Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Asimov's Science Fiction, July 2013

About average issue of Asimov’s.

Haplotype 1402 • shortstory by Ted Kosmatka
A post-apocalyptic story about US where a widespread and drug resistant strain of tuberculosis has killed most of the population. An advance scout of a small and ruthless partly, who travels on countryside has a bad encounter with a surviving farmer on his farm. That eventually leads to some grave consequences. A very well written story, where the background was perhaps too sketchy. ***½
The Art of Homecoming • novelette by Carrie Vaughn
A member of diplomatic corps is taking a vacation to meet her family on a farm after a failed mission. She reconnects with her family members, milks goats, eats real food and discusses things with her family. A simple story, good writing, but somehow there was practically no real plot at all. ***-
Blair's War • shortstory by Ian Watson
An alternate history story, where British forces take part to the Spanish civil war. Pretty short story which felt too long as everything is loaded at the last line reveal - which wasn't really surprising or astounding. **½
Yubba Vines • novelette by Rudy Rucker and Paul Di Filippo
A carriage which offers extremely tasty (and apparently mildly narcotic) foods appears in the town in surprising locations.
Something funny going on, as some people who have visited the diner seems to disappear. The beginning of the story was pretty good, but there were some pretty easily drawn conclusions and the ending went in a too surreal direction. **½
What is a Warrior Without His Wounds? • novelette by Gray Rinehart
An officer of Russian military is waiting for a honorable discharge after he has lost his leg and arm in a battle. Instead of a release, he gets ordered back to the very prestigious military academy he graduated from some years ago. The academy has produced some very capable and precocious cadets. There is reason for that...not very surprising story, but it is well told and written. ***+
Today's Friends • shortstory by David J. Schwartz
Aliens have appeared everywhere. Mostly they just observe, but they have a strange fascination on music. If they hear any music or even musical sounds - even bird song - they enter the mind of a person (or animal) who is responsible for the sound and force them to repeat it several times. And usually they rip the brain more or less to shreds at the same time. The protagonist of the story makes a mistake by humming at a public place. He is deeply scarred and changed after an alien fingers his brain. A well-written story - perhaps slightly too short. ***+
At Palomar • novelette by Rick Wilber

Apparently several forces battle for the control of several alternative worlds. A former baseball player is supposed to kill a certain person on a world, where part of the US is ruled by Germany and another part by Japan. The new optic lens which is being transported to the Palomar observatory has an important role. Extremely similar background as in the story by Kristine Kathryn Rush a few issues ago. This was lot less good, though. The back plot was a little confusing - there apparently has been a former part and the story was slightly too talky. ***-

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