A virus is spreading across the globe, and those infected become capable of seeing UV light, and, more alarmingly, become telepathic. Society struggles with the fact that guilty secrets can no longer be kept as such, and the consequences are major on both societal and personal levels.
The Window, Zoran Zivkovic.
The main character enters after-life, and is given more of a choice in terms of subsequent direction than he had anticipated.
At Bud Light Old Faithful, M. Shayne Bell.
Near future USA with corporate sponsorship/advertsing gone mad. An older widow regrets her personal loss, and that for society as a whole. The sponsorship/adveritising angle is handled without too much subtlelty, but the relationship between mother and son is acutely observed.
Dog Years, Liz Williams.
A young girl, on her death bed, makes a compact with the dead. She lives on, but the price that she has to pay to live is increasingly hard to live with.
The Denebian Cycle, Keith Brooke & Eric Brown.
Not only does this story about The Denebian Cycle follow a story which refers to the menstrual cycle, but this story also has more than a passing reference to the menstrual cycle. Brooke & Brown give their take on the ‘stranded on a strange planet with X days to wait before the survey ship returns’ storyline. In their jungle world, ecologists struggle to find enough food and water to drink, but when Contact is made, their problems only just begin. The females escape, and continue to head North to milder climes, but as they do so the exact nature of the alien society which their male team-members are now part of, becomes clear. The story loses its way in the jungle towards the end, with the women making a 180degree turn to head back to find their colleagues. But rather than rescuing their colleagues, a turnaround of somewhat more than 180degrees take place. Euch.
- Guest Editorial by one Bruce Sterling
- Mutant Popcorn – in which Nick Lowe reviews Schwarzenneger’s End of Days and The Astronaut’s Wife
- Mike Ashley reviews Frank Robinson’s Science Fiction of the 20th Century – an illustrated history
- Paul J. McAuley reviews Bruce Sterling’s Distraction, William Gibson’s All Tomorrow’s Parties, John Barnes’ Candle, and Stephen Dedman’s Foreign Bodies.
- Chris Gilmore reviews Mark Chadbourn’s World’s End, Dennis Danver’s End of Days, Jane Palmer’s The Drune, and Richard Calder’s The Twist.
- David Mathew reviews Paul J. McAuley’s Shrine of Starts, the third in the Confluence trilogy, concluding that an ending can also be a beginning; Stephen Jones’ The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror: Tenth Anniversary Edition
- Paul Brazier reviews Haydn Middleton’s Grimm’s Last Fairytale, Jan Siegel’s Prospero’s Children, Maggie Furey’s The Heart of Myrial, Stan Nicholl’s Legion of Thunder, and Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell’s Stormchaser.
- and of course, Books Received and Ansible Link.
The fiction in this issue is perhaps slightly below par. Sean McMullen whizzes through a story which could have easily been taken at a more leisure pace and at greater length; M. Shayne Bell and Liz William provide short and interesting stories; Brooke and Brown write at greater length, but perhaps to not enough effect. But the substantial reviews section gives good value.