Asimov’s Science Fiction – August 2015 – Vol. 39 No. 8
Edited by Sheila Williams
Cover Artist: Tomislav Tikulin
Review by Sam Tomaino
Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine / eMag ISBN/ITEM#: 1065-2698
Date: 26 July 2015
Links: Asimov's Science Fiction / How to Subscribe / Pub Info / Table of Contents /
Asimov's Science FictionAugust 2015 issue is here and it's another good one.
The fiction begins with "No Placeholder for You, My Love" by Nick Wolven -+- Claire and Byron meet at a party that we know is odd from the start. The conversation is distinctly strange and their food disappears as soon as it touches their lips. We find out that they are not real, but computer constructs made by real people to explore possible relationships, all done in a very ritualistic way. Now, these creators seem to have forgotten them. What can they do? Can they overcome their constraints? Interesting idea.
"Two-Year Man" by Kelly Robson -+- Mikkel is a two-year man who had only served that length of time on the war in the colonies. He can only get menial jobs. Four-year men aren't much better, working as guards at the facility in which Mikkel works. The facility grows babies in tanks, discarding those that are defective. Mikkel find one that is only slightly so. It has a beak and talons. He smuggles it out to take home to his wife so they can have a family. She had sold her ovaries and says she does not want children. Mikkel worries that she will get rid of it. Nicely drawn character makes this a very good, but bittersweet tale.
"Wild Honey" by Paul McAuley -+- In a post-apocalyptic world, Mel is a keeper of enhanced bees that made healing honey and could do other things. When marauders come to pilfer her supplies, she knows they will kill her. She finds a way with the help of another. Nicely done.
"Caisson" by Karl Bunker -+- Dudek works with Mischke back in the 1870s, digging out the dirt to sink the caissons for the Brooklyn Bridge. Down that deep, they are at risk of contracting the bends aka caisson disease. Down that deep, things work differently and Mischke makes a singular discovery. Nice look at a time in history with a little twist about what goes on down deep.
"The First Step" by Kristine Kathryn Rusch -+- Harvey DeLeo builds a time machine for a very specific reason that I will not spoil. Nice simple perfect little story. Just what I expect from Rusch.
The issue concludes with the novella, "A Thousand Nights Till Morning" by Will McIntosh -+- Aiden is part of a Mars colony that was set up to divert an asteroid form hitting Earth. That proved unnecessary but disaster hit Earth in the form of an alien invasion. Aliens, called the Nunki, had wiped out most of Earth's population. Aiden makes a joke about diverting the asteroid to hit Earth, killing the Nunki. To his horror, that's just what the colony does. Then, they get a message from humans on Earth and decide to go to their rescue. Things are in bad shape on Earth but the asteroid had hurt the Nunki. Is there a way for what is left of the human race to survive. Despite his weaknesses, Aiden finds a way. Things get seriously depressing here but it ends on a high note. Good story.