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Clarkesworld 133 – October 2017
Edited by Neil Clarke
Cover Artist: T. by Marianna Stelmach
Review by Sam Tomaino
Clarkesworld eMagazine  ISBN/ITEM#: 1937-7843
Date: 26 October 2017

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

Clarkesworld #133 is here with stories by Jack Skillingstead, Natalia Theodoridou, Finbarr O'Reilly, Xia Jia, Genevieve Valentine, Nisi Shawl, and Gareth L. Powell, along with many other features.

The 133rd issue of Clarkesworld is here with five new stories, two reprints, and other features.

The first story is "The Sum of Her Expectations" by Jack Skillingstead. -+- Amrita is rebellious and visits the planet called Trappist 1-e, which is forbidden to humans. It was the planet that the race called the Kabbhans had inhabited before they had achieved transphysical migration. But something has pulled her ship down along with Tripp, a robotic AI she considers her only friend. She is in an escape pod and safe. He is visited by a Kabbhan presentation, a hologram taken from a Khabban personality. He explains that the machines on the planet are endlessly constructing a city from any raw materials. That would include Tripp. What can she do to rescue Tripp and get back home with her ship destroyed? Good solid story. Amrita is an engaging character.

The second story is "The Nightingales in Plátres" by Natalia Theodoridou. -+- Yánnis is on a generational spaceship headed for a distant planet that he will never see. But they are becalmed on a barren planet not able to catch what is called a "Dirac wave" to propel them forward. He prays for help and receives an answer. He must make a sacrifice, the kind other fathers have been asked to make. Can he do it? Sad and beautifully told.

The third is "The Last Boat-Builder in Ballyvoloon" by Finbarr O'Reilly. -+- In this near-future, a manufactured creature called a squid had been released into the oceans to clean them up of oil and other pollution. They wound up doing their job too well. Our narrator has met Más, an old salt who carves little sculptures of the creatures from wood. But, Más resents not being able to sail the seas anymore. Another poignant, sad, tale, beautifully told.

The fourth story is "The Psychology Game" by Xia Jia (translated by Emily Jin and Ken Liu). -+- A popular reality television show features two people, disguised--one a therapist, one a patient. The kicker is that the therapist might be an AI. Does it make a difference? Fascinating story. If you read it, put the two Greek words in a Google search. It makes for a good ending.

The fifth story is "Intro to Prom" by Genevieve Valentine. -+- Living in a doomed dome city, Celandine, Jack, Robbie, and Mara attend proms and switch partners, awaiting the inevitable. A bittersweet tale.

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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