M. Bennardo. Last Day at the Ice Man Cafe. (Asimovs February 2014)

asimovs201402It’s August 1974, as the title says, it’s the last day of opening for the Ice Man Cafe, named after the owner, Ulno, who is in fact a hunter/gatherer who spent several thousand years frozen in a crevasse, and who has been running the cafe after fighting in Vietnam.

The reader has to be willing to accept this scenario, those wanting details bio-chemistry and scientific rationales for his being defrosted compos mentis, and those wanting the backstory as to how he integrated into society and joined up will have to wait for a prequel.

Essentially the story is about Janice, and her on-off relationship with Ulno, and how the pair of them, with another woman, spend the afternoon in the mountains, what happens, what doesn’t, and the whys and wherefores.

The story is nice enough, and probably would be better still by taking the ice man element out, and just having Ulno as a damaged veteran with an interesting childhood upbringing, as a speculative fiction readership are likely to be having questions in the back (or the front) of the mind whilst reading it.

More from this issue of Asimov’s here, recent issues of Asimov’s here, and an issue by issue index of Asimov’s from 2000 here.

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