Saturday, December 04, 2004

Asimov's January 2004

Posted by frankh at 6:41 AM
This is based on the fictionwise etext which was released at the end of November (along with Analog Jan-Feb which I will cover next). I've seen this issue on the stand for at least a couple weeks, but it's probably still the current issue. Here's the rundown on the 6 stories for mundane sf content:

1) Novella: "Inside Job" by Connie Willis [Cover Story] -- contemporary geek fantasy about psychics, debunkers and H.L. Mencken
2) Novelette: "Invasion of the Axbeaks" by Philip C. Jennings -- alien planet
3) Novelette: "City of Reason" by Matthew Jarpe -- mildly geekpunkish battle of wits in the outer reaches of the Solar System; Earth itself is conveniently absent from the story, and I don't think this qualifies as mundane
4) Short Story: "The Fate of Mice" by Susan Palwick -- sociological story told from POV of an IQ-ehanced mouse; mundane
5) Short Story: "Rhinemaidens" by Larry Niven -- fantasy
6) Short Story: "Water Angel" by Bruce McAllister -- quite short--concerns the unknown wonders of the sea; borderline fantasy, but generally mundane

This is the first post-Dozois issue, though presumably there is inventory remaining from his reign. I read 4 of the stories, skipping only the Jennings and Niven on the basis of blurbs and skimming. However, I only give the mundane nod to the Palwick and McAllister stories. Both come up way on the "flimsy" end of the Hard SF meter. If that doesn't bother you then I recommend both, if only because neither is very long. I don't think much of the Jarpe story, but if you like space stories within a somewhat mundane framework, give it a try. If you like Willis's stories, maybe you'd like this one, but as with most other stories of hers that I've read, I think it is unchallenging.