RogerBW's Blog

Clarkesworld 159, December 2019 24 December 2019

Clarkesworld is a monthly on-line magazine edited by Neil Clarke.

Everything is available in HTML from the magazine's site, and it can be bought in various other formats.

"Such Thoughts Are Unproductive" by Rebecca Campbell tries to point up the effects of pervasive surveillance and self-censorship, but while the atmosphere is effective it's very bitty and never quite manages to pull itself together to be a coherent story.

"Witch of the Weave" by Henry Szabranski throws one in at the deep end of world and society and technology base, but in a practical way so that one can still work out what's going on. It feels more like the first chapter of a novel than like a stand-alone story, but I'd be happy to read the rest of the novel.

"Annotated Setlist of the Mikaela Cole Jazz Quintet" by Catherine George is a series of vignettes of the rise and dispersion of a jazz band aboard a generation ship where Something Has Gone Wrong – and although everyone in the story knows all about it, it's kept back for a while from the reader in a way that's somewhat atmospheric but mostly annoying.

"Eclipse our Sins" by Tlotlo Tsamaase has a world where bad thoughts lead immediately to illness and death… and yet somehow there are still rich exploiters. Tries hard, with lines like "The sun is menstruating, smearing a rosy tinge across the bleak industrial skyline"; I think it tries too hard.

"Appointment in Vienna" by Gabriel Murray is the recollections of a photographer, and spy, and… maybe something else? The SF content here is barely present, just a vague hint that might turn out to point to something entirely mundane.

"Symbiosis Theory" by Choyeop Kim, translated by Joungmin Lee Comfort involves an artist who paints pictures of an unknown planet, and interpreting the vocalisations of infants… it's an audacious conceit, completely contradicted by even a little bit of scientific knowledge, but it would have been great in the fifties.

"But Is It Art? Science Fiction that Isn't Really Science Fiction" by Mark Cole tells us that New Wave film and art film in general doesn't really care what SF fans think of it.

"Starfish and Sunflowers: A Conversation with Peter Watts" by Arley Sorg doesn't make me like Watts any better.

"Caste in Blood: A Conversation with Juliette Wade" by Arley Sorg does make Wade's work sound interesting, sociological and linguistics-based SF. I may take a look.

"Editor's Desk: Staring at the Hole" by Neil Clarke tells is that he didn't get to two conventions in China, first because his flight was cancelled and second because his father-in-law died. It's more of a blog than an editorial.

I liked the Szabranski, but the others didn't really appeal.

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Previous in series: Clarkesworld 158, November 2019 | Series: Clarkesworld | Next in series: Clarkesworld 160, January 2020

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