RogerBW's Blog

Clarkesworld 165, June 2020 12 June 2020

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 Iridescent Lake" by D.A. Xiaolin Spires has weird alien ice so precious that sneaking a little bit away in your pockets (in a high-tech freezer ball) can make your fortune… but for some reason there's still a public ice rink on it? Interesting ideas but it doesn't seem to have anything to say.

"How Long the Shadows Cast" by Kenji Yanagawa is a Manic Pixie Dream Time Traveller story and Yanagawa doesn't even appear to realise it. And it aggressively cuts off before anything like a resolution of any of its strands.

"Nine Words for Loneliness in the Language of the Uma'u" by M. L. Clark has the grief-stricken alien diplomat whose failure to understand humans is all the humans' fault, and the humans' failure to understand him is also all the humans' fault, and I just wasn't interested in his maunderings. Clark has done so much better than this.

"Optimizing the Path to Enlightenment" by Priya Chand is an interesting slice of life in a low-impact AI dictatorship, and the forms rebellion can take. But of course it doesn't go anywhere because stories with plot and narrative progression are apparently against the rules.

"Own Goal" by Dennard Dayle has someone dreaming up advertising copy for the latest orbital kinetic weapon… but like so many of these things Dayle can't find anywhere to go from there, so just stops. (Yes, the weapon you wrote the copy for is now being used against your home… and? Would it have made a blind bit of difference if someone other than you had written the copy, or if a different but equally-lethal weapon had been used?)

"Isolation in Fiction and Reality" by Carrie Sessarego looks at some examples of isolated people but rapidly loses focus.

"The Woman With No Name: A Conversation with John P. Murphy" by Arley Sorg makes Murphy (of whom I've never heard) sound like Just Another Writer. Anything distinctive about him isn't mentioned here.

"The Three-Science-Fiction-Author Problem: A Conversation" by Roderick Leeuwenhart also involves Taiyo Fujii and Xia Jia – none of whom I've heard of before. It's an interesting conversation of the sort one might hear at a convention, three people who know nothing about each other's writing and publishing environments comparing them.

"Editor's Desk: SF/F Fiction Magazines, Pandemic Edition" by Neil Clarke has lots of observation but only the fuzziest of conclusions.

Nothing here that I liked well enough to nominate. Nothing here that I even liked. Oh well.

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Previous in series: Clarkesworld 164, May 2020 | Series: Clarkesworld | Next in series: Clarkesworld 166, July 2020

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