Asimov's Science Fiction - April/May 2006
Zine ISBN/ITEM#: 1065-2698
Date: June 2006 /
Asimov's Science Fiction - April/May 2006 - Vol. 30 Nos. 4&5 (Whole Numbers 262 & 364)
The April/May 2006 of Asimov's Science Fiction is the best, so far, this year. One of the stories got an Excellent rating from me and the rest all got a Very Good. Who can ask for anything more?
The story that really impressed me was "The Walls of the Universe" by Paul Melko. The story involves several boys named John, all in different universes. One has a device to move through alternate dimensions that yet another John gave him. He meets and tells his story to his counterpart in the dimension in which the story begins. The story shifts viewpoints between the various Johns as they deal with this device. It makes for one of the best stories of the year. The other novella is "Inclination" by William Shunn. Part of a series set on Netherview Station in space, this is about a young man named Jude who must leave the part of the station inhabited by a cult called The Machinists of which he is a member. In doing so, he learns much about himself and the world. Shunn gives us here a classic Coming of Age story.
The issue also has two novelettes. In "Except the Music" by Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Max is a musician taking part in a concert series run by his mentor, Otto. He notices a strange woman in the audience at each performance and feels some connection to her. He discovers what she is and this helps him deal with changes in his life. "Home Movies" by Mary Rosenbaum takes place in a far future society where people called chameleons can sell their memories to others. Kayla is one such and accepts an assignment for a powerful and rich woman. But there is more going on than Kayla realizes at first. All this makes for another good story.
The issue has no less than eight short stories, all very good. "Heisenberg Elementary" by Wil McCarthy is a short-short about a typical couple of school days in the life of BennyJam Wheelrut. What's different is that this is a virtual school. In "The Final Flight of the Blue Bee", James Maxey gives us a story about a former super-hero sidekick who had to spend 40 years in jail for manslaughter. Now that he is finally out of prison, he is not happy. "Datacide" by Steve Bein is about a man who sets out to murder a super-computer by wiping its memory. This does not turn out to be easy. One of the highlights of this issue is a story by Robert Silverberg. In "Hanosz Prime Goes to Old Earth", Silverberg tells us a wonderful story set in a really far future, "the 1111th Encompassment of the Ninth Mandala". The lead character visits Old Earth and learns what it is like to live there. "The Age of Ice" by Liz Williams gives us the story of Hestia Memar who is a spy for her country, Winterstrike. She must find about a weapon in the library on Caud and prevent a war. Greg van Eekhout's "The Osteomancer’s Son" tells of a young man who must use his father's bone magic to defeat an enemy and protect his daughter. The 'cent' referred to in "Not Worth A Cent" by R. Neube is not a penny but someone who is more than a hundred years old, but alive due to modern medicine. Since this is 65% of the population, there are problems in this world. Lastly, "The King’s Tail" by Constance Cooper is set in a alien culture. An imprisoned king makes use of his tail to free his people.
This is an exceptional issue and well worth its double size.