Our September/October 2019 issue features Gord Sellar’s blockbuster novella about high-tech farming in the Canadian North. “Winter Wheat” is a tour de force that begins in the dead of winter and takes us through a twelve-year cycle in Saskatchewan. You won’t want to miss this amazing story. We’ve also got a fast-paced novelette from Kristine Kathryn Rusch about an untrained captain desperately “Escaping Amnthra” and a novelette, “Then, When,” from Eric Del Carlo that explains how technology will bring on some unforeseen societal changes.
This is our traditional “Slightly Spooky” issue, and it’s full of eerie tales. “Charlie Tells Another One” to master storyteller Andy Duncan; Sandra McDonald sends us “Messages” from beyond the veil; Mercurio R. Rivera’s bone-chilling tale is set “In the Stillness Between the Stars”; Stephanie Feldman brings us an unsettling story about “The Albatwitch Chorus”; Michael Libling shakes reality “At the Old Wooden Synagogue on Janower Street”; Rich Larson reveals why you should be wary the next time someone says, “Can You Watch My Stuff”; “Personal Space” should clearly be respected in Lawrence Watt-Evan’s disturbing new tale; in Megan Arkenberg’s story, truth is disclosed slowly and on multiple levels as “All in Green Went My Love Riding”; and James Sallis lightens our mood as he spins a yarn about “When We Saved the World.”
In his Reflections, Robert Silverberg spends time “Rereading Shiel”; James Patrick Kelly’s On the Net has us “Deep Reading”; while Paul Di Filippo’s On Books considers works by Anna Tambour, Tim Powers, Jo Walton, Hannu Rajaniemi, and others. Plus we’ll have an array of poetry and more features that you’re sure to enjoy.
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by Gord Sellar
The land slept hard, after months blanketed beneath deep snow. Seeds nestled in the soil, frozen on the cusp of sprouting, and the earth was riddled with slumbering creatures strewn cold in their tunnels, the husks of the dead and of those yet to reawaken. A vast whiteness covered everything, blazing intense even in the darkness of prairie night. The snow stirred only when occasional windstorms struck it, or by the coming of the sun in frigid new year’s mornings.
Across these frozen plains cut long, snaking ribbons of highway stretching out to the east, to the west, and the south, with a few running northward. Visible from far above as long, grey slashes cleaving the barren whiteness, these highways were the main evidence of intelligence in this snow-desert, more readily noticed than the tiny dots of the towns, more constant than the steamy exhaust of the furnaces in those tiny, defiantly warm farmhouses that clung to the earth. The creatures that had built these roads were thinkers, planners. They could plant and prepare for spring, and dream of the crops that would come after the year’s snow had come and gone again. READ MORE
by Mercurio D. Rivera
Emilio sat up inside the REMpod, discombobulated, and took deep breaths. He thought he heard Tomás shout “Dad!” from a distance before the cobwebs cleared and he regained his bearings.
The Seed. He was aboard the Seed.
Tomás had been dead for centuries.
His shortness of breath gave way to a sob. He covered his face with his hands.
Rows of REMpods, like pale-blue neon-lit coffins, surrounded him in the darkness. The steadiness of the blue glow signaled that all the sleepers on the cavernous deck remained in stasis. The cityship was still en route to Proxima b.
“Sorry to wake you prematurely, Dr. Garcia,” LEE3 whispered into his earpiece.
“Pre—prematurely?” he said, teeth chattering. His throat felt dry.
“How long . . . ?”
“Two hundred fifty-one days. We need your help with a medical issue.”
Only eight months? Tomás was still alive then, still a child. He clutched the locket around his neck and felt an enormous wave of relief as he strained to stop his shivering.
“Dr. Lo?” Emilio said. “Dr. Srinivasan?”
“Still in stasis. Only your services are required right now.”
His services? Someone on the skeleton crew needed a psychotherapist? He was about to ask why an AI therapist hadn’t been activated when LEE3 added, “My algo concluded you’re the best suited for the problem at hand, Doc.” READ MORE
by Holly Day
When I was very young, and had first learned about atoms and molecules
I imagined that I could see the empty spaces in solid objects
the great swaths of nothing inside of everything,
the thin currents of electricity that barely held things together.
by Sheila Williams
Asimov’s reader Jeffrey David Powell says in his 2019 Readers’ Awards comments about the fiction published in our 2018 issues, “Where did the year go? Another year gone, another ballot that brings me to tears over what gets left off.” Christopher Douglas Leonard expressed his thoughts similarly when he wrote, “Another year come, gone, and I still can’t stop reading. Asimov’s tales are abound with emotional characters and unique inward, outward journeys. In large part, I can attribute my growing love of poetry to the thoughtful stanzas in every magazine. Looking forward to more of everything!” Jeffrey and Christopher were among the nearly two-dozen readers who added comments to their 2019 Readers’ Awards ballots. I love getting feedback from readers and am delighted to have the opportunity to share some of those comments with all of you. READ MORE
by Robert Silverberg
The dark, strange stories of the nearly forgotten twentieth-century fantasist Matthew Phipps Shiel have haunted me for many years. Some of them turn up occasionally in anthologies—“Xelucha,” “Dark Lot of One Saul,” “The House of Sounds,” and a handful of others. I have anthologized several of them myself. Shiel, who lived from 1863 to 1947 and did most of his best writing around the turn of the last century, also wrote a good many novels—The Lord of the Sea, How the Old Woman Got Home, Dr. Krasinki’s Secret, and two dozen more. In my enthusiasm over his short stories I acquired a number of the novels, but somehow never have managed to get around to reading any of them. A few months ago, after reading Shiel’s Here Comes the Lady (a collection of eleven superb short stories loosely strung together to masquerade as a novel) I decided it was time to look at Shiel’s longer works. As it happened, the one I picked, his most famous book, was the only one I had read before—The Purple Cloud, which dates from 1901. READ MORE
by James Patrick Kelly
Of the many skills that you’ve learned over the years, one in particular is important to our relationship, dear reader. And we do have a very intimate relationship, if you don’t mind my saying so. You see, my thoughts, as embedded in the sentences that I’m typing at this moment, will become your thoughts in the not-too-distant future. Briefly perhaps; it’s likely that they will slide into your short-term memory and then slip away www.verywellmind.com/what-is-short-term-memory-2795348 like the memory of what you ate for lunch last Tuesday, or who won the Hugo awards in 2012, or the names of the kids who came to your seventh birthday party. But for a few seconds at least, my thoughts will become yours. READ MORE
by Paul Di Filippo
The title of Aussie author Anna Tambour’s previous story collection, The Finest Ass in the Universe (2015), exhibited the signature wit, irreverence, duplicity, enigmaticness, and sass that her fiction revels in. While her new collection bears a more sedate and even classical cognomen—The Road to Neozon (Obsidian Sky Books, trade paper, $14.95, 208 pages, ISBN 978-1732298002)—you may rest assured that the tales therein continue to baffle, astound, provoke, and drop their trousers at the slightest provocation—as I will endeavor to demonstrate. And by the way: Obsidian Sky Books is so new that Tambour’s volume is only their sixth offering, with the other five titles at their website looking equally weird and intriguing. I predict that if you snatch up a first edition, you’ll have a future valuable collectible in hand.
The first thing to note about this volume of eleven tales is that six appear here for the first time, making this a must-have for Tambour fans. READ MORE
by Erwin S. Strauss
Here’s a look ahead at World SF Conventions yet to come. It’s too late for this year’s WorldCon; but there are plenty of other conventions in the late summer and early fall. I’ll be at AlbaCon and CapClave. 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