Asimov’s Science Fiction – April/May 2015 – Vol. 39 No. 4 & 5– (Whole Number 471 & 472)
Edited by Sheila Williams
Cover Artist: Gary Freeman for The New Mother
Review by Sam Tomaino
Asimov's Science Fiction ISBN/ITEM#: 1065-2698
Date: 27 March 2015
Links: Asimov's Science Fiction / How to Subscribe / Pub Info / Table of Contents /
Asimov’s Science Fiction April/May 2015 issue is here and it's a pretty good one.
The fiction begins with the novella, "The New Mother" by Eugene Fischer -+- Tess is doing a story on a new condition called Human Communicable Parthenogenesis (HCP). It's a sexually-communicated disease which makes men only carriers, but the women they have sex with start giving birth to clones of themselves, one right after another. Tess is half of a same sex couple and is pregnant via sperm donor but she could still be infected. Many issues and consequences as a result of this condition are discussed with the reaction very similar to what happened when AIDS was first discovered. Interesting idea with possible implications well-handled.
"Day Job" by Tom Purdom - Len keeps losing jobs because he has a capacity for alienating people and not understanding that he is doing it. His girlfriend asks him to consult a company that can improve his personality. The company starts looking at things Len has not told them about, saving him from what almost certainly have been a catastrophe. Very interesting.
"Lock Up Your Chickens and Daughters - H'ard and Andy Are Come to Town!" by Michael Swanwick & Gregory Frost -+- The two titular characters enter a small southwestern town in the 1930s during a drought and offer their services to provide water. They sure sound like con artists but it seems H'ard has some sort of power. Great fun. The kind of story you just love reading.
"Paul and His Son" by Joe M. McDermott -+- Paul's son, called Paul Junior, is a problem child. He keeps running away from home, he wants to be more like a machine. Paul would like to give him the drug Adderall that he had as a kid. He thinks it would help him focus. Paul uses his contacts as a lawyer to help his son. Will it work? No resolution here but we can guess that it won't. One problem with the story is he calls his son "Paul Junior". I have known guys named after their fathers and that doesn't happen.
"The Marriage of the Sea" by Liz Williams -+- A maiden is to become the bride of the sea but something goes wrong with the ceremony. She is rejected. What should she do now? Strange.
"What I Intend" by Robert Reed -+- T.T. Hynes is immensely wealthy. In a television interview, he announces that he is searching for extraterrestrial intelligence. People are all too ready to help him sift through existing data to find some message. What he finds is something unexpected. Another wonderfully inventive story from Reed.
"The Gun Between the Veryush and the Cloud Mothers" by Anna Tambour -+- A story of elites living above and a lower class living below and doing all the work. Not much new here. When you start with a title as awkward as this one, you're in trouble from the start. It never recovers.
"Willing Flesh" by Jay O'Connell -+- Garrison is morbidly obese and needs to try something. A new product called Fat Burner promises that he can lose weight and he doesn't have to exercise. Another personality does it for him in his body. Garrison calls this personality Achilles and tries it out. The problem is Achilles doesn't go away when the weight is lost. What to do now? Clever!
"How to Walk Through Digital Graveyards in the Post-Digital Age" by Fran Wilde -+- Eleanor Rand accepted implants from the government so that she could report from a battlefield. The implants enhance her vision and what she sees is stored on a server. When an explosion kills soldiers that she knew and some children, her memory is wiped. Her implants are altered so she can't see things they don't want her to see. At home, she walks thought a local cemetery haunted by actress Tallulah Bankhead. The company that did the implants wants to capture her, too. What can Eleanor do? Interesting ideas here.
"The Sentry" by Frank Smith -+- Rick is an ex-soldier, returned from war. His children are very young. His daughter seems to still love him unqualifiedly. His son has some difficulty. Their dog wounds a baby rabbit horribly and Rick has to put it out of its misery. His son does not understand and calls him a murderer. A neighbor, Paul, who is also a veteran tries to help. Does it work? Maybe. Nicely done and heartfelt.
The issue concludes with another novella, "The Children of Gal" by Allen M. Steele -+- This continues the story that began with "The Legion of Tomorrow" in the July 2014 issue and continued with "The Prodigal Son" in the October 2014 issue and "The Long Wait" in the January 2015 issue. Here, we are on the planet Eos that was the destination of the Galactique. It has been hundreds of years since the ship arrived at Eos, but this is not known at first. She meets a young man named Sanjay Arkwright whose mother is being exiled for heresy. She saw a light approach the fixed object in the sky they call Gal and worship as a deity. Eventually, Sanjay is reunited with his mother and, in one big info dump, told the truth. Sanjay, is the great-great-grandson of the Sanjay from the previous story and we get closure with that. This was, as is usually the case with Steele, a very good read, but I still think he should have stopped with "The Legion of Tomorrow".