Review: Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 141

Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 141Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 141 by Neil Clarke
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is one of those issues where I liked every story and every non-fiction essay. Read below for my thoughts per story.

A space of one’s own: a whimsical dystopia that reminds me of the Terry Gilliam film Brazil. I’m a world of overcrowding buildings can be resized and reconfigured.

Vault: another dystopia. This time there is a bit of a video game metaphor (at least to me) in the fact that the protagonists gain energy based on how many athletic tricks they do while traversing a planet. Explained away as causing their suits to collect more sunlight. The climax comes late, but could be an interesting universe for more stories.

The cosmonaut’s caretaker: An alternate future where the USSR still exists in a space-faring universe. The story takes some time to do world building, but expertly so, with practically no info dumps. Then it gets to the main thrust of the plot which involves our Captain’s current job when his post catches up to him. Didn’t want to stop reading until I was done.

Your multicolored life: this story definitely went places I didn’t expect with each of its protagonists, but it won me over by the end.

Heron of Earth: A post-human story unlike any I’ve ever read. It’s not about the trials and tribulations of becoming post-human. It’s not about whether we should do it. It’s more of a story that takes place after all that is over. It’s a short journey and I’m not even sure if it fulfills the MICE criteria. But it reads like a meditation and I’d like to see more of this world.

The Deeps of the Sky: An alien world in which insect-like creatures mine metals from a storm. It seems to take place on a Saturn or Jupiter-style planet where everything needs to live in the atmosphere and if there is a surface, it’s below a crushing amount of atmosphere. Another of those short stories that makes me desire more stories in the same universe.

Meridian: A SF version of what happens when a kid is put into the adoption system and it fails him. Made me sad to realize it’d probably continue to be a problem in the future. A good ending that doesn’t pander to the reader.

Non-Fiction:

The Effects of Space and Other Worlds on the Human Body: Going deeper than many popular articles I’ve read on the topic of the effects of space on the human body, it looks at how many different aspects of physiology and even baterial adaptation could affect our ability to expand beyond planet Earth.
Book covers, Moorcock, and The Mexicanx Initiative: A Conversation with John Picacio: A conversation with an artist who does book covers as well as other art about his history and his process.

Another Word: The Future, Ordinary: Cat Rambo takes some time to celebrate the SF that adheres to the trope “15 Minutes into the Future”. She talks about what we can take away from it, how it can help us think about how we structure society, and how it can make your stories out of date before they’re even published. As usual, Rambo’s prose does an excellent job of making me think and makes me think it would be delightful to have a conversation about SFF with them.

Editor’s Desk: A eulogy for Gardner Dozois, who, among among other things, was the reprints editor at Clarkesworld.


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