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Current Issue Highlights

 

ASF_NovDec2019_400x570

November/December 2019

We’ve certainly got some “mindbenders” in our November/December 2019 issue! Rudy Rucker & Marc Laidlaw continue to chronicle the mad antics of accidental mathematicians Zep and Del who, as usual, take to the waves. In this instance, they are “Surfers at the End of Time”! In his own ongoing series, the thrilling mystery deepens as Allen M. Steele’s characters “Escape from Sanctuary.”

Another November/December mindbender is James Gunn’s “Quantum Theory”; “SeeApp” is a deeply disturbing tale by James Van Pelt; James Patrick Kelly rounds out our unofficial “Jim” issue with an unsettling tale about the “Selfless”; Octavia Cade sets up an unusual conundrum “Inside the Body of Relatives”; Ray Nayler bends our minds around “The Disintegration Loops”; Kali Wallace takes us off-planet to solve the enigma of “The River of Blood and Wine”; complexities build upon complexities in Michael Swanwick’s “Cloud”; “The Airwalker Comes to the City in Green” in Siobhan Carroll’s first tale for Asimov’s; R. Garcia y Robertson brings us another rousing story about the adventures of “Commander Amanda;” and Harry Turtledove takes a dark look at an alternate “Christmas Truce”!

“California Secedes!” or, maybe not, in Robert Silverberg’s Reflections; James Patrick Kelly demands to know “Where Are the CRISPR Cops?” in On the Net; and Norman Spinrad’s On Books ponders the “State of the Art.” Plus we’ll have an array of poetry and other features that you’re sure to enjoy. 

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Short Stories

Christmas Truce

by Harry Turtledove

Messines had been through hell, but it looked like heaven to the men of the 16th Bavarian Infantry Reserve Regiment. They’d gone through hell themselves. They and their comrades hadn’t quite driven the Tommies out of Ypres, but too damned many of them had died trying. Many more were too badly shot up ever to go back into the meat grinder of war again.

Half of the ones the rifle and machine-gun bullets had missed, the ones who hadn’t got torn to rags by shrapnel balls or shell fragments, came out of the trenches and back to Messines with weary relief. Battle had shattered the little Belgian town, but it made a soft billet all the same. Not even the biggest English guns could reach it now. If you were going to celebrate the Christmas season anywhere in this world gone mad with murder, Messines made a better place than most. READ MORE

 
 
 

Cloud

by Michael Swanwick

“Oh, and I should warn you that Aunt Céline is going to make a pass at you.”

“What?” Most of Wolfgang’s attention was on the road. Its surface was slick, and it wound through a forest of misty trees, twists of pale water vapor that faded indistinctly into the surrounding night. “Excuse me, you said what?”

“She’s hit on all of my beaux,” Judith said. “Well, almost all. The ones she didn’t, I always found out later there was something wrong with them. In retrospect, I probably should have run them past her before going to bed with any of them.”

“Wow.” The sign for I-87 floated out of the darkness and Wolfgang took the ramp. “I guess I’d better hope for the best, or we’ll have to call off the wedding.”

“You’ve got nothing to worry about, handsome.” Judith patted his thigh. “Trust me.” READ MORE

Poetry

Billets-Doux

by Brittany Hause

in brittle limestone
alongside Archaeopteryx
your sneaker print
READ MORE

Departments

Editorial: A Sadder and a Wiser Woman

by Sheila Williams

Last February was a hard month for Asimov’s and for me. We lost two women, Janet Jeppson Asimov and Carol Emshwiller, who had long been associated with the magazine. Both women were in their nineties. The years when they were most actively engaged with the magazine didn’t overlap, but my friendships with each of them did.

Janet Opal Jeppson was born on August 6, 1926, and died on February 25. She was a writer as well a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst. Janet was married to Isaac Asimov from 1973 until his death in 1992. Janet was both a short story writer and a novelist. She was best known for her series of children’s books about Norby the Robot. READ MORE

 

Reflections: California Secedes!

by Robert Silverberg

I have lived in California for nearly fifty years now. It’s a very strange place. There’s nothing else like it. It’s vast, for one thing—the third largest state in the Union, behind Alaska and Texas, stretching along the Pacific Coast for nearly eight hundred miles from the Oregon border in the north to Mexico in the south and covering 163,000 square miles. It’s by far the most populous, with 39.5 million people, many of whom, like me, have come there from someplace else. (I grew up in New York, which is, believe me, a very un-Californian place.) It has its own native plants and animals, found nowhere else. It has its own climate, quite different from the climates of the places that border it. In fact, it has a great many climates. Here in coastal California, where I live, summers are completely dry and the winters are rainy, and those winters are pretty much frost-free, so that we live among bright cascades of flowers in December and January while the rest of the country is being buried under blizzards.  READ MORE

 
 
 

On the Net: Deep Reading

by James Patrick Kelly

hardened

One of the pitfalls of writing SF set in the near future is that things never quite turn out the way we expect. So alas, there are no Moonbases, as my literary forebears predicted for the 2020s, much less a Mars colony. Neither is there a Soviet Union troubling the cultural and economic hegemony of the United States, as so many feared. And think of all the technology that never was. Flying cars www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/01/will-we-ever-have-flying-cars/581473/? Nope. Humanoid domestic robots www.sciencedaily.com/terms/humanoid_robot.htm? Not anytime soon. Food pills www.popularmechanics.com/science/health/a8787/why-dont-we-have-food-replacement-pills-15248871? Nutritionists are dubious.

 READ MORE

 
 

On Books

by Norman Spinrad

Two recent books, Astounding, by Alec Nevala-Lee, and Nebula Awards Showcase 2018, edited by Jane Yolen, serve, with a bit of history in between by yours truly, who was there to bridge it, to encapsulate the beginning of “science fiction” chez Nevala-Lee in the 1930s and where it is now, according to the winners and nominees of the latest Nebula Awards awarded by the votes of the members of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

READ MORE

 

The SF Conventional Calendar

by Erwin S. Strauss

Picks this time are ICon, PhilCon (where I’ll be), OryCon, TusCon, ConTraflow, WindyCon, LosCon, Arisia (me again) and ConFusion. And if you’re going to be in Britain this November, try ArmadaCon and NovaCon. 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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