Asimovs August 2013


Leah Thomas. The Ex-Corporal.

A little gem of a story from Thomas.

A young girl’s father develops epilepsy – and being a bit of an sf buff, he passes off his minutes spent in seizure as time spend in galaxies far, far away. But this fiction appears to become reality, chillingly so as his personality changes, and someone else, far less pleasant, appears to be taking over his body.

It’s only a few pages long, but grabs you and doesn’t let go.

Gwendolyn Clare. Stone to Stone, Blood to Blood.

The third story I’ve read by Clare, and she still hasn’t quite hit the mark for me. This is an ok story, but I do expect a bit more in Asimovs than simply ok.

The main protagonist had a NeuroLogic chip implanted in his brain as a child, forcing him to be loyal to the next in line to political power, who was of a similar age. Having grown up together, the young putative leader wishes to escape from the fate which awaits him, and the two flee to take up with rebels in the countryside. There’s some scientific stuff in the story, but it feels like it needs a bit more depth and exploration of issues. The indentured servant has their loyalty programmed in – it would have been a more challenging story if that servant had to overcome their programming, rather than simply being able to go with it.

Jack Skillingstead. Arlington.

Great story from Skillingstead. Revealing the story through a very sick man reflecting on an incident much earlier in his life, we find exactly how his ill health is related to the Stephen King Langolier-style forced landing on a deserted airstrip.

The nature of what was really happening is only revealed toward the end, when in the last stages of his ill health, he is given the chance to make a leap (or flight) of faith.

Gregory Norman Bossert. Lost Wax.

A delicieuse story from Bossert. Yeastpunk perhaps – he sets the story in an un-named city that has a Parisienne feel to it, and two intriguing characters, part-artist part-revolutionaries. Yeast-driven golethe patrol the streets, and the pair are part of an underground that create, from wax, bird-drones that can deliver messages.

It’s inventive and clever, the characters are non-normative, and the ending rounds a great story off nicely.

Kristine Kathryn Rusch. The Application of Hope.

Lengthiest story in the issue. Captain Tory Sabin has some back-history, issues with high command, and a very personal reason for wanting to go to the rescue of The Ivoire, which jumps into foldspace when attacked in orbit around Ukhanda.

Some historic issues are resolved, but there are new ghosts in her closet, presumably to be investigated in yet another installment in her Diving series.

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