Omni Winter 2017, Issue 74 Volume 1
Edited by Ellen Datlow
Cover Artist: Composite: Shutterstock.com/Bruce Rolff/Liseykina
Review by Sam Tomaino
Omni Magazine Magazine
Date: 29 November 2017
Omni is back with issue #74 and fiction edited by Ellen Datlow. That's a great thing! Here are reviews of the three short stories in this issue, two of which are Hugo-worthy.
The fiction begins with "Every Hour of Light and Dark" by Nancy Kress. -+- In 2270, what is left of humanity lives in domes on the Moon. All life on Earth had been wiped out 200 years before by a bio-weapon. Now they have a device that allows them to transfer works of art from the past to be replaced by clever forgeries. But one man tries to snag a Vermeer painting called Lady Sewing a Child's Bonnet for himself which sets off some paradoxes that get explained away. This is one of those stories that is a joy to read. A check of a website of 35 paintings by Vermeer does not include such a painting. If this is more invention on the part of Kress, that's great. This will be on my Hugo Short List for Short Story next year.
The second story is "Sidewalks" by Maureen McHugh. -+- Dr. Rosni Gupta is a speech therapist who works for Los Angeles County Social Services. She is called in to deal with people who have difficulty communicating. She is asked to evaluate a dark-skinned woman who calls herself Malni. Malni writes down an alphabet that Rosni's husband identifies as Old English. She indicates that she is from the L.A. area. When Malni is picked up by someone who looks like her, she leaves a notepad with writing on it. Rosni asks a scholar to interpret it and it apparently indicates that Malni is a time traveler. Where did she go? A good solid story with a lot of extra detail that makes Rosni a real person.
The third story is "Verweile Doch (But Linger)" by Rich Larson. -+- Cesar can freeze time for as long as he wants. He is doing that as the story opens. He looks back at his life with his father, his sister, Chelo, and Becky, a girl he fell in love with in school. He thinks about what he is holding back from happening and what he can't prevent forever. We know the story is building up to one such freezing moment. We feel for Cesar and the way he lives his life and the heartbreaks he has had. This is one of those perfect little stories that one might read in the old Omni, also edited by Ellen Datlow. This, too, will be on my Hugo Short List for Short Story next year.
Wow! It's great to have Omni back with Ellen Datlow choosing stories like these!