Got this as part of a Humble Bundle in 2015, I think. Finally got around to it. There were some really great and moving stories in here. As usual with anthologies, a collection of my status updates:
“Things Undone” (Novella) – That was a crazy emotional ride. We often read time travel stories concerned with what might change.
This one takes place in the alternate world in which a discovery changes the progress of technology completely. A catastrophic time travel event takes place and we follow investigators trying to root out what happened.
“Midnight Blue-Light Special” (novel excerpt) – First few chapters of a pretty darned interesting-looking book. The premise: a woman is part of a multi-generational cryptozoologist family that helps and catalogs the “monsters”. And to make ends meet, our protagonist also works as a dancer at a burlesque club in Manhattan. If I didn’t already have such a ridiculously long to-read list…
Interview with Angelica Gorodischer: insight into Argintenean SF. According to this author there isn’t much of it. Odd, I thought everyone would have stories that speculate about tech or the future.
Interview with Philip Pullman: Discussion of various books he’s written, teaching in England, and an example of being an athiest and respectful of religion.
Artist Showcase: Matt Thkocz – Cover Artist for this issue
“Lily Red” – A woman leaves life behind and goes to a small town. Metaphors for love, attraction, and gender.
Ash Minette – So far, a family of 3 girls born into wealth suffers a reversal of fortunes. They get invited to a ball by a baron that doesn’t realize the family is no longer noble. The two older girls go, leaving their younger sister – under the excuse that the rich are more evil than the mundane. Turns out it’s a retelling of Cinderella.
“The Dream Detective” – This took a wildly different turn than the early parts suggested it might. It’s a neat urban fantasy tale with a great ending. Good use of the short story form.
** Science Fiction **
“Biographical….Prince” (SF) – I always enjoy when an author doesn’t use straight narrative to tell a story. Blog posts,newspaper clippings, etc have specific goals that don’t align perfectly with story-telling. This story was in the form of the Wikipedia page of an author in a post-apocalyptic Earth. Like good SF lots of uncomfortable themes that help us reflect on today. Even more relevant with the Syrian Crisis going on now.
“Three Days of Rain” – A moody piece about a city in Latin America where all the water has dried up. There’s a background story about whether to stay or go, but the main story is just about living and doesn’t really have any plot. Still, a good read.
“Let’s Take this Viral” – So much to say about this. Lots of post-cyberpunk fiction has these worlds where everyone can do every drug because tech keeps us alive anyway. Also common theme of the lack of death leading to boredom leading to crazier stunts. This one hit me hard, emotionally, though. Especially the ending. Great example of an author doing short fiction so well;gets you to care about someone you just met.
“The Sense of the Circle” – A bit of an archeological mystery set on another world. The literary style is quite different, which makes sense as the author is South American. Some of the turns of phrase were odd – perhaps from translating idioms? Neat.
Author Spotlight: John Barnes – Interview with the author of “Things Undone” – this is the kind of interview I love with authors. Too often they focus on trivialities, but this one plumbed the depths of what was most fascinating about the story in the magazine.
Author Spotlight: Karen Fowler – “Lily Red” – put it into a bit of perspective and made me like it more.
Author Spotlight: Sarena Ulibarri – “The Bolt Tightener” – interesting, but no new ways of viewing the story.
Author Spotlight: Felicity Savage – “Ash Minette” – neat getting her opinion of tropes and when they’re helpful and how best to work with them in speculative fiction.
Author Spotlight: Lisa Tuttle – “Dream Detective” – neat little story of how she got the idea
Author Spotlight: Jake Kerr – “Biographical….Prince” – cool interview about how he decided to use Wikipedia to tell the story
Author Spotlight: Kevin McNeil – “Three Days of Rain” – a look into the mindset of the author when he wrote the story
Author Spotlight: Rich Larson – “Let’s Take this Viral” – wow, he wrote that story quickly and it was so great.
Author Spotlight: Angelica Gorodischer – a few tidbits on the story.