RogerBW's Blog

Clarkesworld 146, November 2018 11 November 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.

Octo-Heist in Progress by Rich Larson has a near-future burglar with an octopus controlled by nerve stimulation. It's a pleasing idea, though the progress of the story is a bit rote for my taste, particularly the unsurprising surprise at the end.

What the South Wind Whispers by H. Pueyo is a study of dysfunctional personalities among the crew of a comet-defence facility in Patagonia. It's lyrical and well-observed, and has an actual story to it.

Ghost Island by E.E. King has a post-ecodoom Earth and an island where the workers are mysteriously losing their memories and going mad. It's immediately obvious what, in an overall sense, is happening, but not how or why; and when the end comes, there's no explanation beyond "it just mysteriously happened somehow". Disappointing.

The Gift of Angels: an introduction by Nina Allan deals with a successful SF writer planning, finally, to write about his dead astronaut mother. There are lots of flashbacks, and shifts between present and past tense, sometimes correlated with the flashbacks, sometimes apparently random; and there is meditation on the short film La Jetée and the Gilliam expansion Twelve Monkeys (though never a mention of the rather good TV series). Once I'd fought through the writing I found this self-indulgent and over-long.

The Love Letters by Peng Simeng is a lyrical description of mis-addressed letters, but the rather dull letters themselves make up most of the text. One can't tell whether "I've already landed on sixteen constellations in succession, explored every planet that could possibly hold crystal, stone, or ore" is bad translation or bad original writing. In any case, there's no plot here, just a snapshot.

Death on Mars by Madeline Ashby (reprint) has a just-pre-colonisation Mars mission, and some arguments about the right to die in a manner of one's choosing that one might have thought old hat now never mind in the vague future. Even so, it works, and I enjoyed it more than the same author's vN (previously reviewed).

A Catalogue of Sunlight at the End of the World by A.C. Wise (reprint) is another thought on death, but this time there's a generation ship leaving an eco-collapsed Earth, and the narrator is choosing to stay behind. It's not clear how many other people will be staying, though at least a few; that might have grounded the story more effectively. But mostly this is the narrator's memories of his dead wife. Hey ho. People who like stories like this will like this story.

Melon Farmers! Science Fiction Stumbles on the Way to the Theater by Mark Cole is a recounting of troubles in film production, with little to say if you're interested in film (because you are likely to know this stuff already) and probably little appeal if you aren't.

Genetics, Spores, and Automation: A Conversation with Nancy Kress by Chris Urie manages again to produce an interesting interview, even with a writer I don't generally get on with; I'm becoming impressed with Urie as an interviewer.

Another Word: Klingon Time Management by A.M. Dellamonica considers how to turn a successful NaNoWriMo into being an actual writer.

Editor's Desk: Wouldn't it be Nice? by Neil Clarke suggests what Clarke would do with a larger guaranteed budget (more pay, and more translations both to and from English).

The Pueyo is definitely in contention for a Hugo nomination from me.

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See also:
vN, Madeline Ashby

Previous in series: Clarkesworld 145, October 2018 | Series: Clarkesworld | Next in series: Clarkesworld 147, December 2018

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