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Asimov’s July 2008

In Uncategorized on 2008-06-26 by Kyle Maxwell

I think the July issue of Asimov’s might still be available on newsstands. Here are my thoughts on the contents. This was a fairly average issue of Asimov’s, which is to say that it was very good.

The Philosopher’s StoneBrian Stableford – A steampunk story touching on Sir Francis Drake, etherships, alternate history… This novella just is not my style, but it seems to be a fairly decent example of the genre. The writer tells an interesting story and sketches out a protagonist that seems “real” (if not memorable). Several of the supporting characters lacked depth; bringing them out a little more might have helped me to overcome my apathy towards the genre.

Lester Young and the Jupiter Moons’ BluesGord Sellar – This is an absolutely wonderful mix of 1940s jazz & black culture, plus sort of an alien invasion; the voice of the character is dead-on. Why isn’t more SF written like this? That is to say, with characters clearly of color and willing to explore issues of race. This story will stick with me for a long, long time.

Vinegar Peace, or, The Wrong-Way Used-Adult OrphanageMichael Bishop – An emotional piece about parents surviving their children by an author who knows first-hand. The flow is almost “stream of consciousness” but stays grounded enough not to become distracting.

The Woman Under the WorldSteven Utley – A fine example of very short fiction exploring one idea, in the vein of the late Sir Arthur C. Clarke.

Cascading Violet HairR. Neube – I love SF noir, and this story delivers. Set on a space station with resource shortages, dealing with the results of overly authoritarian governments, the story contains several nuggets worth considering in our own world.

26 Monkeys, also the AbyssKij Johnson – Wow, this was almost magical realism. It drug on a little bit here and there, and it’s not the sort of hard science fiction I personally prefer, but the author manages to make one of the monkeys outshine the main character. Not by accident, I’ll note.

Light Across an Impossible LakeMark Rich – I’m still pondering the explication of this tantalizing poem. It’s like I can almost figure out what he’s really describing, but the language is vaguely evocative of enough different things that it’s not simply a poetic description of some astronomical phenomenon, I think. And that makes it excellent verse.

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