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3rd Alternative #42, Summer 2005 by (TTA Press 09/01/2005 / ) - Table of Contents:
Tear Down Heaven by Camille Kuo (Cover) / Editorial: The Next Alternative by Andy Cox / Dying in the Arms of Jean Harlow by Paul Meloy / Electric Darkness by Stephen Volk (article) / The Word "Mermaid" Written on an Index Card by Doug Lain / Case Notes by Peter Tennant (book review) / The Vegetable Lamb by Matthew Francis / House of the Rising Sun by Elizabeth Bear / Japan's Dark Lanterns by John Paul Catton (article) / Lago Di Iniquita by Darren Spiegle / Reality Interrupted by Jason Erik Lundberg / The Dodo Has Landed by Allen Ashley (opinion)

The Summer 2005 issue of The Third Alternative starts with some sad news. This will be the last issue! But don't worry, the magazine will continue under the title Black Static. That's good to hear. I would not want to be deprived of the decidedly different stories that this magazine features.

The lead story is another by Paul Meloy. "Dying in the Arms of Jean Harlow" gives us a battle waged by a group of warriors called Paladins who must protect the Firmament Surgeons against the Autoscopes, agents of entropy. This is a thrilling tale about a great battle. Also, very good is "House of the Rising Sun" by Elizabeth Bear. A man must serve a vampire by getting the blood of people for her. Who this servant is comes as a surprise. "Lago Di Iniquita" by Darren Speegle is about a man who tries to find forgiveness for his sins and solace for the death of his family by going through with an old ritual. "Reality Interrupted" by Jason Erik Lundberg is a story in which Blue, an elemental, ends the TV career of a man named Goran by killing him but things do not end there.

Also worth reading are "The Word 'Mermaid' Written on an Index Card" by Doug Lain about a man's recovery from a breakdown who has unusual help. If "The Vegetable Lamb" sounds like an odd title, the story by Matthew Francis certainly is. There really is a "vegetable lamb" but that is not the oddest thing in this tale.

The reviews and other features along with the stories in this magazine makes it well recommended!

Analog Science Fiction & Fact - 10/2005 by (Dell 09/01/2005 / ) - Analog Science Fiction and Fact - October 2005 - Vol. CXXV No. 10 - ISSN 1059-2113
Table of Contents:
Novelettes: Language Lessons by Amy Bechtel / The Wrong Side of the Planet by Joe Schembrie / Zero Tolerance by Richard A. Lovett / Entropy?s Girlfriend by Robert J. Howe / Short Stories: The Doctrine of Noncontact by Catherine Shaffer / Infinity?s Friend by Dave Creek / Smiling Faces in Hog Heaven by Stephen L. Burns / The Time Pit by Stephen Baxter / Science Fact: The Wired Ocean: Doing Oceanography Without Getting All Wet by Richard A. Lovett / Probability Zero / The Genetics Lecture by Harry Turtledove / Reader's Departments: The Editor?s Page In Times To Come / The Alternate View by John G. Cramer / The Reference Library by Tom Easton / Brass Tacks Upcoming Events by Anthony Lewis

The October issue of Analog is another very good mix of stories. "Language Lessons" by Amy Bechtel is another in her amusing series of tales about a veterinarian who must deal with normal problems and a few abnormal ones, too. The abnormal ones are friendly sea monsters who are difficult to communicate with. "The Wrong Side of the Planet" by Joe Schembrie tells us of a man who quits his mining job to explore the planet Mars on his own. He gets more than he bargained for. "Zero Tolerance" by Richard A. Lovett combines a full moon and Halloween and other elements to produce a funny little story about people's personalities being magnified.

In "Entropy?s Girlfriend" by Robert J. Howe, a female physicist is found dead in a gruesome scene. A female cop and a male reporter find out what happened. "Infinity?s Friend" by Dave Creek is a story about a man desperately trying to save an alien friend, all the time remembering the death of his sister for which he feels responsible. "Smiling Faces in Hog Heaven" by Stephan L. Burns is another funny story, this one about a guy that must outwit an AI that is in control of a restaurant. "The Time Pit" by Stephen Baxter is another interesting tale about 'Old Earth' where time passes at a different rate depending on your altitude. The remaining story, "The Doctrine of Noncontact" by Catherine Shaffer is an OK story about humans trying a 'Prime Directive' approach in dealing with aliens.

Needless to say, Harry Turtledove's Probability Zero story, "The Genetics Lecture," has a great punchline. So this is another good, dependable and well worth reading issue of Analog.

