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Analog - May 2006 by ( April 2006 / ) - Analog - May 2006 - Vol. CXXVI No. 5
Table of Contents: Serial: A New Order of Things, Part I of IV by Edward M. Lerner Novella: The Scarlet Band by Harry Turtledove Novelette: Farmers in the Sky by Rob Chilson Short Stories: Lazy Taekos by Geoffrey A. Landis * Slide Show by Jerry Oltion Science Fact: The Terrestrial Search for Extraterrestrial Life by Catherine Shaffer Poetry: Apologies to the Dead by Wil McCarthy Reader's Departments: The Editor's Page * In Times to Come * The Alternate View by John G. Cramer * Biolog: Catherine Schaffer by John G.Cramer * The Reference Library by Tom Easton * Brass Tacks * Upcoming Events by Anthony Lewis

The May 2006 issue of Analog is not an exceptional one but two of the stories got a Very Good from me.

"The Scarlet Band" by Harry Turtledove is set in the same Atlantis as a previous story of his. This Atlantis is actually part of the East Coast of North America that separated and is between Europe and the rest of the continent. In this, a detective named Helms and his assistant Walton (figure out the pastiche for yourself) visit Atlantis form England to solve a series of murders of critics of a religion called the House of Universal Devotion. It's a fun story and I look forward to more set in this world. The other story I especially liked was "Lazy Taekos" by Geoffrey A. Landis. A smart but lazy young lad named Taekos must win the hand of maiden named Phoevus from her wicked stepfather. This is a clever spoof of old fairy stories and has a hilarious ending.

In "Farmers in the Sky", Rob Chilson gives us a unique culture of people who farm the asteroid belt. There are many interesting aspects of this culture but the story is a bit thin. "Slide Show" by Jerry Oltion is a unbelievable tale about a man who tries to revive interest in photographic slides. None of what happens is very plausible and it seems to exist solely as a political platform for the author and (one assumes) the editor.

The issue also includes part one of a four-part serial which is out of the purview of this column. So it may be unfair to judge the issue based on just part of it. Still, while there are two very good stories in this issue, I continue to be disappointed with Analog.

Apex #5 - Spring 2006 by (Apex Publications LLC April 2006 / ) - Apex #5 - Spring 2006
Table of Contents: Fiction: Starfish by Steve Parker * Inspiration by Ben Bova * Away by Robert Dunbar * EV2000 by Amy Grech * Wall of Delusion by Jerry J. Davis * Temple: Junkland Dogs by Steve Savile * Scotch on the Rocks by William F. Nolan * Sacrifices by Rhonda Eudaly Interviews: Neil Gaiman interviewed by Jason Sizemore * Robert Rankin interviewed by Gukk Ainsworth * Sherrilyn Kenyon interviewed by Alethea Kontis Non-Fiction: One Tipple Too Many? by Gill Ainsworth * Fraidy Cat Presents: The Exorcist by Athena Workman * Birthday Convention by Alethea Kontis * Book Reviews

The latest issue of Apex Science Fiction and Horror Digest has a good selection of stories with only one that's not very good.

"Starfish" by Steve Parker is a nasty little tale set in a future Japan in a world where fishing has been banned due to a treaty with a group of aliens called the Sylurians. This does not go over well in a country that loves its fish so much and the consequences are grim, indeed. "Inspiration" by Ben Bova is a reprint but it tells a nice little story about H.G. Wells meeting a young man named Albert and changing his life. In "Away" by Robert Dunbar, we get a spooky, little tale about a man who becomes convinced his apartment building is inhabited by aliens. But the truth is even stranger.

"Wall of Delusion" by Jerry J. Davis is the story of a man who killed his wife and her lover and now wants to die himself. He volunteers for an experiment that can retrieve his memories and things take an unexpected turn. "Temple: Junkyard Dogs" by Steven Savile is part 1 of a four-part story. In keeping with my policy on serials, I will review it when I have all the parts. "Scotch on the Rocks" is a funny little story by veteran writer William F. Nolan about a man hearing a strange story in a bar. The last story in the issue is a short-short called "Sacrifices" by Rhonda Endaly with an amusing take on a HAL Computer like situation.

