Current Issue Highlights

 

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January/February 2019

Asimov’s blasts into January/February 2019 with Alexander Jablokov’s revelations re “How Sere Looked for a Pair of Boots.” This novella discloses more about the complex interactions of aliens living in Tempest and the motivations of our indomitable heroine. In Robert Reed’s latest novella, a mysterious organization of “The Esteemed” takes on a dangerous and powerful time traveler. Thrilling suspense flourishes in each of these enthralling tales.

Suzanne Palmer’s star farer discovers a horrendous crime while “Taking Icarus Home”; a time traveler realizes what makes “All the Difference” in a new tale by Leah Cypess; Jay O’Connell freaks us out with “The Gorgon”; and a mother attempts to save her son from his art in Sean Monaghan’s “Ventiforms.” When the Company returns to an abandoned colony world, Peter Wood unearths why desperation calls for “Salting the Mine”; Lavie Tidhar reveals that there is sorrow and hope in “Neom”; in the rising seas of the heartland, William F. Wu shows us what’s “Written in Mud”; and in her new short story, Sandra McDonald muses on the Barbadian pledge to be a “Credit to My Nation.”

Robert Silverberg’s Reflections strolls through Zoë Lescaze’s Paleoart “Looking Backward” at Megalosauri and Iguanodons while James Patrick Kelly’s On the Net laments the loss of a “Cosmologist, Space Traveler, Hero.” Don’t miss Paul Di Filippo’s On Books, our poetry, or our Index of 2018 works, and be sure to vote in our annual Readers Award Poll.

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Novella

How Sere Looked for a Pair of Boots

by Alexander Jablokov

“Why does Aunt Tirsunah want this closet empty all of a sudden?” I’m afraid I pushed my hand against the door, as if Nurri was about to tear it open and start tossing the contents onto the hallway floor.

“Oh, come on, Sere.” My cousin flopped herself onto the couch. “Organization. Order. ‘Holding back chaos.’ You know moms.”

The “chaos” being held back was Tirsunah’s houseguest/tenant/rehab project/niece: me, Sere Glagolit. She’d saved my ass, and torturing me was her way of making sure I didn’t feel obliged to feel grateful for it.

“Besides,” Nurri said. “Isn’t that just crap from your old Bik discard business? I’d think you’d want to get rid of it. You seem to like this private inquiries business better.” READ MORE

Novelette

 

Taking Icarus Home

by Suzanne Palmer

There are, you think, two main problems with the Barrens. The first, and most obvious, is that it is vast and unnaturally sparse of star systems, which means it comes up stingy and begrudging with the specific, complex, and mostly not-understood gravitational circumstances necessary to spawn up active jump points. That leaves one to slog along in passive jump, or worse: actual sub-C speeds, which is especially tedious when you miscalculated your swing around one of the few actual bodies out here and got shit for a speed boost.

Not that you ever miscalculate, per se. That is problem number two: for being a place called the Barrens, there is way too much stuff out here floating around where it shouldn’t be, like an old, holed-out rustfreighter that’s abandoned itself right in your approach vector, meaning you had to swing wide to avoid a collision, and rather than make another day-long loop around to try again, you guessed, and you guessed really close, but not quite close enough. READ MORE

Poetry

Your Clone Meets a Dopplegänger

by Robert Frazier

First she thinks she’s found a lost sibling
An outlier to her sisterhood of same
Yet she knows the bloodlines the offspring

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Departments

Editorial: Just Deserts

by Sheila Williams

Elsewhere in this issue, you’ll find the ballot for Asimov’s 33rd Readers’ Award. We hope to get ballots and thoughts from as many of you as possible. It’s always elucidating to learn which stories, poems, and works of art connect with various readers and why.

I believe every story that appears in the pages of this magazine is special. Last year, I wrote a highly opinionated and spoiler-filled essay, “Our Year in Review,” in which I attempted to convey what appealed to me about each 2017 tale. The essay was posted online at our website. I intend to write a similar piece about our 2018 fiction. By the time this editorial is published, the essay should be available at www. asimovs.com/more-stuff/readers-award-year-review. Please take a look at it if you’d like to refresh your memory about the works that appeared in the magazine over the past year.  READ MORE

 

Reflections: Looking Backward

by Robert Silverberg

John Taine was an important figure in science fiction when I began reading it seventy-odd years ago, though he is pretty much forgotten today. He was in reality Eric Temple Bell, a professor of Mathematics at the California Institute of Technology, who under his own name published books on mathematical and technical subjects, and under the Taine pseudonym wrote a dozen or so superb science fiction novels, mainly in the 1920s and 1930s. When I was about twelve I encountered one of them, Before the Dawn, which dated from 1934, and it had a tremendous impact on me.

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On the Net: Cosmologist, Space Traveler, Hero

by James Patrick Kelly

fame
When you click over to the late Ste­phen Hawking’s site www.hawking.org.uk, the first thing you see is a photo of the scientist, floating weightlessly. The caption beside it says simply “Cosmologist, space traveler, and hero.” In 2007 Hawking hitched a ride on a specially modified 727 jet, sometimes known as the Vomit Comet www.space.com/37942-vomit-comet.html, that makes steep parabolic dives to simulate the experience of weightlessness. READ MORE

 
 

On Books

by Paul Di Filippo

There’s Something Fishy Here
The name of artist Mark Nelson should be familiar to any savvy aficionado of visual fantasy. His work for various comics and book and game publishers has spanned many genres and many decades. But he seldom gets a showcase all his own. That sad omission is now remedied, at least in part, with the publication of Innsmouth: The Lost Drawings of Mannish Sycovia (Alaxis Press, hardcover, $30.00, 192 pages, ISBN 978-1513619965). Not only is this book a feast of eye candy, it also boasts a fine narrative, um, hook. READ MORE

 

The SF Conventional Calendar

by Erwin S. Strauss

The winter schedule has really grown—almost enough events to fill an entire column by themselves. I’m going to be at Arisia and Boskone. Also consider MarsCon, ChattaCon, CapriCon, ConDFW, ConDor, MystiCon. 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