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Analog - November 2005 - Vol. CXXV No. 11 by (Dell October 2005 / ) - Analog - November 2005 - Vol.CXXV No. 11 - ISSN 1059-2113

Table of Contents
Serial: Sun of Suns by Karl Schroeder | Novella: The Diversification of Its Fancy by John Barnes | Novelette: The Case of the Contumacious Qubit by Thomas R. Dulski | Short Story: 911-Backup by Richard Lovett | Science Fact: Retirement Homes of the Gods by Stephen L. Gillett, Ph. D. | Probability Zero: Keeping Track by Richard Foss | 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

As the November issue of Analog has the first part of a serial, there are only three pieces of short fiction, one novella, one novelette and one short story. Fortunately, they are all very good.

"The Diversification of Its Fancy" by John Barnes is a novella about a talented musician named Giraut Leones who is also an agent of the Office of Special Projects, which helps to keep the "Thousand Cultures" in his universe going. There are dangers here but one can always be brought back to life by downloading your memories to a new body. The problem is that there is a minority of people for whom this is not possible.

"The Case of the Contumacious Qubit" by Thomas R. Dulski is an amusing little story about a missing science professor and two men, Oliver Wendell Baker & his assistant Woodside who are trying to find her at the request of her great-nephew. All this is against the backdrop of a science fair at a university in New Jersey.

"911-Backup" by Richard Lovett is another tale that involves backed up memories. In this case, the individual involved has not been careful about his storage space.

All in all, this is a good issue this month.

Asimov's Science Fiction - October/November 2005 by (Dell October 2005 / ) - Asimov's Science Fiction - October/November 2005 - Vol 29 Nos 10 & 11, Whole Numbers 357 & 358)
Table of Contents: Novella: Bank Run by Tom Purdom | Novelettes: Memory Work by L. Timmel Duchamp; Out of the Box by Steve Martinez; Pericles the Tyrant by Lois Tilton; Back to Moab by Phillip C. Jennings; Dark Flowers, Inverse Moon by Jay Lake | Short Stories: Nightmare by M. Bennardo; The God Engine by Ted Kosmatka; Overlay by Jack Skillingstead; Betting on Eureka by Geoffrey A. Landis; Cruel Sistah by Nisi Shawl | Poetry: Song of the Harpy's Lover by William John Watkins; The Hand Puppet by John Alfred Taylor; The Werewolf's Absolution by William John Watkins; Pray for the Tiny Monsters by W. Gregory Stewart; The Werewolf Escapes His Wife by William John Watkins | Departments: Editorial: Behind the Scenes by Sheila Williams; Reflections: Serials by Robert Silverberg; Thought Experiments: Adventures in Gnarly Computation by Rudy Rucker; On Books: The New Weird by Norman Spinrad; The SF Conventional Calendar by Erwin S. Strauss

The October/November 2005 issue of Asimov's Science Fiction is another double issue. It's a mixed bag but there are two stories (both short) that get an excellent rating. "In Nightmare" by M. Bennardo, science has found a way to capture ghosts, not the spirits of dead people but "collections of persistent energy given off by living things." These 'ghosts' are put into zoo-like places. In this chilling tale, a man takes his oldest son to see a particularly nasty one and comes to terms with his own fears. "Betting on Eureka" by Geoffrey A. Landis is a fun story about a legendary asteroid that is rich in mineral wealth. A man named Corwin Teron says he knows where it is but the story takes a delightful turn from there.

Six of the stories earn a very good rating from me. Fortunately, one is the only novella in the issue, "Bank Run" by Tom Purdom. Purdom never disappoints and here he gives us a thrilling tale of a man named Sabor who has the normally safe profession of a banker. But on the planet Fernheim, refusing a loan can be dangerous to your health. Luckily, he has the support of a good (and very brave) woman. "Pericles the Tyrant" by Lois Tilton is a good alternate history of the conquering and destruction of Athens by the Persians and how this affects the great playwrights of Ancient Greece. "Dark Flowers, Inverse Moon" by Jay Lake is an nice little story about Sally who has extra-sensory powers but has been afraid to use them. Fortunately, there is an entire culture of such people and they combine to stop an evil one of their own. "The God Engine" by Ted Kosmatka brings us the story of a man who must aid in an experiment that he has come to despise. What can he do? In "Overlay" by Jack Skillingstead, a man earns cash by allowing another man to take over his body. This is not a good idea. "Cruel Sistah" by Nisi Shawl seems like a contemporary folk tale about a woman finding justice when she is murdered.

