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Jay Lake for best novella, "The Stars Do Not Lie"( Asimov's Oct/Nov 2012)

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Anthology
Asimov's First Digital Anthology

Enter the FutureEnter a Future: Fantastic Tales from Asimov’s Science Fiction
By Sheila Williams
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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

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The trees of Farside are incredible. Fireash and oak. Greenbloom and maple. Shot through with every color of autumn as late afternoon sunlight blazes over the Seven Mountains’ white peaks. He’d never seen such beauty as this when he was alive.

The virtual Bentley takes the bridge over the next gorge at a tirescream, then speeds on through crimson and gold. Another few miles, and he’s following the coastal road beside the Westering Ocean. The sands are burnished, the rocks silver-threaded. Every new vista a fabulous creation. Then ahead, just as purple glower sweeps in from his rear-view over those dragon-haunted mountains, come the silhouette lights of a vast castle, high up on a ridge. It’s the only habitation he’s seen in hours.

This has to be it.

Northover lets the rise of the hill pull at the Bentley’s impetus as its headlights sweep the driveway trees. Another turn, another glimpse of a headland, and there’s Elsinore again, rising dark and sheer.

* * *

He tries to refuse the offer to carry his luggage made by the neat little creature that emerges into the lamp lit courtyard to greet him with clipboard, sharp shoes, and lemony smile. He’s encountered many chimeras by now. The shop assistants, the street cleaners, the crew on the steamer ferry that brought him here. All substantially humanoid, and invariably polite, although amended as necessary to perform their tasks, and far stranger to his mind than the truly dead.

He follows a stairway up through rough-hewn stone. The thing’s name is Kasaya. Ah, now. The east wing. I think you’ll find what we have here more than adequate. If not . . . Well, you must promise to let me know. And this is called the Willow Room. And do enjoy your stay. . . .

Northover wanders. Northover touches. Northover breathes. The interior of this large high-ceilinged suite with its crackling applewood fire and narrow, deep-set windows is done out in an elegantly understated arts-and-craftsy style. Among her many attributes, Thea Lorentz always did have excellent taste.

What’s struck him most about Farside since he jerked into new existence on the bed in the cabin of that ship bound for New Erin is how unremittingly real everything seems. But the slick feel of this patterned silk bed throw . . . the spiky roughness of the teasels in the flower display . . . he’s given up telling himself that everything he’s experiencing is just some clever construct. The thing about it, the thing that makes it all so impossibly overwhelming, is that he’s here as well. Dead, but alive. The evidence of his corpse doubtless already incinerated, but his consciousness—the singularity of his existence, what philosophers once called “the conscious I,” and theologians the soul, along with his memories and personality, the whole sense of self that had once inhabited pale jelly in his skull—transferred.

The bathroom is no surprise to him now. The dead do so many things the living do, so why not piss and shit as well? He strips and stands in the shower’s warm blaze. He soaps, rinses. Reminds himself of what he must do, and say. He’d been warned that he’d soon become attracted to the blatant glories of this world, along with the new, young man’s body he now inhabits. Better just to accept it rather than fight. All that matters is that he holds to the core of his resolve.

He towels himself dry. He pulls his watch back on—seemingly a Rolex, but a steel model, neatly unostentatious—and winds it carefully. He dresses. Hangs up his clothes in a walnut paneled wardrobe that smells faintly of mothballs, and hears a knock at the doors just as he slides his case beneath the bed.

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Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine: 30th Anniversary Anthology

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"A truly extraordinary sampler of tales.... Every piece in this superlative collection is a nugget of pure science fiction gold."

-Publishers Weekly, starred review

This anniversary anthology presented in chronological order showcases 30 years of excellent stories published in the legendary magazine, Asimov’s Science Fiction. Asimov’s Science Fiction was founded in 1977. As one of science fiction’s most influential and prolific writers, Isaac Asimov wanted to provide a home for new SF writers—a new magazine for young writers could break into. Asimov’s Science Fiction remains that home, as well as the publisher of some of the field’s best known authors.

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