Originally Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, Asimov’s Science Fiction holds a powerful place in the industry, regularly putting out award winning pieces in both the science fiction and fantasy categories. A long time subscriber, I fell behind a bit, and so I’m making a clean start on this month’s issue. Starting with a short editorial from Sheila Williams on the 2009 Dell Magazines Award and Silverberg’s monthly column, this one “Building Worlds: Part I,” Asimov’s moves into the stories.
“Away From Here” by Lisa Goldstein: A short fantasy on mysterious beings who arrive at an out of the way motel, and fill a girl’s mind with imagination, only to disappear. This story was artsy at the cost of plot, and left too much unexplained in a very unsatisfying way. One of the weaker stories here.
“Camera Obscured” by Ferrett Steinmetz: A tale of the near future, where a boy wants to find his goal, to be the best at something. After a number of accidents, he lands on the secret to being the “World’s Best Lover (Hetero Male).” This leads him to an encounter with Rosalie Atkinson, and the most meaningful afternoon of his young life. Despite his goal, this is a sex-free story about a boy who is looking in all the wrong places for who he is, and needs the friendship of another to learn the secret. A well-written piece.
“Soulmates” by Mike Resnick & Lezli Robyn: A story of a man that made the choice to let his wife go off machines in the hospital and die, “Soulmates” follows his grief, and his recovery, with the help of his friend MOZ-512, or Mose. A very powerful story, with wit, humor, and deep philosophical underpinnings, this is a must read story, and should be a shoe-in nomination when awards time roles around.
“In Their Garden” by Brenda Cooper: A short piece on a world after a disaster, a small colony trying to rebirth a culture, and one girl who wants to follow a different path. This one felt like one scene from a larger tale, not a tale in and of itself.
“The Day Before the Day Before” by Steve Rasnic Tem: An overly dense tale of time travel, as one man returns to the past to “fix” a “wrong” to make a “better” future.
“Tear-Down” by Benjamin Crowell: When a house’s are given AI, where will their loyalties lie? Crowell discusses this through a series of snapshots, in this well written tale.
“Her Heart’s Desire” by Jerry Oltion: A light, easy, fun story that is a wonderful break after the other more turgid, heavy tales that come before it, be it in their contents or artistic aspirations. A nice change of pace.
“Broken Windchimes” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch: This novella, the final story in the magazine, just didn’t excite me, so I gave it a skip. It could be great, but the beginning didn’t do much for me.
Also included are three poems—“Speculative Tai Chi” by Kendall Evans, “Nearly Ready for Occupation” by Danny Adams, and “The Last Alchemist” by Bruce Boston—and “On Books,” written by Paul Di Filippo, covering War Games by Christopher Anvil, The Starman Omnibus: Volume 1 by James Robinson, The Servants by Michael Marshall Smith, Blonde Roots by Bernardine Evaristo, and Saturn’s Children by Charles Stross.
A pretty mediocre issue, all in all. I’ve read better, but this one wasn’t for me.