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Asimov's Science Fiction - July 2016 - Vol. 40 No. 07 - (Whole Numbers 486)
Edited by Sheila Williams
Cover Artist: Maurizio Manzieri
Review by Sam Tomaino
Asimov's Science Fiction  ISBN/ITEM#: 1065-2698
Date: 26 June 2016

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

The July 2016 issue of Asimov's Science Fiction has stories by Suzanne Palmer, Dominica Phetteplace, Robert Thurston, Will McIntosh, Leah Cypress, Rich Larson, Jack Skillingstead, and Mary Anne Mohanraj, along with the usual poetry and columns.

Asimov's Science Fiction July 2016 issue is here and it's a great one, with a Hugo-worthy story.

The fiction begins with "Ten Poems for the Mossums, One for the Man" by Suzanne Palmer. -+- Davin Arturo Gordon-Fauci is a poet who wants the isolation of being the sole resident of the planet Ekye to provide some inspiration. In return for being given support here, he must write his observations about what he sees of the flora and fauna of the planet. The story develops in ten chapters that begin with one of his poems. He finds out something about the rolling rocks called mossums and a fearsome creature he calls the Red Rex. He is rewarded for not only his observations but his actions. This story sneaks up on you until you realize its brilliance at the end. Great story that will make my Hugo Award shortlist for next year.

"Filtered" by Leah Cypress -+- Steve is a reporter for a near-future news organization. His editor is his wife, Margie. She rejects a story he thinks is important because the news filters that determine what everyone reads will reject it because no one will be interested in it. He keeps fighting for the story, even risking his marriage. The story resolves in the way the reader would want it too. It's the kind of story they would want to read. Cleverly done.

"Masked" by Rich Larson -+- In a future in which everyone is masked, Vera loses hers through a virus. Her friends come to console her but our narrator finds out something more important. Well done little tale.

"Project Entropy" by Dominica Phetteplace -+- This is part of a series that began with "Project Empathy" (March 2016) and continued with "Project Synergy" (April/May 2016), and "Project Symmetry" in the June 2016 issue. As I anticipated in my preview of the last story, this one focuses on Angelina who returns to work at the Reserve recovering from the removal of her implant. With Bel, she meets a professional psychic named Akiko whom she does not trust. She quits the Reserve and starts working with Raka, her lover, but that does not work out either. She meets Noah who is her former chip in the body of the man who had been in a coma from a previous story. Akiko and Noah become more important as the story continues, with Bel still along for the ride. Angelina's quest for independence is becoming an important theme. I liked this story, like the others, and will be interested to see where we go next.

"The Savior Virus" by Jack Skillingstead -+- Is there something in the human biology that causes an irrational belief in God? Two men speculate about it. But events point them in a different direction. Didn't quite come together for me.

"Nobody Like Josh" by Robert Thurston -+- Our unnamed narrator tells us about Josh, an alien that crash-landed in his little town just before he was born. Josh is a benevolent alien and the people of the town keep him a secret. Josh is a help to the town, doing a lot of heavy lifting and communicating in a special away. Josh lives in the building that houses the town's school and our narrator relates his own story from student to teacher to administrator in terms of his interactions with Josh, who remains mysterious. A good story, expertly told.

"Lost: Mind" by Will McIntosh -+- Walter Murphy went to India to upload his wife's mind before she loses it to Alzheimer's. Her mind is split and stored into 32 ornate chess pieces to make smuggling it into the US (where it is illegal) easier. But the pieces are stolen and he, with the help of friends, has three months to find the pieces and restore her. Well-told story with people you can care about.

The issue concludes with "Webs" by Mary Anne Mohanraj. -+- On a planet where the winds allow genetically modified people to have webs that allow them to fly, those modifications suddenly become anathema to a pure human mob. Anna's neighbors come to her for protection. They had been friend but other issues has made them estranged. But those same issues provide a resolution to the current crisis. Well done.

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