Sunday, February 11, 2007


Two writers made their professional debuts this month and I liked both stories very much. The first (and lead story in the issue) is "Outgoing" by Alex Wilson. It is structured in ten titled sections (starting with #10) and each section is split into smaller sections about two characters - a young girl with brittle bones who wants to be a poet and a young boy who is very smart and dreams of space exploration. Over the course of the story their paths intersect (in space!) and lead to the discovery of another earth in orbit around the sun directly opposite from us. Sharp charactertization and the sense of wonder really work well.

The second is "A Portrait of the Artist" by Charles Midwinter. It's a lighter tale about two friends and the discoveries they make - the most important being a new species of squirrel that has a thumb-like appendage and is able to paint (with peanut butter). Obviously, it's not an entirely serious story but it is fun and has that element of the unusual.

The rest of the issue has solid work from Jack Skillingstead, Tanith Lee, and William Preston. It also has a fantastic novella by Kristine Kathryn Rusch. "Recovering Apollo 8" is a alternate history in which the Apollo 8 mission is lost and that loss spurs a man to innovate in pursuit of the capsule and then the astronauts (who had abandoned the capsule before death). It is a very touching story about the dream of space and can be viewed as a plea for us to return to those dreams. Science fiction at its finest.

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