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Asimovís Science Fiction July/August 2017 - Vol. 41 Nos. 7 & 8 - (Whole No. 498 & 499)
Edited by Sheila Williams
Cover Artist: Bob Eggleton
Review by Sam Tomaino
Asimov Magazine (print/digital)  ISBN/ITEM#: 1065-2698
Date: 27 June 2017

Links: Asimov's Science Fiction / How to Purchase / Pub Info / Table of Contents /

The July/August 2017 issue of Asimov's Science Fiction has stories by Alexander Jablokov, R. Garcia y Robertson, Caldwell Turnbull, Rudy Rucker & Marc Laidlaw, Michael Bishop, Lisa Goldstein, Rich Larson, James Gunn, David Gerrold, and Sheila Finch along with the usual poetry and columns.

The July/August 2017 issue of Asimov's Science Fiction is a mixed bag. Some very good stories but a couple which are disappointing.

The fiction begins with the novella "How Sere Picked Up Her Laundry" by Alexander Jablokov. -+- Sere Glagoit is down on her luck and decides to use some of her investigative skills by working for Mirquell. She wants Sere to find out who has the use of a local butte and leased access going up to it. Sere will get an escalator pay if she finds out what an exterminator named Zinter was up to when he got himself killed blowing up a tunnel to get rid of some bugs. Sere doesn't do well at first, but notices an important detail that turns things around. The city of Tempest, where this is set has a fascinating mix of species that really add spice to the story. We are promised more stories of Sere and Tempest. I'll be looking forward to them.

"Annabelle, Annie" by Lisa Goldstein -+- Our narrator's daughter has become sullen and obnoxious because she hates the way her parents and the older generation have polluted the world. She manages to ruin their lives. The narrator just ends the story by feeling guilty. Sorry, can't feel sympathy for the spoiled little brat.

"Other Worlds and This One" by Caldwell Turnbull -+- Two stories: one told by our narrator about the tragedy of his brother, the other about a scientist named Hugh and his many world theory. Okay.

"An Evening with Severyn Grimes" by Rich Larson -+- The title character is a rich man who has lived long by renting bodies of willing volunteers. This is considered blasphemy by a group calling itself the Priesthood. They kidnap him and plan to kill him. They enlist the aid of a woman named Girasol Fletcher who has an axe to grind with Grimes. But she finds the whole thing a bit more difficult than she expected. Good story.

"Transcendental Mission: Riley's Story" by James Gunn -+- In the first of two stories set in Gunn's Transcendental series, we get the story of Riley who fights in many battles with extraterrestrials for dominance of the galaxy. At the end, he is commanded by an anonymous voice to go on a spaceship starting on the planet Terminus in search of the truth about the religion called Transcendentalism. Interesting. Accessible if you have not read other stories in this series.

"Weighty Matters: Tordor's Story" by James Gunn -+- Here we have the story of Tordor of the Dorian race which has a survival-of-the-fittest philosophy. He fights in many battles and even achieves a peace with the humans. At the end, he is sent on the same voyage as Riley. Another well-told story.

"@lantis" by Rudy Rucker & Marc Laidlaw -+- Rucker & Laidlaw's stoners, Zep & Del, become involved with a social media baron, Atlanteans, and a strange kind of transformative foam. If you like trippy stories, this is for you.

"The Patient Dragon" by David Gerrold -+- This starts out with our narrator being attacked. First, her intelligent dragon device on her shoulder explodes, then she is viciously attacked. After almost a year in rehab, she accepts a job from some suspicious character. Really? Does it come as an surprise that it does not go well? I expected some sort of payoff. Really didn't get any. Waste of time.

"Field Studies" by Sheila Finch -+- Homeless Pat encounters an odd looking man who wants to help her a bit. Is he the angel of death? Or does she have more time? A poignant, sad tale.

"Gale Strang" by Michael Bishop -+- This story is told by a birdcage, made intelligent by proximity to a smartphone. It tells about an young intersexed person who identifies as a female and calls herself Gale Strang. Gale is adopted by an old woman named Claris Cheek. A beautiful poignant tale.

The issue concludes with the novella "The Girl Who Stole Herself" by R. Garcia y Robertson. It's been a while since I've read a story by this writer and this one makes the wait worth it. In a very future New Bellingdam, Washington (how much New I won't spoil), Amanda James is seventeen years old, a top student at flying school, a member of a gangsta family (a good thing) and Princess-Regent Katherine of Conway, Sultana of Slutsk, Mistress of the Mongols, and Crown Princess Ryla's ambassador to Down Under and the Damned (in 3V). She s also being pursued by Slavers while the very real Crown Princess Ryla's realm of Callisto is imperiled by Space Vikings. This sets up a grand, fun adventure which was a delight to read. We are promised another story with some of the same characters next month and this be something else I will be looking forward to.

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