Clarkesworld 115 – April 2016
Edited by Neil Clarke
Cover Artist: Rudy Faber, Robot in Love
Review by Sam Tomaino
Clarkesworld ISBN/ITEM#: 1937-7843
Date: 25 April 2016
Links: Clarkesworld / How to Support / Pub Info / Table of Contents /
The 115th issue of Clarkesworld is here, with four new stories, two reprints and other features.
The first story is "Touring with the Alien" by Carolyn Ives Gilman. -+- Avery gets the job of ferrying an alien and his human across the country from D.C. to St. Louis. No one knows anything about the aliens. They had just shown up inside domes at various locations around the world. They are accompanied by a human that had been abducted as a child to act as translator. She learns something about them and what they want. Good character development between Avery and Lionel, the alien's human.
The second story is "Balin" by Chen Qiufan. -+- When he is thirteen years old, Ah Peng's father gives him an odd present. It's a paoxiao, "a creature from ancient myths who was said to possess the body of a goat, the head of a man". It is hard to tell if it is intelligent at all. He calls the creature Balin. Ah Peng discovers that it will imitate the motions of people around it and uses this in an abusive way. As he grows up, his life changes but Balin is still around until he goes to college. He returns to use Balin in an experiment trying to discover something about human consciousness. Okay.
The third story is "The Bridge of Dreams" by Gregory Feeley. -+- Heimdallr is some sort of AI but flesh being tasked with maintaining the "Rainbow Bridge" between Charon and Plouton. His work is interrupted by a visitor from the inner solar system telling him to come. This starts a long voyage and changes of character and gender of the resultant creature who does the best for all. Imaginative tale.
The fourth story is "The Cedar Grid" by Sara Saab. -+- Majd's brother Jassim is killed by revolutionaries of an alien race. He travels back to Earth inhabiting a remote device that is physically there. It helps him to accept the situation. Beautifully poignant story.
There are also two reprinted stories, 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).