Review: Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 137

Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 137 (Clarkesworld Magazine, #137)Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 137 by Neil Clarke
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This issue was full of longer piece, but also pieces I loved so much. I was cracking up so much with Solderin’. I felt pretty emotional with Umbernight, especially as I am getting older like the protagonist and slowly being replaced by the next generation. I also really enjoyed The Power is Out – I couldn’t stop reading that story. And The Girl-Thing was a good story, despite the few nits I had to pick with the narrative style.

Here are my story-by-story thoughts (mostly non-spoilery):

Deep down in the cloud: A story about trying hard to effect change even if what you can do seems so miniscule. A future I could see ourselves headed towards.

Obliteration: Reminds me a bit of the premise of Cory Doctorow’s Down and out in the magic kingdom. Very interesting exploration of what life would be like if we could remember everything.

Umbernight: I’ve read a lot of stories of the descendents of generation ships. But this one was really unique in the world it created and the challenges for the colonists.

The power is out: A story about the collapse of society after a solar flare knocks out the electric grid. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but something about the first person narrative really works for me. I think it’s at least in part the overall banality of the situation.

Soldierin’: hilarious story about some Buffalo soldiers with a really fun first-person narrative. Can’t see where it’s science fiction or fantasy unless I missed something, but it was such a great story that I don’t mind.

The girl-thing who went out for sushi: A pretty neat story about transhumanism that I think is a metaphor for the current trans situation. It works on its own and the only thing that was a little weird for me was that the main character spoke as if he didn’t understand the human mind-set, but they mention near the end of the story that the transhumans are sterile. So it didn’t make sense to me that someone who used to be human would speak in that way. But maybe that’s also some kind of metaphor that makes sense to trans folks who’ve transitioned.

The undiscovered country: planets of dead stars: an essay about the habitability of planets as their stars die. Followed up by a short discussion of science fiction that has played with the concepts.

Classics, companionship, and a creature: a conversation with John Kessel: a discussion with the author of Pride and Prometheus, a mashup of Pride and Prejudice and Frankenstein.

Another Word: A Brief Parable about Exchanges Between Time, Independence, Technology, and Privacy: for someone with mobility issues, the trade-offs between online privacy and convenience is not so simple

Editor’s desk: About voting for that year’s best stories and artwork.

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