Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Asimov's Science Fiction, January 2013

Not one of the best issues of Asimov's.

They Shall Salt the Earth With Seeds of Glass by Alaya Dawn Johnson
Aliens with an unknown agenda has invaded earth. The make attacks at will for reasons remaining humans don't usually know. For some reason they are very interested in pregnant women and promise good care for everyone who is pregnant. But no one who seeks their care comes back. A young woman is pregnant. She and her sister seeks out a doctor who could perform an abortion. They get caught, and an alien drone starts to take them to a health faculty - and seems to think it is doing them a favor. There is too little backstory for the story really work. Now it is just a pretty blatant allegory for the US invasion/influence of third world countries. ***+
Over There by Will McIntosh
An apparently innocuous experiment causes the world to divide into two separate continuums. The people in those are able to perceive both realties which is very confusing them and most start eventually be very anxious. The story is told as two s narratives describing simultaneous events on both time-lines. I wonder how the story was supposed to be read. There were hardly any natural divides or chapter breaks which would have made it easier to switch reading between two different simultaneous stories involving the same characters. The ending was also fairly weak in my opinion. ***-
Legend of Troop 13 by Kit Reed
A story of a lost group of girls who live or might not live in a forest. Very "artsy" story which I didn't get or really understood. **
Hotel by Suzanne Palmer
A story happens in a hotel on Mars, which for historical reasons is on neutral territory which doesn’t belong to any nation. There are some unusual visitors there, most of them are using the name "Smith" to remain anonymous. And there are a few secret plots going on.. a noirish story where science fictions elements aren't really important for the plot in spite of a few aliens in important roles. Some condensing probably would have made the story better. **½
The Family Rocket by James Van Pelt
A man is coming back to his childhood home with his fiancée. His family has always been space nuts. And his father bought a used space rocket when he was young and refurbished it for an imaginary trip to Mars. A sweet story with a nice mood. ***
Mithridates, He Died Old by Nancy Kress
An experimental and risky treatment for severe brain trauma causes unforeseen effects. A sort of rerun of “A Christmas Carol” by Dickens. Very good, emotional story. One drawback is that the author apparently hasn’t got a clue how scientific studies are really done. ***½

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