Asimov's Science Fiction, December 2007

Reviewed date: 2010 Jan 4
144 pages
cover art

There isn't much to like about this issue of Asimov's. The positive part is the second installment of Allen M. Steele's new Coyote story. And the negative: everything else. All Seated on the Ground is a farcical Christmas special that is neither funny nor terribly Christmassy. The Lonesome Planet Travelers' Advisory is a comical short that isn't funny. Strangers on a Bus isn't science fiction and doesn't qualify as fantasy either, so I presume it is included because Jack Skillingstead has written for Asimov's before and therefore the editors like him. The Rules is an idea-driven story, but the idea is dull and the execution is pedestrian. do(this) isn't even a story--just a single well-worn idea padded with filler.

  • Serial: Galaxy Blues: The Pride of Cucamonga (Part 2 of 4), by Allen M. Steele - Jules Truffaut, an illegal immigrant on the planet Coyote, accepts a job offer from Morgan Goldstein to participate in the first interstellar trading mission.
  • Novella: All Seated on the Ground, by Connie Willis - A laugh-out-loud funny Christmas farce wherein aliens land on Earth and refuse to communicate--they just stand there with disgusted expressions on their faces. They only react occasionally by acting out certain phrases from Christmas carols; our heroes must discover the common denominator between the phrases that elicit a reaction and those that don't.
  • The Lonesome Planet Travelers. Advisory, by Tim McDaniel - A silly, Hitchhiker's Guide-esque entry about planet Earth. Please don't kill too many cows. Anal probing is OK in moderation, ha ha.
  • Strangers on a Bus, by Jack Skillingstead - A battered woman escapes and gets on a bus to anywhere, where she meets a man who makes up stories in his head about the people he meets--and the stories become reality. It's not even science fiction.
  • The Rules, by Nancy Kress - An eccentric bazillionaire hijacks every single TV channel in order to broadcast a public service announcement about the dangers of global warming.
  • do(this), by Stephen Graham Jones - Programmer accidentally creates a self-aware computer program, but mistakenly powers it off before he realizes what he's done.

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