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Clarkesworld 120 - September 2016
Edited by Neil Clarke
Cover Artist: Seed to Sky by Julie Dillon
Review by Sam Tomaino
Clarkesworld eMagazine  ISBN/ITEM#: 1937-7843
Date: 25 September 2016

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

Clarkesworld #120 is here with stories by Jack Skillingstead, Jennifer Campbell-Hicks, Rich Larson, Liu Yang, Bogi Takács, Thoraiya Dyer, Tom Crosshill, and Nick Wolven, along with many other features.

The first story is "The Despoilers" by Jack Skillingstead. -+- Allegra has been stranded by her father on 51 PegesiD. The planet has low oxygen and high gravity and is pretty hostile to human life. Her father calls it Gaia and has become ill and delusional, saying they must not despoil it. She finds out that someone else has crash-landed on the planet. Can she rescue him and save herself and her father? She must find a way. Well done tale which peaks you interest right from the start.

The second story is "Aphrodite's Blood, Decanted" by Jennifer Campbell-Hicks. -+- The Factory is sure the people will come back. The Warehouse doesn't think so. They are all that remains of intelligent buildings after a power plant meltdown had irradiated everything and made it uninhabitable. The Factory remembers the wine, called Aphrodite, that it made and the tour a woman named Althea had conducted. A robot extension of the Factory had decanted the wine and made use of the nanobots in it to make people feel good. Can those nanobots clean up the river nearby. The Warehouse doesn't thinks so, but the Factory gives it a try. Beautiful poignant story with a perfect end.

The third story is "The Green Man Cometh" by Rich Larson. -+- In a nasty future City, Eris drives a flying taxi and is very good at it, even with cybernetic arms. A mysterious passenger pays her a lot of money to get him to where he wants to go avoiding pursuit. But when she finds out what he is trying to do, she knows she must use all her skills to save the City she doesn't even like. Well drawn characters and an exciting climax. A good, solid story.

The fourth story is "The Opposite and the Adjacent" by Liu Yang, translated by Nick Stember. -+- Scientists on a space station in the Kuiper belt examine a wrecked alien spaceship that has floated by. It's sole occupant is dead but they find strange writing that they eventually decode. It's a series of diary entries detailing the life of the dead alien, from an elementary geometry class to the flight into space. They find a strange error in what the alien learned in school. Great little story.

The fifth story is "Toward the Luminous Towers" by Bogi Takács. -+- In a future war, our nameless narrator is a civilian conscript playing an important role. But things get more and more unreal in this grim tale.

The sixth story is "The House of Half Mirrors" by Thoraiya Dyer. -+- Our narrator lives in a polluted future but encounters with the fey aos sí improve things. Wildly strange 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).

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