Jim Baen's Universe - Volume 2, Number 1, June 2007
by Eric Flint
Edited by Eric Flint
Review by Sam Tomaino
Date: 1 July 2007
Links: Website / Pub Info / Table of Contents /
Well, it's been some months since I've reviewed Jim Baen's Universe and I've, no doubt, missed some good stories. I'm going to correct that with the June 2007 issue and hope not to miss any in the future.
The best story in this issue is "Cryptic Coloration" by Elizabeth Bear and it got an Excellent from me. Matthew is a college professor but he is also a Mage in the Prometheus Club. This means that he must do battle with supernatural beasties. Aided by another member, he must destroy a "cockatrice hybrid." Unfortunately, and unbeknownst to him, he is being followed by three giddy freshman co-eds who just must know what he is doing. This makes for a great story and one that will be on my Hugo Short List, next year.
All the rest of the stories got a Very Good from me. Mike Resnick gives us "The Big Guy" about the first robotic basketball player. His presence will change the game but giving him emotions has consequences. In "Running Water for L.A." by Eric M Witchey, Ron uses his sub to tow glaciers to L.A. but he runs into some pirates. How he wins is an exciting story. David Freer's "Thin Ice" is a nice little tale of survival in an alien world. Dr. Kaibo has a choice of deaths, an alien creature or deadly sunlight, but he finds another way. "Weredragons of Mars" by Carl Frederick is set on a spaceship on a long voyage back to Earth. To pass the time, the people in charge make up bizarre Role Playing Games. Jeffrey finds a way to win. "Swing Time" by Carrie Vaughan features time-traveling thieves and their efforts to elude the Temporal Transit Authority.
I enjoyed the other fantasy stories, too. "The Littlest Wyrm-Maid by Rebecca Lickiss is an amusing turn on "The Littlest Mermaid" but this time with a dragon. In Terry Bramlett's "Child, Maiden, Woman, Crone", a one-hit wonder musician named Johnny Nobles plays a song for a little girl and a few months later, a teenager. It doesn't give anything away to tell that these two are the same person and she has a profound effect on Johnny's life. Editor Eric Flint contributes a hilarious tale in "The Realm of Words." A Salamander named Wittgenstein and a group of humans venture into a very strange alternate world to rescue some friends.
The third section of new stories is called "Introducing" and features new writers. These all got a Very Good from me, too. I was particularly impressed with "Touching the Dead" by J. Kathleen Cheney. Shironne Anjir is a young girl who is "touch-sensitive." She can learn all about people or things just by touching them. She wants to solve the murder of her maid's boyfriend, Sergeant Mertha. Cheney has created a great character here and I hope to see more stories about Shironne.
Adele Tesson gives us an amusing little tale called "Chicken Soup." How did Eliza's daughter Gillie's plastic dinosaurs come to life. How will she control them? Last of all, there is "Chirus Fever" by Lisa L. Satterlund. Liz is caught on a ship where people may have the deadly Chirus Fever. The crew are members of a group that spurns medical treatment. What will she do?
Jim Baen's Universe consistently publishes good stories every two months. To learn how to subscribe, go to their website at www.baens-universe.com. I recommend it!