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Asimov's Science Fiction - September 2010 - Vol. 34 Nos. 9 - (Whole Number 416)
Edited by Sheila Williams
Cover Artist: Jeroen Advocat for
Review by Sam Tomaino
Asimov's  ISBN/ITEM#: 1065-2698
Date: 26 August 2010

Links: Asimov's Science Fiction / Pub Info / Table of Contents /

The September 2010 issue of Asimov's Science Fiction has stories by Geoffrey A. Landis, Nancy Fulda, Benjamin Crowell, Eugene Mirabelli, and Mary Robinette Kowal along with the usual columns, a special article from Aliette de Bodard and a tribute to George H. Scithers.

Asimov's Science Fiction's September 2010 issue and it's another good one. All the stories are good, with one of them Hugo-worthy.

"The Palace in the Clouds" by Eugene Mirabelli was one of those stories that just blew me away and is the one that will be making my Hugo short-list, next year. It is the memory of a man named Jason from a time just after the end of World War II when he was a boy and his Uncle Vincenzo took him on a very special ride on his two-seater biplane. Jason is amazed when his uncle heads for some clouds and lands in them! They appear to be "on a starched tablecloth between walls made of white silk". His uncle introduces Jason to a beautiful young woman named Lucia and the adventure begins. The story is interspersed with the history of Venice and how that relates to this wondrous place. This was just beautiful and one of my favorite stories of the year.

The other stories begin with "Backlash" by Nancy Fulda. Eugene Gutierrez is having dinner in a Chinese restaurant with his daughter, Clarise and her boyfriend, Sean. Things have been going well even though Eugene is not impressed with Sean until they get their fortune cookies. Clarise's and Sean's are standard but Eugene's says Gutierrez. Activation code: pupae. Eugene has a background in special ops and this sends him into a panic. This sets up an exciting story that involves the three of them and the girl that brought him the fortune cookie.

In "Wheat Rust" by Benjamin Crowell, Rui is enjoying a beautiful day with Anu, the woman he loves when two men in suits fall from the sky and fall in the nearby lake. Rui and Anu rescue them and become somewhat famous. They find out the mission that the men are on, one that their government disapproves of. This was a fairly good story of adventure and intrigue.

In "For Want of a Nail" by Mary Robinette Kowal, Rava has been put in charge of her family's AI, named Cordelia. She is trying to fix the AI after she dropped the chassis. The chassis is disconnected from the main computer and is in danger of losing much of its long-term memory. The damage makes that connection difficult and her brother, Ludoviko, is little help. As the title implies, the initial incident leads to far-reaching consequences in this fascinating story.

The novella for this issue is "The Sultan of the Clouds" by Geoffrey A. Landis. Our narrator is a man named David Tinkerman, a technician in love with Leah Hamakawa, a brilliant research scientist. When she gets a special invitation from Carlos Fernando Delacroix Ortega de la Jolla Nordwald-Gruenbaum, literally one of the lords of the solar system to visit him in his palace in one of the floating cities of Venus, she invites him along. When they meet Carlos, he turns out to be a young boy (about 12 Earth years old) but he has big ideas and designs on Leah. David finds out what is going on and comes to the aid of the woman he loves in this exciting, imaginative story.

Once again, Sheila Williams shows why you should subscribe to Asimov's, right away.

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