Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Mundanespotting Asimov's January 2011

Posted by frankh at 7:56 AM
It's hard to complain about the state of mundane sf after the incredible breakout year of Paolo Bacigalupi. But I will try. I "discovered" Bacigalupi during his first big wave of stories that preceeded the various award nominations, and had the unprecidented pleasure of buying his first story collection knowing that I had read all the previously published content. I started blogging way back in 2004.

But Bacigalupi is about the only bright spot, and his reliance on the small press ghetto a massive indictment of sf publishing. In 2009 I made a heroic effort (meaning: with the help of interlibrary loan) to find and read all the nominated short fiction for the Hugo, Nebula, and Sturgeon awards. Not just mundanespotting, but full-on reading. I came up 3 novellas short (still might finish 'em), but read quite a lot of what was considered the best. There was not much mundane sf at all, and despite some good writing, there was some blatant crap, even among the winners.

Which brings me to today. I have made various attempts to revive the mundanespotting habit, but they all fell short of pressing the "Publish Post" button. This time it's for real. I'm going to attempt to mundanespot the nominal 2011 magazines, all in old school paper format, from front to back. In 2011, that's the big three, Asimov's, F&SF, Analog, plus Interzone, all still functioning.

My new trick is that I will not wait to finish a magazine (and risk losing all momentum) before posting. So here's starting with Asimov's January 2011 [since edited to completion].

1) "Two Thieves" by Chris Beckett -- warp gate
2) "Dolly" by Elizabeth Bear -- android homicide, ripped from headlines
3) "Visitors" by Steve Rasnic Tem -- the blurb says "collateral consequences of cryobiology," and I say mundane
4) "Interloper" by Ian McHugh -- seems to be about mind-controlling aliens in the Outback, though there wasn't much of an infodump
5) "Ashes on the Water" by Gwendolyn Clare -- mundane future India
6) "Killer Advice" by Kristine Kathryn Rusch -- ftl

Two out of six is not so bad for a start, and both of the mundane stories are worth a read.