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November/December 2022

Asimov’s November/December 2022 brings us the stunning conclusion to The Court Martial of the Renegat Renegades by Kristine Kathryn Rusch. Mysteries are revealed and enigmas are untangled in far-future halls of justice. In addition, Suzanne Palmer’s intense new novelette will have us “Falling off the Edge of the World.” Don’t miss either of these exciting tales!!

Michèle Laframboise lends a wistful holiday air to the issue with “I’ll Be Moon for Christmas”; Nick Wolven’s surreal story lets us know that “It’s Time to Wake UP!”; a race against time and bureaucracy unfolds in Ray Nayler’s “The Empty”; Michael Cassutt reveals a “Flicker” of truth; new to Asimov’s author Rajan Khanna conveys just how difficult communication can be “When the Signal Is the Noise”; James Maxey breaks our hearts on “Lonely Hill”; we get to spend an unforgettable “Forty-Eight Minutes at the Trainview Café” with M. Bennardo; transported to Cyprus by Nick Mamatas, we are “Drowned in the Sun”; and Tom Purdom conveys the consequences of “The Long Revenge of Chenda Sebalko.” 

Robert Silverberg’s Reflections ponders “Temps Perdu”; James Patrick Kelly’s On the Net experiments with a “Science Project”; and Kelly Jennings’s On Books considers the works of Nnedi Okorafor, E. Lily Yu, Benjamin Rosenbaum, and many others. Plus we’ll have an array of poetry you’re sure to enjoy.

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NOVELETTES

Falling Off The Edge of The World
by Suzanne Palmer

Sunset is beginning, a sweep of red across the sky chasing the blue over the remains of the ship’s stern, dragging darkness behind it like a thick sheet over the day’s face and declaring it done. Stars, such as they are, will come on soon, one row at a time, perfectly spaced and aligned. Gabe mentioned once to Alis that he thought he remembered stars twinkling, and since then they have, blinking gently in symmetrical, rhythmic, soothing patterns until he falls asleep, and after that, what did it matter? And if some of the ones in the distance that blur together anyway, in Gabe’s failing eyesight, have been turned off to conserve power—that too was nobody’s to notice.

Early on, Gabe had tried to pay attention to the passage of time, believing someone should, and he had kept a journal numbering the days and then weeks. It was only when he lost track during an extended illness that he gave up, and never picked it up again as the months turned into years. “No going back to it,” he’d told Alis. “No forward, either.” READ MORE

SHORT STORIES

I’ll Be Moon For Christmas
by Michèle Laframboise

On the stage, four jazzmen undulated like pale algae fronds, sending up blues notes in the stale air of the Ribald Café.

The long moody harmonics spouted from the brass instruments joined the blue smoke ghosts rising from the make-believe cigs most patrons were using. The musicians were playing pitch perfect, of course, an instrumental rendition of “Fly Me to the Moon,” an oldie that always made the younger ones among us smile.

The interior decor was doing its best to make us forget where we were: lustrous vermilion drapes framing the scene, glossy leafy plants in every unused corner, the ceiling painted in a trompe-l’oeil illusion of rising skyrises through a glass roof, even with random flocks of pale gray doves flying overhead. The scents that mingled with the false tobacco were the typical blends of true coffee beans. READ MORE

POETRY

The Three Laws of Poetics
Stewart C. Baker

There is no handbook
showing what a poem needs
but still no poet should . . . READ MORE

DEPARTMENTS

Editorial: Thirty-Sixth Annual Readers’ Awards’ Results
by Sheila Williams

It was gratifying to peruse the comments on the 2021 Readers’ Award ballots. I’m only sad that I can’t fit them all into this editorial. Phillip Crawford of Indian Land, SC, told us, “I loved all of the novellas, novelettes, short stories, and poems in Asimov’s this year. It was really a great year for short stories; The graphics on the covers were spectacular! Thank you Asimov’s for being the go-to place for great science fiction.” Oleksandr Zholud writing from Kyiv, Ukraine, took the time to let us know that he found “a lot of great choices in novelettes and shorts! If only I had more nominations for there are like six to eight very good pieces in each category!” Philip and Jill Baringer of Lawrence, KS, said, “Thanks for another great year of science fiction. Our favorite story of 2021 was Suzanne Palmer’s ‘Table Etiquette for Diplomatic Personnel, in Seventeen Scenes.’ It was a tasty meal! As usual it was hard to narrow the selections down. to just three. We had to leave off great stories by favorite authors like Ray Nayler, James Gunn, Michael Swanwick, Alex Irvine, Leah Cypress, Jack McDevitt, and R. Garcia y Robertson.” READ MORE


Reflections: Temps Perdu
by Robert Silverberg

Recently I’ve received the first two volumes of what is intended as a history of science fiction, year by year, under the general title of Futures Past. The scholar responsible for this remarkable venture is Jim Emerson, and you can find out more about it at www.sfhistory.net.

The title of the series reminds me, in a way, of Marcel Proust’s vast novel, which he called A La Recherche du Temps Perdu, and which in its first English translation was given the title, coming by way of Shakespeare, of Remembrance of Things Past. That’s an eloquent but inaccurate title: something like The Recovery of Time Lost would be closer to Proust’s actual meaning. His book intends not merely to dwell on memories but to search actively for recollection of events that are vanishing in the past. And that’s precisely what Jim Emerson is doing in these astonishing books. READ MORE


On the Net: Science Project
by James Patrick Kelly

mad science
Many argue persuasively that Mary Shelley https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Shelley is our first true science fiction writer. Her speculations about the mechanisms of restoring vitality to the dead were based on the most advanced science of her times. There was no certain understanding of the moment of death when she published Frankenstein https://gutenberg.org/files/84/84-h/84-h.htm in1818, so that some believed that the incomplete death of fainting, sleep, and coma existed on a continuum with the absolute death of putrefaction. In 1820, the Royal Humane Society https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_Humane_Society issued a treatise on “The Recovery of Persons Apparently Drowned or Dead.” READ MORE

 


On Books
by Kelly Jennings

Fiction in its purest sense is play. Creating fiction and reading it, we play with the issues that most concern us, learning what we can about possibilities. Science fiction does this best, with its focus on future/other worlds. What will life be like, science fiction asks, if we do X or Y? Many of the books I’m reading lately focus on climate change and its attendant ills: climate refugees, ecological disasters caused by corporate greed, the desperation of the affected, and the heroic responses to this looming apocalypse. In concert with these, the books often deal with questions of gender and sexuality. What if life was like this, they ask. What if we do (or don’t do) this? READ MORE


The SF Conventional Calendar
by Erwin S. Strauss

The fall convention session is back to full pre-pandemic strength. It’s time go get back out there and participate. I’ll be at AstronomiCon, PhilCon, ChessieCon and maybe SMOFCon too. Will I see you there? Plan now for social weekends with your favorite SF authors, editors, artists, and fellow fans. READ MORE

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