The only disappointing story in the issue is "EV 2000" by Amy Grech in which, once more we see the folly of giving machines personalities and power over human beings. Another problem is that the story was already published in another small press magazine, Inhuman #3 and was no better there.

Still, if you like to support small press magazines, this is a good one to subscribe to. The articles and interviews are very good, too.

Asimov's Science Fiction - April/May 2006 by ( June 2006 / ) - Asimov's Science Fiction - April/May 2006 - Vol. 30 Nos. 4&5 (Whole Numbers 262 & 364)
Table of Contents: Novellas: Inclination by William Shunn * The Walls of the Universe by Paul Melko Novelettes: Except the Music by Kristine Kathryn Rusch * Home Movies by Mary Rosenblum Short Stories: Heisenberg Elementary by Wil McCarthy * The Final Flight of the Blue Bee by James Maxey * Datacide by Steve Bein * Hanosz Prime Goes to Old Earth by Robert Silverberg * The Age of Ice by Liz Williams * The Osteomancer's Son by Greg van Eekhout * Not Worth a Cent by R. Neube * The King's Tail by Constance Cooper Poetry: Choose by W. Gregory Stewart * The Sonnet from Hell by Sue Burke * The Tree of Life Drops Propagules by Greg Beatty * Brick, Concrete, and Steele People by Bruce Boston * Burying Maud by William John Watkins Departments: Editorial: Coming of Age by Sheila Williams * Reflections: Tracking Down Ancestors by Robert Silverberg * Thought Experiments: A Possible Planet: SF & Electronic Music by Brian Bieniowski * On Books: Aussies, Brits, and Yanks by Norman Spinrad * The SF Conventional Calendar by Erwin S. Strauss

The April/May 2006 of Asimov's Science Fiction is the best, so far, this year. One of the stories got an Excellent rating from me and the rest all got a Very Good. Who can ask for anything more?

The story that really impressed me was "The Walls of the Universe" by Paul Melko. The story involves several boys named John, all in different universes. One has a device to move through alternate dimensions that yet another John gave him. He meets and tells his story to his counterpart in the dimension in which the story begins. The story shifts viewpoints between the various Johns as they deal with this device. It makes for one of the best stories of the year. The other novella is "Inclination" by William Shunn. Part of a series set on Netherview Station in space, this is about a young man named Jude who must leave the part of the station inhabited by a cult called The Machinists of which he is a member. In doing so, he learns much about himself and the world. Shunn gives us here a classic Coming of Age story.

The issue also has two novelettes. In "Except the Music" by Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Max is a musician taking part in a concert series run by his mentor, Otto. He notices a strange woman in the audience at each performance and feels some connection to her. He discovers what she is and this helps him deal with changes in his life. "Home Movies" by Mary Rosenbaum takes place in a far future society where people called chameleons can sell their memories to others. Kayla is one such and accepts an assignment for a powerful and rich woman. But there is more going on than Kayla realizes at first. All this makes for another good story.

The issue has no less than eight short stories, all very good. "Heisenberg Elementary" by Wil McCarthy is a short-short about a typical couple of school days in the life of BennyJam Wheelrut. What's different is that this is a virtual school. In "The Final Flight of the Blue Bee", James Maxey gives us a story about a former super-hero sidekick who had to spend 40 years in jail for manslaughter. Now that he is finally out of prison, he is not happy. "Datacide" by Steve Bein is about a man who sets out to murder a super-computer by wiping its memory. This does not turn out to be easy. One of the highlights of this issue is a story by Robert Silverberg. In "Hanosz Prime Goes to Old Earth", Silverberg tells us a wonderful story set in a really far future, "the 1111th Encompassment of the Ninth Mandala". The lead character visits Old Earth and learns what it is like to live there. "The Age of Ice" by Liz Williams gives us the story of Hestia Memar who is a spy for her country, Winterstrike. She must find about a weapon in the library on Caud and prevent a war. Greg van Eekhout's "The Osteomancer’s Son" tells of a young man who must use his father's bone magic to defeat an enemy and protect his daughter. The 'cent' referred to in "Not Worth A Cent" by R. Neube is not a penny but someone who is more than a hundred years old, but alive due to modern medicine. Since this is 65% of the population, there are problems in this world. Lastly, "The King’s Tail" by Constance Cooper is set in a alien culture. An imprisoned king makes use of his tail to free his people.

