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Asimov’s Science Fiction – February 2015 – Vol. 39 No. 2 – (Whole Number 469)
Edited by Sheila Williams
Cover Artist: John Jude Palencar
Review by Sam Tomaino
Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine  ISBN/ITEM#: 1065-2698
Date: 27 December 2014

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

The February 2015 issue of Asimov's Science Fiction has stories by Michael Bishop, Elizabeth Bear, Eneasz Brodski, Derek Künsken, Leah Cypress, and Nick Wolven, along with the usual poetry and columns.

Asimov’s Science Fiction February 2015 issue is here and it's a very good one with one Hugo-worthy story and another by a talented newcomer and potential Campbell Award nominee.

The fiction begins with "Rattlesnakes and Men" by Michael Bishop -+- Wylene Godfrey, her husband, Reed, and their daughter move to, Wriggly, a town in Nokuse County, Georgia, where there is a county ordinance that everyone must own a rattlesnake. They are brought one, created by a local company called Terden BioQuirked Creations, Inc., by Dusty Shallowpit, an old friend of Reed's, and his father. The snake is programmed to kill intruders while imprinting with the family. Men carry rattlesnakes with them. This story quickly gets vicious and nasty. The snakes are obviously metaphors for guns. It just goes way beyond anything believable.

"Ghost Colors" by Derek Künsken -+- Brian is in a relationship with Vanessa. She is the sort of person who does not keep anything from her past. Brian has keepsakes, including Pablo, a ghost who had haunted his Aunt Nicole. He can get gene therapy so that the ghost will not haunt him. Does he want to throw away all his past? Very novel concept. Well written.

"No Decent Patrimony" by Elizabeth Bear -+- Edward Jacobin's father was killed when the fuel cell of his car exploded and he just barely survived. Jacobin was 213 years old, the beneficiary of a process that made one immortal, but sterile. Edward was a clone. The process is limited to a few called the elect. His lawyer is Marna, who is a "natural" who dislikes the elect. Edward muses on his life with a reporter and things take a surprising turn. Good story.

"Red Legacy" by Eneasz Brodski -+- This is a first published story. Marya is in charge of a research facility in the old Soviet Union during the Stalin era. It is run under Lamarckian principles and has developed cloning. They are also working on developing microorganisms that can withstand a nuclear attack. Marya has also created a clone daughter named Alexis, who keeps dying. One assumes because of her genes which Marya will not accept. There is some satire here and some alternate history, but it's mostly concerned with Marya's fanaticism and its results. A very good debut. I will think about Eneasz Brodski for a future Campbell Award nomination.

"Forgiveness" by Leah Cypress -+- Anna, a high school student, had a boyfriend, Michael, who abused her enough to make bruises. She eventually swore out a complaint against him. As part of a plea deal, he was implanted with a chip that makes it impossible to be abusive. He is back in school and Anna is still attracted to him. Is he safe now? Interesting exploration of an abusive relationship.

The fiction concludes with the novella, "On the Night of the Robo-Bulls and Zombie Dancers" by Nick Wolven -+- Gabriel Boateng working a fourteen-hour day for Kappalytics, a future high finance firm in a world dominated by AIs making unfathomable predictions. Something big is happening and Gabe is sent to consult with Augustus Ribbeck, a secretive guru who can see all. We are led on a wild ride though this future Manhattan where sleep has been murdered until Gabe meets with Ribbeck. Does he take Ribbeck's advice? Fascinating tale! It will be on my Hugo short-list for 2015 Novellas!

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