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January/February 2023

We’ve stuffed two huge novellas into Asimov’s January/
February 2023 issue. Norman Spinrad elevates us into the “Up and Out” with a plan for taking humanity into interstellar space. David Ira Cleary returns us to Earth for a coming-of-age story about “My Year as a Boy.” These thoughtful tales contain vividly imagined futures. They are not to be missed! 

Peter Wood recounts “The Less Than Divine Invasion”; an unusual therapist treats difficult patients in Tochi Onyebuchi’s “Jamais Vue”; well established, but new to Asimov’s, Karen Heuler offers us a disquieting look at “Alien Housing”; Ramsey Shehadeh, another author new to Asimov’s, offers a tricky tale about “Cigarettes and Coffee”; and our third new author, T.K. Rex, uncovers “The Roots in the Box and the Roots in the Bones”; Dominica Phetteplace reveals that “What We Call Science, They Call Treason”; Rudy Rucker plunges us into the wild world of the “Tooniverse Tele­marketer”: and Genevieve Williams’s lovely “Woman of the River” is a generations-spanning tale told in six pages. 

Robert Silverberg’s Reflections bids “Farewell to the Vinland Map”; James Patrick Kelly’s On the Net dishes on “Your Probable, Plausible, Possible Lunch”; Kelly Lagor’s Thought Experiment looks at “The Showing and Telling of Metropolis and Fritz Lang,” and Norman Spinrad’s On Books considers works “Outside the Tent” by Sequoia Nagamatsu, Andy Weir, John Elizabeth Stintzi, and Anthony Doerr. Plus we’ll have an array of poetry you’re sure to enjoy.

Get your copy now!

NOVELLA

Up and Out
by Norman Spinrad

There are only two absolutes that no one anywhere can ever ignore.

Nothing anywhere can go faster than the speed of light, and no one will ever es­cape the cost, whatever it may be, of making choices.

How old am I?

In the Biblical three score and ten orbits of the Earth around our star, seventy years in biotime, but over a thousand years of realtime, as we still like to measure both.

Four years at the speed of light to the next star system. About two hundred light-speed years to the closest known extrasolar civilization. Seventy years spent biotime and a hundred or more to spend. READ MORE

 

SHORT STORY

Alien Housing
by Karen Heuler

Marisela Feddie had profound reservations about her job. She was old enough to miss the world as it had been, and smart enough to know that it would never be that way again. The two current beliefs—that someone would find out the aliens’ weak­ness, or that it was best to learn to live with them—both annoyed her. There were waves of aliens, coming and going, and no one had figured out any weaknesses in the past ten years. And she didn’t want to live with them.

Livelihoods were, of necessity, altered. The decrease in human reproduction—whatever its cause—meant that as a teacher, she had been in a field now too competitive to be solvent (the world was running out of children). She took an ad­ministrative job with a large housing complex, but the aliens were interested in ac­quiring more housing, and they got what they wanted. They might keep her on if they liked her; she was about to be interviewed. READ MORE

POETRY

Apocalypse
by Tyler James Russell

the unborn potential of light, sound. you aren’t the only one to notice ebb. three dead bees on the sidewalk. worried this signifies something prophetically dire. . . . READ MORE

DEPARTMENTS

Editorial: Party!
by Sheila Williams

Chicago’s Riverwalk was a glorious place to celebrate three years of Readers’ Award winners. We held a party for our winners on Thursday, September 1, 2022, during the Chicon 8 Worldcon. The reception took place at Beat Kitchen, and Asimov’s man­aging editor, Emily Hockaday, made all the fabulous arrangements. The restaurant’s garden area offered us a stunning view of the river and Chicago’s skyscrapers.

In 2020 we held a virtual celebration for the winners of the works published in 2019 and mailed the authors their award certificates. The next year we kept hoping to host an in-person celebration for the 2020 stories and artwork, but the pandemic continued to thwart our plans. I think our lovely party was worth the wait. READ MORE


Reflections: Farewell to the Vinland Map
by Robert Silverberg

“The Vinland Map is a fake,” said Raymond Clemens, curator of early books and manuscripts at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library of Yale University, in 2021. “There is no reasonable doubt here. This new analysis should put the matter to rest.” Clemens was referring to recent scientific tests that had shown the celebrat­ed map to have been drawn with ink containing a titanium compound that was first used in inks in the 1920s, and other research conclusively disproving the identifica­tion of the map as a fifteenth-century product. Thus he put an end to a mystery that has perplexed geographers for more than half a century. Too bad, too, for the Vinland Map, if genuine, would have been a wonderful indicator of early European explo­ration of the New World. READ MORE


On the Net: Your Probable, Plausible, Possible Lunch
by James Patrick Kelly

futurists
When I began this column, I was hoping to browse (and grumble about) the kinds of food we see in science fiction.  But as I clicked through various websites to commend to your attention, I stumbled on something that led me to reconsider the whole enterprise of prediction. You see, in addition to thinking about future eats, I’d been pondering the difference between what futurists do <thrillist.com/tech/nation/what-does-a-futurist-actually-do> and what science fiction writers do.  Sure, we all imagine what the world might be like someday.  But not only do we SF writers prowl the far boundaries of what is possible, but we sometimes peer over the edge. READ MORE


On Books: Outside the Tent
by Norman Spinrad

What today is a publishing genre called variously SF or sci-fi is also a tribe. The fan­dom thereof was born less than a century ago, but the literature that is now de­scribed as science fiction or, more recently, speculative fiction is older than that—old­er, in fact, than the name itself.

Going backward, it is at least as old as Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein or Mark Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. Neither of these novels was called “science fiction” when first published, because the literary term did not then exist. And neither Shelley nor Twain wrote any more such fiction, even though these two novels are generally regarded as the first fully science fictional novels by histor­ical critics. They have been endlessly republished as science fiction, and, in the case of Frankenstein, turned into zillions of movies and still counting. READ MORE


The SF Conventional Calendar
by Erwin S. Strauss

With the holiday lull upon us, now’s a good time to look ahead to future World Science Fiction Conventions, and to North American Science Fiction Conventions. I’ll be at Arisia and Boskone, and maybe others. Plan now for social weekends with your favorite SF authors, editors, artists, and fellow fans. READ MORE

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