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September/October 2023

Dean Whitlock’s September/October 2023 harrowing novelette about child labor is intense from start to finish. Kristine Kathryn Rusch has created an equally intense novella about “The Break-in” that doesn’t go quite as planned. You won’t want to miss either of these thrilling tales!

Our annual “Slightly Spooky” issue is packed with spooky stories, some of which are even hard SF! Lavie Tidhar reveals that there’s more than one kind of haunt in “The Ghost Fair”; Anya Johanna DeNiro gives us centuries of encounters with the “Water-Wolf”; in “The Pit of Babel,” Kofi Nyameye proves that humanity will clearly stop at nothing; Christopher Rowe lands “Cynthia in the Subflooring”; Lisa Goldstein plunges her character into an equally difficult situation “In the Fox House”; David Erik Nelson pens some dark “The Dead Letter Office”; Derek Künsken discloses “Six Incidents of Evolution Using Time Travel”; Gregory Feeley dives into the perils of “The Unpastured Sea”; and Michèle Laframboise explains the “Tears Down the Wall.” 

Robert Silverberg’s Reflections brings us “Advertisements for Myself, Again”; in On the Net, James Patrick Kelly explains “My Interview With ChatGPT”; Norman Spinrad’s On Books considers “Science Fiction Arising”; Kelly Lagor’s Thought Experiment contemplates “Aliens, Outsiders, and Things.”

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The Break-In
by Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Olina preached respect. Respect for the culture, respect for the people, respect for the problems that might lie ahead. She had headed dozens of recovery teams, successful and unsuccessful. The successful ones succeeded because they practiced respect.

She stood in the darkness at the end of a street filled with warehouses. What lights there were seemed to have a harsh white edge, which she had not expected. She had thought the lighting in this part of Vaycehn would be yellowish gold, like the lighting she had seen in the center of town.

That was the problem with a job like this. Planned in a hurry to be executed in a hurry. Those jobs always brought their own trouble.

She liked to say she hated them, but a challenge was a challenge was a challenge, although this job was more challenging than most. READ MORE


The Ghost Fair
by Lavie Tidhar

“You first,” Geshem said.

“You first,” Mili said.

“No, really,” Geshem said. “I insist.”

They stared at the quivering mass that loomed under the pines in their path. The full moon illuminated the gelatin-like substance, the pods that held too many eyes and the mouths that opened and closed hungrily.

The lunar man, Parker, lay on his side over pine needles and crushed weeping boletes. His left leg was missing and he bled, and the blood flowed to the creature and the creature’s mouths opened and tongues licked the blood. READ MORE


by Ursula Whitcher

Time is only distance. I’m choosing a flight
for your funeral, shuffling those tiny red eyes.
If I pick the right flight, the half-house . . . READ MORE


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

The comments that accompany the annual Readers’ Award ballots are part of what makes editing Asimov’s so rewarding. 2023’s ballots didn’t disappoint. Dick Harding of Schenectady, NY, told us, that “First I have to say that picking the best was like being in a fabulous pastry shop and trying to make up your mind . . . everything looked so good! I enjoyed the inclusion of authors from around the world who gave me a glimpse into different views and approaches to science fiction. I thought Mr. Ledbetter’s story, ‘The Short Path to Light,’ was so much fun to read, combining intrigue, drama, religion, AI compassion, and a crime noir feel. Thank you for all the hard work you do.” Ignacio Viglizzo of Buenos Aires, Argentina, said, “Another great year! Thanks Sheila and all the staff and authors! I voted for the most memorable stories, those that brought some image or idea that was hard to stop thinking about.” READ MORE

Reflections: Advertisements For Myself, Again
by Robert Silverberg

Back in the far-off year of 2017 I wrote a column bearing the unabashed title of “Advertisements for Myself,” shamelessly stealing that name from a book by Norman Mailer. Here, years later, I steal the name from myself for a second round of self-promotion. This is my column, after all. Try and stop me.

Mailer’s Advertisements for Myself was the name of a book of essays, poems, fragments of unfinished novels, and short stories, published in 1959, which stirred a considerable bit of attention at the time. It has nothing to do with science fiction, which these columns are ostensibly about, but bear with me a moment. READ MORE

On the Net: An Interview with Chatgpt (12/18/2022)
by James Patrick Kelly

I want to interview you for my column “On The Net” in Asimov’s Science Fiction magazine.

Thank you for considering me for your column! As an artificial intelligence, I am happy to answer any questions you may have. Please keep in mind that I am a language model and do not have personal experiences or opinions. I can provide information and insights based on my training data and my understanding of various topics, but I am not a sentient being and do not have the ability to think, feel, or experience the world in the same way that humans do. With that said, I will do my best to provide helpful and accurate information to assist you with your column. READ MORE


Thought Experiment: Aliens, Outsiders, and Things 
by Kelly Lagor

The dozen or so men spread out across a large, melted stretch of ice in the midst of an empty expanse of snow, as the strong Arctic winds gust around them. The men gradually form into a rough circle some thirty meters across. Once in place, they extend their arms out toward one another.  READ MORE

On Books: SF Arising
by Norman Spinrad

By now “science fiction” has come to be used as the moniker of any fiction that speculates around the nonexistent but possible and does not violate the known scientific laws of mass and energy.

But in reality science fiction does not necessarily focus on science or technology, and that which does is called “hard” science fiction by its literary devotees. READ MORE

The SF Conventional Calendar
by Erwin S. Strauss

This is the time to finalize plans for the World Science Fiction Convention in China. If you can’t make it, there’s always Pemmi-Con in Winnipeg in July, the North American SF con, held when WorldCon’s overseas. For an explanation of our con(vention)s, a sample of SF folksongs, clubs, and info on fanzines and clubs, send me an SASE. . .  READ MORE

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