|Congratulations to our Nebula Nominees
Jay Lake for best novella, "The Stars Do Not Lie"( Asimov's Oct/Nov 2012)
Ken Liu for best novelette, "The Waves" (Asimov's Dec 2012)
Leah Cypess for best short story, "Nanny's Day" (Asimov's Mar 2012)
Celebrate National Science Fiction Day by Learning to Live in the Future
Asimov's First Digital Anthology
Enter a Future: Fantastic Tales from
Asimov’s Science Fiction
By Sheila Williams
Order your copy today!
Welcome. Please come in. Enter some futures. Feel free to pull up a chair and sit down with these fantastic stories from Asimov’s Science Fiction magazine. No two of these futures is the same. Yet, while the characters cope with presents that are removed from our own to varying degrees, the dilemmas they face are never removed from the joys and terrors of the human condition. Many of these stories are… Read more
Precious Mental by Robert Reed
The man came to Port Beta carrying an interesting life.
Or perhaps that life was carrying him.
Either way, he was a strong plain-faced human, exceptionally young yet already dragging heavy debt. Wanting honest, reliable employment, he wrestled with a series of aptitude tests, and while scoring poorly in most categories, the newcomer showed promise when it came to rigor and precision and the kinds of courage required by the mechanical arts. Port Beta seemed like a worthy home for him. That was where new passengers arrived at the Great Ship, cocooned inside streakships and star taxis, bomb-tugs and one-of-a-kind vehicles. Long journeys left most of those starships in poor condition. Many were torn apart as salvage, but the valuable and the healthiest were refurbished and then sent out again, chasing wealthy travelers of every species.
A local academy accepted the newcomer, and he soon rose to the most elite trade among technicians. Bottling up suns and antimatter was considered the highest art. Drive-mechanics worked on starship engines and dreamed about starship engines, and they were famous for jokes and foul curses understandable only to their own kind. Their work could be routine for years, even decades, but then inside the monotony something unexpected would happen. Miss one ghost of a detail and a lasting mistake would take hold, and then centuries later, far from Port Beta, a magnificent streakship would explode, and the onboard lives, ancient and important, were transformed into hard radiation and a breakneck rain of hot, anonymous dust.
That was why drive-mechanics commanded the highest wages.
And that was why new slots were constantly opening up in their ranks.
Read the full excerpt...