This is an exceptional issue and well worth its double size.

Interzone #203 - April 2006 by TTA Press (TTA Press April 2006 / ) - Interzone #203 - April 2006
Table of Contents: Fiction: The Furthest Schorr: 32 Fugues on the Paintings of Todd Schorr by Paul Di Filippo * Among the Living by Karen D. Fishler * After the Party (part 3 of 3) by Richard Calder * Ten With A Flag by Joseph Paul Haines * The American Dead by Jay Lake * Wane by Elizabeth Bear Interviews: Where the Wild Girls Are: K.J. Bishop interviewed by Richard Calder * The Voyage of Sable Keech: Neal Asher interviewed by Sandy Auden Non-fiction: Ansible Link by David Langford * Mutant Popcorn by Nick Lowe * Scores by John Clute * Book Reviews * Mangazone by Sarah Ash * Coming Soon: Neal Asher: The Voyage of the Sable Keech – Interviewer Sandy Auden

I always love it when an issue of Interzone comes in the mail. It's certainly the best looking science fiction magazine out there and, more importantly, the stories are of very high quality, too.

This issue has the last part of a three-part novella, "After the Party" by Richard Calder and I was very happy to finally have the completed story to read. This is a very erotic story set on a world named Babylon which has developed a religion and culture based on prostitution. A young woman of this world, named Cat, meets an intense man who is part of a cult opposed to hers. How they change each other makes for a rich tale that I will remember for a long time.

In "Among the Living" by Karen D. Fishler, an old man named Dake willingly leaves his wife and dog to become a soldier in a long-standing war. This is not easy for him and he is haunted by those he left behind. Another story I rated Very Good was "Ten With a Flag" by Joseph Paul Haines. In this future, unborn babies are rated for their future potential as are all who are alive. A young couple who are sixes is told their unborn son is a 10 but that something has caused a 'flag' to be assigned to him that gives them the option to terminate the pregnancy. How this plays out makes for a chilling tale. I also enjoyed "The Furthest Schorr: 32 Fugues Based on the Paintings of Todd Schorr" by Paul Di Filippo. This is 32 very short stories inspired by the paintings of Todd Schorr and are a lot of fun to read. Elizabeth Bear's "Wane" is an interesting detective tale set in an alternate America and featuring Detective Crown Investigator Abigail Irene Garrett who must solve the murder of the Lord Mayor's wife and avoid a political scandal. If I have one criticism, it's that the end was a little predictable.

The only disappointment was "The American Dead" by Jay Lake. It's a very slight, predictable story with not enough detail to really come together. Still, this does not mar the overall quality of the magazine which I heartily recommend you subscribe to! Check out their website.

Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction - June 2006 by Gordon Van Gelder (Spilogale, Inc. June 2006 / ) - Magazine Of Fantasy & Science Fiction - June 2006 - 57th Year of Publication
Table of Contents: Novellas: Hallucigenia -59- Laird Barron Novelets: Animal Magnetism -6- Albert E. Cowdrey * Counterfactual -37- Gardner Dozois * The Protectors Of Zendor -139- John Morressy Short Stories: Why The Aliens Did What They Did To That Suburb of Madison, Wisconsin -56- Tim McDaniel * Terms Of Engagement -124- C.S. Friedman Departments: Books to Look For -28- Charles de Lint * Musing on Books -32- Michelle West * Coming Attractions -123- Films: The Master Of Error -133- Lucius Shepard * Curiosities -162- Bud Webster * Cartoons: Arthur Masear (55), S. Harris (132), Danny Shanahan (160) * Cover By Max Bertolini for Hallucigenia

The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction continues its fine run with the June 2006 issue, due on the stands April 29 with all but one story getting a "Very Good" rating from me.

