Review: Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 138

Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 138 (Clarkesworld Magazine, #138)Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 138 by Neil Clarke
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

An issue in which I enjoyed pretty much every story. I didn’t detect the theme as easily in this issue as I usually do. The novella that anchors this issue, The Persistence of Blood, is really well-written.

Here are my per-story thoughts:

Tool-Using Mimics: The author takes a photo – perhaps a real take or perhaps from a copypasta forum and comes up with a bunch of possible micro-stories that could go along with the photo.

The persistence of blood: A combination of Dune and Handmaid’s Tale, this novella is the story of a woman trying to make the world a better place for women. Powerfully written.

Unplaces: an atlas of non-existence: A frame device that creatively both tells us about the world of the story as well as proposing a world where there’s some mechanism for the places of myth to be made real and unreal.

Farewell, Adam: A PR team constructs the perfect idol (in the Japanese sense of the super star celebrity) by having his consciousness controlled by 100 different people who each specialize in certain emotional states. There’s also an interesting plot twist that I’m not sure I 100% understood, but what I did understand was pretty brilliant.

The no-one girl: A rather sad tale with a bit of a Buddhist ending

Are you afflicted with dragons: one of my favorite types of stories: where a trickster reveals his trick. Nice, humorous tone. If definitely recommend checking it out.

God decay: ostensibly about someone who gets biomods to no longer be wheelchair-bound, but actually about his relationships and how he saw the world after the surgeries

Aliens among us: cephalopods in science fiction and fantasy: The author presents us with some information about cephalopods and then a survey of them in fiction and mythology from the 1200s to now.

Poetry, philosophy, and Welsh: a conversation with Jo Walton: A conversation about Walton’s poetry, a bit about The Just City, and some more about death.

Another word: saving throw vs boredom: how RPG taught me storytelling: Former SWFA President Cat Rambo writes about how RPGs (like D&D) helped fuel her creativity and find a community that she’s still a part of decades later.

Editor’s Desk: Neil reviews the winners of the Clarkesworld awards in 2017.

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