Asimov’s July/August 2019 is jam-packed with moving, thoughtful, and exciting tales! Our double-issue format makes it possible to present Suzanne Palmer’s giant novella. In “Waterlines,” multiple intelligent beings cohabit a distant planet. Humans dwell on the surface while the Oceanics reside in the water. Until recently, their coexistence has mostly been peaceful, but when an Oceanic “Walker” shows up unexpectedly, the surface administer discovers that something terrible is about to transpire.
In her wonderful novella—which we’ve also managed to squeeze into this issue—Tegan Moore reveals “What Wolves Know.” Our novelettes and short stories rock, too! Leah Cypess mulls the mystery of “The Disappeared”; Ray Nayler investigates “The Ocean Between the Leaves”; and on Ceres, a grandfather attempts to connect with his family in Nick Wolven’s “The Terminal Zone.” Prepare for a very sad “Story With Two Names” while accompanying Ian McHugh to another world; Harry Turtledove will show us how to be a “Speaker to Emos”; Dominica Phetteplace escorts us to “The Universe Within the Universe”; Maggie Shen King’s naïve AI must make a wrenching decision in “Ardy’s Choice”; and Chris Willrich correlates the “Fragments from the Library of Cygnus X-1.”
Robert Silverberg’s Reflections embarks on “Imaginary Voyages”; James Patrick Kelly’s On the Net observes the “Full Moon”; Peter Heck’s On Books considers multiple works by N.K. Jemison, as well as books by Gardner Dozois, Dale Bailey, and others. Plus we’ll have an array of poetry you’re sure to enjoy.
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by Tegan Moore
I am a good dog.
The scent trails are already as broken by the wind as the apocalyptic neighborhoods they lead through, and smoke from a fire half a mile southeast adds another layer of complexity. Following one trail is like following the roots of a plant wound tight together in the dirt.
No, better: It is like sorting through the fallen trees after this storm. Difficult to tell where one tree begins and the other ends, what belongs to what, and where the different parts are from.
That’s a very good Is Like. I save it to keep it with my other good ones.
The sector clear, I send the final readings back to Carol via DAT. She’s behind me with the field assistant, standing on the hood of a car. I can hear the distant, quiet tick of her DAT receipt.
“Sera,” she calls out, “slow down and stay within my visual range.”
Carol should hurry and follow me per standard procedure instead of yelling from the hood of a wrecked car. I don’t have time to wait for her.
Barometric pressure dropping, I ping back to her DAT. I see her hand touch the receiver in her ear from the corner of my eye as I trace the foundation where a prefabricated house once stood. Significant enough to indicate further storms approaching. READ MORE
by Suzanne Palmer
Lena stuck her head through the open door of his office. She was wearing her neon green parka, the cowl pulled tight around the oval of her face. Her cheeks were turning a bright, angry red, and he could almost feel cold still radiating off her; she must have come straight here from outside. “Something’s coming up!” she said. He paused his tablet, midway through yet another grant form, and frowned at her. He hadn’t even gotten to requisitions, security logs, or his post-lunch pot of coffee yet, much less feeling ready for guessing games. “What’s come up?” he asked.
“No, coming up,” she said. She stepped in and dumped his weather gear on the extra chair in one corner of the small room. “I couldn’t find your boots.”
“What are you talking about?” he asked. It was a balmy -10C out, not counting wind chill, and as much as she seemed immune to the weather, he had no intention of leaving the station for anything short of an emergency until it was at least single-digits positive.
“A walker,” she said.
“What? It’s too early for them to be moving south. Where is it going?”
“It’s about three kilometers out and heading right toward Jettyrock.”
“Shit,” Ray said, barely managing to keep his coffee from hitting the floor as he scrambled out of his chair and around his desk to grab his gear.
Lena raised an eyebrow. “Why are you wearing your boots indoors?” she asked.
“In the six standard years, one hundred forty-eight and a half days since I was assigned this post, my toes haven’t been warm even once,” he said. “It’s the only thing I envy the damned Yetis.”
He took the boots off long enough to pull on his thick, heated snowpants. Lena helped him get his coat on, then he followed her, feeling ten kilos heavier, into the hall and down toward Icebreak Station’s nearest surface door. READ MORE
by Robert Frazier
First and foremost that dizzying slip slide
When a temponaut starts to shift elsewhen.
Back, say, to a sailor’s impromptu kiss with a nurse,
Just a tiny pulse in the maelstrom of V-J Day 1945.
by Sheila Williams
2019 marked the twenty-fifth anniversary of our first Dell Magazines Award for Undergraduate Excellence in Science Fiction and Fantasy Writing. To celebrate this momentous occasion, our first winner, Eric Choi was invited to the International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts in March. Eric, who has published a number of stories and coedited two anthologies in the intervening years, gave an elegant speech at the Awards banquet. He thanked the International Association for Fantastic in the Arts and Dell Magazines for their cosponsorship of the award. The Dell Award is also supported by Western Colorado University’s Graduate Program in Creative Writing. This year’s winner, Ana Maria Curtis, got a plaque as well as a check for five hundred dollars. READ MORE
by Robert Silverberg
The voyages of which science fiction writers tell have to be considered accounts of imaginary journeys. There are novels of voyages that aren’t science fiction, or even really imaginary—Nordhoff and Hall’s Mutiny on the Bounty, though a work of fiction, tells of events that actually happened, involving people who actually lived. Then there are complete fictions, like Katherine Anne Porter’s Ship of Fools, for example, or that other one about the white whale, which are imaginary in so far as both situation and characters were invented by their author. These are imaginary voyages too, but not quite in the same way as the kind that science fiction writers create. READ MORE
by James Patrick Kelly
As I type this in the fall of 2018, the Neil Armstrong http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neil_Armstrong biopic, The First Man www.firstman.com, is subsiding in its fourth week of release. As impressive as this loud and lurching movie is, I must admit that I find Ryan Gosling www.knowyourmeme.com/memes/people/ryan-gosling more convincing as a meme than an actor. While many critics were pleased, its earnings proved a mild disappointment, in part because it had the misfortune to crash into the third weepy remake of A Star Is Born and in part because of its frosty take on one of America’s space heroes. READ MORE
by Peter Heck
The Fifth Season, the first book in Jemisin’s “Broken Earth” trilogy, was a New York Times notable book for 2015 and a Hugo Best Novel winner the next year—followed by Hugos for the other two volumes in the series in consecutive years. Nobody has done that before—not even the fabled names of the Golden Age.
The Fifth Season pulls the reader in from the first paragraph, and keeps up the level of involvement right to the final pages. It begins with the end of the world. After a brief but vivid description of the locale, we meet two characters—neither named, though we are told that one is a stone-eater (we learn more about that, and other details of the world, later in the book). They carry on a discussion of stone lore (another phrase we learn more about later). Then one of them breaks apart the continent on which they stand—literally opening a fault that splits the land in half. The rest of the book takes place in the context of that event—the end of the world as they know it. READ MORE
by Erwin S. Strauss
The North American SF Con and the WorldCon are almost upon us. It’s time to make sure your membership, and travel and lodging arrangements, are in order. Till then, there are a lot of other great events. 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