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Jim Baen's Universe April 2009
Edited by Eric Flint
Cover Artist: Garrett W. Vance
Review by Sam Tomaino
Baen  ISBN/ITEM#: 1932-0930
Date: 24 April 2009

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

The April 2009 issue of Jim Baen's Universe is here with stories from Edward M. Lerner, Bud Sparhawk, Graham Edwards, James Lambshead, Paula R. Stiles, and Susan diRende along with a classic from Herman Melville and the usual columns.

The April 2009 issue of Jim Baen's Universe is another good one. I liked all the stories, except for one.

The Science Fiction section leads off with "Calculating Minds" by Edward M. Lerner. This is a long story, set in a future in which aliens send AI copies to Earth to sell information and technology. Aareehl is one such from Tau Ceti. But it realizes that it is actually a clone of its original. What happened? This begins a tale of investor malfeasance and a battle between a crook and the man trying to bring him down. This went on way too long (more than 20,000 words) and I just found it uninvolving.

Bud Sparhawk contributes "Primrose Rescue", a sequel to February's "Primrose and Thorn". The events of the previous story are neatly summarized. A damaged Thorn, which had been Louella and Pascal's ship in the Great Jupiter Race is lashed to their rescue vehicle, the Primrose. Its captain, Rams, had smashed his leg rescuing them. Now they must get him to one of the space stations to save his life. Pascal must overcome his fears to do so and this sets up another well-told story from Sparhawk.

In Graham Edwards' "Riding the Drop", Tanager Lee pilots the Tumbleweed a dropship that runs between worlds, delivering needed supplies. Her ship is damaged when a stowaway from one of those worlds damages her ship. When she hears his story, she helps him and he helps her. This was a nice little imaginative tale.

The Fantasy section has two stories. The first is "Storming Hell" by James Lambshead. Set in an alternate universe where ships sail the aether by use of cavorite and guides from the spirit world, Sarah Brown is the pilot of Her Majesty's Aethership Cassandra. She pilots the ship through space by entering the spirit world and having the help of the ghost of Captain James Hind, "a highwayman and cavalier who was hanged for high treason in 1652". She guides them to the New Isle of Wight, a moon of the planet Lucifer. There they are to set a trap for pirates in a fun and exciting tale.

Next is a tale by Paula R. Stiles' "The Queen of Sheba's Diamonds". This is a beautifully told story about a woman called only the Queen of Sheba, who goes down to the marketplace to sell fine gems. But there is more to what she does. Stiles is a talented wordsmith and uses her talent well here.

This issue has just one story by a first-time author, "Unpronounceable" by Susan diRende. Rosalba Bellicosa Delancy, or just Rose, for short, winds up winning a lottery to be the ambassador to the planet of the Unpronounceable, following many others who have failed. You might have an idea where this is going but this was an amusing little piece and I enjoyed it.

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