold, with some dark secrets, it becomes clear that they aren’t quite as random as they might be.

Gwendolyn Clare. Holding the Ghosts.

An interesting conceit, but at less than six pages, far too little space to do the idea justice.

Born in a state of catatonia due to a rare virus, ‘Baby’ Martinez, like many of her ilk, have a role to play in (once fully grown physically) acting as short-term rented ‘hosts’ for uploaded/backedup brain patterns of the recently deceased. ‘Baby’ Martinez is wiped clean between each host, and such be a complete tabula rasa for the next hosted brain. Except that in the course of the few pages of the story, she begins to remember the people she has previously hosted, and develops a sense of self that should not be possible, to the extent that she is able to take control of ‘her’ life, a life that she should not have, drawing on her lived experiences whilst hosting her recent brain patterns.

The story whizzes along, covering ground that could have taken up a novel, or an entire TV mini-series!

Kristine Kathryn Rusch. Inhuman Garbage.

A police-procedural/detective story set in space, which failed to grab in the first few pages and encourage me to invest an hour or so in reading the >35 remaining pages.

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