Strange Alien Invasions and Orbital Salvage Teams: May/June 2021 Print SF Magazines

Strange Alien Invasions and Orbital Salvage Teams: May/June 2021 Print SF Magazines

Asimov’s Science Fiction and Analog Science Fiction & Fact for May/June 2021. Cover art by

Sam Tomaino at SFRevu raves over the latest issue of Asimov’s.

The May/June 2021 issue of Asimov’s Science Fiction is here and it has two Hugo-worthy novelettes!

“Reclaiming the Stars” by James Gunn. This is the fourth and final story in a series that features the adventures of Harry and Lisa George, who as of the previous story, were physically long dead but survived as personalities in black boxes on an Earth… The story begins with Harry and Lisa working at recreating human life with Lisa more comfortable with that than Harry, who has nightmares about a future Adam being killed by a sea monster. He wonders if there is something wrong with him. But when Lisa has a nightmare of her own about their progeny dying. They speculate that these visions are coming from an outside source. Who or what? Could it be a “ghost” of the AI that they defeated in the first story in this series?

Harry and Lisa have one last adventure and the series concludes in a perfect way. This story will be on my shortlist for consideration for a Best Novelette Hugo Award next year.

The issue concludes with the novelette, “Flattering the Flame” by Robert Reed. The Great Ship has two possible routes, the Prudent or the Impetuous. The Impetuous takes them through a very ancient developed system inhabited by the people known as the Flame. The Flame knows of the coming of the Great Ship and plan to take it for their own, led by their captain, Fierce. But Washen, the Great Ship captain, has other ideas. Another wonderfully rich tale from one of the genre’s most unique writers.

The May/June Dell magazines also contain stories by Neal Asher, Lettie Prell, Dominica Phetteplace, Ray Nayler, David Moles, and many others. Here’s all the details.

Asimov’s Science Fiction

Let’s start with editor Sheila Williams’ issue description from the website.

Our May/June 2021 issue begins with David Moles’s brilliant novelette about about deep time, sibling rivalry, and the end of the universe. Don’t miss “The Metric”! The issue concludes with Robert Reed’s exciting new Great Ship novelette that shows why “Flattering the Flame” is a very good idea.

You’ll find a lot of other wonderful novelettes and short stories nestled between these must-read works: Ray Nayler depicts a strange alien invasion in “Año Nuevo”; James Gunn lays out a plan for “Reclaiming the Stars”; Ian Creasey takes on some thorny genetic manipulation questions in “Super Sprouts”; Rick Wilber & Brad Aiken tell us the tale of a very modern “Tin Man”; new to Asimov’s author Annika Barranti Klein reveals the tragic secret of “Phosphor’s Circle”; the situation is tense in new authors K.A. Teryna & Alexander Bachilo’s portrayal of “The Chartreuse Sky”; and we find out why “My Heart Is at Capacity” in TJ Berry’s first tale for the magazine. Mary Anne Mohanraj shows us what it means to live “Among the Marithei” and Dominica Phetteplace gives us a stark view of the future in “Ready Gas and Pills.”

Robert Silverberg’s Reflections column peruses “The First Encyclopedia”; James Patrick Kelly’s On the Net introduces us to some “Digital Heroes”; new On Books reviewer, Sheree Renée Thomas looks at work by Alaya Dawn Johnson, Rebecca Roanhorse, P. Djèlí Clark, Andrea Hairston, and others; James Gunn’s intriguing Thought Experiment considers “Religion and Science Fiction”; plus we have an array of poetry and other great stories!

Here’s the complete Table of Contents.


