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Asimov’s Science Fiction - December 2015 - Vol. 39 No. 12– (Whole Number 479)
Edited by Sheila Williams
Cover Artist: Victor Habbick Visions/Getimages.com
Review by Sam Tomaino
Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine / eMag  ISBN/ITEM#: 1065-2698
Date: 24 October 2015

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

The December 2015 issue of Asimov's Science Fiction has stories by Greg Egan, Robert Reed, Amanda Forrest, M. Bennardo, Garrett Ashley, Rich Larson, and Julian Mortimer Smith, along with the usual poetry and columns.

Asimov's Science Fiction December 2015 issue is here, and it's just got a few good stories.

The fiction begins with "We Jump Down into the Dark" by M. Bennardo. -+- Anders is awakened after a night of drinking with the news that there has been an accident on the space station, Eden. The station is a habitat for four gorillas to keep their species alive. Jessica Palmer, an ex-girlfriend he still has feelings for needs to be rescued. He becomes part of the team to do it. The situation is complicated by the fact that Jessica is trying to locate a bull elephant that has run off. Good story with something to say about the limits of what you can do, but you've still have to give it a shot.

"Empty" by Robert Reed -+- A ship has been sent out to find a sanctuary in the solar system, one that would be "safely removed from our genius for slaughter". Two "Data" as they refer to themselves are part of the group searching. One apparently dies and it is the other that must determine what must be done. A strange story, the kind we usually get from Reed.

"Riding the Waves of Leviathan" by Garrett Ashley -+- Our narrator tells us of his childhood at Apollo Beach, where a huge beast they call Leviathan swims beneath the surface, occasionally surfacing to make a huge wave. His best friend was killed riding such a wave. Now, he become obsessed with doing it. Nicely done character sketches of his father, Tim's brother Elijah, and a girl he likes.

"Bidding War" by Rich Larson -+- Our narrator is bidding on a replica bone flute so he can get his ex-girlfriend back. Along the way he deals with selling his dreamspace, watching a netshow, and getting a ride with a mother and daughter and talking about existentialism, with the daughter. Crazy fun in a near future.

"Of Apricots and Dying" by Amanda Forrest -+- A story of near-future Pakistan with Asma, a young woman with no marriage prospects. She lives with her father, mother, aunt, brother, and sister. There are family secrets that she eventually finds out. The Chinese have designs on the lithium deposits in Kashmir and her brother wants to take action on his own. Her aunt has ideas for her that her father opposes. There are two different things she can do to help her brother. What will she do? Beautiful story, but there is practically zero science fictional content. It could have been taking place in the present day.

"Come-From-Always" by Julian Mortimer Smith -+- Our narrator lives in a little town on the Maine coast where space debris, of unknown origin always winds up on their beach. One night, he's lost in the water in a fog and he has a close encounter. It all works out for him. Nicely done.

The issue concludes with "The Four Thousand, the Eight Hundred" by Greg Egan -+- Vesta has started persecuting a minority and they have started fighting back. Refugees have started coming to Ceres which has involved the personnel involved with docking incoming ships. Anna is faced with an impossible situation that has no good solution. I don't know if this is the first part of a continuing story, but the end leaves one very unsatisfied.

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