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Current Issue Highlights



May/June 2019

May/June 2019 is powerhouse issue for novelettes. In his stunning story, Ted Kosmatka reveals the excruciating cost of “Sacrificial Iron” on an interstellar voyage; Asimov’s poet John Richard Trtek’s first prose piece for us is a lyrical tour de force about time travel and “Recrossing Brooklyn Ferry”; Ian R. MacLeod brilliantly conveys the tricks of a broken mind in “The Memory Artist”; and in his enjoyable romp, Bill Johnson escorts us to Canada and onto the Ship for some “Unfinished Business.”

Not to be outdone by the novelettes, Carrie Vaughn’s soaring novella investigates what’s up with “Gremlins.” We also have a full roster of exciting short stories. In Sean Monaghan’s new tale, a heart broken mother races against time while “Chasing Oumuamua”; new to Asimov’s author Rahul Kanakia looks at some timeless concerns in “The Intertidal Zone”; Jay O’Connell presents us with a bizarre caper wherein we discover that it’s “Not Only Who You Know”; Peter Wood explains why “Never the Twain Shall Meet”; and in her first tale for Asimov’s, Campbell-Award-winner E. Lily Yu examines “The Doing and Undoing of Jacob E. Mwangi.”

Robert Silverberg’s Reflections celebrates “Our Shaggy Cousins.”  James Patrick Kelly’s On the Net commands us to “Fire the Canon!” In James Gunn’s Thought Experiment “Science Fiction Considers the Post Human” while Norman Spinrad’s On Books ponders whether writers can go “Beyond Mimesis?” Plus we’ll have an array of poetry and more features that you’re sure to enjoy.

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by Carrie Vaughn

Natalia Voronova slammed against the side of the Yak-3’s cockpit, her head and leather cap hitting the canopy. Her ears rang, her vision splotched, but she shook off the pain, blinking through her goggles.

The world outside lurched.

“Nyet!” she yelled and hauled back on the stick. She wasn’t quite in a spin yet; if that happened she’d soon be nothing more than a streak of debris on the ground below. Another Stalingrad casualty.

“Voronova, you hit?” a voice scratched in her radio headset.

Her wingman, Elena Kirova. Natalia was too busy to answer coherently and growled instead. The Yak fought her, drag pulling down even as she worked to get the nose up. And then, she was level, soaring, the engine a healthy rumble instead of a screech. Vibrations traveled under her seat, up through her hands, and she searched for the least hiccup. But the Yak was hers again. She opened the throttle, roared ahead, and looped back to the fight. READ MORE

Short Stories


Sacrificial Iron

by Ted Kosmatka

The mission went wrong early.

Only nine years out. Past the Kuiper and deep into the Oort.

The tone of the transmissions had changed over time—the complaints small at first, then growing more heated. More personal.

“Doctor Nasmeth hasn’t seen fit to perform equipment checks.”

“Doctor Nasmeth skipped his turn at the air purifiers.”

“Doctor Nasmeth . . .”

“Doctor Nasmeth.”

For his part, the good doctor brooded but did not complain. Quiet and contemplative, he focused on the mission: a plan to carry three thousand cryogenically suspended blastocysts safely across the black, along with frozen crew. It would take the better part of a century, if all went well, an exploratory expedition to one of three candidate exoplanets and a mission like nothing humanity had ever before attempted. READ MORE


Terra Incognita

by Fred D. White

The world is always a map of the world:
think North America circa 1500:
vast empty spaces, terra incognita,



Editorial: Anthology News!Editor Extraordinaire

by Sheila Williams & Emily Hockaday

Asimov’s Science Fiction magazine tales have won fifty-five Hugos and thirty Nebulas. In 1995, seventeen of these award-winning tales were collected into an anthology called Asimov’s Science Fiction: Hugo & Nebula Award-Winning Stories, which was released by Random House Value Publishing. A couple of years ago, Sean Wallace of Prime Books suggested I do a companion volume. On June 4, he’ll be releasing Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine: A Decade of Hugo & Nebula Award-Winning Stories, 2005–2015.

On June 6, 2019, we’re launching the book at New York City’s W 82nd & Broadway Barnes & Noble. Allen M. Steele and Sarah Pinsker will be participating in the event, which will take place at 7 pm and I hope that some of you can join us, too!  READ MORE


Reflections: Our Shaggy Cousins

by Robert Silverberg

Our shaggy cousins, the Neanderthals, have had a bum rap for most of the time since the first fossil evidence of their existence turned up in the Neander Valley, “Neanderthal” in German, near the town of Düsseldorf on the Rhine, in 1856. Workers seeking to extract limestone from the floor of a cave sixty feet above the valley floor uncovered a human skull buried in the mud near the cave entrance, and then some other bones nearby—a strangely brutish skull, more or less human but long and narrow, with a sloping forehead out of which bulged an enormous ridge above the brows. The other bones—thighbones, they were—were much thicker and heavier than human bones should have been.READ MORE


On the Net: Fire the Canon!

by James Patrick Kelly


I recently read a Guardian article: Bland on Blonde: why the old rock music canon is finished In it, former Guardian Music Editor Michael Hann reassessed a 1974 poll of the Top 100 Albums and offered a hindsight-powered critique of its artistic values and (lack of) diversity. For those readers who were not with us in 1974, the poll’s top three albums were The Beatles’ Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967), Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde (1966), and Pet Sounds (1966), by the Beach Boys. I suppose that some in my generation might still defend the importance of most of the 100 albums on that forty-five-year-old list. READ MORE


On Books

by Norman Spinrad

When photography began to come into practical artistic use near the start of the nineteenth century, there was a certain fear among painters that it would render obsolete the creation of pictures created with paint on canvas, since their skills could not compete with the perfect mimesis of visual reality of camera on film.

What is “mimesis”?

There are many definitions, some of them theoretically abstruse, some of them philosophically arcane. But in the practical terms that worried those painters it meant creating a flat image that, at least ultimately, perfectly mimicked the three dimensional reality seen by the human eye. READ MORE


The SF Conventional Calendar

by Erwin S. Strauss

Lots of cons in the North American heartland this time. My picks: ConStellation, DemiCon, MarCon, KeyCon, Escape Velocity, BaltiCon (where I’ll be), BayCon, ConQuest, MisCon, Oasis, and ConCarolinas. Whew! 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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