Asimov's Science Fiction, October/November 2006

Reviewed date: 2006 Oct 9
240 pages
cover art

Biodad is a little creepy, but almost perfunctorily so. There is no build-up, it just suddenly happens at the end, which is less than satisfactory. I liked A Billion Eves for the background and ideas, but less for its actual plot. Down to the Earth Below started off well, but turning it into a dreamlike fantasy coming-of-age story ruined it. Overall this was a weak issue of Asimov's, with no outstanding science fiction stories.

  • Novella: A Billion Eves, by Robert Reed - With quantum rippers, people can take a one-way trip to unpopulated parallel Earths and set up their own colonies.
  • Novella: Down to the Earth Below, by William Barton - Four boys--all fans of fantastic fiction in the tradition of Edgar Rice Burroughs--explore an old cave and end up in the fictional land they created for their own games.
  • Novelette: Dawn, and Sunset, and the Colours of the Earth, by Michael F. Flynn - When a ferry with thousands of passengers disappears in Elliott Bay, investigation reveals a bizarre phenomenon that is sucking things out of this world into somewhere else.
  • Novelette: 1 Is True, by Ron Collins - Gordie, a retired programmer, is forced back to work when his old business partner needs someone to finish his project: full tactile virtual reality.
  • Biodad, by Kit Reed - A single mother tracks down the sperm donor of her twins, and strikes up a romantic online relationship with him.
  • After I Stopped Screaming, by Pamela Sargent - A retelling of the King Kong story, casting Kong as a tragic feminist character.
  • The Small Astral Objects Genius, by James Van Pelt - Space exploration is accomplished with Peek-a-boos: small, metal spheres that pop out into space at any coordinates you specify, snap a few pictures, and return. High school student Dustin is one of the best explorers, and he stumbles upon the biggest find yet: an inhabited planet.
  • The Seducer, by Carol Emshwiller - A man is haunted by the spectre of his abusive big sister.
  • Saving for a Sunny Day, or, The Benefits of Reincarnation, by Ian Watson - Jimmy is reincarnated with nine million dollars of debt to the Life-Time Bank. Like everyone, Jimmy has no memory of his previous life, and he wonders if reincarnation is true or whether it's a fiction made up by the AIs to control humanity.
  • Foster, by Melissa Lee Shaw - A young widow takes in some kittens from the Humane Society. They begin to die, and she starts seeing the ghosts of her old dead cat, dog, and husband.

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