“The Metric” by David Moles
“Reclaiming the Stars” by James Gunn
“Año Nuevo” by Ray Nayler
“Super Sprouts” by Ian Creasey
“Tin Man” by Rick Wilber & Brad Aiken
“Flattering the Flame” by Robert Reed


“Among the Marithei” by Mary Anne Mohanraj
“Ready Gas and Pills” by Dominica Phetteplace
“The Chartreuse Sky” by K.A. Teryna & Alexander Bachilo
“My Heart Is at Capacity” by TJ Berry
“Phosphor’s Circle” by Annika Barranti Klein


A Million Years by Tom Jolly
Inside Voice by Jackie Sherbow
Speaking to Mom by Jane Yolen


Editorial: Transitions by Sheila Williams
Reflections: The First Encyclopedia by Robert Silverberg
On the Net: Digital Heroes by James Patrick Kelly
Thought Experiment: Religion and Science Fiction by James Gunn
Next Issue
On Books by Sheree Renée Thomas
The SF Conventional Calendar by Erwin S. Strauss

Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact

Next up, Analog. Here’s editor Trevor Quachri’s  issue description.

When an orbital salvage team stumbles across something lurking among satellite debris, a rote recovery mission becomes a matter of life and death. And even if they manage to survive, can they also hope to safeguard the Earth? Find out in May/June’s lead story, “Dangerous Orbit,” by Analog newcomer M.T. Reiten.

Many headlines were made recently about the discovery of potential evidence of life on Venus, and our fact article for the issue comes from one of the very researchers who made that discovery, who’s also an author with a long history at Analog: David L. Clements writes about “Possible Signs of Life on Venus.”

Then we have a host of other stories and special features, from such authors as Lettie Prell, Neal Asher, Charles Q. Choi, Tom Jolly, Jay Werkheiser, Bond Elam, and more, plus all of our regular features, of course.

Here’s the complete TOC.


“Uploading Angela,” Lettie Prell


“Longevity Averaging,” Neal Asher
“Dancing On Spun Sugar,” Meghan Feldman
“The Summoner’s Apprentice,” Tessa Fisher


“Dangerous Orbit,” M. T. Reiten
“Heart Of Stone,” Tom Jolly
“Sunward Planet,” Terry Franklin
“Small Turn Of The Ladder,” Kelly Lagor
“In-flight Damage,” Sara Kate Ellis
“Alone In The Cold,” Tim Stevens
“Pilgrimage,” Michael Adam Robson
“Absolutes,” Jay Werkheiser
“Dendrochromatic Data Recovery Report 45-274,” Steve Toase
“The Message,” Bond Elam
“Five-star Review,” Beth Mcmillan
“Two Factor,” Elisabeth R. Adams
“Eyes To The Height,” Sean Monaghan


“Pole Vaulting On Moon Six,” Lawson Dumbeck


Possible Signs Of Life On Venus, David L. Clements


Imaginary Exoplanets, Charles Q. Choi
A Solid Prediction, Edward M. Wysocki, Jr.


Your Homeworld Is Gone, Leslie J. Anderson
Relative Distances, Robert Frazier


Guest Editorial: A Frightened New World, John J. Vester
In Memoriam: Ben Bova
The Alternate View, John G. Cramer
Guest Alternate View, Richard A. Lovett
In Times To Come
The Reference Library, Don Sakers
Brass Tacks
Upcoming Events, Anthony Lewis

Analog and Asimov’s Science Fiction are (usually) available wherever magazines are sold, and at various online outlets. Buy single issues and subscriptions at the links below.

Asimov’s Science Fiction (208 pages, $7.99 per issue, one year sub $35.97 in the US) — edited by Sheila Williams
Analog Science Fiction and Fact (208 pages, $7.99 per issue, one year sub $35.97 in the US) — edited by Trevor Quachri

The May/June issues of Asimov’s and Analog are on sale until June 15. See our previous coverage of print SF here, and all our recent magazine coverage here.

Notify of

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Hello again, Mr. O’Neill. I’ve been eyeing both publications lately, and your post has me thinking about them even more so.

For typical fans of Black Gate fare, would shelling out for subscriptions to both publications be in order? Would I be missing out if I chose to follow just one of the magazines over the other?

Adrian Simmons

I’ve been reading through the Asimov’s issue, and liking quite a bit. I’m having to wait on reading the James Gunn story– I have to get my hands on the first story in the set in the Asimov’s March 2020 issue. I did read his essay in the May 2021 issue, and quite liked it.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x