Asimov's Science Fiction, October/November 2004

Reviewed date: 2004 Nov 9
240 pages
cover art

Not a strong collection. The Word that Sings the Scythe is the only good story in the bunch; Perfectible is an amusing short-short; Liberation Day is good but it would be advisable to wait and read it in novel form later. A Change of Mind isn't half bad, but not memorable; Though I Sang in My Chains Like the Sea had some interesting premises but fell far short of expectations, leaving me unsatisfied.

  • Novella: Liberation Day, by Allen M. Steele - The seventh in Steele's second Coyote series, which will be published in book form as Coyote Rising. A good story, but I say wait for the book. No sense reading only part of the story.
  • Novelette: Survivor, by Charles Stross - Something about kittens and virtual reality people. Stross is incomprehensible and I wish they would stop publishing his dreck.
  • Novelette: Though I Sang In My Chains Like the Sea, by William Barton - What happens if you wake up one morning and everyone in the world has shrunk to doll size?
  • Novelette: The Catch, by Kage Baker - An angry time traveler escapes from the institute and hides in the past.
  • Novelette: A Change of Mind, by Robert Reed - Chasing after the elusive meme-man!
  • Novelette: Skin Deep, by Mary Rosenblum - A man disfigured since childhood gets a chance at a normal life when a doctor offers to grow him a new face. But why did the doctor choose him?
  • Novelette: The Word that Sings the Scythe, by Michael Swanwick - Fantasy tale in which man finds a child who never grows old and who is unable to make new permanent memories.
  • Sysyphus and the Stranger, by Paul Di Filippo - In 1914 the discovery of N-rays propels France to a stunning victory in the Great War.
  • Scatter, by Jack Skillingstead - Consigned to a life in virtual reality after his accident, our detective runs into trouble with his latest case.
  • We Could Be Sisters, by Chris Beckett - A woman meets herself and learns that it is possible to slip from one parallel universe to another.
  • Perfectible, by Geoffrey A. Landis - Clever little short-short.
  • The Defenders, by Colin P. Davies - Stupid story.

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