Kirkland's "Humans First!" is an interesting political story of opposing extremist political factions and overly powA lot of good stuff in this issue.
Kirkland's "Humans First!" is an interesting political story of opposing extremist political factions and overly powerful bureaucracy (in this case, machine-run.) I'm not quite sure if the author is really comfortable with the protagonist eventually accepting the obviously dystopian status quo. But a good story. ****
Dicken's "Citizen of the Galaxy” is an interesting short story but looks at retaining racial/ethnic culture in a multi-alien galaxy, and is actually better for not taking a stand. ****
Levine's "Mammals" is quite short and snappy, told from the point of view of a computer process after the machines have taken over and exterminated humanity. Yet despite their superiority, they don't even know they are well and truly forked. ****
Johnson's "The Anomaly" is a local boy makes good tale set on some distant mining colony, but it only plays with the issue of class and wealth rather than confronting it. ***
Smith's "Dino Mate" gives us time travel observers of the Jurassic, and I'm sure it's some kind of feminist allegory in there somewhere. An okay story. ***
Liu's "Saboteur" isn't a bad story, as future Luddites confront self driving vehicles. But it seems emotionally simplistic among the authors other terrific writings. ***
Dare's "Twist of Coil" is a simple story of personal sacrifice made interesting for its strange alien (or is it fantasy?) biology. ***
And last but not least, "Racing the Tide" was a story of short term patches set against a backdrop of global warming. *** ...more
Not really an issue with much I enjoyed. Way too many head scratchers for my taste.
The exception was "The Quality of Descent", easily my favorite, aNot really an issue with much I enjoyed. Way too many head scratchers for my taste.
The exception was "The Quality of Descent", easily my favorite, a contemporary fantasy about a guy who meets an unusual gal. It's told with charm and wit. ****
"Jupiter Wrestlerama" was a space sci-fi story I at least found comprehensible. There's been a murder, and girlfriend wants answers. ***
"The Herd" was a fantasy Western (I think; horses and marshals, anyway.) It was okay, at least I grokked the ending. ***
"The Biography of a Bouncing Boy Terror!" is a Springheeled Jack origin story, as fantasy rather than steampunk, with a wee bit of Jack and Beanstalk mixed in. Short & cute, at least. ***
Doesn't anyone write stories with comprehensible endings anymore?
I didn't really get "The Puzzle"'s ending, but Mr. Adam wasn't interesting enough character, a retired old geezer, that at least the trip to the end wasn't a total waste. ***
"Scarey Rose in Deep History" is a time viewing story (the Light of Other Days), but if it had a point, I didn't get it. *
"Dust" is one of those fantasy stories masquerading as sci-fi (it has asteroid miners, how can it not be sci-fi? When asteroid miners communicate telepathically with the asteroid.) Anyway, the story was so-so and the characters boring, meh. **
"Water Off a Black Dog's Back" was a contemporary fantasy that totally lost me. It was a long way too read tend up just saying, WTF? * ...more
Another white space opera read from Jack Campbell in his Lost Fleet universe, as the independent rebels on Midway star system fight another skirmish wAnother white space opera read from Jack Campbell in his Lost Fleet universe, as the independent rebels on Midway star system fight another skirmish with the old Syndicate. A little ground troop action, some small spaceship battles, the requisite dire foreshadowing. Readable, lightweight, familiar, modestly enjoyable....more
Silverberg writes a relatively short novel of alien/human contact, comparing culture and religion and discussing the nature of a soul. Nicely written,Silverberg writes a relatively short novel of alien/human contact, comparing culture and religion and discussing the nature of a soul. Nicely written, as a human returns to a planet to atone for his previous employment as a slave master to the native population....more
Connie Willis is a very funny lady when she wants to be, and in this novella she is hilarious. Willis mines humor by exaggerating foibles of many of hConnie Willis is a very funny lady when she wants to be, and in this novella she is hilarious. Willis mines humor by exaggerating foibles of many of her characters. Her favorite is the person who is obsessed with their own little hobbyhorse to the exclusion of all surrounding events. Here she's created a nice cast of scientists working at a technology company. She gets to poke the usual fun at corporate management and bureaucrats, as well as a few quirky individuals. Sandy is studying fads and how they start and spread; and she's especially concentrating on hair bobbing, with plenty of asides for hula hoops and Rubiks cubes.
The plot is rather thin and not terribly original (there was this TV series back in the 60's but did something similar every week), and the conclusion will hardly be a surprise, but the story really isn't the point, the laughing along the way is....more
OK, I've now read this as an eBook and listened to both Audiobook editions (because Scalzi has a gimmick of not revealing the gender of the 1st-personOK, I've now read this as an eBook and listened to both Audiobook editions (because Scalzi has a gimmick of not revealing the gender of the 1st-person narrator, hence the gender of the narrator leaks through into the perception of the story). Wheaton reads with a slightly more noir feel to the murder mystery, but not much. (I have now devoted far too time or what is a very light, if enjoyable, read.)...more
Well, I wanted to read the first Buck Rogers story, and now I have.
To my surprise, he's not called Buck Rogers here, but Tony Rogers. According to WikWell, I wanted to read the first Buck Rogers story, and now I have.
To my surprise, he's not called Buck Rogers here, but Tony Rogers. According to Wikipedia, the name was changed to Buck for the comic book.
Not surprising for an 1928 sci-fi story, it's all action, male chauvinist (while protesting how unlike women of the 20th century Wilma is, even as she faints dead away for the third time. On the plus side, she usually kills some bad guys and then faints.)
