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Analog - July/August 2005 by ( 05/06/2005 / ) - Analog - July/August 2005 - Vol CXXVNo. 8 - ISSN 1059-2113 Table of Contents:
Novella: Sanctuary by Michael A. Burstein / Novelettes: Search Engine by Mary Rosenblum / Give Up the Ghost by Grey Rollins / Resonance by Eric James Stone -- Short Stories: Take Me to Your Liederkranz by Lawrence M. Schoen / Breeding Maze by Larry Niven / The Speed of Understanding by Carl Frederick / The Best-Laid Plans by Jerry Oltion / Paradox & Greenblatt, Attorneys at Law by Kevin J. Anderson -- Science Fact: Water World, Glacier World, Dust World by Kevin Walsh -- Reader's Departments: The Editor's Page / In Times to Come / The Alternate View by Jeffrey D. Kooistra / The Reference Library by Tom Easton / Brass Tacks / Upcoming Events by Anthony Lewis

The lead story in the September 2005 issue of Analog is just the kind of high quality story we have come to expect from Michael Burstein. "Sanctuary" begins during a Roman Catholic mass being said in a chapel on a space station. It is interrupted by an alien seeking sanctuary to prevent the baby she is carrying from being aborted. What is impressive is that Burstein has done his research and probably knows more about Catholicism than 90% of Roman Catholics. In addition to that, he writes a very good story. Most of the other stories get my 'very good' rating, too. "Search Engine" by Mary Rosenblum is a nice little tale about a detective of the future that must still use ingenuity in finding people, even when everyone is supposed to be tagged?. But the story goes further than that when the detective must make a moral decision about what he finds. "Give Up the Ghost"? by Grey Rollins is a classic Analog story in which a man must find out why ghosts of dead people are showing up on a planet and how to uses this to the benefit of the colony. "Resonance"? by Eric James Stone is also a classic Analog story in which a man must find a way to build the first space elevator and win the very lucrative Otis Prize. I especially like it that he assumes we are all knowledgeable enough not to need him to explain the name on the award. "The Speed of Understanding"? is another good story by Carl Frederick in which a group of people realize they have been missing something about the life on the planet that they have been studying. Lastly, "Paradox & Greenblatt, Attorneys At Law" by Kevin J. Anderson is a wonderfully amusing tale that makes use of the old Grandfather Paradox.

The issue is rounded out by two more enjoyable stories. "In Take Me to Your Liederkranz", Lawrence M. Schoen tells us how a man identifies a very curious behavior in a young woman. "Breeding Maze" by Larry Niven is another amusing little Draco's Tavern tale. Unfortunately, in this issue there is one story I thought was well below the standards of Analog. "The Best Laid Plans" by Jerry Oltion is a depressing tale about the triumph of ignorance. Oltion does not even try to make this little throwaway plausible. Maybe he thinks he's being funny but it's really just a waste of five pages.

Even still, this issue has a lot to recommend it.

Asimov's Science Fiction - August 2005 by ( / ) - Asimov's Science Fiction - August 2005 - Vol. 29 No. 8 (Whole Number 355) - ISSN 1065-2698
Table of Contents:
Novelettes: Softly Spoke the Gabbleduck by Neal Asher / Point of Origin by Catherine Wells / The Summer of Seven by Paul Melko / Kath and Quicksilver by Larry Niven & Brenda Cooper -- Short Stories: He Woke in Darkness by Harry Turtledove / A Shadow Over the Land by Liz Williams / Bottom Feeding by Tim Pratt / A Birth by Carrie Richerson -- Poetry: Velocity by Tracina Jackson-Adams / An Alternate Universe Alphabet by Sandra Lindow -- Departments: Editorial: The 2005 Dell Magazine Awards by Sheila Williams / Reflections: The Greatness of Cornelius Drible by Robert Silverberg / Letters / On Books by Peter Heck / The SF Conventional Calendar by Erwin S. Strauss

The August 2005 issue of Asimov's Science Fiction does have one exceptional story and a bunch of very good ones. The best story is "He Woke in Darkness" by Harry Turtledove. It's good to see Turtledove writing a short story, a serious one anyway. It was in Asimov's that I first read a story under his name and was blown away by it. This is an alternate universe story with a twist. It tells us of a white man in an alternate Philadelphia, Mississippi of 1964 where those of African descent are in charge. It could not be more topical if they planned it that way and they didn't. This story will probably make my Hugo nomination list next year.

Most of the rest of the stories get my "very good" rating. "Softly Spoke the Gabbleduck" by Neal Asher is a rousing tale of two humans on an alien planet having to survive when they are witness to the murder of sentient natives by other humans. "Point of Origin" by Catherine Wells deals with the exploits of two people who must catch a man who has been setting fires at National Parks. "The Summer of Seven" by Paul Melko is the third in a series he has written about post-human teens who are joined together mentally in groups. In this story a sextet from a previous story must help a septet adjust to her/his situation. In "A Shadow Over the Land," Liz Williams tells us of a woman in danger in the African veldt and her surprising savior. Carrie Richerson's "A Birth" starts out with what seems like a typical father's doubts about his son-in-law but it has a twist.

Of the remaining stories, one is quite good. "Bottom Feeding" by Tim Pratt is about an unusual way of gaining knowledge. Oddly enough the most disappointing story is "Kath and Quicksilver" by Larry Niven and Brenda Cooper. I don't care for stories in which someone stupidly puts oneself in danger and then needs to be rescued.

