Saturday, July 21, 2007


After reading the Malmont novel, I didn't want to start a new book before Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows arrived and was able to jump right into another issue of Asimov's. It starts with a Sheila Williams editorial about some of the cover artists the magazine has had over the years and a Robert Silverberg essay about Limbo. It finishes with Paul Di Filippo doing the "Books" column; he is my favorite of the rotating reviewers. And, of course, there is some poetry sprinkled throughout the mag. As usual, though, I'd rather say a few words about the stories.

Brian Stableford is in the leadoff spot for July with "The Trial." We're talking about a pharmaceutical trial here, specifically treatment for Alzheimer's. The medication works all too well on William Asherson and makes him remember something he had tried to forget. It's an interesting take on the issue and it works pretty well.

Next up is "Bullet Dance" from John Schoffstall, a writer new to Asimov's and to me. He gives us a solid tale of a young girl who is taught how to dodge bullets by death gods and grows up to complete that training at a cost to her. The tone of the story really carries it along.

Chris Roberson gives us another story in his Celestial Empire sequence with "The Sky Is Large and the Earth Is Small." Cao Wen must interrogate a prisoner about Mexica (this is an alternate reality where China rose to world power) and instead learns more about himself and the world. The setting is strong and the character work is good, especially in the form of the prisoner, Ling Xuan. Good stuff.

Robert Reed returns with "Roxie," a tale about the relationship between a writer and his sled dog along with the possibility of the world being hit by an asteroid. It's a mood piece rather than one of his idea stories but it is still very effective. I don't think I've ever read a Reed story I didn't like.

The same goes for the next writer too - Michael Swanwick. His story is from his future self and highlights the high and low points of Asimov's future in "Congratulation from the Future!" It is short and a lot of fun.

Finally, we get from Nancy Kress. "Fountain of Age" deals with an aging man who loses a momento of the week he spent with the love of his life years ago, a beautiful prostiute. He decides to do something about it, to see her again. He knows he can see her because her tumors were discovered to freeze the aging process for someone...for only 20 years. It's a very interesting future. Max Feder isn't a very nice person but the reader is easily caught up in his quest and, of course, he redeems himself in the end.

I have only one more issue and I will be caught up completely with Asimov's. Of course, I'm still behind on F&SF but that's another story.

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