Asimov's Science Fiction - 9/2005 - Vol. 29, No. 9 by (Dell 09/01/2005 / ) - Asimov?s Science Fiction ? September 2005 ? Vol. 29, No. 9 ? Whole Number 356 ? ISSN 1065-2698
Table of Contents:
Novelettes: Generations by Frederik Pohl / Pipeline by Brian W. Aldiss / Second Person, Present Tense by Daryl Gregory / Harvest Moon by William Barton / Short Stories: Finished by Robert Reed / The Company Man by John Phillip Olsen / A Rocket for the Republic by Lou Antonelli / Poetry: What I Learned Playing Marathon Solitaire On My PC by W. Gregory Stewart / Epithalamion by Mary A. Turzillo / Fallen Angel's Song by William John Watkins / Departments: Editorial: Generations by Sheila Williams / Reflections: Robert Burton, Anatomist of Melancholy by Robert Silverberg / One the Net: SETI and such by James Patrick Kelly / On Books by Paul Di Filippo / The SF Conventional Calendar by Erwin S. Strauss

The September issue of Asimov's Science Fiction has another excellent story by Robert Reed. Reed's story "Finished" tells us of an future in which people can have their personalities transferred into artificial bodies before they die. The only drawback is that they can never change after that and are stuck in whatever mindset they were in when they were "finished." In addition to this tale, we have very good stories by two veteran writers. "Generations" by Frederik Pohl starts after the events of 9/11 but take a different turn. As the years go by, the physical laws of the universe change and this gives way to some unfortunate social changes. "Pipeline" by Brian W. Aldiss tells us about a man's adventure in putting together a oil pipeline through Turkmenistan and the Middle East.

In "Harvest Moon" by William Barton, we have an alternate history with a different Presidents and a different outcome to the space program. John Phillip Olson goves us a very good debut story in "The Company Man." Aliens start buying our art treasures. What should be done? Also very good is "A Rocket For the Republic" by Lou Antonelli about a space flight in the 1840's! Lastly, "Second Person, Present Tense" by Daryl Gregory is a good story about a woman who must take over another woman's body and her life.

There is very little disappointing in another great issue of Asimov's Science Fiction.

Paradox: The Magazine of Historical and Speculative Fiction by (Paradox Summer 2005 / 7.50) - Paradox: The Magazine of Historical and Speculative Fiction - Issue 7 - Summer 2005
Table of Contents:
Fiction: A Tear Like A Rainbow by Meredith Simmons / The Avowing of Sir Kay by Cherith Baldry / A Monument More Lasting Than Brass by Steven Mohan, Jr. / The Tiger Fortune Princess by Eugie Foster / A Taste of Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick / A Hand in the Stream by Darron T. Moore / The Gods of Green and Gray by Paul Finch / Nonfiction: Beyond the Barbarian: History in the Works of Robert E. Howard by Patrice Louinet / Poetry: Prayer of Antigone by Angelo Sphere / The Greatness of Scipio Aemilianus br Darrell Schweitzer / Departments: From the Editor / New Books: Saga and Prince of Darkness / Film: Kingdom of Heaven / Contributor Biographies

This is the first issue of Paradox that I've read. This is not a purely science fiction/fantasy magazine but includes historical fiction as well. The best story in the issue is "A Monument More Lasting Than Brass" by Steven Mohan. It's an alternate history story in which Apollo 11 crashed on the moon and Apollo 12 failed as well. It takes more than a decade to return to the moon and when the new astronauts visit the crash site, they find something unexpected. Another very good story is "The Tiger Fortune Princess" by Eugie Foster. Set in ancient China this masterfully combines Chinese legend and familiar European tales.

Most of the other stories in the magazine are worth reading. "A Tear Like A Rainbow" by Meredith Simmons is a straight historical tale about a slave boy who must work for the Confederate army. "The Avowing of Sir Kay" by Cherith Baldry is set in the time of King Arthur. Besides Sir Kay, the story features Gareth and his brothers. "A Hand in the Stream" by Darron T. Moore is a first publication and another story about saving the Library of Alexandria. "The Gods of Green and Grey" by Paul Finch features Roman soldiers fighting ogres in ancient Britain. The only disappointing tale is "A Taste of Ashes" by Ilsa J. Bick which recycles one of the hoariest cliches in time-travel stories.

I will also mention that there is an excellent article about history in the stories of Robert E. Howard by Patrice Louinet. All in all there is much to recommend in this magazine.

