Asimov's Science Fiction – August 2008 – Vol. 32 No. 8 – (Whole Number 391)
Edited by Sheila Williams
Cover Artist: Bob Eggleton
Review by Sam Tomaino
Asimov's Science Fiction ISBN/ITEM#: 10652698
Date: 28 May 2008 / Pub Info / Table of Contents /
The August 2008 issue of Asimov's Science Fiction is here with stories by Ted Kosmatka, Neal Barrett Jr., Matthew Johnson, Robert Reed, J. Chris Rock, Jack Skillingstead and Carol Emshwiller. Asimov's Science Fiction's August 2008 issue is another good one. All the stories got a Very Good from me.
"Lagos" by Matthew Johnson is set in a future Nigeria where a young woman named Safrat is daily hooked into a machine that she controls remotely to do various menial jobs. But something is wrong. She is told she is speaking English in her sleep and so are the women she works with. She and her brother contact someone who can combat this technological menace with "magic."
I always know that when I start a story by Robert Reed, I cannot possible predict what it will be about, but I will thoroughly enjoy it. "Old Man Waiting" is no exception. Benton notices an old man who just sits around and stares into space. On a whim, he talks to him and accuses him of being an alien, or from the future. He pursues his quest to find out about the old man and is surprised by the result. Next comes "Lucy" by J. Chris Rock, a story reprinted from an Internet posting in 2006. Two techies in Brooklyn control a robot on Titan. They call it Lucy after a neighbor's dog. They find out more about their neighbor and things don't work out.
The first novelette is "Diving Light" by Ted Kosmatka. Eric is a physicist who had a breakdown and is an alcoholic. He devises an experiment that seems to show that observers with consciousness could have an effect on a waveform. But he and his fellow researcher find some surprising results. In "What You Are About To See," Jack Skillingstead gives us Brian Kinney, an NSA operative, asked by his friend to assist in the interrogation of an alien. But Brian finds that the alien can do things to insure its survival and redefine what reality is.
Carol Emshwiller is one of my favorite writers, and "Wilmer or Wesley" does not disappoint. A young creature, something close to human, is taken by scientists. He has more intelligence than they might think. They study him and put him on display. He disguises himself and escapes. Will he ever have a life on his own? Emshwiller touches our hearts with a truly beautiful tale.
The issue concludes with "Radio Station St. Jack" by Neal Barrett Jr. In a post-apocalyptic world, Mac is the spiritual leader of Mineral Wells. He also runs a radio station with golden oldies. He tries to do the best for his town when raiders show up to destroy things. This was an amusing story about survival and dealing with whatever life throws at you.
All in all, this is a very good issue and Sheila Williams is doing a fine job. Subscribe today!