Unfortunately, three of the stories in this issue are very disappointing. "Memory Work" by L. Timmel Duchamp is a tedious tale about a woman remembering an apocalypse in which "youth runs wild." Why she is recording memories is not particularly interesting and this reader didn't care about her "triumph" at the end.

Out of the Box by Steve Martinez is an insubstantial tale about yet another apocalypse and how a man tries to improve his son's chances in life. In "Back to Moab" by Phillip C. Jennings a woman gets involved with war criminals and passages to other worlds. The problem here is that her motivations and actions are incomprehensible.

Was this worth the double issue? Probably not. It just seemed like it had too much filler. I'm sure they will do better to close out the year at conventional size.

Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction - October 2005 by (Dell October 2005 / ) - THE MAGAZINE OF FANTASY & SCIENCE FICTION - December 2005 - 57th Year of Publication
Table of Contents:
Novelets: Walpurgis Afternoon -8- Delia Sherman; The Last Ten Years in the Life of Hero Kai -126- Geoff Ryman | Short Stories: Poppies by Moonlight -44- Sydney J. Van Scyoc; An Incident at the Luncheon of the Boating Party -60- Allen M. Steele; The Cure -67- Robert Reed; When the Great Days Came -78- Gardner Dozois; The Last Akialoa - 87- Alan Dean Foster; Cannibal Farm -102- Ron Goulart | Departments: Books to Look For -33- Charles de Lint; Books -37- James Sallis; Plumage from Pegasus: Nothing to Fear But Books Themselves -83- Paul Di Filippo; Coming Attractions -119- Films: Earth Hits the Fan -120- Lucius Shepard; Competition #70 -159- Curiosities -162- Dennis Lien | Cartoons: Danny Shanahan (43), Arthur Masear (66) | Cover: BY BRYN BARNARD FOR "THE LAST TEN YEARS IN THE LIFE OF HERO KAI"

The December issue of The Magazine of Fantasy And Science Fiction caps off a great year for the magazine. All the stories are worth reading and three of them were excellent. First off, we have "Poppies by Moonlight" by Sydney J. Van Sycoc. In it, Carla takes her regular vacation from her ordered accountant life to take care of her wastrel step-brother, Rob. When she sees him, she finds him more mature. It seems he has taken in a boarder. The nature of this border makes for a lyrical and very beautiful story. "The Cure" is another story by Robert Reed and more straightforward than his other stories. A mid-list science fiction author is encouraged by his agent to write something more conventional. He achieves great success with a book called The Cure which makes villains of groups we normally feel are good guys. What happens next is a witty and insightful look at contemporary American society. "When the Great Days Came" by Gardner Dozois is from the point of view of a rat running around in New York City. This tale makes us glad that he is writing more often.

The rest of the stories (with one exception) all get a very good rating. "The Last Ten Years in the Life of the Hero Kai" by Geoff Ryman is set in a mythical Far Eastern land. Kai realizes that his country is being dominated by 'Neighbors' and seeks to free his people. He tries one solution but that causes more problems. How he finally becomes a true hero makes for the quality story that we expect from Ryman. "Walpurgis Afternoon" by Delia Sherman is a tale of a house that suddenly appears on a vacant lot, the two women who live in it and the effect they have on the neighborhood. "The Last Akialoa" by Alan Dean Foster takes us to a part of Hawaii that is actually dangerous as a man is obsessed with finding a rare bird. This is not a whimsical tale and Foster shows us his versatility. "An Incident at the Luncheon of the Boating Party" By Allen M. Steele is an amusing little story about a time-travelling woman and a famous painting by Pierre-Auguste Renoir. The remaining story, "Cannibal Farm" by Ron Goulart is also quite funny but I did not think it had enough of a payoff, but that is only a slight disappointment.