SCIFICTION (07/06 - 07/20/2005) by SciFi Channel ( July 2005 / ) - SCIFICTION (07/06/05 - 07/20/05) Edited by Ellen Datlow
Stories reviewed: Heavy Lifting by Suzy McKee Charnas - 07/06/2005 / Calypso in Berlin by Elizabeth Hand - 07/13/2005 / Gauging Moonlight by E. Catherine Tobler - 07/20/2005

Since my last review, there have been only three new stories at I will review the 7/27/05 story next time. For this month, Ellen Datlow gives us three very good stories.

The first story is "Heavy Lifting" by Suzy McKee Charnas. She introduces us to a young man named Preston whose brother Richie died 7 years ago from drowning when Preston should have been at home. His father has left and his mother is delusional. Through the help of the ghost of a dead aunt, he finds redemption.

The next story, "Calypso in Paris" by Elizabeth Hand, is not about dancing. The Calypso of the story is the character from The Odyssey who spent some time with Odysseus. She is immortal and had been with many men since. She is also an artist and a weaver. Both of these play a part in a story of her feelings for her latest lover.

The third story is "Gauging Moonlight" by E. Catherine Tobler and is a lyrical piece told from the point of view of an alien who observes a woman's life from birth to death and develops feelings for his subject.

All these stories are worth reading. SCIFICTION remains one of the best Internet SFD sites.

Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction September 2005 by Gordon Van Gelder ( September 2005 / ) - Fantasy & Science Ficiton - September 2005
Table of Contents:
NOVELLAS: Magic for Beginners - Kelly Link / SHORT STORIES: A Quantum Bit Exists In Two States Simultaneously: On - David Gerrold (3938 words) / Age of Miracles - Richard Mueller (3877 words) / I Didn't Know What Time It Was - Carter Scholz (3227 words) / What I Owe to Rick - Arthur Porges (602 words) / The Housewarming -108- Albert E. Cowdrey (7184 words) / The Denial - Bruce Sterling (6590 words) / A Quantum Bit Exists In Two States Simultaneously: Off - David Gerrold (3951 words) / DEPARTMENTS: Books to Look For - Charles de Lint / Books - Robert K.J. Killheffer / Plumage from Pegasus: Soul Mining - Paul Di Filippo / Coming Attractions - Films: Of Mice and Long-Awaited Movies - Kathi Maio / Curiosities - Darrell Schweitzer / CARTOONS: S. Harris, J.P. Rini, Danny Shanahan / COVER: "FAIRY FALLS" BY MAX BERTOLINI

The September issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction is one of the best of the year (so far). Two stories get an excellent rating from me and the rest get a very good!

One of the excellent stories is "Magic For Beginners," a novella by Kelly Link. This is a truly unique story about a boy named Jeremy and his friends who love to watch a television show called The Library. The show is a "pirate", in that it shows up more or less unannounced at random times on random stations. It is only through the internet that Jeremy knows it's on. Its lead character is a female named Fox who has been apparently killed in the most recent episode. On a trip across country, Jeremy becomes involved with his show in a more direct way. Also excellent is "The Denial" by Bruce Sterling. No cyberpunk here, this takes place in a village ravaged by a flood. The lead character Yusuf must deal with the change that has come over his wife after her survival from drowning.

The other stories are also well worth reading. "Age of Miracles" by Richard Mueller is an amusing, satirical little tale about an alternate Renaissance where electricity and computers have been developed. There are many in-jokes sprinkled throughout the story and it is an utter delight. "I Didn't Know What Time It Was" by Carter Scholz tells us of time-travellers who visit the 20th century to witness performances by jazz greats. But all is not what it seems. David Gerrold contributes two stories which open and close the issue, in "A Quantum Bit Exists In Two States Simultaneously: On" and "A Quantum Bit Exists In Two States Simultaneously: Off", the narrator (who sounds like Gerrold) has a conversation with 'Pope Daniel the First of The Church of the Chocolate Bunny', one about sainthood and the other about how to stop a fanatic. Gerrold mixes humor with some serious intent here and succeeds in giving us two very good stories. In "What I Owe to Rick", Arthur Porges tells us a tale that involves Basilisks and what to do about them. Rounding out the issue is another story by Albert E. Cowdrey. Like many of his other tales, "The Housewarming" is set in New Orleans. Phil buys an old house which he already know has a haunted stable. This just begins another of Cowdrey's chilling stories.

This is an excellent issue and I can't wait for next months Anniversary issue with a story by Peter Beagle!

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