Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 136 by Neil Clarke
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This one was a tough choice between three stars and four stars. The stories I didn’t like: “Say it Low, Say it Loud” and “Her Smoke Rose Up Forever” I REALLY didn’t like. But from the stories I liked, some of them like: “A World to Die For” and “Lighthouse Girl” I REALLY liked. And the Non-fiction section helped push it over the edge.
The theme for this issue seemed to be memory, an issue that’s always quite fascinating because of how much we still don’t understand about how it works.
Here are my per-story thoughts:
A world to die for: Starting off in a Mad Max-like world, the author makes it a parable about the choices we make about how to treat this one world we have.
Say it low, then loud: Extremely confused about the plot; a little too metaphorical.
Sour milk girls: A group of girls in a foster home that swaps out the shock therapy true for a science fiction memory therapy. Kind of scary, but an unexpected ending.
Cigarette burn in your memory: Another piece about memory loss. This one is an incredible scary sorry about a world where everyone seems to have dementia.
The lighthouse girl (translated): Another story about memory. This one is a thriller with a few plot twists. The opening mood is quite delightful to read even though the hints of what is too come stay right away.
Her smoke rose up forever: Another incredibly confusing story. At the end the reason for the confusion is revealed and it’s quite depressing.
For I have lain me down: A neat sorry that takes place in Ireland that is at least partly about the endurance of the Irish spirit. The first person narrative worked well and was done in a fun way.
Why science fiction detective stories aren’t impossible: A history of science fiction mystery stories. I loved learning all the history.
Clever plants: discussion with author of Semiosis about how agresive plants can be.
Another word & Luke vs Han: a set of questions you can ask yourself if your story gets stuck. As someone who’s not actively writing, it helped me understand the elements of stories and why they work. (And also how the rules can be broken)
Editor’s desk: About Neil’s partnership with Storycom and various anthologies he was working on.
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