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Current Issue Highlights



November/December 2018

We’ve stuffed our November/December 2018 issue with R. Garcia y Robertson’s giant novella about “The Girl with the Curl.” Plucky Amanda James, commander of the Space Viking battle cruiser Valkyrie, continues to fight off space slavers as she attempts to secure freedom for the Jupiter System.

Nick Woven also visits the Jovan System to immerse us in the terrifying realm of the “Stormdiver”; new author David Ebenbach voyages to Mars for ”Pregnancy as a Location in Space-Time”; Kristine Kathryn Rusch brings us a riveting novella about teens out on a catastrophic “Joyride”; new to Asimov’s William Ledbetter poignantly reveals “What I Am”; Ray Nayler offers an eerie explanation for the unsettling “Incident at San Juan Bautista”; and on a human habitat orbiting a distant G-class star, Derek Künsken discloses the hard truth about “Water and Diamond.” Much can be learned from Tom Purdom’s study of “Parallel Military Cultural Evolution in Non-Human Society”; in Julie Novakova’s latest tale, we discover the heart-breaking double edge of “The Gift”; and the secret to a risky escape from a dangerous land may be found in Linda Nagata’s “Theories of Flight.”

Robert Silverberg’s Reflections asks “Do Robots Dream of Electric Cats?”; James Patrick Kelly’s On the Net claims “We Are the Cat People”; Allen M. Steele’s Thought Experiment considers “The History of Science Fiction, and Why it Matters”; Peter Heck’s On Books reviews Charles Stross, Carrie Vaughn, and others; plus we’ll have an array of poetry and other features you’re sure to enjoy.

The March/April 2019 issue will feature tributes to long-time Asimov’s editor Gardner Dozois.

Get your copy now!



by Kristine Kathryn Rusch

They assembled in the Third Level Mess Hall, the one designed for first-years. The furniture was tiny, built for small bodies, and the walls had painted murals of cats and dogs, the comfort animals kept in the arboretum wing and not allowed on this level. Still, Nadim Crowe knew, a lot of tears got shed beneath those murals, hiccoughy tears, the kind that little kids couldn’t hold back if they wanted to.

He thought the murals cruel, but then, he thought sending little kids to boarding school while their parents gallivanted across the Universe equally cruel. Last year, he’d volunteered down here until the sobs got to him. Then he’d requested a transfer, which had sent him to the medical wing, and that turned out to be infinitely worse. READ MORE




by Nick Wolven

In the old days Ju had thought it was cute, the way Priya got about big storms.

This was when they lived in Denver, just outside Tornado Alley, where the only weather you had to fear was a white-out blizzard and a dump of snow. But in summers the family traveled east to Myrtle Beach, or what remained of it: old condo towers on a crumbled shore. And it was something, sitting in those glassy rooms, high above the blue sweep of ocean, watching the Atlantic hurl its weather up the coast.

First the gray clouds would thicken, deepening to slate. Then came a slam of windy pressure, a thick clatter of bursting drops. And soon the world would be tossing and roaring, rain machine-gunning, waves flashing, and they’d crouch under blankets and play shipwrecked sailors, watching the riot of water on glass. READ MORE


The Language of Water

by Jane Yolen

Soft as a rill in drought season,
Pounding as the falls when salmon,
in their great anxiety, try to fly.



Editorial: Never Say "Rather Unlikely" Again

by Sheila Williams & Michael Swanwick

Michael Swanwick can find ideas for stories in surprising and unlikely places. An upcoming issue of Asimov’s will feature his tale “Eighteen Songs by Debussy,” which came to him during a recital. He once wrote 118 brief stories—one for every element. These appeared online at Sci Fiction and were collected into The Periodic Table of Science Fiction. Michael’s inspirations have included steam trains, dinosaurs, talking cats and dogs, and the quest to make cold iron accessible to fairies.

From Mid-December 1984 until April 2000, we published twenty-nine stories and essays by Michael, as well as two novel serializations. Each time we purchased a new work, I dutifully sent him a form letter asking for updated biographical information for the introductory blurb. READ MORE


Reflections: Do Androids Dream of Electric Cats?

by Robert Silverberg

Some people are dog persons, and some are cat persons. I’ve looked upon dogs, generally, as nothing more than annoying woofy creatures, though I can appreciate (from a distance) the elegance of a greyhound or the cuteness of a Yorkshire terrier. But cats, quiet, sinuous, graceful, beautiful cats, have always been a part of my life. I didn’t have one as a child, much as I liked the ones I would occasionally meet in the streets; my parents didn’t care for free-ranging animals around the house, so my boyhood pets tended to be easily confined critters like white mice or turtles. But as soon as I left college in 1956 and set up housekeeping for myself, I acquired a kitten—a gift from the science fiction editor Robert W. Lowndes—and I have had a succession of cats ever since, enjoying their companionship for fifteen or twenty years at a time.



On the Net: We Are the Cat People

by James Patrick Kelly

Over the years, I have tried to point at websites where issues important to readers of science fiction are being thoughtfully discussed. For example, last time we looked at how the Streaming Age is transforming the entertainment/industrial complex. Before that we considered the risks of announcing ourselves to any aliens who might be lurking in the cosmos. Weighty stuff. But there comes a time when we need to lay down the burden of the momentous and embrace the ephemeral internet.  READ MORE


Memoriam: Harlan Ellison

We sadly note the passing of SF legend Harlan Ellison. Harlan was known for his groundbreaking anthologies, Dangerous Visions and Again Dangerous Visions; scriptwriting, especially Star Trek’s “The City on the Edge of Forever”; and short stories like “I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream,” “The Beast that Shouted Love at the Heart of the World,” and “Jeffty Is Five.” READ MORE


On Books

by Peter Heck

The latest in Stross’s “Laundry Files” brings developments to a drastic crisis.

Set in an alternate England where a special clandestine branch of the intelligence service—the Laundry—is charged with protecting the realm against occult threats, the series has followed the career of Bob Howard, who began as a lowly technical staffer. Now he’s risen to executive status, largely as the result of having been in the wrong place at the wrong time and somehow managing to save the situation—and survive. READ MORE


The SF Conventional Calendar

by Erwin S. Strauss

Lots of long-running traditional SF, fantasy and horror conventions come up in November: World Fantasy, ArmadaCon, WindyCon, OryCon, TusCon, NovaCon, PhilCon (where I’ll be), LosCon and ChessieCon (me again). Plan now for social weekends with your favorite SF authors, editors, artists, and fellow fans. For an explanation of our con(vention)s, a sample of SF folksongs, and info on fanzines and clubs, send me an SASE ...  READ MORE

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