Review: Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 132

Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 132 (Clarkesworld Magazine #132)Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 132 by Neil Clarke
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Antarctic Birds: Some kind of science experiment with genetic engineering – I’m a little confused at first about what’s going on. My least favorite kind of story – at the end I still barely understood what was going on.

Little /^^^\&- – A very weird story about planet-sized aliens (or planets that have gained sentience?) messing with Earth. Wow, that ending was profoundly weird. It was still a pretty fun read, though.

“The Secret Life of Bots” – A hilarious story about the worker bots (think of the little bot that Chewie yells at in Empire Strikes Back) as well as a metaphor for multi-generational workplaces. Many great paragraphs, but I like this one:
“Bot 9 cycled out through the tiny airlock, and found itself floating in space outside Ship for the first time in its existence. Space was massive and without concrete elements of reference. Bot 9 decided it did not like it much at all.”

Pan-Humanism: Hope and Pragmatics – A coming of age story in a post-climate change world. Rather than go super apocalyptic, the world seems to be like ours with a few important differences in social life and how that maps onto opportunities. It’s a beautifully written story that constantly upends what I expect will happen and both does and doesn’t have the ending I wanted it to have.

Mobius Continuum (translated): A neat story involving a bit of hand-wavy science to explain a time loop.

Bonding with Morry: A story taking place in the not-too-distant future involving a retired man and the robot that is tasked with taking care of him. I’ve read a few different stories in this emerging genre (probably because so many boomer parents are reaching the age where they need care) and this one still found a way to be touching and different.

Warmth: A kind of sci-fi take on the old Victorian practice of having a nanny completely raise the child rather than the parents. I liked it quite a bit.

Non-Fiction

Artificial Wombs and Control of Reproductive Technology: A non-fiction piece about a new tech that can provide a womb-like environment for super-premies and perhaps help them develop internal organs without any issues. Then a discussion of what SF can tell us about how the tech may affect society as it develops further.

Occult Agencies and Political Satire: A Conversation with Charlie Stross – Mr. Stross discusses the evolution of his main character in The Laundry Files series.

Another Word: The Dream of Writing Full Time – An essay about the myth of being a full-time writer for most writers (ie not the Scalzis and the GRRMs). To summarize: to be a full-time writer requries the author to do so much work in PR and odd jobs to keep the income flowing that it’s actually easier to just have a regular job and writing as your side-hustle.

Editor’s Desk: Home for the Month – Neil talks of being home for a month an experiencing Worldcon via technology.

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