Clarkesworld 74 – November 2012
Edited by Neil Clarke
Cover Artist: Ken Barthelmy
Review by Sam Tomaino
Clarkesworld Magazine ISBN/ITEM#: 1937-7843
Date: 23 November 2012
Clarkesworld #74 is here with stories by E. Catherine Tobler, Maggie Clark, and Brooke Wonders, along with many other features.After a long hiatus, entirely my fault, I return to reviewing the online magazine, Clarkesworld with #74
The first story is "(To See the Other) Whole Against the Sky" by E. Catherine Tobler. In some distant future, cargo ships transport things like compressed titanium over vast distances. It had been found that crews of even two wind up killing each other during extended spaces voyages, and, since ships did have to have someone on them, loners had been chosen to be the sole occupants. There is some companionship as ships, traveling in "opposite directions" are paired and they communicate with each other for as long as they can. Our story consists of a narrator talking to someone else. No names, no gender, but that's not necessary as just the language is beautiful and that's all we need.
The second story is "Aquatica" by Maggie Clark. We are transported to a world entirely under water where a small creature named Organ swims. He has just encountered a larger creature named Host. They communicate with each other and we learn the way of this world. Creatures like Organ are born and protected for a while by creatures like Host. When they mature they swim away for their brief lives. They might encounter a Host and their biology draws them to it. They will latch on to one and, eventually, lose their identity, but this is all the cycle of life. Organ has something he wants to do. He has heard that warm currents can cause a hole in the "solid" above and he wants to see what is above it. Organ and Host travel along their way in this lyrical, bittersweet tale.
The third story is "Everything Must Go" by Brooke Wonders. This is a rich fantasy, told from the point of view of "the blue-gray house at 1414 Linden Drive". The house is concerned that other houses on Linden Drive have been abandoned and never filled again. It is certain that its family loves it too much to be left behind, We get a picture of the dysfunctional family of father, mother, son and daughter, whom the house names (for specific reasons), Glass, Needle, Bird and Paper. We get some of their story and know things are not going well. The story has a very real, and very imaginative fantasy elements as we learn the fates of all. Like the other stories in this issue, this one beautifully told.
The stories in Clarkesworld are all pretty short. The longest is just over 4000 words. But that does not mean they are quick reads. They must be read slowly and savored, like the rich fudge they are. If you have never done so, check them out at http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/.