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Clarkesworld 117 - June 2016
Edited by Neil Clarke
Cover Artist: XTC by Vincent Laik
Review by Sam Tomaino
Clarkesworld  ISBN/ITEM#: 1937-7843
Date: 25 June 2016

Links: Clarkesworld / How to Support / Pub Info / Table of Contents /

Clarkesworld #117 is here with stories by Margaret Ronald, Sam J. Miller, E. Catherine Tobler, Zhang Ran, Michael Flynn, and Nancy Kress, along with many other features.

The first story is "And Then, One Day, the Air Was Full of Voices" by Margaret Ronald. -+- Our narrator was a young girl when transmissions from ADS 9731 in Corona Borealis suddenly show up in what they call infospace. The transmissions eventually become cries for help, but it is too late. This has had an effect on Earth. We knew we were not alone but are apparently alone once more. Our narrator's son is part of cult and thinks he can find something new in the earliest transmissions. Interesting.

The second story is "Things With Beards" by Sam J. Miller. -+- MacReady somehow survived a disaster at McMudro base in 1983. But his friend and lover, Hugh will not survive another scourge of the time. There is something inside MacReady with an agenda of its own. The title, the names of the characters and the approximate time period is a clue as to what is going on. I won't spoil that. This one has a real chill at the end. Cleverly done.

The third story is ".identity" by E. Catherine Tobler. -+- Daidala is an AI on the ship Perargo headed for Kepler-726. She detects what she thinks is a virus of unknown origin. It strikes the life-support pods and people die. With the help of Venningen, Daidala brings the remaining colonists to the planet. A unique tale.

The fourth story is "The Snow of Jinyang" by Zhang Ran, translated by Ken Liu and Carmen Yiling Yan. -+- The introduction tells us that this is an alternate history of China and the events of 979 CE. In real history, the city of Jinyang, the last remnant of the Northern Han Empire, was captured by the Song Emperor Zhao Guangyi after a long siege, thereby completing the task of unifying China. The city was then razed to the ground.

The story begins with Jinyang under siege. We immediately know something is up when we are told that someone is in his room on the internet. That character is a young scholar named Zhu Dagun who is sent on a mission by some of the leaders of the city who want to surrender and save their necks. Zhu Dagun is sent to meet a man called Prince Liu who has been coming up with many inventions. He must convince Liu to surrender or kill him. He finds out what Liu really wants and makes his decision on what to do. Interesting twist on a time travel staple.

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).

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