Okay, I’ve settled into a routine now. I drop by Charles Payseur’s Quick Sip Reviews to see what he thinks of this month’s crop of magazines, read what he has to say about Clarkesworld, and then make a beeline to the Clarkesworld website. The guy knows how to whet your appetite for good fiction.
Here he is on Genevieve Valentine’s 9,000-word tale, “Everyone from Themis Sends Letters Home.”
So this is a rather heartbreaking story about a place that doesn’t even exist. Not exactly. It’s about a woman who has been unfortunate all her life finally being a part of something that she loves, that makes her feel…okay, and then having to find out that it’s been not only a lie but a cruel one… It’s also about a game, a game that comes to be something more than that, mired in the horror of what it did but also in the good that came of it. The story is brilliantly told through letter, at first between Marie and a mysterious other person, then drawing out to include other people… The story does a terrific job of selling the idea of the game and then exploring how the game abused its test subject. How a corporation teamed with a prison to use people and how no one cared. The story flits from person to person but only through letters, so that the story is in some ways the evidence being gathered by the main character, by Benjamina, to turn over to expose what has happened. And it’s completely believable that such treatment of inmates would happen. It points to how we treat the incarcerated, how we treat those we’ve deemed criminal. How powerless they become and how easy they are to use, even when it leaves permanent damage. It’s a wrenching story and I love how it plays out, the guilt and the pain and the yearning. It uses form to great effect and you should definitely read this one. Go!
Read Charles’ complete review of the issue here.
The October Clarkesworld, issue #121, is packed with new fiction by Robert Reed, James Patrick Kelly, Chi Hui, and Nnedi Okorafor & Wanuri Kahiu, and reprints by Jy Yang and Michael Swanwick.
Here’s the complete list of stories.
“The Next Scene” by Robert Reed
“One Sister, Two Sisters, Three” by James Patrick Kelly
“The Calculations of Artificials” by Chi Hui, translated by John Chu
“Everyone from Themis Sends Letters Home” by Genevieve Valentine
“Rusties” by Nnedi Okoafor and Wanuri Kahiu
“Old Domes” by Jy Yang (from We See a Different Frontier, 2013)
“The Very Pulse of the Machine” by Michael Swanwick (from Asimov’s Science Fiction, February 1998)
The non-fiction is:
Méliès to Bonestell: Relevancy and Realism in Cinematic Science Fiction by Mark Cole
Jazz Music and Greek Myths: A Conversation with Peter S. Beagle by Chris Urie
Another Word: The Ship’s Voice: A Risk Analysis and Modest Proposal by Fran Wilde
Editor’s Desk: A Decade by Neil Clarke
There is one podcasts (so far):
“The Next Scene” by Robert Reed, read by Kate Baker
The cover this issue, “Samyaza, Angel of Pride,” is by Peter Mohrbacher.
We last covered Clarkesworld with Issue 120.
Clarkesworld is edited by Neil Clarke and Sean Wallace, and published by Wyrm Publishing. The contents are available for free online; individual issues can be purchased for $3.99, and monthly subscriptions are $2.99/month. A 6-month sub is $17.94, and the annual price is $35.88. Learn more and order individual issues at the magazine’s website.
See the complete issue here.