But the Turtledove story alone makes this issue worth reading.

Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction - August 2005 by ( / ) - The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction - August 2005 issue Table of Contents:
Novelets: Thwarting Jabbi Gloond -5- Matthew Hughes / Maze of Trees -38- Claudia O'Keefe -- Short Stories: Gypsy Tail Wind -71- Mary Rosenblum / Refried Clich's: A Five-Course Meal -89- Mike Shultz / A Very Little Madness Goes a Long Way -100- M. Rickert / Spell -118- Bruce McAllister / Pure Vision -130- Robert Reed / The Woman in Schrodinger's Wave Equations -143- Eugene Mirabelli -- Departments: Books to Look For -25- Charles de Lint / Books -29- Elizabeth Hand / Films: Curse of the Deadly Sequel -94- Lucius Shepard / Coming Attractions -99- / Curiosities -162- F. Gwynplaine MacIntyre / Cartoons:: S. Harris (70), J.P. Rini (88), Danny Shanahan (160). / Cover: Fairy Falls by Max Bertolini

It's always good when an issue of a magazine starts with an exceptional story and the August issues of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction does just that. "Thwarting Jabbi Gloond" is another great story by Matthew Hughes about Henghist Hapthorn but this takes place well before he becomes 'old Earth's foremost freelance discriminator." This is Young Henghist and serves as something of an origin story. Heghist is asked by a friend to come to his ancestral home to see why his father might be being blackmailed by one Jabbi Gloond. Hughes is very good at naming his characters! The story brings to mind a classic Sherlock Holmes situation but goes in a different direction. I do love these stories and would be content to read The Magazine of Fantasy and Henghist Hapthorn every month! Next year, when I nominate for the Hugos, I am going to have a hard time deciding which Hapthorn tale to nominate. I can't nominate them all, can I?

The rest of the stories in this issue are also well worth reading. "The Maze of Trees" by Claudia O'Keefe shows that the author is very adept at writing good stories about the effect natural surroundings have on people. "Refried Cliches: A Five Course Meal" by Mike Shultz consists of some very funny vignettes. "Spell" by Bruce McAllister is a chilling tale of witchcraft in the family. Robert Reed gives us another of his odd little stories in "Pure Vision." An optometrist/magician develops lenses that can see into a person's soul. Reed explores what this would mean and the dangers inherent in it. In "The Woman in Schr?dinger's Wave Equations," Eugene Mirabelli weaves a tale of historical speculation that also serves as a love story. Still good but a little less successful are: "Gypsy Tale Wind" by Mary Eosenblum (which tries to do a bit too much for a short story) and "A Very Little Madness Goes a Long Way" by M. Rickert (which does the same). Sometimes, stories don't quite work for me.

But an issue with stories by Hughes, O'Keefe and Reed is well worth picking up!

SciFiction by Ellen Datlow (scifi.com May-June / ) - Stories reviewed: Heads Down, Thumbs Up by Gavin J. Grant - 04/27/05 / The Girl in the Fabrilon by Marly Youmans - 05/11/05 / Song of the Black Dog by Kit Reed - 05/18/05 / The Scribble Mind by Jeffrey Ford - 5/25/05 / The Being of It All by Carol Emshwiller - 06/01/05 / Diamond Girls by Louise Marley - 06/08/05 / There's a Hole in the City by Richard Bowes - 06/15/05 / The Starry Night by Barry N. Malzberg and Jack Dann - 06/22/05

Last month, I didn't review any stories from www.scifi.com>SCIFICTION, so I'll review two month's worth this time. As usual, I'll start with the best. There are four stories that are good enough for me to consider as Hugo nominatable for next year. The first is "Song of the Black Dog" by Kit Reed. Reed fashions a story about a dog that can sense when someone is about to die. The dog proves useful in triage cases when there are a lot of people who need to be treated. In normal situations, this power can be very scary. What would you think if this dog singled out you? The next story is "The Scribble Mind" by Jeffrey Ford in which a young man meets a woman who is obsessed with a very specific design of a scribble. This scribble is made by people who can remember back to when they were in their mother's womb. Ford comes up with a very different idea and gives us a nice little story about it. The third story shows that, if you write something about baseball, I'm probably going to like it. "In Diamond Girls," Louise Marley takes us to a time when woman have started playing Major League Baseball. In her story, there are just two women who have broken this barrier, one a genetically engineered pitcher and the other just a great batter. She gives us a classic epic battle in a story I just loved, even though it seems she has ended a team's at-bat after just one out. The last great story in this group is "There?s a Hole in the City" by Richard Bowes. It takes place in New York City right after 9/11. In the story, the events of that day have opened a "hole" through which the dead are passing through. Ghosts from as far back as the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire and the General Slocum disaster start making their appearance. The story took me back to that time and was chilling to boot.

Just a notch below these are two fine stories that really defy description. "The Being of it All" is one of those odd little set pieces that Carol Emshwiller is known for. "The Starry Knight" by Barry Malzberg and Jack Dann involves a famous painting by Vincent Van Gogh, a little girl's reaction to it and how that relates to something in the "real world."

"The Girl in the Fabrilon" by Marly Youmans is an okay little story of a special kind of glass viewer device and what it tells a man about his life. The other story is one that I didn't like at all. "Hands Down, Thumbs Up" by Gavin Grant is an incomprehensible tale about the effect a war has on a little boy and his classmates. I'd say just to skip that one and read the rest, especially those fabulous four!

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