The cover story is a novella, "Hallucigenia" by Laird Barron. It is a disturbing story about a man and his young wife who meet with a terrible accident that leaves him crippled and her brain damaged. They were both kicked by a horse, who later disappeared. The man has the place where this happened investigated and finds stories about a family involved in strange experiments. Barron gives this story a mood of approaching horror that one does not forget quickly. "Animal Magnetism" by Albert E. Cowdrey is a considerably lighter tale. When a man's lover leaves him, he gets a lovable dog named Trixie. There is more to Trixie, however, and his life takes a turn for the better. In "Counterfactual", Gardner Dozois gives us an America in which the Civil War never ended and it is the 1930s with Confederate guerrilla soldiers still hiding in the hills. In this world, a man tries to write a story in which Lee surrendered at Appomattox. The third novelet in this issue is another Kedrigern and Princess story, "The Protectors of Zendor". Kedrigern must find a way to prevent a war. How he does it is another treat from author John Morressy.

The issue is rounded out by two short stories. "Terms of Engagement" by C.S. Friedman is an amusing little tale about a woman who learns how to deal with the cockroaches in her apartment. A bit disappointing is a short-short by Tim McDaniel, "Why the Aliens Did What They Did to That Suburb of Madison, Wisconsin". The answer to the question is not really all that clever. But that's only a few pages in an otherwise excellent issue. It is highly recommended.

Weird Tales #338 - Jan/Feb 2006 by Wildside Press (Wildside Press April 2006 / ) - Weird Tales #338 - January/February 2006
Table of Contents: Fiction: My Sister's House by Parke Godwin * Kitty and the Mosh Pit of the Damned by Carrie Vaughan * Seven Hours to Termini by William Alexander * Family Business by Maurice Broaddus * To Grandmother's House by Nina Kiriki Hoffman * Set by Charles Harness * Ripper (part 2) by William F. Nolan Cover Art: Rowena Morrell Verse: Lost by George Filip * Halloween Killer Sonnet by M.V. Moorehead * Six Tailors by Ann K. Schwader * If life gives you bloodsucking freaks by Nicholas Ozment * Illustrated Limerick by George Barr Features: The Eyrie * The Classic Horrors: Down There by Allen Koszowski * The Den: Book Reviews by Scott Connors

At a recent convention, I picked up the two issues of Weird Tales that have come out since the one I reviewed in January. I will review the first one now and the other next month.

This latest incarnation of Weird Tales has been going since 1987, a very respectable run. The current issue is a worthy successor to the classic magazine edited by Farnsworth Wright which featured the likes of H.P. Lovecraft, Robert E. Howard & Clark Ashton Smith. Every story in this issue got a Very Good rating from me and I enjoyed the other features as well.

"Ripper!" by William F. Nolan is the conclusion of a story started in the previous issue. It began with someone thought to be Jack the Ripper being killed by police and plunging into the Thames, along with a stone from London Bridge. We then flash forward to modern day Lake Havasu, Arizona, where the reconstructed London Bridge is getting back the stone that had been lost in the Thames. A new series of Ripper like murders starts and the chase is on in a very enjoyable story. Veteran writer Parke Godwin gives us a haunting little tale of a man who, at the insistence of his nieces, must retrieve some articles from his dead sister's house. This makes for a nice little character study for the man and his sister. "Kitty and the Mosh Pit of the Damned" by Carrie Vaughan is set in a very modern world. Kitty is a lycanthrope and radio personality checking out a concert by a group called Devil's Kitchen. She encounters a nasty demon who has a hold on the group in a wild tale.

In "Seven Houses from Termini" by William Alexander, we get a very unusual story of a very distinct traveler on a train to Rome. "Family Business" by Maurice Broaddus tells of a man who returns to Jamaica after the death of his grandfather and learns much about his family business. Nina Kiriki Hoffman is one of the best writers in the business and her story, "To Grandmother's House" does not disappoint. The grandmother in this story has a way to deal with unruly children. Lastly, we have "Set" by the great Charles L. Harness. This is different from many of his stories, set in Mussolini's Italy, but it is a worthy addition to his oeuvre.

This all goes to show that Weird Tales is well worth a subscription.

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