Asimov's Science Fiction - June 2013 - Vol. 37 No. 6 - (Whole Number 449)
Edited by Sheila Williams
Cover Artist: Alan Lynch Artists/Mélanie Delon
Review by Sam Tomaino
Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine ISBN/ITEM#: 1065-2698
Date: 24 March 2013
Links: Asimov's Science Fiction / Pub Info / Table of Contents /
Asimov's Science Fiction's June 2013 issue is here and it's a pretty good one.
We start off with the novelette "The Fountain" by G. David Nordley. -- The introduction tells us that the story takes place in a "far future of indefinitely extended lifetimes, post singularity economics, and contact with vastly older civilizations". Earth is ruled by an Empress in a constitutional monarchy and is receiving a visitor from a tremendously old civilization with something like a hive-mind. They want to prevent the destruction of a peaceful civilization by a warlike one. The mission is complicated by a young princess whom the Empress would like to succeed her. All this is told well, with very well-drawn characters and provides a good start to this issue.
"Skylight" by Kristine Kathryn Rusch -- Skye had been left at the doorstep of the Assassin's Guild when she was a child. Her parents were thieves who plied the trade well, but did not want to be burdened by her. They had actually named her Skylight, after one of their most memorable escapes. She had been taken in as a scholarship student, but had never had any choice over her destiny. Now, grown up, she failed a computer simulation assignment, because her heart was just not into killing someone. What will happen to her now? Rusch, once more, shows her incredible talent as a writer.
"Hypervigilant" by Eric Del Carlo -- Bob Galley is a Vigil, a 'path. He can detect an "amoker", who is going to start killing people in a public place. His power and the prevalence of amokers are the result of a two-week Neuro-Chemical War, twenty-five years in the past. He's on duty at a hospital waiting room when a woman's feelings of "fury, fury" set off his hypersenses. But something is off, the fury just disappears and the woman, Daphne Verges, seems fine. What is going on? I love stories like this that quickly introduce us to some new concept and, then, tell us a good story about it. Good job!
"A Love Song Concerning His Vineyard" by Megan Arkenberg -- Our narrator, Isaya, is a woman whose father was white and mother, black. He father was disappointed with her mother because she turned out to be too much of a princess. He was disappointed with Isaya, too. Isaya finds love with a man named Rondell, who makes a success of producing wine from grapes grown on Mars. That's just a bit of the plot but does not describe the beauty of this elegant little tale.
The fiction in the issue concludes with the novella "Precious Mental" by Robert Reed. -- We are told in the introduction that this is another in his Great Ship series and it involves a journey outside of the Great Ship. A man named Pamir has lived a thousand years and has done much. He was born into a society that believes the multiverse is infinite and that all possibilities exist everywhere. They eschew extending there lives beyond a couple of hundred years and becoming something more artificial than human. Pamir had been forced to leave these people and trained in engineering. He had, eventually, become captain of the Great Ship but forced to resign in disgrace. Living anonymously and on the run, he is kidnapped and taken off the Great Ship to a damaged vessel of an ancient alien race called the Kajjas to repair it and return it to the Great Ship. That's where the story begins. There is much discussion about the origin of life and the design of the brains of aliens and humans, but I'm afraid I could not find this story very involving, nor care about the characters.
The last story, notwithstanding, I still say, “Subscribe to Asimov's!”