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Asimov’s Science Fiction - September 2016 - Vol. 40 No. 09– (Whole Numbers 488)
Edited by Sheila Williams
Cover Artist: Michael Whelan
Review by Sam Tomaino
Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine / eMagazine  ISBN/ITEM#: 1065-2698
Date: 27 September 2016

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

The September 2016 issue of Asimov's Science Fiction has stories by Carrie Vaughan, Tegan Moore, Jack Skillingstead, Ian R. MacLeod, Robert Reed, Peter Wood, and Rich Larson, along with the usual poetry and columns.

Asimov's Science Fiction September 2016 issue is here and all the stories are good ones.

The fiction begins with "The Mind Is Its Own Place" by Carrie Vaughan. -+- Lieutenant Mitchell Greenau was navigator on the Francis Drake when he suddenly began acting irrationally. He wakes up in an infirmary on Law Station with no memory of what happened. He has been diagnosed with Occupational Synaptic Dysfunction Syndrome, which has plagued navigators working in what is called M-Drive. Little is known about how to treat his condition but he is convinced if he could remember what happened that he would be better off. Is this just madness or insight? Well-done character study and a good start to the issue.

"Dome on the Prairie" by Robert Reed -+- The introduction to this story mentions the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder and the story itself mentions them. Here the Father of Laura, as the humans refer to her, is part of the aliens that the humans call the Scourge who have come to Earth to colonize it resulting in many deaths. The Father has little regard for the human natives. But our lead human character establishes contact with Laura and helps her understand what is happening. Imaginative take on those classic books. Well done.

"Epitome" by Tegan Moore -+- Shelby's roommate, Vivian, had a bad fall and needs time to recover her full functions. Shelby is in love with her but hasn't told her this. She takes care of her but has had a virtual Viv created which she has developed a relationship with. Things get out of hand as is frequently the case with things like this. This is the author's first published work and a promising debut.

"Academic Circles" by Peter Wood -+- Kate Warner wonders how her paper on Philip K. Dick's The Man in the High Castle was submitted by a rival professor, Thomas Marzano, at Appalachian State University six months before she even started writing it. He doesn't even seem to know anything about the book. It comes as no surprise to us that he has made use of a time machine. She finds a clever way to strike back at him. Amusing.

"The Whole Mess" by Jack Skillingstead -+- Professor Dunn has noticed a strangely dressed student in one of his classes. His name is Daniel Whitfield and one day, he hands the professor a sheet of paper with the beginnings of a mathematical equation on it which Whitfield calls an incantation. He says it's the most important work that Dunn will ever do. Dunn almost discards it but is intrigued by it. He solves it but there are dire consequences for himself, a young woman named Lisa and the whole world. How can he fix things? Very captivating story that piques you interest right from the start.

"All That Robot" by Rich Larson -+- A man is shipwrecked on a remote island populated by robots. He befriends one robot who agrees to help him if the human will return the favor. One of them turns out to be the better man. Good story. Would like more about these robots.

The issue concludes with "The Visitor from Taured" by Ian R. MacLeod. -+- At a future Leeds University, first year students Lita Ortiz and Rob Holm meet and become friends. Lita is studying the antique field known as Analogue Literature, those things called novels, short stories, and poems that are in printed books. Rob's field is Astrophysics. Both are pretty quirky and they manage to share their studies with each other. He has an especial interest in many worlds theory. Over the years, both achieve a certain success, but Rob always seems even more other worldly than Lita. The story is beautifully told, poignant and bittersweet.

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