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Jim Baen's Universe February 2009
Edited by Eric Flint
Review by Sam Tomaino
Baen  ISBN/ITEM#: 1932-0930
Date: 23 February 2009

Links: Jim Baen's Universe / Pub Info / Table of Contents /

The February 2009 issue of Jim Baen's Universe is here with stories from L.E. Modessit, Jr., Carl Frederick, Bud Sparhawk, Naomi Kritzer, Lezli Robyn, Garrett W. Vance along with a classic from Voltaire and the usual columns.

The February 2009 issue of Jim Baen's Universe is another good one. I liked all the stories.

The Science Fiction section leads off with L.E. Modesitt, Jr.'s "Astralis" which is a brief tale of a man who is the last to command the city of Astralis, before it falls to invaders. He has made a decision on how to deal with it and this makes for a sad, poignant story.

In "Food for Thought", Carl Frederick shows us a future in which people called Enlighteners can have their knowledge or skills transferred to someone else for a price. The problem is that you lose the skills or knowledge. Wosbel is an experienced Enlightener and is perfectly amenable to having his mathematical knowledge transferred to the vain Prince Kelvacorinin. Mergoyn is a fencing master who has not done this before and hates the idea. Frederick fashions a well-told tale about the issues involved.

"Primrose and Thorn" by Bud Sparhawk is an exciting tale of survival on the seas of Jupiter. Louella and Pascal command the Thorn, which is competing in a race around the seas of Jupiter. Rams commands the cargo ship Primrose and is just transporting stuff on Jupiter. Their stories intersect in a good little old-fashioned story with a bit of a twist.

The Fantasy section has two stories. "The Good Son" by Naomi Kritzer is the story of a member of the Fair Folk, who falls in love with a human woman named Maggie. To spend more time with her, he constructs a human life. Things get more complicated and he changes in this beautifully-told tale. Lezli Robyn's "Johnny So Long at the Fair" is the story of Johnny Glover, a four-year-old boy who disappears from a train ride in a department store. No one can figure out what happened to him. Twenty years go by, and he reappears, twenty years older but still with memories of a four-year-old. What he does next makes for an enchanting story.

This issue has just one story by a first-time author, "Riders of the Three-Toed Horse" by Garrett W. Vance. It's a bit longer than they usually print for an "Introducing" story but it pays off. Elias Ullstrom is a geologist and paleontologist and has taken a job in Agate County, in a remote part of Washington State. The county is part of the tribal lands of the Awattamapum and when he gets there masked "tribal elders" perform ceremony for his protection. He is warned not to wander off the charted area on his map, but does anyway. What he finds and the adventure that results makes for a fine story.

The Classic in this issue is "Micromegas" by Voltaire, a "Journey of an Inhabitant of the World of the Star Sirius into the Planet Saturn" that makes for interesting reading.

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