Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Asimov's Science Fiction, February 2013

An excellent novella. Otherwise many of the stories in this issue were more just "episodes" instead of complete stories with a beginning, a middle and an end.

And Then Some by Matthew Hughes
A some kind of bounty hunter comes to retrieve an apparent criminal charged with some sort of swindle. The man he is trying to find has a lot of influence and the bounty hunter finds himself imprisoned and in forced labor. As he is a GOOD bounty hunter, he doesn't take a lot of time to escape. Later he finds himself supervising the works of the same man he tried to catch. Then the story goes metaphysical, stupid and irritating. The first part of the story was very good, the latter half was stupid and seemed to be even worse writing - it almost felt like something by a different author. **½
Outbound From Put-In-Bay by M. Bennardo
A new ice age has started on the late 19th century. Northern part of US has split to independent countries, drought (I wonder why there is drought, I would imagine that lowering temperatures would rather increase the rainfall) has almost dried out the Great Lakes. Canada has somehow managed to keep a resemblance of civilization up. Desperate groups of people smuggle crude oil from Canada to south. The story consists of episodes in the life of such smuggler. There is little coherent plot running through the episodes and the background is too sketchy for the story to work well in so short a form. ***
Best of All Possible Worlds by John Chu
A man has as a friend an apparent alien who can project musical music to his mind - and apparently at times move in physically (or mentally) to a reality of a musical while protecting the protagonist from something. Far too short a story with an extremely scanty background. ***-
The Golden Age of Story by Robert Reed
A medication which increases intelligence by 20 iq points has been discovered. It has a side effects though - a few people commit suicide, but more start to span extremely elaborate lies. A very well written story which could have been longer. ***½
The Weight of the Sunrise by Vylar Kaftan
The Inca Empire never fell. They beat the invaders, learnt to cope with smallpox with severe guaranteeing measures and prospered. A convoy from northern America arrives and offers the secret of vaccination against the smallpox - with a cost: a vast amount of gold. Gold is a sacred metal of the Incas and is usually used only for sacramental purposes. The story is told as memorials of a former peasant who has become minor nobility by surviving a flare up of pox. His grandfather was European and he can speak English. He gets drafted as a translator for the negotiations.
An extremely good story and I would like to see more stories happening in the same world. This was easily the best story in the issue. ****+
The New Guys Always Work Overtime by David Erik Nelson
People of past are used as minimum wage labor to produce products which are “Made in America by Americans”. However, not all past works come from America. Another story where background was fairly sketchy. ***-

No comments: