Asimov's Science Fiction - August 2005
Zine ISBN/ITEM#: 1065-2698
Asimov's Science Fiction - August 2005 - Vol. 29 No. 8 (Whole Number 355) - ISSN 1065-2698
The August 2005 issue of Asimov's Science Fiction does have one exceptional story and a bunch of very good ones. The best story is "He Woke in Darkness" by Harry Turtledove. It's good to see Turtledove writing a short story, a serious one anyway. It was in Asimov's that I first read a story under his name and was blown away by it. This is an alternate universe story with a twist. It tells us of a white man in an alternate Philadelphia, Mississippi of 1964 where those of African descent are in charge. It could not be more topical if they planned it that way and they didn't. This story will probably make my Hugo nomination list next year.
Most of the rest of the stories get my "very good" rating. "Softly Spoke the Gabbleduck" by Neal Asher is a rousing tale of two humans on an alien planet having to survive when they are witness to the murder of sentient natives by other humans. "Point of Origin" by Catherine Wells deals with the exploits of two people who must catch a man who has been setting fires at National Parks. "The Summer of Seven" by Paul Melko is the third in a series he has written about post-human teens who are joined together mentally in groups. In this story a sextet from a previous story must help a septet adjust to her/his situation. In "A Shadow Over the Land," Liz Williams tells us of a woman in danger in the African veldt and her surprising savior. Carrie Richerson's "A Birth" starts out with what seems like a typical father's doubts about his son-in-law but it has a twist.
Of the remaining stories, one is quite good. "Bottom Feeding" by Tim Pratt is about an unusual way of gaining knowledge. Oddly enough the most disappointing story is "Kath and Quicksilver" by Larry Niven and Brenda Cooper. I don't care for stories in which someone stupidly puts oneself in danger and then needs to be rescued.
But the Turtledove story alone makes this issue worth reading.