RogerBW's Blog

Clarkesworld 156, September 2019 21 September 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.

"Dave's Head" by Suzanne Palmer gives us a not-quite-meathook-yet grim future, and an intelligent animatronic dinosaur head (salvaged from a theme park), and an uncle whose mind really isn't working right any more. If only Palmer bothered to say what was in the vials, rather than making them a MacGuffin, this would be superb; as it is, it's pretty darn good.

"Amorville" by Bella Han has a woman obsessed with a virtual actor (you pick your partner and then bring them into the story of your choice), but thinks its big revelation is cleverer than it is.

"To Catch All Sorts of Flying Things" by M. L. Clark throws the reader in at the deep end with lots of alien names, but once one gets one's bearings it's a fine story of interaction with genuinely other aliens.

"Lapis" by Sara Saab: and then it's a crash back to Generic Modern SF Story as we get out-of-order narration, and a second person present voice, and all this in order to tell a tedious story against a background that might actually be interesting if it ever came into focus. Bah.

"Malinche" by Gabriela Santiago is the story of Doña Marina and Hernán Cortés… in a world where the Aztecs have something like electricity and primitive robots. It's remarkable, and excellent.

"Staying with the End of the World: SF Futures of Hope during Ecological Devastation" by Eleanna Castroianni is more about the transformative power of story than about specific examples; interesting but slight.

"Science Fiction Heist: A Conversation with Derek Künsken" by Arley Sorg would be more interesting if I hadn't already read and hated Künsken's The Ghosts of Ganymede back in January. But at least one thing is explained: his idea of quantum physics comes from other SF authors, Baxter and Reynolds, not from actual science.

"The Future of Shame and Hope: A Conversation with L.X. Beckett" by Arley Sorg is more intriguing: Beckett's trying to build a positive future out of the present situation, and doesn't entirely convince, but at least they're saying something.

"Editor's Desk: A Journey 'Home'" by Neil Clarke talks about his trip to the Worldcon in Dublin (like seemingly everyone else, he had major travel problems) and to see Irish family.

Three stories I enjoyed in a single issue, after a couple with none that I got on with at all. The Clark definitely gets a Hugo nomination, and the Santiago, and maybe the Palmer. All right, I'll keep reading Clarkesworld for now.

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Previous in series: Clarkesworld 155, August 2019 | Series: Clarkesworld | Next in series: Clarkesworld 157, October 2019

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