june 2010 asimov’s

I'm behind in my reviewing, for whatever that's worth. It's not that I haven't been reading the magazines, though it has been mostly magazines I've been reading — I've been making ~no progress on my to-read stack of novels. Work has of course been consuming a lot of my energy. Also, more lately, the sleep meds I've been taking, some hours before bed, have been causing me to be a zombie pretty much up until bed. When I can't muster energy to get out of my chair, let alone read or watch TV or write, I can't really have a productive evening to speak of. I took the meds a bit later tonight — I've been playing around with dosages and timing some (melatonin in the 300-1000 microgram range, nothing heavy-duty, thank goodness), so I'll write as much as I have energy for while I wait for it to kick in. I'm not liking it much, this twilight life, but I go in for the follow-up to my sleep study tomorrow, so hopefully that will point me in more productive directions.

Asimov's, June 2010

A seriously underwhelming issue.

  • "The Emperor of Mars", by Allen M. Steele (novelette). I feel like I've read this one before — pop psychology mixed with SFnal exceptionalism. Basically a young man, working on Mars, suffers the loss of his family and retreats into a universe constructed out of the SF books he's been reading, in which he's the titular emperor, in order to cope. Doesn't condemn his escapism, at least, but nothing hugely special.
  • "Petopia", by Benjamin Crowell (short story). A cast-off electronic pet winds up in French-speaking Africa. Some commentary about digital haves and have-nots and so on, and the values different cultures place on things, and a bit of "the Street finds its own uses for technology", but it didn't really grab me.
  • "Monkey Do", by Kit Reed (short story). Writer's animal learns to write, outshines writer, hilarity ensues. That's pretty much it.
  • "The Peacock Cloak", by Chris Beckett (short story). A bit of an allegory on good and evil, set in a virtual world which recapitulated the Fall — a dialogue between God and the Devil in SFnal clothing, basically — and neither hugely novel in its outlook nor particularly deft in its approach, but well-told, and containing some nicely vivid imagery.
  • "Voyage to the Moon", by Peter Friend (short story). An odd, arthropod From the Earth to the Moon. It's nicely alien, and it's fun to discover the odd nature of the world and try to understand it along with the characters.
  • "Dreadnaught Neptune", by Anna Tambour (short story). I couldn't figure out where this was going, skipped to the end, skimmed the middle, and was still confused. The 1950's milieu that's pretty common in SF short stories doesn't do a lot for me, and this is no exception.
  • Earth III by Stephen Baxter (novella). I couldn't get into the last story in this series, and I couldn't get into this one. Meh.

I'm not asleep yet. I'll get through as many reviews as I can tonight and post them, one a day for the next N days, until I run out.