A JUNE TRADITION
I've been reading Asimov's for many years now. I believe I started around 1993 or 1994 and at some point not too long after I dropped my subscription for a year or so before picking back up and reading it continuously ever since. The magazine has introduced me to a bunch of writers I love, including James Patrick Kelly. The June 2009 issue has a bit of a tribute to Kelly, as it marks the 25th anniversary of his first June issue story. That's right, he has had a story in the June issue every year since 1994, for a total of 26 stories. It's quite a feat.
Taking a look at the bibliography on Kelly's website, the first of the June stories that I remember reading for sure is "Breakaway, Backdown" from 1996 (guess I've been reading consistently at least that long and I don't recall reading "Think Like a Dinsosaur" from the June 1995 issue, though I've since read it). I also remember wanting to talk to people about it at the time but none of my friends (internet or otherwise) were reading Asimov's. Unfortunately, I don't recall what the story was about, only my enthusiasm for it.
Over the years, I've come to anticpate Kelly's June appearances. I know I'm going to get a story I like and I know the stories aren't necessarily going to be similar. He doesn't have a partiuclar style other than clear writing, a willingness to experiment with ideas big or small, and characters you can care about. From recent years, "Men Are Trouble" (2004) and "The Leila Torn Show" (2006) are particular standouts.
Kelly has three story collections that have been published by Golden Gryphon - Think Like a Dinosaur and Other Stories, Strange But Not a Stranger, and The Wreck of the Godpseed (which came out late last year). I'm a big fan of Golden Gryphon and have always meant to pick up the collections...but have never gotten around to it. Well, there is a 2-for-1 sale going on right now and with Father's Day coming up this weekend, I think I'm going to make a request for a present. That means I'll probably be talking about his work more on the blog as the months roll by.
Oh, I almost forgot to mention this year's story, "Going Deep." It's the story of Mariska, a 13 year-old clone of a spacer, who has an adopted father, an upcoming arranged marriage, and ambivalent thoughts about her predetermined life. She reaches a decision that she knows isn't the best but it ends up working out in the end. While it's not my favorite Kelly story, it's definitely worth reading.