Saturday, November 17, 2007


I read the Dec. 2006 issue of Asimov's back in January, so I guess I've gotten a bit more caught up on my SF magazine reading over the year. Really, it's hard to believe we're at the point of the year (I've already gotten the Jan. 2008 issue too). Anyway, here's what I thought...

The issue starts off with a Christmas story from Connie Willis, "All Seated on the Ground." I'm not a big fan of how Christmas keeps creeping up the calendar - the TV commercials are now starting the day after Halloween, fer cryin' out loud! - but at least I chose to read this now. This is a madcap Christmas tale featuring disapproving aliens and choirs and buffoons of all stripes, plus a falling in love story. It's solid.

Next is a short tale from Tim McDaniel, "The Lonsesome Planet Traveler's Advisory." It's modeled after the "Lonely Planet" guidebooks, the twist being it's a primer for aliens who travel to Earth. Amusing.

"Strangers on a Bus" is the 13th Asimov's appearance for Jack Skillingstead, whom I've found very readable over the course of the last four years. This story, about a writer who thinks he can create the realities of those around him and the woman he meets on a bus, is no exception. It's odd and cool and affecting, even if you're not quite sure what's happening.

Nancy Kress gives us "The Rules" or rather, a story in which a dying rich man uses new technology to try and stop the effects of climate chaos by appealing directly to people. Another solid effort.

I'm not quite sure I understood "do(this)" by Stephen Graham Jones, as it's a very philosophical tale that has a character trying to find metaphors in computer languages. Very very interesting.

Finally, there's part two of Galaxy Blues by Allen M. Steele. "The Pride of Cucamonga" takes Jules Truffant and his fellow crew members into orbit and across the galaxy to the habitat of the hjadd. Along the way he learns more about the crew and the hjadd, naturally. It's the second part of four, so there's a lot of character work and moving the plot along. The ending suggests things are about to change and I'm looking forward to seeing what happens.

I have only two issues of SF mags in my pile now, though the last time I did a new issue arrived in the mail a couple days later. Time will tell if that happens again. With four books piled up, though, it will take a while before I get to another. But that's a story for another day.

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