Alexander Jablokov. The Boarder.
Another in the ‘historical space race’ faction milieu, as a Russian boarder in the family home who previously worked on the Soviet space program gives another perspective on the period increasingly seen as the halcyon days by certain generations of SF writer. A good read, and gives as good an impression of growing up in a leafy neighbourhood as it does of the man who had previously had a hand in reaching for the starss.
Nancy Springer. Rumple What?
Another in the F&SF milieu of retelling with a few minor changes a classic fairy tale. No prizes for guessing the fairy tale being covered here.
Albert E. Cowdrey. The Overseer.
A much lengthier tale from Cowdrey than we normally get from this F&SF regular, and he uses is to full effect for those who favour a historical tale with a chilling undertone, relating a story set in the Deep South at the turn of the last century, when an elderly landowner writes his memoirs, fuelled by opium, looking back on an eventful life, and the changes wrought during those decades.
K.D. Wentworth. Exit Strategy.
Much more to my favour – a story looking forward at options that science and/or societal changes may offer us as a race, or as individuals. Wentworth provides those struggling with their lives an option to surrender their life, to release their soul from their body, and to let another take advantage of their body. A young goth girl finds this attractive and signs up for such a release – but in coming to contact with those serving the ‘church’ which offers the service, and those who have benefitted from the opportunity a fresh body and a fresh start gives, she is able to review her teenage angst, her family relationships, and what it is exactly the she wants and she is missing.
Richard Paul Russo. The Second Descent.
A mountaineering team face a nightmarish attempt to descend a challenging peak – one of those nightmares in which you just don’t make any progress whatsoever. With some members of the team dead, but refusing to accept this fate, and with the village which they try to descend to variously appearing above and to the side of them after a day’s marching, one of the team reflects on that which drove his to face such challenges, and that which he is to leave behing.
Richard Mueller. A Ten-Pound Sack of Rice.
Sitting on the porch of his house in the Gulf, an elderly WWII US fighter pilot reflects on the change that he feels is a-coming. He often reflects on those wartime events, in particular the face of the young Japanase rear-gunner which he watched as the bullets from his airplane took his life. As if his cat upping and talking to him isn’t bad enough, the footsteps crunching their way down his drive at midnight turn out to be a very dark guy indeed, come in the form of that young Japanese gunner, and suddenly he is back in his faithful plane, reliving those events : can he do anything different this time around?
Not one of those issues way out there in terms of a story to stand head and shoulders over recent issues, or exploring dark recesses of the genre previously overlooked, but all well written as per.