Asimov's Science Fiction - October/November 2005
Dell Zine ISBN/ITEM#: 10652698
Date: October 2005 /
Asimov's Science Fiction - October/November 2005 - Vol 29 Nos 10 & 11, Whole Numbers 357 & 358)
The October/November 2005 issue of Asimov's Science Fiction is another double issue. It's a mixed bag but there are two stories (both short) that get an excellent rating. "In Nightmare" by M. Bennardo, science has found a way to capture ghosts, not the spirits of dead people but "collections of persistent energy given off by living things." These 'ghosts' are put into zoo-like places. In this chilling tale, a man takes his oldest son to see a particularly nasty one and comes to terms with his own fears. "Betting on Eureka" by Geoffrey A. Landis is a fun story about a legendary asteroid that is rich in mineral wealth. A man named Corwin Teron says he knows where it is but the story takes a delightful turn from there.
Six of the stories earn a very good rating from me. Fortunately, one is the only novella in the issue, "Bank Run" by Tom Purdom. Purdom never disappoints and here he gives us a thrilling tale of a man named Sabor who has the normally safe profession of a banker. But on the planet Fernheim, refusing a loan can be dangerous to your health. Luckily, he has the support of a good (and very brave) woman. "Pericles the Tyrant" by Lois Tilton is a good alternate history of the conquering and destruction of Athens by the Persians and how this affects the great playwrights of Ancient Greece. "Dark Flowers, Inverse Moon" by Jay Lake is an nice little story about Sally who has extra-sensory powers but has been afraid to use them. Fortunately, there is an entire culture of such people and they combine to stop an evil one of their own. "The God Engine" by Ted Kosmatka brings us the story of a man who must aid in an experiment that he has come to despise. What can he do? In "Overlay" by Jack Skillingstead, a man earns cash by allowing another man to take over his body. This is not a good idea. "Cruel Sistah" by Nisi Shawl seems like a contemporary folk tale about a woman finding justice when she is murdered.
Unfortunately, three of the stories in this issue are very disappointing. "Memory Work" by L. Timmel Duchamp is a tedious tale about a woman remembering an apocalypse in which "youth runs wild." Why she is recording memories is not particularly interesting and this reader didn't care about her "triumph" at the end.
Out of the Box by Steve Martinez is an insubstantial tale about yet another apocalypse and how a man tries to improve his son's chances in life. In "Back to Moab" by Phillip C. Jennings a woman gets involved with war criminals and passages to other worlds. The problem here is that her motivations and actions are incomprehensible.
Was this worth the double issue? Probably not. It just seemed like it had too much filler. I'm sure they will do better to close out the year at conventional size.