Asimov's Science Fiction – January 2013 – Vol. 37 No. 1 – (Whole Number 444)
Edited by Sheila Williams
Cover Artist: Michael Whelan
Review by Sam Tomaino
Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine ISBN/ITEM#: 1065-2698
Date: 23 November 2012
The January 2013 issue of Asimov's Science Fiction has stories by Alaya Dawn Johnson, Will McIntosh, Kit Reed, Suzanne Palmer, James Van Pelt, and Nancy Kress, along with the usual poetry and columns.
Asimov's Science Fiction's January 2013 issue is here and it's another great one.
The fiction in the issue begins with "Thou Shall Salt the Earth with Seeds of Grass" by Alaya Dawn Johnson. Libby and his sister, Tris, live in a world where aliens they call glassmen have taken over. They still regularly bomb areas and kill people. Tris is pregnant but does not want to bring up a child in this world, so Libby is taking her someplace to have an abortion. They meet some trouble on the way. The story was OK but I'm not sure the warm fuzzies at the end are appropriate.
Next up is "The Family Rocket" by James Van Pelt. This is a sweet, sentimental tale of Lorenzo Bodini, taking Rachael, the woman he loves, to see his family. His father is a little strange. He always wanted to take the family to the stars, but they could not afford it. So, one summer when Lorenzo was ten, he faked a trip to Mars on his very real spaceship. What really happened? How does the story end? Read this little gem and find out for yourself.
"Over There" by Will McIntosh starts with Nathan, Ridley, and Diane involved with a wave function collapse. Nathan is observing the collapse for "split one" and Diane for "split two". Ridley initiates the sequence and something happens causing them all to feel disoriented or worse. The world seems to split and they see the world in double. The story itself splits as the characters venture out to see what is going on. A yellow beam is calcifying anything in its path. In both worlds, Ridley does not want them blamed for what is happening. Everyone can see what is happening in both worlds and a particular horror is that they can see themselves die in one world and still live in the other. Nathan finds his girlfriend Justine but the world finds out about his involvement. Things get more frantic. This was an imaginative tale although it took some doing, alternating reading the two columns to keep the story in sync.
In "Mithridates, He Died Old" by Nancy Kress, Margaret Lannigan is in a coma after being run over by a car. She is certain to die, so her daughter authorizes an experimental drug be used on her that can stimulate the brain. But what it stimulates is "ghosts" from Martha's past. Will this drug have some unforeseen side effects? An interesting tale!
Kit Reed contributes one of her unique tales in "The Legend of Troop 13." Troop 13 is a group of Girl Scouts that got lost on Palamountain, near the big observatory, years ago. Legends have grown about them. In our story, some rich men have rented a bus to go to the observatory with dreams of finding slightly grown-up Girl Scouts and having their way. The problem is that the girls have gone feral and can take care of themselves. A nice little chiller of the kind only Kit Reed can write.
The issue concludes with "Hotel" by Suzanne Palmer. A man calling himself Smith checks into the Rosley, "the most expensive run-down-to-shit hotel in human space". Actually, it's on Mars and is an independent entity of its own, thanks to its owner, a very old man named Rosley. Some more characters show up in addition to some already there: a newlywed couple, two more Smiths (one an alien), and another alien who emits a noxious gas when upset. The hotel staff is Eddard (the very old clerk), Sofi (a pink-haired young girl), and Verah (the cook and Sofi's "sister of the heart"). All this adds up to one delightful adventure with colorful heroes and villains, after various things. This was one of the most fun stories I've read in a while!
What a great way to start the year! Subscribe to Asimov's!