Clarkesworld 109 – October 2015
Edited by Neil Clarke
Cover Artist: Shichigoro-Shingo
Review by Sam Tomaino
Clarkesworld ISBN/ITEM#: 1937-7843
Date: 26 October 2015
Links: Clarkesworld / How to Support / Pub Info / Table of Contents /
The 109th issue of Clarkesworld is here, with five new stories, two reprints and other features.
The first story is "And If the Body Were Not the Soul" by A.C. Wise. -+- Ro delivers packages on his bicycle and is one of the few that will deliver in the Zone, the ghetto that the government has placed the Immies, the only name he has for the aliens living on Earth. He is friendly with one of them, Xal who runs a curio shop. He finds out that Xal had been attacked when he ventured out of the Zone. Xal accidentally touches Ro and he feels an odd sensation that scares him so much he runs away. He talks about it to his friend, Audra, who knows he does not like to be touched, even by humans. Ro goes back to Xal, and has a deeper encounter of touching which he actually likes. He brings the somewhat xenophobic Audra to meet Xal. She is also touched in more ways than one. There is more as this very good story develops.
The second story is "Ice" by Rich Larson. -+- Sedgewick is off with his buds to see the frostwhales on New Greenland but his younger brother, Fletcher, insists on coming along. The difference is that Sedgewick's friends and Fletcher have been "modded" and have enhanced abilities. Sedgewick is not and is deeply jealous of his brother's abilities. The trip to see the frostwhales turns out to be quite an adventure but the story does not end with the brothers bonding. It gets extra points for not going for that pat ending.
The third story is "The Father" by Kola Heyward-Rotimi. -+- Mahdav is part of a team that has created a new Goddess. The Goddess seems to be some sort of machine but is never fully explained. His co-workers are all supposed to commit suicide but the does not. A group called the Children of Confucius has recruited him to destroy the nascent Goddess. but that turns out to be harder than he thought. This one just does not succeed.
The fourth story is "Egg Island" by Karen Heuler. -+- In a near future, plastic debris in the water is woven together to make useful islands. All this is done by people who are part plastic themselves. A strange concept. Story was OK.
The fifth story is "Summer at Grandma's House" by Hao Jingfang, translated by Carmen Yiling Yan. -+- Zhanzhan is spending his summer at his grandmother's house. His college career is in a mess. He has changed his field of study more than once. He forgot to take his English exams. Things at his grandmother's house are confusing. The door opens at the hinge side. What looks like a refrigerator is actually a stove. Various other things are not what they seem. His grandmother is a retired college professor and is always doing odd experiments. She teaches him something important and changes his outlook on life and his life itself. Great story.
There are also two reprinted stories, "War, Ice, Egg, Universe" by G. David Nordley and "The Peacock Cloak" by Chris Beckett. I do not review reprinted stories but I hope you enjoy them.
The stories in Clarkesworld are always available, you can check them out at their website (see link at the top of this review).