Once more, I think that The Magazine of Fantasy And Science Fiction is the best of the news-stand magazines.

Interzone - October 2005 Issue #200 by (TTA Press October 2005 / ) - Interzone Issue #200 - October 2005
Table of Contents: Intermission (Fiction): Strings by David Mace; Soft Apocalypse by Will McIntosh; Guadalupe and Hiernymous Bosch by Rudy Rucker; Saving Mars by Jason Stoddard; Third Day Lights by Alaya Dawn Johnson; Imagine by Edward Morris | Interface: Editorial & Next Issue; Reader's Poll; Ansible Link (David Langford's SF News) | Interlocutions: Mutant Popcorn (Nick Lowe on Films); Philip K. Dick (Andrew Hedgecock on new PKD biography, and related issues); Scores (John Clute on Books); Book Reviews

The latest issue of Interxone is #200 and that's quite a milestone. It has changed quite a bit from those first issues but the magazine is still a place where a very different kind of science fiction story can be found. The cover story in this issue is "Saving Mars" by Jason Stoddard, a novella and sequel to "Winning Mars" in issue #196. You don't have to have read the original story to appreciate this one. It alternates between several different people, all who want Mars to be able to thrive as an independent entity from a repressive government on Earth. Evan McMaster has the most active role allying himself with powerful businesses. His wife having died, Jason Fraser is just trying to make a better life for his daughter, Kaila. Jere Guttierez is trying to save his ailing father Ron. All make for a very good story.

Of the remaining stories, there is one that I thought excellent, "Soft Apocalypse" by Will McIntosh. Jasper lives in a near future where bio-terror, gas attacks and various incidents have become commonplace. After a bad breakup with his girlfriend, Dierdre, he tries a 'speed-dating' service. How he finds some measure of happiness will surprise you.

The other stories are all worth reading. In "Strings" by David Mace, an artificial man called Pinoke shows more humanity than the 'real boys.' "Guadalupe and Hiernymous Bosch" by Rudy Rucker is exactly the kind of wild ride that you expect from Rucker. Bosch is a character in the story & Guadalupe is a woman who becomes his lover. "Third Day Lights" by Alaya Dawn Johnson involves dimensional travel and the afterlife in a tale with very unusual characters. "Imagine" by Edward Morris is an alternate history tale in which Ronald Reagan had been assassinated by John Lennon on December 11, 1980. The only problem with this story is that the surrounding events are a bit implausible and may be the result of the author's ignorance of the American political system.

The magazine is filled out by various articles from a British perspective, all very interesting. Again. I recommend that you subscribe if you like something beyond traditional science fiction.

SCIFICTION (09/07/05 - 09/21/05) by SciFi Channel (SciFi Channel Sept 2005 / ) - SCIFICTION (09/07/05 - 09/21/05) Edited by Ellen Datlow
Stories reviewed: Parallax by Laird Barron - (09/07/05) | Panacea by Jason Stoddard (09/14/05) | Long Cold Day by Elizabeth Bear (09/21/05)

Since my last review, Ellen Datlow has published three more stories in her online magazine, SCIFICTION, at www.scifi.com. They are all very good, but one of the three stood out and got an excellent rating from me. "Panacea" by Jason Stoddard (who also has a story in this month's Interzone, writes a wonderful alternate history. In this world, an elixir named Dr. Pinkman's Universal Panacea has given people virtual immortality. Thomas Alva Edison is still alive and is a dominant force in computers. Other real-life characters make an appearance. You'll probably figure out who 'Bill Henry' is but 'Grace Murray' may be a bit more obscure. What makes this a truly special story is when we learn the effect of Pinkham's on history and how it came to be developed.

"Parallax" by Laird Barron is the story of a man whose wife disappears after he has had an unusual migraine. He is suspected of murdering her and we are taken through his life afterwards. Barron provides us with a great end to this story. "Long Cold Day" by Elizabeth Bear tells us of a man who is down on his luck and estranged from his son. His son has problems, too. What happens when they meet two very unusual 'women' makes for a very good story.

Again, this is a place you should all check out once a week.

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