august 2010 asimov’s

Still going…

Asimov's, August 2010

A particularly arresting cover, IMO. An issue without a novella, which is usually a good sign.

  • "Superluminosity", by Alan Wall (short story). Fell immediately and obviously into the category I mentioned yesterday (stories about insecure heterosexual white men, subtype: prove that you love me), and I skimmed it, didn't see anything to disabuse me of my first impression, and punted on it.
  • "The Lovely Ugly", by Carol Emshwiller (short story). An… interesting story. (Also, warning, rape triggers.) The viewpoint character is a member of a species which achieved spaceflight and gave it up, and now maintains a studied luddite-ism. It's an interesting viewpoint. They're visited by humans, and the viewpoint character falls in love(? lust? ??) with a female member of the human crew. Lots of stuff to unpack here about race and gender and colonialism and power dynamics. I'm still not sure what I think of it.
  • "Crimes, Follies, Misfortunes, and Love", by Ian Creasy (novelette). A non-misogynistic post-apocalypse! The story centers around a bunch of grandmothers in a post-Peak Oil geneology club, basically, which has the ironic problem of having too much information about their ancestors (blogs and Flickr and Twitter and even direct sense-recordings), rather than not enough. Well-characterized and thought-provoking.
  • "The Battle of Little Big Science", by Pamela Rentz (short story). Another quiet little story, about one scientist's quest to get her funding for a time machine project renewed by the local tribal council. Also well-characterized and thought-provoking!
  • "Warning Label", by Alexander Jablokov (novelette). A Doctorow-esque memetic engineering piece set in a world so full of warning labels that even particularly contagious memes acquire them, Wikipedia [citation needed]-style. The utility of charismatic politicians.
  • "The Witch, the Tinman, the Flies", by J.M. Sidorova (short story). A not particularly SFnal but nevertheless affecting story about a geneticist in the Soviet Union and her young apprentice, by a Russian writer.
  • "On the Horizon", by Nick Wolven (short story). An odd little story about a former criminal who's been trained to pick up the thoughts and feelings of other criminals, in an unspecified SFnal way, and used as a sort of human bloodhound for criminal activity. Gets a bit of a Dickian paranoid milieu right and ends suitably ambiguously.
  • "Slow Boat", by Gregory Norman Bossert (novelette). Gets a geek main character exactly right (and a female geek main character, no less). A skilled corporate hacker wakes up to find herself on the slow boat to Mars (quite literally), and hilarity ensues. Hilarity here being defined as "a competent and clever person stuck in a cargo transport for half a year with only their personal digital assistant for a companion can come up with all manner of interesting revenge".

One advantage of taking the T to and from work every day is that I have a fair bit of reading time. Oddly, though both Asimov's and Analog are published by the same company, presumably printed by the same printer, etc., Pandemonium has only the September issue of the latter and not the former, or I'd have started it already.

Remaining to review: LCRW 25, and New Genre 6, the latter of which I picked up on a whim from Porter Square Books thisThursday morning.