Although John Richard Trtek tells us that he wasn’t thinking about Jack Vance when he penned this far-future tale, “The fact is that Vance is one of my two favorite all-time SF writers—the other being Philip K. Dick—I wouldn’t put it past my subconscious to have spun a tale that is a loving tribute to him after all.” The author hopes to continue at some point with the same world and set of characters that appear in “La Terrienne.”
Gregory Norman Bossert’s tenth story for Asimov’s was sparked by the Merrie Monarch Festival in Hilo, Hawaii. The power, grace, and living narrative of the hula competition’s traditional kahiko and modern ʻauana forms resonated with science fictional ideas of cultural transformation. As a non-Native Hawaiian, he searched for a respectful path into the story, and hopes that he found it through the outsider pair of Helena Kulikuli Johnson and Wandering Willie D and their understanding of “Hānai.”
Jack Skillingstead lives in Seattle with his wife, writer Nancy Kress, and a new dog named Pippin. During the pandemic year Jack used the time to work on a novel as well as the story below. In his twenty-third story to appear in the pages of Asimov’s since 2003, the reader and the characters must determine the nightmarish line between reality and “Dream Interpretation.”
Sandra McDonald descends from a long line of Newfoundland fishermen, housewives, sealers, farmers, and adventurers, all of them descended from soldiers, sailors, and settlers from England, France, and Ireland. She herself was stationed at the former American-Canadian navy base in the remote outpost of Argentia, and the barracks she lived in were blown up in 1999 (on purpose). This story draws on memories and love of her paternal grandparents, along with their successes and tragedies. No mermaids were harmed in the writing of it.
Sheila Finch says, “Sometimes I wonder—after the fact—where my story began. This is one of those times. I’m a charter member of our local aquarium, and I’m also very much intrigued by languages in all their forms (I explore this theme in my Xenolinguist stories). Somehow, those two interests came together in this tale. Octopuses with their truly alien nine brains invite an SF writer to work with them! The main character, Lena, made her first appearance in ‘Talking in Pictures,’ which I wrote for the Xprize anthology ‘Current Futures.’ Right now, I’m working on a third Lena-and-the-octopus story, which I’m thinking I may expand into a novel.”
Leah Cypess is the author of numerous works of short fiction and is a two-time Nebula finalist. Her middle grade fantasy debut, Thornwood, the story of Sleeping Beauty’s forgotten little sister, was released in April 2021. Leah grew up in Brooklyn, New York, spent many years in Boston, and now lives in the D.C. suburbs with her family. In her latest tale, we discover the consequences of an escape “From the Fire.”
In R. Garcia y Robertson’s latest tale we meet a new teenager. Jean works the helpline on the Cape Horn colony ship and is a “Daydream Believer.”
Ray Nayler began publishing speculative fiction in 2015 in the pages of Asimov’s. Since then, his critically acclaimed stories have seen print in Clarkesworld, Analog, F&SF, Lightspeed, and Nightmare, as well as in several “Best of the Year” anthologies. Ray has lived and worked in Russia, Central Asia, the Caucasus, and the Balkans for nearly two decades. He is a Foreign Service Officer, and previously worked in international educational development, as well as serving in the Peace Corps in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan. A Russian speaker, he has also learned Turkmen, Albanian, Azerbaijani Turkish, and Vietnamese. His time in Azerbaijan brought him to the real village of Khynalyq and introduced him to the Kettid people and the Ketshmits language, inspiring the story that follows. Of course, names, characters, events, and incidents are the products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events (in the past or future) is purely coincidental.
Sam Schreiber <thesamschreiber.com> lives with his wife and two cats in Brooklyn, where he also teaches Science Fiction and Fantasy at New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering. In his latest story, we find ourselves submerged in a ferocious battle “And the Raucous Depths Abide.”
From the orbital space around Neptune that we saw in Gregory Feeley’s “The Children of the Wind” (Asimovs, July/August 2021) the author takes us across the Solar System to its hottest planet. Mercury, still deadly even after being given an atmosphere, has godlike posthumans who race on its savage winds, “horsed / Upon the sightless couriers of the air” (as Shakespeare put it) while “Striding the Blast.”
Misha Lenau was born in the former USSR, but fled to the U.S. with family at a young age. When not writing short stories and kidlit novels, they make video games (as Misha Velichansky). Mission: It’s Complicated is the last game they worked on (that they’re actually allowed to talk about, anyway). Like the character in the story, they have fibromyalgia. Misha is non-binary and uses they/them pronouns.
David Gerrold has been writing science fiction for more than half a century. He has written for Star Trek, Twilight Zone, Babylon 5, Sliders, Land of the Lost, and other SF television series. His published works include The War Against The Chtorr series, the Hugo-nominated When Harlie Was One, and the Hugo- and Nebula-nominated The Man Who Folded Himself. His most recent novels are thirteen, fourteen, fifteen o’clock; Jacob; and Hella. David’s latest tale reveals the courage of “The Ones Who Walk Away from the Ones Who Walk Away.”
Jack McDevitt’s current novels feature his characters Priscilla, The Long Sunset, and Alex & Chase, Octavia Gone. Both books were published by Saga Press. Jack recently finished another Alex & Chase novel, Village in the Sky, and has just submitted it to his publisher. Subterranean published a second collection of his stories, Voice in the Night. A third collection, Return to Glory, is planned for release in October 2022. His latest tale for us is a cautionary story about what space exploration may teach us.