Black Gate blogger Derek Künsken has a big novella in Asimov’s Science Fiction this month, and it’s already getting great reviews. Clancy Weeks at Tangent Online had this to say about it:
I love a good mystery, and “Pollen From a Future Harvest” by Derek Künsken is indeed a good mystery. Some of that mystery is in parsing the twists and turns related to time travel, along with the prose itself, but it is rewarding nonetheless. Major Okonkwo, of the Sixth Expeditionary Force of the Sub-Saharan Union, is a military auditor — a bookkeeper — and she has been given the open-ended task of auditing the entire base. There are layers, sub-plots, and twists here, but the main issue is dealing with a possible “grandfather paradox” associated with time travel… Something has happened up the line, and Okonkwo needs to find out why, and if it is related to the recent death (some would say murder) of her senior husband. There is an amazing amount of backstory we learn along the way, and rich, multi-layered world-building… a very good and entertaining read.
Derek made the cover this month, for the second time (the first was for his novelette “Schools of Clay” in the February 2014 issue.) I had the chance to meet Derek for the first time at the Nebula Awards weekend here in Chicago from June 4-June 7, where we talked space opera, writing, and conventions. He’s a remarkably astute observer of the field, and has a very keen eye on short fiction markets. He also brought me up-to-date on the state of fandom in my home town of Ottawa, which I greatly appreciated. His detailed summary of the Nebula weekend is here.
It was also great to re-connect with Asimov’s editor Sheila Williams, whom I became friends with while I was editing SF Site in the late 90s. Sheila shared a Thursday panel with Tachyon editor Jacob Weisman on “What Editors Are Looking For,” and it was fascinating to hear her detail the delicate work of selecting the right mix of fiction for each issue — balancing tragedy with comedy, science fiction with fantasy, short stories and novellas, and avoiding repeated themes (no more than one generation ship, ghost, and time travel story per issue, just as examples). The harder issues to balance are the subtle ones, including getting the right mix of tone and new and established authors, not to mention keeping an eye on gender, racial, and sexual diversity.
“Bottom line, I want my readers to be entertained every issue,” she said. “And I want them to look forward to the next one.”
She seems to have managed that nicely — I certainly look forward eagerly to each issue. And the July issue is no exception. There’s lot of great fiction this month, with stories from Derek Künsken, David Gerrold, Mary Robinette Kowal, and many others.
“Pollen From a Future Harvest” by Derek Künsken
“Like Native Things” by Mary Robinette Kowal
“The Great Pan American Airship Mystery, or, Why I Murdered Robert Benchley” by David Gerrold
“Acres of Perhaps” by Will Ludwigsen
“Petroglyph Man” by Rudy Rucker
Asimov’s Science Fiction is edited by Sheila Williams and published by Dell Magazines. The cover price is $4.99 for 112 pages; a one-year subscription is $34.97 (US) or $49.97 (International). It is also available in a variety of digital formats. The cover this issue is by James Steidl/Shutterstock.com. Check out the complete TOC, story excerpts, and additional free content at the website.
We last covered Asimov’s SF here with the June 2015 issue.