Asimov’s Science Fiction – August 2014 - Vol. 38 No. 8 - (Whole Number 463)
Edited by Sheila Williams
Cover Artist: Kinuko Craft
Review by Sam Tomaino
Asimov's Science Fiction ISBN/ITEM#: 1065-2698
Date: 22 June 2014
Links: Asimov's Science Fiction / How to Subscribe / Pub Info / Table of Contents /
Asimov's Science Fiction August 2014 issue is here and it's a pretty good one.
The fiction begins with "Placebo" by Nick Wolven -+- Paul Bertelli runs a home for sick or dying children. When they ask for a GenPet, part animal, part machine, he objects at first. He is sure this is a scam that will cost more and more money. He turns out to be right. But the presence of Placebo, the name the children choose for the pet, has a profound effect on him. A beautifully done, heartwarming story.
"Wet Fur" by Jeremiah Tolbert -+- Christina is hated by practically everyone she meets. That's because she is somehow responsible for a cloud that hovers nearby people so it can collect the life force of their dogs when it is their time to die. She does meet a man who is more accepting and that makes things better. The narrator of this one is very strange but, somehow, it works.
"Writer's Block" by Nancy Kress -+- Rob is a writer who has started four stories with "It was a dark and stormy night. But it shouldn't have been." Unfortunately, he has not got much further than that. His wife, Karen, is not particularly supportive. He meets Violet, who gives him something to help him out. Strange little tale.
"Mountain Screamers" by Doug C. Souza -+- At least 100 years in the future, 16-year-old Billy Thain is helping his grandmother, Henrietta, on a special project. They are tranquilizing mountain lions (or mountain cats or screamers, as she prefers to call them) in preparation to transport them to LePhan, a special sanctuary planet just for animals and plants, not humans. He accompanies her on the trip and helps her with certain secret plans she has. Nicely done, heartwarming story.
"The Low Hum of Her" by Sarah Pinkser -+- Tatiana's grandmother dies and her father builds her a simulacrum of her. Tatiana does not accept her, at first, but events happen in her life to change that. Nicely done.
The issue concludes with the novella, "Of All Possible Worlds" by Jay O'Connell -+- The story starts in the late 1990s as our narrator, Constantine Regas, called Costas, encounters the Old Man who owns their apartment building when he (the Old Man) nearly burns the place down. Costas winds up working for the Old Man (named Galen Hieronymous) on a project he does not understand a first. Turns out the Old Man has lived through many different versions of our world all of which have ended disastrously, either through nuclear war or being hit by a comet. The Old Man has already altered Costas' world, making him financially secure and married to Mary Anne, his live-in girl friend at the beginning of the story. We also get some more definite details that this is a distinctly different world from ours. Now, another comet is on the way. Can they do something to stop it? Wild tale with a lot of references to a lot of different things.