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Clarkesworld 118 July 2016
Edited by Neil Clarke
Cover Artist: Alien Invasion by Lasse Perala
Review by Sam Tomaino
Clarkesworld eMagazine  ISBN/ITEM#: 1937-7843
Date: 25 July 2016

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

Clarkesworld #118 is here with stories by Mike Buckley, Eric Schwitzgebel, John Chu, Jack Schouten, and A Que, along with many other features.

The first story is "Helio Music" by Mike Buckley. -+- A girl becomes a killing machine. Written in a style that did not draw me into the story.

The second story is "Fish Dance" by Eric Schwitzgebel. -+- Our narrator has been in a taxi accident in a future in which they are on tracks in the sky. His daughter, Rebecca, is dead and his body is irreparably damaged. For some reason not clear, the Catholic Church is promoting downloading consciousness into an AI in rosary beads. The sole reason given for this is because they could make a lot of money on it. I just don't buy this at all.

The third story is "The Sentry Branch Predictor Spec: A Fairy Tale" by John Chu. -+- This is a long explanation of an alternate form of computer processor that never got built. There is no story here, just a tedious explanation of how it would have worked. There are 30 footnotes which actually do have a story, but they aren't particularly interesting either. They do have explanations about "witty" acronyms, some of which involve the letters "F" and "U". One of the most boring stories I've read in years.

The fourth story is "Sephine and the Leviathan" by Jack Schouten. -+- Sephine is survivor of the human ship the Vierendelen that had crash-landed on a planet years ago, one of fifty thousand souls in stasis. Her mother had been the captain and had sacrificed her life and that of the crew when they were shot down by a mysterious something they called the Leviathan. Sephine and her brother Rokri had buried in their brains, the way to get to their home planet Leseum Blue. Their people are at war with the hive-mind aliens called the Fractured. If the Fractured knew where Leseum Blue was, they could attack it killing millions and winning the war. Rokri had found a way to get to the Leviathan, which hovers over their world and she had not heard from him since, except for a message from Leviathan that Sephine is convinced is from him. She wants to get to the Leviathan and bring him home. That does not prove easy. Good story.

The fifth story is "Against the Stream" by A Que, translated by Nick Stember. -+- A man suddenly wakes up not to tomorrow but yesterday. He relives that day, goes to sleep and wakes up another day back. He is moving back in time and getting younger. He meets a man who tells him that he has a disease that he shares with others. As he goes back, he sees the mistakes he made with his wife that soured their relationship. After some time, the other man sees him again and tells him how to be cured. Very good story, and not much like Groundhog Day.

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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