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short stories


Recommended 1997 Novelettes

Greg Abraham, "Front Man" (Asimov's 6/97) A gay couple's disintegration mirrors the relationship between humanity and alien visitors. [Reviewed 5/97]

George Alan, "Fugue" (Spec Lit No. 1) Smooth cyberpunkish tale of two people in a French resort who realize they are being manipulated as assassins; by a student writer who went on to become a hotel middle-manager. [Reviewed 7/97]

Poul Anderson, "Tyranny" (Free Space, ed. Linaweaver & Kramer; Tor, July) Five conspirators plan to destroy a computer ruling their world; a persuasive lesson in the tradeoff between selfishness and self-restraint necessary for liberty. [Reviewed 7/97]

Dale Bailey, "Quinn's Way" (F&SF 2/97) Reflection on life as a 12 year old in small town West Virginia, with abusive fathers and a magical circus. [Reviewed 3/97]

Richard Bowes, "Streetcar Dreams" (F&SF 4/97) The culminating urban fantasy about Kevin Grierson and his "Shadow". [Reviewed 5/97]

John Brunner, "Blood and Judgment" (Asimov's 4/97) The last of the author's China stories: modern medical equipment figures in a plot by a government official to disgrace his daughter so he can gain permission to have a second child. [Reviewed 3/97]

Eugene Byrne, "Thigmoo" (Interzone 6/97) Historical simulations in a university's computer rise up against their oppressors and threaten the world with electronic chaos. [Reviewed 9/97]

Arthur Byron Cover, "The Performance of a Lifetime" (Free Space, ed. Linaweaver & Kramer; Tor, 7/97) Blackly humorous tale of a terrorist who looses plagues upon space habitats as performance art, and lesson in free will. [Reviewed 7/97]

Tony Daniel, "Black Canoes" (Asimov's 7/97) A potter and an anthropologist journey by canoe to an inverse world where Plains Indians provide a necessary ritual of rebirth. [Reviewed 6/97]

Greg Egan, "Reasons to Be Cheerful" (Interzone 4/97) Brain chemistry determines one's outlook on life: unsettling hard SF about finding a balance between meaningless happiness and meaningless despair. [Reviewed 6/97]

Gregory Feeley, "On the Ice Islands" (Asimov's 10-11/97) Suspenseful new chapter in Feeley's Neptune saga in which an astronaut battles for survivial while trapped in a spacesuit not under her own control.

"The Truest Chill", Gregory Feeley (SF Age Nov 97) For several years Feeley has been writing a series of stories depicting a decades-long generation-ship voyage to colonize Neptune. In this story a security agent aboard the ship deals with the malcontents who inevitably arise in such an enclosed society -- including her own daughter -- and a roman a clef depicting the ship's officers. Even among the stars, human nature in inescapable.

Esther M. Friesner, "Miss Thing" (F&SF 5/97) Performers at a club featuring drag shows take in a street urchin whose true nature surprises even them. [Reviewed 6/97]

Esther M. Friesner, "True Believer" (F&SF 9/97) Hilarious tale in which magical cough syrup gives a comic-book reading boy the unconscious power to make things he believes in become real.

James Alan Gardner, "Three Hearings on the Existence of Snakes in the Human Bloodstream" (Asimov's 2/97) A gospel passage about serpents in the blood affects the careers of Leeuwenhoek, Darwin, and McCarthy in an alternate history about the subjective nature of truth. [Reviewed 1/97]

James P. Hogan, "Madam Butterfly" (Free Space, ed. Linaweaver & Kramer; Tor, 7/97) A flower in a Tokyo office building, an accident among ice miners in the outer solar system, and a for-want-of-a-nail sequence of events that links them. [Reviewed 7/97]

Bill Johnson, "We Will Drink a Fish Togetherů" (Asimov's 5/97) A security man for alien visitors resigns to attend a family funeral in the hills of South Dakota, where the humans are stranger than aliens. [Reviewed 4/97]

Gwyneth Jones, "Balinese Dancer" (Asimov's 9/97) A British family's camping trip in France becomes a spooky reflection of a theory that human evolution is causing the difference between the sexes to erode. [Reviewed 9/97]

Vilma Kadleckova, "Longing for Blood" (F&SF 1/97) An otherworldly family named Taskre searches for a man to save them; fantasy by a Czech writer that encases the Cinderella story. [Reviewed 2/97]

Ellen Kushner & Delia Sherman, "Fall of the Kings" (Bending the Landscape) Two men fall in love at medieval university, with exhilarating, tragic consequences. [Reviewed 4/97]

Jonathan Lethem & Angus MacDonald, "The Edge of the Bed of Forever" (F&SF 8/97) Quirky tale that recombines common sf notions about time travel and infinite hotels into a useful device for cheating on your spouse. [Reviewed 9/97]

