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Asimov's Science Fiction - June 2011 - Vol. 35 Nos. 6 - (Whole Numbers 425)
Edited by Sheila Williams
Cover Artist: Jacques Barbey
Review by Sam Tomaino
Asimov's  ISBN/ITEM#: 1065-2698
Date: 23 May 2011

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

The June 2011 issue of Asimov's Science Fiction has stories by Mary Robinette Kowal, Ian R. MacLeod, Carol Emshwiller, Alan DeNiro, Felicity Shoulders, and Colin P. Davies along with the usual columns.

Asimov's Science Fiction's Junes 2011 issue is another good one, with a Hugo-worthy novelette.

The issue begins with that novelette "The Cold Step Beyond" by Ian R. MacLeod. Sent to a remote part of the Island City of Ghezirah, Bess of the Warrior Church practices with her sword, waiting for some foe she was supposed to kill. She knows nothing about her foe or even of her own origins. She meets a curious young female who calls herself Elli and questions are answered. This was a truly fine story and one that will be on my Hugo short list for next year.

It's always a good issue when there's a Carol Emshwiller story in it. In "All the News That's Fit", a woman from a remote village wonders what has happened to Flimm who brings them news of the outside world. She decides to make a journey to his town and find out. She thinks he may have been killed by a rockslide. She arrives in a town much bigger than hers and finds out some news of her own to bring back. This was another beautiful little gem.

The best way to read "Walking Stick Fires" by Alan DeNiro is to not expect to understand everything that's going on. It seems aliens have entirely dominated the Earth and Jar and Parka ate two of them, riding motorcycles and carrying something called the Amulet of Ruby Webs. They are pursued by other aliens, called Worm-Hares, who want the amulet back. Also in the mix are insects called walking sticks and some other bizarre elements. Just read the story, it's fun.

In "Apocalypse Daily" by Felicity Shoulders, Katrina Vang works for the company that creates the ever-changing popular on-line game called Apocalypse Daily. They are approaching the first anniversary of the game and the Veeps want something special. Katrina has had some ideas stolen by a nasty co-worker named Emil and when he tries topping her alien invasion scenario with another idea that changes the game entirely, she tops him with an idea of her own in return. Shoulders crafts a nice little story with Katrina learning something about surviving in both game play and life.

"The Fighter" in the story by Colin P. Davies is Dominick, headed home after killing his opponent in the ring, something he was supposed to do. He is stopped by two police officers for a reason we do not know at first. We find out in this nicely-done little tale.

The issue's novella is "Kiss Me Twice" by Mary Robinette Kowal. There's a reason why Kowal won the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer in 2008 and this story fully shows her talent. This is a near-future yarn and a murder mystery featuring homicide detective Scott Huang and his AI partner, Metta. Metta affects a Mae West as Diamond Lil persona so we get a lot of West's quips along the way. Millionaire Neil Patterson, confined to a wheelchair, is found murdered on the rooftop of a building whose elevator isn't working. How did he get there and who served him tea and took away the tea service? Kowal does more than give us a neat solution to the mystery, she also does things with the characters of both Huang and Metta, closing out the issue in fine form.

You really should subscribe to Asimov's Science Fiction!

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