Monday, August 31, 2009

Asimov's Science Fiction, September 2009

I haven't read any Asimov's SF magazines for a year. This was very pleasant surprise, story quality was very high. I read this issue as an ebook from Fictionwise.

Away from Here • shortstory by Lisa Goldstein
A young 15 years old girl is working at her parent's hotel. One day a very strange troupe of characters check into the hotel. They seem to be magicians or at least some kind of circus people. By accident she sees them doing some very fascinating things. Very well written story, but that type of magical realism is something I usually don't like. Strange thing happens with no "why" or "how". And the ending is extremely depressing and irritating if one thinks about it. ***1/2
Camera Obscured • shortstory by Ferrett Steinmetz
A young boy is trying to succeed in a world where everything is a competition with charts and positions found on the internet. He has tried several hobbies with only moderate success, achieving top ranking placements in order of few hundred thousands. He sets for himself a new goal - to be the world's best lover in male (hetero) category and starts by asking a girl for a date. With her he finds something beyond the rankings. Very good story, well written. Maybe a bit too short - I would like to hear more about this characters. ****-
Soulmates • novelette by Mike Resnick and Lezli Robyn
A nightwatchman who has recently lost her wife in car accident is slowly killing himself with alcohol. A repair robot tries to “repair” him, and not so surprisingly succeeds. Typical saccharine Resnick robot story. Very well written, but really irritating in it's overbearing sweetness. I wonder if this will be a Hugo-nominee - hopefully not, but Resnick stories of this style seem to have a lot of fans. ***1/2
In Their Garden • shortstory by Brenda Cooper
A teenage (?) girl is living in a closed community in post apocalyptic world. She would like to see the outside world. Ok, but feels more like the first chapter of a novel than a stand alone short story. ***+
The Day Before the Day Before • shortstory by Steve Rasnic Tem
Time travel story. The protagonist is a member of a "time team" which makes slight changes to the past. They themselves don't ever know the consequences of any change. Story is internal monologue of one such trip. Fairly well written, but a bit too little real story content. Concept is fascinating as such, but more background and more real events would have been nice. ***
Tear-Down • shortstory by Benjamin Crowell
Artificial intelligence house gets new owners. Both the owners and the house have some training to do. Nice, good story. ****-
Her Heart's Desire • shortstory by Jerry Oltion
A boy meets a girl. He breaks the girl's wishing bowl which was supposed to grant her hearts wish. Magical realism untypical for Oltion. This story could have been written by Resnick - in both good and in bad way. Well written, even a bit moving, but a bit saccharine and strange things happen for no reason or explanation. ***1/2
Broken Windchimes • novella by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
A male soprano (and if you know something about music you should know what that implicates) has been performing for years alien audience. The alien species in question values precision over anything, and even one missed note usually means the end of a career. Inevitable happens and the career of main protagonist is ended. He travels to nearby space station where there is a musical conservatory and discovers that there as much more to music than he ever thought. Another excellent story. ****

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