It didn't surprise me that it read a little bit like Edgar Rice Burroughs, first person and all.
I also found it a little pessimistic that apparently World War One was already called back in 1928, the "one" apparently anticipating another one. Of course, the pessimism turns out to be totally correct.
Okay, I can cross this one off the list now. I've done my sci-fi history read for the year....more
Holly Black's "Ten Rules for Being an Intergalactic Smuggler (the Successful Kind)” was very engaging spI liked a several stories in here quite a bit:
Holly Black's "Ten Rules for Being an Intergalactic Smuggler (the Successful Kind)” was very engaging space operaish story, told in an interesting style. *****
Tananarive Due's "Herd Immunity” is a post plague story with an interesting point of view from one survivor. ****
I'm not really convinced Saundra Mitchell's "Starfall” is actually sci-fi, it seemed more fantasy to me, and was one of those stories that left me scratching my head at the ending; but I did enjoy the trip to the ending and the protagonist, so I still liked it quite a bit overall. ****
de Bodard's "Prayers of Forges and Furnaces” was another of her Aztec influenced stories of old gods and new. She's always an entertaining read. ****
"No Lonely Seafarer” is a story about sirens (what time it said singing on the rocks and lure sailors to their death) and an unusual solution to the problem of a siren blockade of a port. *** ...more
The theme for this issue seems to be feminist fantasy.
Emily C. Skaftun's "Diary of a Pod Person" was really excellent. Can you clone a soul, or copy iThe theme for this issue seems to be feminist fantasy.
Emily C. Skaftun's "Diary of a Pod Person" was really excellent. Can you clone a soul, or copy it like memory? Or do you grow a new one? (I would still like to know what was on the thumb drive, though.)
KKRusch's "Playing with Reality" had an amusing story about a golf tournament for fictional characters at a male-only country club. ****
Bailey's "Troop 9" has a group of girl scouts go feral, Lord of the Flies style, apparently because their moms were off working. **
Chase's "Decaying Orbit" is a old school space opera style story, entertaining (not Asimov's usual house style; more an Analog thing). ****
Dubois's "Minutes to the End of the World" is told via minutes of town council meetings during some sort of world-ending pandemic.. For a grim subject it's strangely amusing in its adherence to Roberts Rules of Order. ***
Grimshaw's "The Cloisters" was an entertaining fantasy, even if I didn't exactly get the point at the end. ***
Steele's "The Prodigal Son" is a distant sequel to his earlier "Legion of Tomorrow", except unlike that one, this one is actually science fiction (as opposed to fiction about science fiction writers.) It's not a bad story, despite the obligatory crazed Christian Luddite. ***
Kelly's "Uncanny" is a sort of robot AI story. OR a sex toy story. Or both. ***
"What Is Sand but Earth Purified?" not my style **
McDaniel's "New Trick" is a tired werewolf sorty. (The werewolf is tired, not the story.) I'm kind of that way, too, these days. ***
Bachus's "Pinono Deep" is the cover story, but it left me cold (pun intended.) ** ...more
"Persephone Descending" started things off with a nice space melodrama set on Venus, one of those survival sA pretty good issue. Several nice stories.
"Persephone Descending" started things off with a nice space melodrama set on Venus, one of those survival stories, featuring some imaginative Venusian life forms as well.
"Superior Sapience" continued with the story of engineering superior intelligence, with a corporate twist.
"Mercy, Killer" was an engaging short story involving an AI murderer — of other AI's, a sort of why did he do that following breadcrumbs in the form of a 6th century Roman poet philosopher.
"An Exercise in Motivation" also involved some AI's, these young and naïve and playful, and a psychologist who tries to motivate them. Fortunately, the charm of the story didn't depend on the rather trite ending.
"Elysia Elysium" fits nicely into the post collapse/global warming catastrophe stories, and does a pretty fair job of it.
"Conquest" is a short humorous story featuring the starship captain who just doesn't get it. Maybe a little too obtuse.
"Habeas Corpus Callosum" uses a sci-fi concept, life-extending rejuvenation, but isn't really about that at all. Shrug.
"Flow" picks up in the same world as the author's "Thaw” from last year, and like that predecessor I thought it was overlong and disappointing. ...more
A military sci-fi featuring a kick-as female major who acts as security officer for a interstellar colonization ship under construction around Mars. AA military sci-fi featuring a kick-as female major who acts as security officer for a interstellar colonization ship under construction around Mars. Apparently somebody wants to see to it the ship doesn't make the trip. There's no lack of combat, most of it in the corridors of orbital rings.
The book isn't bad and the story moves right along, a bit too fast to give the characters any depth. The characters never seemed real to me beyond their archetypes, each fitting into a familiar role. The hero has a dark side, a reputation as a butcher and has no problem torturing people to get information — or torturing friends of people she wants to get to talk. With one excuse or another, she always seems to be taking on the enemy solo, in the fine tradition of Lensman everywhere. And the plot seems to have far too many squads of Marines and enemy mercenaries fighting it out in supposedly civilized space....more
"Other People's Things" is a comedy about a relationship advisor and his newest client. In some ways reminded me of the movie Hitch. Not sure if this was supposed to be sci-fi or fantasy, but light and readable. I'd have to say this was my favorite of the collection. ***
"The Way We Are" is mildly amusing (and mercifully short) imagining a world where passwords are needed for everything from the coffee pot to the zipper on your pants. ***
There were a distressing number of short stories in this edition that seem to have at most a tenuous relationship to either science fiction or fantasy. ...more