Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 135
by Neil Clarke
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Some COVID-circumstances led to me finishing the second-half of this two months after starting. So I don’t quite remember the themes that piece together this issue, but here are my per-story thoughts:
The Rains on Mars: A delicate story of loss and how running away from loss can have consequences. Very nicely done.
Crossing LaSalle: Complex issues surrounding mortality and self-worth in a world in which people can have their brains loaded into new bodies.
Falling in Love with Martians and Machines: A little hard to interpret for sure, but to me it was a story about how much we are willing to debase ourselves in order to reach our goals.
Darkness, Our Mother: A very, very strange story full of metaphor and a little hard to follow at first. I also feel like it’s probably a retelling of an ancient Greek myth, but I’m not sure.
Landmark: Another story high on metaphor and weird syntax that makes it seem like it’s obscure just to be mean to the reader.
Who’s Afraid of Wolf 359: A guy gets sent in indentured servitude to explore what happened to a system that has fallen out of communications. It as a light, fun tone and a surprisingly fun ending.
Botanica Veneris: A story told in the mold of John Carter, with the same language flourishes.
Your are (most likely) not living in a Simulation: The most intelligent thing I’ve ever read to refute the idea that we could possibly be in a simulation.
Bradbury, Lake, and The Named Lands: A Conversation with Ken Scholes: A discussion about inspiration, starting out by writing short stories, and his series, The Named Lands.
Another Word: What Authors Owe Us: An interesting look at the “contract” between readers and authors. This has been in the ether for a while – sometime last year or so I watched Lindsay Ellis’ video essay about the kurfuffle with the author of Between their Stars (or some such book) and it seems things continue to evolve. The author of this piece brings in some good information from the author’s side, including a mismatch between what readers want and what makes sense. As this section of the magazine usually is, a good think-piece.
Editor’s Desk: Neil writes about his trip to China and what he learned about the Chinese SF community. I already know they’ve got a pretty vibrant SF scene from the translated works that Neil features in this magazine, but it looks like they might become a powerhouse (if the Communists don’t turn against it – see what happened with SF in Russia during certain periods).
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