December 24, 2020

Review: Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 168

Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 168 Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 168 by Neil Clarke
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This issue of Clarkesworld has a nice cover, although I'm not sure if that's a robot or someone in a superhero helmet.

"Blue and Blue and Blue and Pink," Lavie Tadhar

So far, I've been "meh" on what I've read of this author, but this story definitely falls on the thumbs-down end of the equation. It's a little bit science fiction and a little bit horror, and either way, I didn't like it.

Grade: D

"What Remains of Maya Sankovy," G.D. Angier

This is a rather complicated story of a generation ship gestating embryos on an alien planet, and said planet's coral attacking and mutating the colonizers. It's okay, but not outstanding.

Grade: C

"Lone Puppeteer of a Sleeping City," Arula Ratnakar

This tale of uploaded consciousness on a dying Earth becomes a story of an Eternal Cycle--GrandMother, Mother, Child--where each becomes the other in turn. The central idea is mildly interesting, but the characters didn't grab me.

Grade: C

"Certainty," Isabel Lee

Another overly complicated story of quantum theory and time travel that folds in on itself, over and over, and winds up making precious little sense. You can actually have a logical time travel story (the first Terminator movie is a prime example of that). This story doesn't rise to that level, alas.

Grade: D

"Ask the Fireflies," R.P. Sand

The highlight of this issue, a lovely story of an artificial intelligence, a psychological diagnostic routine, trying to save the little girl in its care from a rather sinister set of parents.

Grade: A

"Every Plumage, Every Beak," Nin Harris

This story has a very mythical feel to it, with its owl-women and different nonhuman races, and also a steampunk feel, with its floating cities and flying war kites. According to the endnotes, the author also writes poetry, and there is a very poetic feel to this story's prose.

Grade: B

"The Book Reader," Keishi Kajifune, translated by Toshiya Kamei

This is a rather bleak story of a world where nanobots try to control the population by taking away people's ability to read and imagine (and, I would think, create). It's very short, unsettling, and wicked sharp.

Grade: B+

View all my reviews

No comments: