Clarkesworld 116 – May 2016
by Neil Clarke
Edited by Neil Clarke
Cover Artist: Ananiel, Angel of Storms by Peter Mohrbacher
Review by Sam Tomaino
Clarkesworld ISBN/ITEM#: 1937-7843
Date: 25 May 2016
Links: Clarkesworld / How to Support / Pub Info / Table of Contents /
The first story is "Left Behind" by Cat Rambo. -+- Shi has been given the job of preparing 98-year-old Cianna Jones for becoming a ship-mind. It is only the old that have not lived their lives with shunts in their brains that can become the minds that power ships going out into the galaxy. They are provided a mind-palace which Shi designs from their memories. But what Shi sees in Cianna's mind is fascinating. Can she help Cianna, whose daughter wants her gone and also help herself? Another good story from this talented writer.
The second story is "The Universal Museum of Sagacity" by Robert Reed. -+- An old man in the mid-21st century, Colin, remembers some stories his mother told him about her Uncle Walter's first wife, Aunt Maddy. Supposedly, she had died in a car crash in Istanbul in 1965. But the company Colin works for is a super-tech marvel and when he casually asks their computer to find about her, the result is truly startling. The mystery, here builds nicely and makes for a fascinating story.
The third story is "Breathe" by Cassandra Khaw. -+- Alice, codename Peresephone-035573 is observing the alien lifeform Noctiluca Janus when disaster hits the submersible Poseidon. What can she do? Interesting alien life-form and speculation on human reaction to it.
The fourth story is "Jonas and the Fox" by Rich Larson. -+- The revolution was successful and the aristos are overthrown, but as with most revolutions, it is "devouring its children". Heroes of the revolution have become enemies of the state. Such is the case with the Fox, a poet, and cousin Jonas' family. He had been an aristo and had his consciousness backed up into a small white knob at the base his skull. The Fox's mind now occupies the body of Jonas' little brother, Damjan, who died in a fall. But there are people still looking for him and the family is in danger, more because Jonas' spoke "wrongly" to his teacher. Will Fox/Damjan be able to escape in a crashed rocket that Jonas' father is repairing? Good story with a nice twist at the end.
The fifth story is "Away from Home" by Luo Longxiang, Translated by Nick Stember. -+- In a far future, when humanity travels through the galaxy on planetships, Zheng Weihan and Han Dan are forced to evacuate New San Francisco on Planetship Phaeton when its sun is destroyed by a meteor shower. They wind up in Chang'an on Planetship Europa where Weihan's parents leave. He grows close to Han but she has a secret in her past that we get hints about. When Weihan finds out about her past, his life changes. This was a beautifully told, poignant story. The setting reminds me a bit of James Blish's Cities in Flight and could certainly be a part of a larger story as rich as that one.
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).