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Asimov's Science Fiction: Vol. 24, No. 2…

Asimov's Science Fiction: Vol. 24, No. 2 (February 2000) (1999)

by Gardner Dozois (Editor)

Other authors: O'Neil De Noux (Contributor), L. TImmel Duchamp (Contributor), Esther M. Friesner (Contributor), Ursula K. Le Guin (Contributor), G. David Nordley (Contributor)2 more, Wolf Read (Cover artist), James Sarafin (Contributor)

Series: Asimov's Science Fiction (289)

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The February 2000 issue of Asimov's Science Fiction contains a novella, 2 novelletes and 3 short stories as well 2 poems and
3 columns. Overall I thought this was a decent issue, with a mix of good and weak stories. The fiction stories are:

"The Royals of Hegn" shortstory by Ursula K. Le Guin
"How Josiah Taylor Lost His Soul" novelette by L. Timmel Duchamp
"Downriver" shortstory by James Sarafin
"The Shunned Trailer" shortstory by Esther M. Friesner
"Tyrannous and Strong" novelette by O'Neil De Noux
"The Forest Between the Worlds" novella by G. David Nordley

The first story, Ursula Le Guin's, was one I did not enjoy. I suppose it is a satire of how people fawn and obsess over royal families. The twist here is that the story is set on an island kingdom where virtually everyone is a member of the extended royal family after centuries of cross-breeding, except for about two dozen people of two families. They are the commoners. And so the royals fuss and fawn over the lives of their commoners. I repeatedly found myself asking why was I reading this. blah. This is science fiction? no

L. Timmel Duchamp's "How Josiah Taylor Lost His Soul" was better, and acted like science fiction, but I really didn't care for this story either. A clone, one of eight and considered a non-person without a soul, plots to kill his original, Josiah. A couple elements bothered me. Most notable I think is this - to put it simply, if you were rich and had a bunch of clones made so that you could harvest limbs and organs from them for your own life as time goes by, why would you hang out with them? If something strange like this ever came to pass I would imagine it more like the situation in "Never Let Me Go" by Kazuo Ishiguro where the clones have no idea who their "original" is or was. The concept of who has a soul is an element of both stories, but not much is made of it here despite the title. Disappointing.

"Downriver" by James Sarafin is a somewhat dark post-apocalyptic short story set in an Alaskan hunting/fishing lodge after Anchorage is destroyed. I thought it was pretty interesting. Friesner's comedy "The Shunned Trailer" was clever and entertaining - Harvard student runs into trailer trash ala HP Lovecraft. I found myself repeatedly chuckling. However, I must
say again: This is science fiction? no.

"Tyrannous and Strong" by O'Neil De Noux was a really exciting, heart-racing planetary adventure with a man fighting for his life against the largest land predator in the known universe. I found myself sympathizing with both hunter and hunted. Well told, and my favorite in this issue.

The longest work in this issue was "The Forest Between the Worlds", with two planets linked that seemed very improbable although the author goes to pains to prop his ideas via a hard science approach. This is melded with a sort of old-fashioned rescue adventure. It had my interest from the start and I liked it pretty good once we get in to it. The story was very inventive and I liked the ending, but there is a bit of overkill on the scientific explanations of things. ( )
  RBeffa | Nov 11, 2012 |
"How Josiah Taylor Lost His Soul" - L. Timmel Duchamp ****
A clone brought up to believe he has no soul plots to replace his original.
"Tyrannous and Strong" - O'Neil De Noux ***
A colonist on another planet must fight off a predatory dinosaur. Entertaining action, not much else.
"The Royals of Hegn" - Ursula K. Le Guin ***
Satire of celebrity worship, especially of the British royal family.
"Downriver" - James Sarafin ***
A conflict between Alaska and the federal government strands a fisherman in a remote area.
"The Shunned Trailer" - Esther M. Friesner ****
Lovecraftian comedy about Cthulhu worshipers in a trailer park.
"The Forest Between the Worlds" - G. David Nordley ****
Explorers contact a potentially intelligent species in a giant forest growing between two tide-locked planets. A good story although the early parts overdo the technical information about how the forest exists. ( )
  sdobie | Nov 11, 2007 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Dozois, GardnerEditorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
De Noux, O'NeilContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Duchamp, L. TImmelContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Friesner, Esther M.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Le Guin, Ursula K.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Nordley, G. DavidContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Read, WolfCover artistsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Sarafin, JamesContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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