Review: Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 144, September 2018

Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 144, September 2018 by Neil Clarke

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A Study in Oils (Kelly Robson) – a neat blend of science fiction and fantasy, I love how the author evokes the setting. I can really picture it in my mind. Although not entirely unique, I like the idea of an Earth cultural sanctuary.

Waves of influence (DA Xiaolin Spires) – Recently I’ve read a slew of SFF stories dealing with futuristic or fantastical versions of social media. It makes perfect sense given their prevalence and influence on the culture this last decade. This one, written back before the current moment in which it seems Twitter might implode and we might have the next evolution in the space, tackles the facial filter aspect. Any gender can experience dysmorphia from the practice but it seems to have extra urgency in the hands of Spires, who has female pronouns in her bio at the end of the story. I also love the story she has used to explore how this might affect users – quite different from the usual narrative in real life.

Dandelion (Elly Bangs) – the frame story allows the author to tell a “hidden figures” type story about women in tech without it getting antibiotics anvilicious.

The Foodie Federation’s Dinosaur Farm (Luo Longxiang) – this turned out to be a lot funnier and more fun than I expected. This is a bit on the nose, but I loved it. Great example quote: “The foodies were insatiable. They wanted exquisite variety, minced delicacies, food that took ten or even a hundred times more energy to raise and prepare than it provided.”

The Mighty Slinger (Karen Lord and Tobias S. Buckell) – an interesting story with dining dynamics like many other space colonization stories. This time about the power of music to change humanity.

Mayfly (Peter Watts and Derryl Murphy) – I’ve read similar stories, even seen movies with a plot like this one. But the ending still surprised the heck out of me. It managed to be almost both kind of endings at once.

How and Why CRISPR Will Change the World (Doug Dluzen) – a review of the history of CRISPR and where it might go in the near term.

Mars, Sextants, and Puppets: A Conversation with Mary Robinette Kowal (Chris Urie) – a conversation about one of the Lady Astronaut novels.

Another Word: Softly Dying Darlings, and How to Deal with Them (Alethea Kontis) – a neat variant on the killing of darlings that ends up being great advice for writers.

Editor’s Desk: Another Post-Con Crash (Neil Clark) – loved reading about Neil’s experience at 2018 World Con

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