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Asimov’s Science Fiction - December 2016 - Vol. 40 No. 12 (Whole Numbers 491)
Edited by Sheila Williams
Cover Artist: NASA
Review by Sam Tomaino
Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine / eMagazine  ISBN/ITEM#: 1065-2698
Date: 28 November 2016

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

The December 2016 issue of Asimov's Science Fiction has stories by David Erik Nelson, Karl Bunker, Gay Partington Perry, Gregory Norman Bossert, James Sallis, and Kali Wallace, along with the usual poetry and columns.

Asimov's Science Fiction December 2016 issue is here and it's got some very good stories.

The fiction begins with "They Have All One Breath" by Karl Bunker. -+- James is a sculptor in a world where AIs have taken over everything. First, they stopped war and murder. After that is was any kind of crime and any kind of want. They provided everything anyone could want. Even meat was provided in an artificial way. The AIs decided who could have children, which caused problems for James and his wife, Lisa. Even animals were prevented from killing other animals. James and Lisa split up forever. James was okay with this until the final end. Chilling, effective dystopia.

"Empty Shores by the Lake" by Gay Partington Terry -+- This story is labeled a novelette but it's very much a short story. Becca and Rafi grew up in a small town in Appalachia. Rafi left but Becca stayed for a while. But when she began to have visions of the future, her life changed, and, eventually so did Rafi's. Beautifully written little tale.

"HigherWorks" by Gregory Norman Bossert -+- A hacking disaster has caused a Depression in the United States and Dyer, a refugee from it, uses her cyber skills on a new kind of drug, nanos. If you like what is essentially stoner fiction, this is for you. Not for me.

"How the Damned Live On" by James Sallis -+- A group of people are shipwrecked on an island along with a friendly giant spider. But things don't look good for them. Nicely done.

"The Cold Side of the Island" by Kali Wallace -+- When they were teenagers, Lacie, Thea, and Jesse had found the remains of a strange creature that they could not identify. They kept on going back to it as what passed for its skin rotted away. Eventually, they just boiled off anything that remained and just kept the bones. Now, years later Jesse's body had been found in the woods and Lacie has returned home to where her mother and Thea still live. She had missed the funeral but the old friends had drifted apart over the years. They had agreed to return the bones to the woods when one of them died, so that was what Lacie and Thea do. It all has an effect on Lacie in this bittersweet tale.

The issue concludes with "Where There is Nothing, There is God" by David Erik Nelson. -+- The story is set in the same universe as “The New Guys Always Work Overtime” in the February 2013 issue and "There Was No Sound of Thunder" in the June 2014 issue. This one only slightly involves Taylor from the previous stories and focuses on Paul an actor, known for his voice on a commercial, who becomes involved with dispensing meth in Colonial Massachusetts in exchange for real silverware, some of it made by Paul Revere. But, he finds out that other versions of him are doing the same thing and that has had a disastrous effect on the locals. Engaging story! Good resolution!

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