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Asimov's Science Fiction - December 2009 - Vol. 33 Nos. 12 - (Whole Numbers 407)
Edited by Sheila Williams
Cover Artist: Duncan Long
Review by Sam Tomaino
Asimov's Science Fiction  ISBN/ITEM#: 1065-2698
Date: 26 September 2009 / Pub Info / Table of Contents /

The December 2009 issue of Asimov’s Science Fiction has stories by Benjamin Crowell, Brian Stableford, Jeff Carlson, Sara Genge, John Shirley, Nick Wolven, Jim Aikin, and Mike Resnick along with the usual columns!

Asimov's Science Fiction's December 2009 issue is another good one, with all the stories of the best quality.

The issue begins with "A Lovely Little Christmas Fire" by Jeff Carlson. Julie Beauchain and William Highsong are both agents for the Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks for the state of Montana. They are also lovers. They are deep into fighting an infestation of super-termites when Julie notices the same man at two different locales. What is really going on? The answer is a pretty wild one as the team fights hard to win the day. Carlson provides an exciting tale here.

In "As Women Fight", Sara Genge shows us a culture in which wives and husbands exchange bodies on a regular basis. They decide who goes where after an annual physical conflict called the Fight. Merthe has been stuck in a man's body for some time as his wife Ita wins the fights. He wants a change but other circumstances regarding his children and a friend make him look at things in a different way. Genge does a good job with showing us a culture different from our own.

"Animus Rights" by John Shirley shows that many of the wars that humanity has fought over the years is really the work of two alien personalities, Animus and Adversary, who inhabit humans and manipulate events towards war. The contest, then, is to see which of them kills the other first in battle. The collateral damage of humans is immense. But they have noticed that something seems to be interfering in their battles of late. Shirley is an old pro of imaginative storytelling and this is a nice example of it.

"Angie' Errand" by Nick Wolven takes place after some Crisis had ended Western Civilization as we know it. Angie lives with her brother and sisters in their house in the woods. Their father had left long before any disaster. Their mother has died and she is doing her best to take her place, She goes into town to try to improve their situation but things don't go well. This was a heartbreaking sad story of what might be left behind after a catastrophe.

In "Leaving the Station", Jim Aikin tells us about Joan, a woman in her forties that used to see ghosts when she was a child. She had mostly forgotten that until her Uncle Frederick had left her his antique store when he died. We get details about her life; her divorcing her hippie parents and moving in with her Uncle Ray, who was a math teacher. She somewhat followed in his footsteps and went into Informational Technology. Laid off from her job, she wound up with the antique store that used to be a functioning train station until the line had been moved away before World War II. Things are going well but she does note some oddities with items not in her inventory just showing up. Then, some ghosts do some shopping. The story proceeds to a really spectacular climax and was quite an enjoyable read. Good job, Mr Aikin!

"A Large Bucket, and Accidental Godlike Mastery of Spacetime" by Benjamin Crowell is a wild tale with truly different aliens. Sidibé Traoré has been chosen to represent all of Earth on the Galactic Civilization's Bus as it cruises through the Milky Way. There are some 700 representatives from different planets and Sidi starts communicating with some of them. She never knows how they are going to react to anything she does and this results in hilarious misunderstandings. All this comes together in a fun way for a delightful story.

Only Mike Resnick would write a story with the title "The Bride of Frankenstein" and only he could make it something very different. The story is told through diary entries of the real bride, that is the Baroness von Frankenstein. It takes place in the era of the Universal movies, rather than the book and the Baroness is not happy in a drafty old castle with no electricity. She is really disgusted by her husband's creation. But things do change and the story is written with all the heart that Resnick's stories always have. I saved this story to read last because I always save what I think will be the best for last. I was right.

In "Some Like It Hot" by Brian Stableford, Kelemen Kiss and Gerda Rosenhane grow up in late 21st century Europe on opposite sides of the issue of Global Warming. Kiss wants to roll it back and Gerda wants to embrace it. Stableford leads us through their lives as they each work for different goals. This was a truly quintessential science fiction story, speculating on the future in a real hard science kind of way.

Another great issue from Sheila Williams. Subscribe!

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