Re: Will You Be An Astronaut?

In New Skies, there are a fair number of classics which are heavily anthologized elsewhere, such as “Out of All Them Bright Stars” and “They’re Made Out of Meat“. Most of the stories seem to be directed at young people who haven’t read science fiction before. I think if that were the case for me, […]

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Re: The Political Prisoner

In a moody story of an internal spy caught in the sweep of a coup, “The Political Prisoner,” by Charles Coleman Finlay is so dominated by betrayals, interrogations, and imprisonment, it’s easy to lose track of the setting: a planet where the terraforming is going slower than hoped and religion seems to be the main […]

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Re: The Twilight Year

After enjoying “Mars: A Traveler’s Guide” and “Pride and Prometheus,” I kept flipping through that same issue of F&SF and got caught up in “The Twilight Year,” by Sean McMullen. It begins in Britain long after the Romans have left little behind but ruins. The narrator is a bard who seems to have an effect […]

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Re: Pride and Prometheus

In a double pastiche of Jane Austen and Mary Shelley, John Kessel‘s “Pride and Prometheus” introduces Mary Bennett to Viktor Frankenstein. Being a tortured romantic hero,  Viktor fits neatly into Mary’s world, seeming at first merely to be a moody, intelligent young man who is unaccountably intrigued by what Mary’s interest in natural philosophy. But […]

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Re: The Ray-Gun: A Love Story

From the opening, “The Ray-Gun: A Love Story“, by James Alan Gardner made me smile. In storybook prose it tells of a ray-gun and the boy who found it. I most enjoyed the flashes of humor in lines like: No one on Earth noticed–not even the shamans who thought dots in the sky were important.

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Re: If Angels Fight

Living near Boston means I hear more than enough about the Irish in Boston, the Kennedys in Boston, and crony politics in Boston. Thus when I meet with these Boston tropes in fiction, my resistance goes way up. In this case, I simply could not fight my way past my prejudices. I will have to […]

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Re: Kaleidoscope

In “Kaleidoscope,” by K.D. Wentworth, Ally finds herself caught in a kaleidoscope of possible worlds. In some she returns a stray dog to its home. In others, it gets run over. In some her friends are married and thriving. In others they’re in various stages of breakup. And in some, she just might find her […]

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Re: Mars: A Traveler’s Guide

“Mars, A Traveler’s Guide,” by Ruth Nestvold is pretty dark. Funny, but dark. You realize quickly that you are reading the data feed from an online help system. The unseen human is stranded with no better help than a wiki.  It reminds me of the old Bob Newhart routines, where he used to tell stories […]

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Re: The Tomb Wife

In “The Tomb Wife,” by Gwyneth Jones, Elen is the Navigator of a small crew of humans and a guest alien on a starship transporting ancient artifacts. The alien, Sigurt, is the most distinctive character. The story opens with him messing with them about the nature of one of the artifacts, claiming that it’s haunted […]

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