Sunday, April 21, 2013

Asimov's Science Fiction, June 2013

Some good, some less good stories. A pretty average issue.

The Fountain • novelette by G. David Nordley
A far future story where an alien emissary from a race with a hive mind comes to meet the immortal empress of the Earth with a request. A pretty good story with intriguing characters. ***½
Skylight • novelette by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
An orphan has been trained as an assassin by a guild which specializes in the assassinations of criminals, former dictators and others who deserve death. She fails her last test when she doesn't make what she was supposed to do in a VR simulation. An excellent "origin" story. I look forward to other possible stories in this series. ****-
Hypervigilant • shortstory by Eric Del Carlo
A series of terror attacks with neurochemical toxins have produced “amokers”, people who tend to go berserk at public places and kill as many people they can. However, the same toxins have produced empaths who are able to feel if someone is going to start a rampage. They are stationed at public places. One day one empath who sits in a waiting room of a hospital feels a woman with a mind full of fury entering. But then the fury disappears – did he make an error? A pretty good story with an interesting background. ***½
A Love Song Concerning His Vineyard • shortstory by Megan Arkenberg
A story about wine, dysfunctional family and Mars. A story which is going more for a mood than plot. Very short and somewhat sketchy. **½
Precious Mental • [The Great Ship Universe] • novella by Robert Reed
Apparently a part of a series. A far future story. There are immortal and powerful races in the galaxy and some people are apparently also immortal. All races share a similar basis for immortality: a bioceramic practically indestructible brain module. Some people are trying to repair a very old and very efficient space ship engine. I didn't get into this story at all – probably because I am not familiar with the other parts of the series. Everything felt very confusing and disjointed. **½

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