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Profiles of September 1998 Issues

Interzone September 1998
The letter column discusses a July 4th screed in the British weekly The Spectator that condemns all science fiction because it hasn't come up with any new ideas since the invention of Mr. Spock (as Darrell Schweitzer summarizes it) -- the latest attack on the genre by ill-informed outsiders. John Whitbourn is interviewed and contributes a disturbing story about a former Soviet state still living under the shadow of the atrocious Beria. Other fiction: Tanith Lee writes about a carefully raised young woman who's really very old; Eric Brown is overcome by the meaninglessness of it all; Thomas M. Disch plays literary cohesiveness games; and Timons Esaias finds meaning in SF. Plus the usual extensive reviews, including David Pringle's look at a reprint of H. Rider Haggard's The People of the Mist. (Short fiction reviews)
(Sun 18 Oct 98)
Asimov's September 1998
Robert Silverberg finds substance in a tale from Herodotus about giant ants on a remote plateau in India -- it turns out the Persians used the same word for ''marmot'' as for ''mountain-ant''. Norman Spinrad explores the impression that no one is much writing science fiction anymore, that SF is a ''finished story''. He agrees that cutting edge speculative fiction, like serious mainstream, is being marginalized from the commercial schlock to small presses or modest publishing ventures like Gordon Van Gelder's line at St. Martin's. He reviews books by Paul Di Filippo and Maurice G. Dantec whose publication by commercial US publishers doesn't seem possible, and two others by Richard Calder and David Prill, from St. Martin's. Fiction includes a Paul J. McAuley novella about sea monsters on Europa, Alexander Jablokov's meditation on communities and demographics, and Michael Swanwick's crisp exploration of time paradoxes and human evil. The 12th annual readers' awards poll lists choices of favorite works published last year -- the short fiction winners are precisely the three works that won Hugos. (Short fiction reviews)
(Sun 18 Oct 98)
Science Fiction Age September 1998
Editor Scott Edelman sounds a warning against Thomas M. Disch's The Dreams Our Stuff Is Made Of -- ''a dangerous book'' that should not be allowed to mislead newcomers to SF. Geoffrey A. Landis leads Lawrence Krauss and David Krieger in a discussion about the state of science in science fiction. Much of it, especially the stuff on TV, is ''full of errors''. Dan Perez surveys the new TV season, while Eric T. Baker reviews a Star Trek: Deep Space Nine card game. Harlan Ellison rhapsodizes about Vincent Di Fate's art book Infinite Worlds (and by the way complains about Thomas M. Disch's review of it). In fiction, Robert Reed considers why a scientist would create an army of clones, David Langford finds Lovecraftian horror in the history of the 20th century, Stephen Dedman imagines different fates for Robert Heinlein and Charles Manson, and Terry Bisson dates the oldest fire in the world. (Short fiction reviews)
(Sat 26 Sep 98)
F&SF September 1998
R. Garcia y Robertson contributes a colorful, fast-paced novella about airships on a terraformed colony planet, an alien race of symbiont Bugs, and a cloned airship captain who worships at the shrine of Elvis. Gregory Benford continues his account of designing a message to attach to the Cassini spacecraft. Benford's team considers what mathematics might be comprehensible by aliens in a liquid environment (Cassini's target is Titan), and how to date the time of launch for aliens who may not find it for millions of years. Other fiction includes Albert E. Cowdrey's investigation of an old New Orleans family; Joyce Carol Oates' tale of a boy who survives near-death; and Larry Tritten's effective parody of Harlan Ellison. Film reviewer Kathi Maio laments Hollywood remakes of second rate TV series from decades ago, but admits she kinda liked Lost In Space. Neil Gaiman contributes the Curiosities page about a book by a Polish count who, convinced he was a werewolf, blew his brains out. (Short fiction reviews)
(Sat 26 Sep 98)
Amazing Summer 1998
The latest incarnation of the very first SF magazine is again glossy, full color, and edited by Kim Mohan. What's new is the media component, consisting of two stories per issue of tie-in fiction. This issue has two Star Trek stories, by A. C. Crispin and John Gregory Betancourt, both featuring familiar ST situations but otherwise of little SFnal interest. Other fiction includes an excerpt from Orson Scott Card's latest novel and a new Sam Gunn story by Ben Bova. Also: oddball vignettes from James Alan Gardner and Neal Barrett, Jr. The best piece in the issue is the column by Bruce Sterling that reviews the history of the magazine and contemplates what it means in the very late 20th century to be ''amazing''. Note: Distribution of this issue is apparently poor; Locus Online has yet to see a copy actually for sale anyplace. For information on subscribing, see the magazine's website. (Short fiction reviews)
(Tue 15 Sep 98)
Analog September 1998
Stanley Schmidt's editorial addresses beef, E. coli, irradiation, and public confusion about technology. John G. Cramer's ''The Alternate View'' column identifies a surprising connection between DNA and the search for dark matter. (It involves using solutions of DNA as radiation detectors, since DNA chains are easily broken.) Daniel Hatch examines the realities of ''Spacebiz 101'', comparing costs of various launch systems with possible sources of revenue (mining platinum, building microchips), to see how many people might actually live and work in space over the next century. Answer: about 100,000. Michael Burstein sequelizes his Hugo-nominated ''Broken Symmetries'', W. R. Thompson offers a new tale of the alien kya, Bud Sparhawk's Sam Boone takes kitty-aliens to a faux Disney World, and Charles L. Harness wickedly sends up downsizing. (Short fiction reviews)
(Tue 15 Sep 98)
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