Jim Baen's Universe Volume 2 Number 2, August 2007
by Eric Flint
Edited by Eric Flint
Review by Sam Tomaino
Date: 28 August 2007
Links: Website / Pub Info / Table of Contents /
The August 2007 issue of Jim Baen's Universe is a delight. All the stories got a Very Good from me!
Let's start with the Science Fiction Section. In John Barnes' "An Ocean is a Snowflake, Four Billion Miles Away" two documentarians with very different agendas are to witness a radical terraforming of Mars that involves a near encounter with a comet. "At the Watering Hole" by Edward W. Lerner gives us an alien civilization that, on a regular basis, sends a message outward. Earth picks it up with unexpected results. "Concentration of Dogs" by Carl Frederick features Professor Robert Weiler, called Rottweiler by one of his assistants, who has linked dog's brains and made them super-intelligent but vicious. He has linked his own mind with them. How will his assistants survive this pack. "Free Space" by Carrie Vaughn is an exciting, adventure story. On a space station, Technician Hart discovers a radiation leak where it shouldn't be. Can she stop an insidious weapons smuggling plot before she is killed? James P Hogan's "Murphy's War" is a funny political satire in which warmongering leaders of the U.S. and China launch nuclear attacks but run into some familiar computer glitches. While Hogan makes you laugh, the story is ultimately idealistic and hopeful. No matter what your politics, you should get a laugh out of this one, but it is more than that.
Next, comes the Fantasy Section. In "The Lord-Protector's Daughter", L.E. Modesitt, Jr, gives us a story of a young girl, Mykella, who is the daughter of the lord of her land. Warned by a spirit, she discovers her special powers and uncovers a plot to seize control of her country. How will she stop the plotters? Laura Resnick's "Creation: The Launch!" is a hilarious riff from Ishmael, Yahweh's Creative Consulant. One thing: I have no problem with the irreverence towards God, but does she have to insult New Jersey? No matter! This will make you laugh! Last, we have Kristine Kathryn Rusch's "Dark Corners", set in Occupied Paris shortly before it was liberated. Solae is one of the Faerie race and the Germans killed his father. He has a small amount of power. What can he do against the Nazis?
The first of the stories by new authors is "Mrs. Schrödinger's Cat" by Gary Cuba. Erwin Schrödinger is going to conduct his experiment with a cat, ably assisted by three students. But it's his wife's cat and things get randomized further. The second story is also lot of fun. In "Squish" by S.E. Ward, Sarah has been at work exterminating alien insects. But the Ants she finds somehow hold her absent husband Gunther in great esteem. What should she do? I enjoyed both of these stories and hope to hear more from them soon. All in all a great issue. Go find them online at www.baens-universe.com.