NT Jim Baen's Universe October 2006 - science fiction
A man saves a girl by confronting armed robbers and is mortally wounded. This wasn't the first time he put himself in such danger. Another man had repeatedly risked his life playing the hero too. A spaceport security man learns that both men saw service in the Patrukan War on the deserted planet of Nikita. What affected the battle survivors on Nikita? The security man travels lightyears on his vacation to find out.
This is a readable story, but, in my opinion, hardly groundbreaking. Plus, if you know something is an illusion, even if it's a pleasant illusion, why would you fall for it?
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
NT Jim Baen's Universe October 2006 - science fiction
Thursday, July 19, 2007
NT ASFM (Asimov's Science Fiction) October/November 2006 – science fiction
One morning a ferry heading from Seattle to Bremerton mysteriously vanishes into the fog with nearly a thousand people aboard. No wreckage is found and eyewitnesses and radar report anomalous circumstances at the time of the ferry's disappearance. This story tells how some people are affected by this tragedy and what scientists determine happened.
This is an interesting, readable novelette. I could have done with more admirable bereaved folks and less about adultery, though. I particularly liked the viewpoints of the fisherman and The Adventure Club and the realistically kooky Internet postings.
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
SS Strange Horizons September 4, 2006 – science fantasy)
A powerful yet compassionate priest called Matthias has a library that contains worlds such as our own. He is building a bubble universe behind his house. A pilgrim from far away, one of the ancient ones, visits Matthias and wants to become ubiquitous in Matthias's new universe. Matthias hides his keys from the pilgrim.
I found this short story rather odd, and I couldn't get into it. The plot line in the world like ours, with its scenes of domestic violence, was a bit unsettling. I guess I'll give brownie points to the author for writing something different -- a tale about God-like universe-spanning beings -- and for some clever phrases.
Monday, July 16, 2007
NT F&SF (Fantasy & Science Fiction) October/November 2006 - fantasy
This fantasy tale is set in a time like today in Phnom Penh in Cambodia. According to the author "this is a completely untrue story about someone who must exist." The story is about a rich young woman named Sith, who is Pol Pot's daughter. She lives an eccentric, narrow life trying to avoid unpleasantness. Sith falls in love with Dara, a young salesman working at a mobile phone shop. Sith is afraid to admit who she is. Sith is haunted by ghosts with no one to mourn them that call on her cell phones, and whose faces appear on her photocopier.
An exotic, colorful, (dare I say) haunting novelette. I enjoy tales with modern day ghosts. I was very impressed with this story. A very worthy Hugo award nominee.
Friday, July 13, 2007
SS ASFM (Asimov's Science Fiction) June 2006 - science fiction
In 2016, a series called Invasion of a Small World debuted. It was poorly promoted, and had only adequate production values, unglamorous characters, and sloppy dialog. The series was cancelled after the fifth episode. But months later the final three episodes create a buzz by showing planetary vistas and a Permian ecosystem. Who was behind this series, who sent it?
This short story may present a more realistic view of life in the wide universe, but it lacks something in fun. Some of the golden age sci-fi genre tropes are near impossibilities, but why discourage us from reaching for the stars?
Sunday, July 08, 2007
SS ASFM (Asimov's Science Fiction) February 2006 - science fiction
<<- Asimov's Science Fiction February 2006 cover by Dominic Harman for "Kin"
In an overpopulated California of the future, a twelve-year old boy named Kim Tuckey-Yatsen wants a man killed because he is going to kill his sister. At a local tourist spot, the boy handed out notes. A scary, dangerous Antalou alien answers the boy's note. Seems the intelligent boy knows much about the Antalou. The boy's case strikes a chord with the alien, even though what little money the boy can offer is not worth a kill. The boy understands the alien better than either imagined.
This is a memorable science fiction short story. An unusual way to bend regulations, and a neat way to make a bureaucrat think. Plus five years later, a nice added bit for the boy.
SS anthology (The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year edited by Jonathan Strahan) - fantasy
Mr. Torrez does Bible repair by scorching out verses his customers find intolerable then re-sanctifying the book with holy water. He conducts ransom negotiations for stolen ghosts by offering some of his blood and his soul. His own dead daughter's ghost was kidnapped and was used as TV channel-changer. There are broken souls and urban magic.
This is a story filled with intriguing ideas. I recommend this story for that alone. It's like magic realism, but taken multiple steps from reality. But since the situations are really out there, and this isn't a long story, it was sometimes hard to put myself in the character's shoes. Nonetheless, an interesting tale.
Tuesday, July 03, 2007
SS story collection (Fragile Things) - science fantasy
Two English teenage boys -- one is outgoing, the other, the narrator, is shy about talking to girls – head off to a party, but they forget to bring the directions. They find a party, but girl they know isn't there. The girl who meets them at the door is very beautiful. Turns out it's a different party entirely, and the girls at the party are quite different indeed.
A charming story. Gaiman wisely doesn't try to explain or describe things entirely, and that helps to make the story work.