My rating: ★★★☆☆
Read From: 1 April 2014 - 5 April 2014
Goal: Flotsam & Jetsam
Shatterdown by Suzanne Palmer—Cjoi was a child miner, a genetically modified slave, who dove into the atmosphere of a gas giant to harvest living diamonds. She was freed as a teenager. Now she’s back at the site of her former enslavement. This is her swan song. The story is both sad and engaging. I enjoyed it.
There Was No Sound of Thunder by David Erik Nelson—Time travel is a tricky business. Who’s past are you really changing? And can you predict the effects of your simple change? Suze, our narrator, is a member of an anarchist group. When they’re offered the use of a time machine to make their mark, she has to struggle with the thornier issues of the ethics and efficacy of time travel. This was an offbeat, fun story. I’m always a sucker for time travel stories and this was a good one.
Murder in the Cathedral by Lavie Tidhar—Ugh. Steampunk. I’m really not a fan of the genre. Fans would probably like this story but space lizards, automatons, and gratuitous anachronisms really don’t do it for me.
The Philosopher Duck by Kara Dalkey—”Spheres from Mars were bearing lowly Bangla fisherfolk to safety.” This story involved an itinerant duck, a poor family living at the water’s edge, a cyclone, and an inflatable sphere for riding out the cyclone (based on the design used for landing the Martian rover). I was more interested in the idea using crash spheres as storm safety devices than I was in the story itself. It’s an interesting idea. I’d like to learn more about how practical it would be.
The Finges Clearing by Sylvain Jouty—The narrator documents an interesting area in the forests of France. It’s apparently several square miles of forest that have never been walked in, visited, or used by humans. Some power or force kept people away for millenia. The story doesn’t resolve the question of why the clearing is unique but does detail how it was discovered. The story has a very nice natural history tone to it, that reminded me a lot of Jules Verne.
Ormonde and Chase by Ian Creasey—A husband and wife team run a business selling designer plants. But this isn’t your normal, run of the mail, cross-bred horticulture. These plants have been engineered to look like portraits. Have a flower that carries the image of your beloved mother. Order a dogwood that displays your favorite pet. Their business—and their marriage—hit a rough patch. This is the story of that rough patch and of how they handled it.
The Turkey Raptor by James Van Pelt—So you live in a one-exit dead-end hick town. And you’re in high school. And you’re bullied by the local bully and his crew. And all of the feral cats in the area annoy you with all of their rowling. But you have a pet turkey raptor. So that’s cool. What could go wrong?
Sidewalk at 12:10 P.M. by Nancy Kress—An older woman reflects on her younger self, at a pivotal moment in her life. A moment that’s literally on a sidewalk, at 12:10pm.
This was a decent issue although nothing in here really jumped out and grabbed me. My two favorites were the novelettes, “Shatterdown” and “There Was No Sound of Thunder”.