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Jim Baen's Universe October 2009
Edited by Eric Flint
Cover Artist: Garrett W. Vance
Review by Sam Tomaino
Baen  ISBN/ITEM#: 1932-0930
Date: 28 October 2009

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

The October 2009 issue of Jim Baen's Universe is here with stories from Mike Resnick, Chet Gottfried, Matthew Rotondo, Sarah Avery, and Sarah Edwards along with a classic from Jack London and the usual columns.

The October 2009 issue of Jim Baen's Universe is another good one and there won't be many more to come.

The Science Fiction section leads off with "If the Frame Fits: A Jake Masters Story" by Mike Resnick. In this story, Jake is ordered by the powers that be on his home planet Odysseus to solve a murder. Odysseus had been having some minor conflicts with the planet Tjant and the Democracy of which Odysseus was a part wanted them to stop. The two parties were meeting on the neutral planet, Keladroon II when Mglais, the head of the Tjanti delegation was found murdered. Jake is the only one all parties agree on and he goes to Keladroon II to investigate. He is assisted by a Tjanti named Djimbi, who he calls Jimbo and a Droon cop called Blaish. Resnick does his usual good job of storytelling here and creates some likable characters.

"A Thousand Worlds, A Million Adventures" by Chet Gottfried features Morry Jansen, manager and co-owner of Trans Galaxy Holidays. He sends tourists all over the galaxy and has received awards for it. His one problem is his brother, Howard, who is always getting him in trouble. Today, two aliens from the planet Gorok come into his office. Gorok has some strange marriage customs and there is a problem with them. All this comes together for an amusing tale.

In "Canaan" by Matthew Rotondo, Eric Baines is a fairly typical teenager, living in a version of the U.S. that has become a theocracy. His father is a famous preacher and founder of Lifespring Ministry. He loses his virginity one night to a beautiful older woman named Tanya, just before she is taken by mysterious men in black. This sets up a series of events and his life changes forever. There was nothing special about this story and I think that it was a bit of an adolescent fantasy, something a kid might dream up, not an adult.

The Fantasy section has two stories. The first is "New Jersey's Top Ghost Tours Reviewed and Rated" by Sarah Avery. Jim Griggs runs a ghost tour in Lambertville and goes to great lengths to keep his spirits happy. Now a reviewer was coming from Bizarro Jersey and he might hit the jackpot. The trouble occurs when his girlfriend, Liz, gives him a haunted cabinet for his birthday. Its ghost is named Tillie, a labor organizer who is real trouble. This all makes for a pretty amusing story.

The other fantasy is "Katie Birch" by Sarah L. Edwards. Ida Wills finds little Katie Birch naked and blank-faced near Mackie's pond one day and becomes concerned about her. Katie's brother Varney takes good care of her but their abusive father is a violent man. As the story develops, we learn more about Katie and a special power she has. This was a nice little story, very well done.

All this is rounded out by a Classic Reprint, "A Curious Fragment" by Jack London. It's a story of a future of working class slavery that somehow developed in the United States and continued for hundreds of years. This was just a bit didactic and not much of a story.

Last month we were given the news that Jim Baenís Universe will be closing after the April 2010 issue. but they have some good subscription deals which include back issues. They can still use your support. So, go to their web-site at www.baens-universe.com and look those deals over!

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