Thursday, November 13, 2008

Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction January-February 1978

Ok issue. Couple excellent, couple bad, and couple very forgettable, stories.

Barbie Murders by John Varley
If there is a cult where every single member looks exactly alike, and there is a murder where one member murders another, there might be some slight problems to find the guilty. One of the better science fiction detective stories in existence, a well written, excellent story *****-
True Love by Isaac Asimov
A man creates a computer simulation of himself, to help him in finding a woman of his dreams. But the simulation is too perfect, with too similar tastes. Pretty predictable, standard Asimov story. ***½
There will be a Sign by John M. Ford
Space shuttles are being phased out, and all space exploration is closing down. The astronauts on one of the last shuttle missions make a sign to sky to make people remember sky and space - or something. Didn’t completely get this one, concentration drifted. Not too interesting story. **
Panic by Stanley Schmidt
Aliens are attacking, but they hear from a radio than an another alien attack is underway - aliens with much more powerful weapons. They make hasty retreat, and miss the ending of Orson Welles’s fine audio production. Ok story, no surprises anywhere, ***
Birthday Party • shortstory by Keith Laumer
Lifespan have been expanded to fifty times longer. The first man who have had the treatment celebrates his 50th birthday - and he even might soon be out of diapers. Not too surprising surprise, after been heavily hinted from first paragraph on. Ok, very short one joke story. ***
A Mother's Heart: A True Bear Story • shortstory by Lisa Tuttle
A fable about a selfish mother, hardworking father and two children, who might rather want to be bears than children. ”Magical realism”, very nice, poetic writing style, but a type of story I hate. Something fantastic happens for no reason at all. **
A Delicate Shade of Kipney • shortstory by Nancy Kress
A spaceship bringing colonists to a new world is wrecked to a almost livable misty planet. The last few surviving colonists try to keep earth’s ”heritage” as precious as before, but the younger generation has been adapting to the new life and hopes to create new, more suitable art styles and customs. Very good, well written story, touching. ****+
They'll Do It Every Time • shortstory by Cam Thornley
Very short shaggy dog story. Stupid and bad even for such. **
African Blues • shortstory by Paula Smith
Spaceship with an alien in labor drops near African village. Black american (a bit helpless) peace corps (or something like that) worker, and a resourceful native self-though midwife/vet help her. Very nice, entertaining story. Pity that the writer has written practically nothing else than this story. ****
The Thrill of Victory • shortstory by Jack C. Haldeman, II
Robots play baseball, or football, or something. Spirit of victory should be important, or something to strive for, or something. It is important to compete, or win, or something. This story is not interesting in the slightest bit, maybe one should care even a bit about sports to appreciate it. **
The Witches of Manhattan • novelette by L. Sprague de Camp
Balloon falls on an island inhabited only by woman. After a narrow escape from death several other deus ex machinas happen and it is revealed that everything happens in a colonized planet, which has forgotten its’ roots. Is just like something from Galaxy magazine in beginning of the 50s. Simplistic, is extremely heavily depending in several coincidences. Simplistic adventure story, not even too well written. **+

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