Asimov's Science Fiction- December 2007
by Sheila Williams
Edited by Shiela Williams
Cover Artist: Michael Carroll
Review by Sam Tomaino
Asimov's Science Fiction ISBN/ITEM#: 1065-2698
Date: 26 October 2007 / Pub Info / Table of Contents /
The December 2007 issue of Asimov's Science Fiction rounds out it 30th Anniversary with another fine issue. It's got a new Christmas story by Connie Willis, the second part of the serialization of Allen M. Steele's new "Coyote" novel, some very good stories by Tim McDaniel, Jack Skillingstead, Nancy Kress & Stephen Graham Jones.
Well, you know it's going to be a good issue when the cover promises a "New Christmas Novella by Connie Willis" and the December 2007 issue of Asimov's Science Fiction does not disappoint. All the stories got a Very Good from me.
Connie Willis starts off the issue with "All Seated on the Ground". As the story opens, the "Altairi" have been on Earth for some time but have not said anything, they've just stared disapprovingly. They are perfectly willing to be led around by their hosts but that's it. Then, one day in a shopping mall during Christmas season, they all suddenly sit down. Our narrator figures out that it seems to be in response to the words of a hymn (the title of the story). What is going on? The narrator and a friendly choir director set out to discover that.
The issue also features four short stories. Tim McDaniel's "The Lonesome Planet Travelers' Advisory is actually a series of guidelines for travelers to Earth. They'll put a grin on your face. Jack Skillingstead contributes another of his unusual tales in "Strangers on a Bus". Escaping from a failed relationship, Freya sits next to Neil who seems to know all about her and other people on the bus. Does he know things that are already true or does he make them true by stating them? Together, they learn to leave their fears behind. In "The Rules" by Nancy Kress, a pirate television broadcast starts highlighting people in trouble. All this is connected to a dying man who wants to change the world. Will he succeed? Last of all, there's "Do(This)" by Stephen Graham Jones. Leo is studying questions like "did language precede thought or did thought precede language?" Can he find a way to test for consciousness through language? Through a babbling father and oddly connected computer, he comes to some answer.
So Asimov's ends its 30th anniversary on a high note. I'm sure 2008 will bring more of the same.