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Clarkesworld 145, October 2018 16 October 2018

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.

The Miracle Lambs of Minane by Finbarr O'Reilly has Ireland recovering after a vaguely described apocalypse (the seas are still full of mechanical killer squid, apparently), but some very tired social issues which, yeah, I suppose they will keep coming back again and again but I'm bored with them now never mind in the future. Too much of that, not enough interesting people.

Sparrow by Yilin Wang has a window-cleaner being made unemployed by a robot… but it's all impression, no story, and then it just stops.

When We Were Starless by Simone Heller is a gorgeous post-human scavenging future, richly described from the point of view of the Blessed whose job is to lay ghosts. And the ghosts are very real things. And it has the courage to follow through on its implications rather than just ending when it might be a challenge to write.

The Facecrafter by Anna Wu, translated by Emily Jin, suffers from an extremely rough translation to English. Looking past that, it's another post-apocalypse with everyone living in miserable shelters, a meditation on the importance of art, and an encounter with gods. It's pleasant but stretches itself just a little too far trying to cover all these things.

Thirty-Three Percent Joe by Suzanne Palmer is largely an extended conversation among a set of cybernetic replacement parts. They're there to make him a better soldier for the war raging in Ohio… but also to keep him alive, and those goals clash. It's fun, but perhaps a little too similar to the same author's The Secret Life of Bots?

In Everlasting Wisdom by Aliette de Bodard deals with a psychic propagandist for the Eternal Emperor, whispering slogans to her alien parasite so that it can spread them around the city. It stops, alas, just as things are moving from scene-setting into plot.

The Falls: A Luna Story by Ian McDonald is mostly observation: a psychiatrist for AIs deals with her daughter's major accident, and with her job. Both end up feeling quite thin and there aren't many useful parallels drawn; I wonder whether giving either of the two stories the full word count might have worked better.

Endless Forms Most Horrible: Parasites and SF by Julie Novakova is a quick review of parasitism in the natural world, particularly the sorts that modify host behaviour. Many of them are familiar, but a secondary behaviour of Entomophthora muscae is new to me (and not noted on Wikipedia); while it may be challenging to use it, I think I'm going to give it a try.

First Contact, Fantasy, and Cooperation: A Conversation with Steven Erikson by Chris Urie is mostly a promotion for Erikson's new book, but it's still interesting.

Another Word: In Praise of Taking it Slow by Sarah Pinsker is a call to take time to revise, re-read, and get a story right before sending it out to the world. I may not be much of a fan of Pinsker's writing but I'm all in favour of this.

Editor's Desk: After the Dirty Dozen by Neil Clarke is a consideration of where he plans to take the magazine after twelve years.

The Heller definitely gets a Hugo nomination from me; the rest varied from good to neutral.

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Previous in series: Clarkesworld 144, September 2018 | Series: Clarkesworld | Next in series: Clarkesworld 146, November 2018

  1. Posted by Owen Smith at 02:45pm on 16 October 2018

    Window cleaner put out of work by a robot? Fat chance, as far as I can tell window cleaners (real ones that do the job reasonably well) don't exist near where I live. Bring on that robot!

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