Asimov's Science Fiction – October/November 2015 – Vol. 39 No. 10 & 11– (Whole Number 477 &478)
Edited by Sheila Williams
Cover Artist: Maurizio Manzieri for
Review by Sam Tomaino
Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine ISBN/ITEM#: 1065-2698
Date: 26 September 2015
Links: Asimov's Science Fiction / Pub Info / Table of Contents /
Asimov's Science Fiction October/November 2015 issue is here and it's a pretty good one.
The fiction begins with "English Wildlife" by Alan Smale. -+- Richard and Corrine are vacationing in England, While Richard is a former Englishman and Corrine an American, it is she obsessed with wanting to know the real England. A deep interest in the Green Man and lions leads them both to a very unusual ritual. Interesting story but I just did not understand Corinne.
"The Adjunct Professor's Guide to Life After Death" by Sandra McDonald -+- Lea Davis is one of many ghosts who hang out on a college campus. We get her story and those of the other ghosts. Mostly those killed in a mass shooting as well as the shooter himself. Good character sketches of the ghosts and for some of the living, too. Nicely done.
"The Hard Woman" by Ian McDowell -+- Cecile Sans Peur cannot be harmed by bullet, blade, fist, club, or anything else. She is touring the West making money from daring men to shoot at her. She arrives in the Tombstone of Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, and Josie Marcus. She strikes up an acquaintance with a gentleman named Jacob Bouvier. When he is killed by a Cow-Boy named George Bass, she uses her power to deliver justice. Great story with nice sense of time and place. Cecile is a great character.
"With Folded RAM" by Brooks Peck -+- The title refers, of course, to a classic Jack Williamson story. Here two engineers are trying to deal with an A.I. that is going in the direction of too-much protection. Then, insurgents arrive and do something surprising. Nicely chilling.
"Walking to Boston" by Rick Wilber -+- Harry met Niamh when his lend-lease plane crashed near her home in Ireland in July 1940. He and his crew had been saved from drowning because Niamh had prayed to "the sisters". They married two years later even though Harry hadn't been faithful to her. Now it is 1984 and Niamh has Alzheimer's and asks Harry when they are going to take their belated honeymoon to Boston, That was supposed to happen in 1947. On an impulse, Harry takes her on a drive that was supposed to stay local but winds up a journey through distance and time which is just magical and poignant.
"Hollywood After 10" by Timon Esaias -+- A group of time-travelers go back in time to Hollywood in 1948. They are to attend a party in support of the Hollywood 10 and get them to go on the record to support them, something that had not happened at the time. There has been tremendous background work done on this, including establishing 30-year histories for the travelers. There is a lot of attention paid to the travelers acting perfectly for the time period. I think I saw one anachronism. Did California have photo-id driver's licenses at the time? I also wonder that they would go through so much trouble to intervene at a relatively minor part of history.
"Begone" by Daryl Gregory -+- Our narrator has had his life stolen. An imposter, who doesn't even look like him has taken his place. Everyone treats the imposter as if he was him. Even his six-year-old daughter. It all began when his wife used her powers to displace him, because she was tired of his chronic bad back condition. All this becomes very familiar as out narrator is "bothered and bewildered". He tries to take action and even gets support from his bizarre mother-in-law who never gets his name right. Sound familiar? A very clever story.
"My Time on Earth" by Ian Creasey -+- Amy goes on a trip to Earth with her parents. They are touring the town of York, England and go on a ghost walk at Amy's insistence. She doesn't see any ghosts. Just hears about a lot of massacres and plagues and that freaks her out, That night, alone in her bed, she does see something and thereby hang our tale with some nice twists and turns.
The issue concludes with "The Citadel of Weeping Pearls" by Aliette de Bodard. -+- Our setting is, once more, the galactic empire of the author's Xuya alternate history. The background is that 30 years before the rebellious daughter and heir of Empress Mi Hiep fled to the Citadel of the title -- a space station with ships attached to it. The daughter Bright Princess Ngoc Minh could use psychic weapons that the Empress feared and she ordered the Citadel destroyed. But before it could be accomplished, the Citadel vanished without a trace. Now, the Empress thinks she might have need of such weapons to defend the empire and has had regrets over losing her daughter. She had asked Grand Master of Design Harmony Bach Cue to look for Citadel and princess but he has disappeared. Her general and a ship Mind are tasked to find out what happened. Also involved is a woman, Diem Huong, whose mother disappeared on the Citadel, the younger sister of Ngoc Minh. Diem Huong has been involved with a group researching time travel so she can go back to find her mother. The time travel angle produces the most interesting element of all. That and the rich cast of characters provide another great story from this author.