Paul Levinson, "The Mendelian Lamp Case" (Analog 4/97) Sleuth forensic scientist Phil D'Amato in Pennsylvania Amish country on the trail of non-technological bio-warfare. [Reviewed 3/97]

Paul J. McAuley & Kim Newman, "Residuals" (Asimov's 6/97) The FBI tails two survivors of an alien abduction in the 1970s and discovers the truth is creepier and weirder than they suspected. [Reviewed 5/97]

Paul J. McAuley, "Second Skin" (Asimov's 4/97) A 200 year old spy arrives at Proteus, moon of Neptune, to infiltrate trade negotiations after an interplanetary war. Well-crafted, highly imaginative hard SF. [Reviewed 3/97]

Ian McDonald, "After Kerry" (Asimov's 3/97) Fragmented 21st century Ireland is the setting for multies, people channeling aliens from Epsilon Eridani, and a man's attempt to reunite his family. [Reviewed 2/97]

Terry McGarry, "Mindchild" (Terra Incognita Spring/97) A pregnant teenager escapes a repressive US to a Canadian hospital, where she becomes part of an experimental treatment in curing Alzheimer's. [Reviewed 6/97]

"God Is Thus", Walter M. Miller, Jr. (F&SF Oct/Nov 97) An excerpt from Saint Leibowitz and the Wild Horse Woman, the posthumous sequel to one of the undisputed classics of SF, Miller's A Canticle for Leibowitz.

Michael Moorcock, "London Bone" (New Worlds, ed. David Garnett) A 21st century London ticket scalper discovers a trade in beautiful, amber-like, chemically transformed bones of long-buried Londoners. (JS)

Kim Newman, "Great Western" (New Worlds, ed. David Garnett) Beautifully told alternate history in which the Magna Carta's inclusion of the right to bear arms produces a British history with parallels of the Civil War and the Wild West. (JS)

"Crossing Chao Meng Fu", G. David Nordley (Analog, Dec 97) Rigorous yet humanistic hard SF about explorers on the south pole of Mercury (with a descent into a crevasse scene similar to Benford/Malartez's). It's a prequel to a story involving the same poet-protagonist, 1993's Hugo-nominated "Into the Miranda Rift".

David Nordley, "This Old Rock" (Analog 4/97) Asteroid homesteaders face a gruelling trial from the Interplanetary Association inspector. [Reviewed 3/97]

Tom Purdom, "Canary Land" (Asimov's 1/97) A immigrant musician to a 21st lunar city finds himself unskilled labor at the mercy of a blackmail scheme to infiltrate an artificial ecosystem. [Reviewed 12/96]

Alastair Reynolds, "A Spy in Europa" (Interzone 6/97) Inventive, colorful adventure steeped in interplanetary politics as rival factions vie for control of Jovian space. [Reviewed 9/97]

Uncle River, "Passing the Torch" (Asimov's 2/97) An old woman in rural Arizona worries about raising her 16 year old grandson as widespread social upheavals reach their town. [Reviewed 1/97]

William Sanders, "The Undiscovered" (Asimov's 3/97) Cherokee narrative about a marooned white man named Spearshaker who explains the idea of a play and then tries to stage Hamlet. [Reviewed 2/97]

Robert Silverberg, "Beauty in the Night" (SF Age 9/97) In a near-future overshadowed by invading aliens, the son of a Pakistani woman plots revenge on his English father for a lifetime of abuse and his secret dealings with the aliens.

Robert Silverberg, "Call Me Titan" (Asimov's 2/97) An elder Greek god awakens from underneath Mt. Etna and embarks into the modern day world. A tribute to Roger Zelazny. [Reviewed 1/97]

Brian Stableford, "The Pipes of Pan" (F&SF 6/97) When everyone is immortal, how to let people have children without risking overpopulation? Think of Peter Pan. [Reviewed 7/97]

"El Castillo de la Perseverancia", Howard Waldrop (Asimov's Dec 97) A tale about masked Mexican wrestlers in the 1960s and the spectral forces that use them to stage a classic morality play.

Howard Waldrop, "The Heart of Whitenesse" (New Worlds, ed. David Garnett) Delightful alternate history in which Christopher Marlowe, secret agent, interrogates Faust to see if he's a papist. (JS)

Walter Jon Williams, "Lethe" (Asimov's 9/97) Complex, insightful study of a future when people use nanotech to duplicate themselves, including their minds, and the psychological and emotional problems that can ensue. (Williams doesn't use the word "clones", but the cover does.) [Reviewed 9/97]

"Newsletter", Connie Willis (Asimov's Dec 97) A woman harried by holiday hustle and bustle notices that people are unusually nice -- and wonders if aliens have taken over. Funny, charming, and wise in the ways of trashy movies.

(Dates in brackets indicate issues of Locus where full reviews appeared.)

© 1997 by Locus Publications. All rights reserved.