Galaxy's Edge #12 by Mike Resnick
To think I remember reviewing issue #1 of Galaxy's Edge like it was yesterday. How time can fly and it's not just me who thinks this, editor Mike Resnick is just as delighted as much as he is amazed the magazine has lasted so long. As long as twenty-four months and it’s still got plenty of editorial and stories to show off to eager readers. Indeed, Galaxy's Edge is popular around the world, including China, of which there is a translated version of it. Talking of popularity, there is also The Best of Galaxy's Edge on ebook and trade paperback. I can see the reason for its being so well received by readers, the majority of its content is short stories that are written by already established writers, which means the stories have been for the most part previously published elsewhere and have been snapped up but the editor.
As usual, Galaxy's Edge starts with Mike Resnick's The Editor's Word where he talks about Robert A. Heinlen's classic short story, "All You Zombies" and Heinlen's other past works.
Now onto the stories:
"A Little Song, A Little Dance, A Little Apocalypse Down Your Pants"
by Robert T. Jeschonek
When Jody Lee is brought back to life, she is told she has to do another show where she has to die again. In the future, it's hard to make people laugh, luckily Jody knows how to bring the best out in people with her act. Jody Lee, called Jojo by her friends has ambitions other than dying and being resurrected the next time she goes onstage. She wants to be the best comic that ever lived. Her ex-boyfriend the 'Stache promises he can make her wish a possibility. Jeschonek's story helps make us laugh, but as we see through the eyes of the two protagonists, making us laugh isn't their true intention. Robert T Jeschonek is an author of short stories and articles and a novel under his belt, "My Favourite Band Does Not Exist."
"Counterfactual" by Gardner Dozois
Cliff works on his new counterfactual for McClures. As a hobbyist, he writes these counterfactuals for fun and at times also writes Westerns, and weird fantasy. He is liked by his peers at work, he sees a tramp he recognises but doesn't mention him to the authorities even if later on he wished he had. This story gives us the thought of what might have happened during the American Civil War. Gardner Dozois is mainly an editor and winner of 14 Best Editor Hugo Awards while working at Asimov's and likes to dabble in short story writing as well.
"Curtain Call" by Sandra M. Odell
Sexy robot sensation Gina Starlight does her shift onstage. Known as the Joystick's Stainless Steel Siren, she's been working these boards for a lifetime now and asks for a new chassis, annoyed when Benny, the club's owner refuses. His only statement is that it's the times they live in and the lack of money are the reasons. He might also have to let her go too as she's not as sensational as she once was and her rival, Patsy Bellbottom has more stage sex appeal than her, so she could be easily replaced. This leaves Gina going to The Cathode Ray, a low-down and dirty club where "has-beens and never-beens begged for scraps." Thinking she could lower herself to this level, she does what any woman would, robotic or not. Curtain Call is an enjoyable story with the sort of ending you would expect from Sandra M. Odell whose stories have been published in Jim Baen's Universe, Crossed Genres and Pseudopod.
"Special Economics" by Maureen McHugh
Jieling only wants to make a difference in a small part of the world as a recording artist. She tries to get attention from the companies she believes will make her big in the way she imagines. Though in a future world where being political isn't accepted, what is a girl to do? When her new workplace gets held at gunpoint, it takes all of Jieling's willpower to stay alive. Maureen McHugh had her first success with her novel China Mountain Zhang and it ended up a Tiptree winner and a Hugo and Nebula finalist.
"Game Not Over" by Ron Friedman
Summoning a she-daemon can be tricky, but when you are a Lich Emperor you don't mind bringing one who can help with finding the origin of an elven maid. Obviously Sheda doesn't want to know of the affairs of the human world, that is until the world involves all races, even daemon. Call me strange, but I like daemon comedy stories and I rank this one as worthy of several good old chuckles. Ron Friedman has stories on Daily Science Fiction and has received notable mentions in the Writers of the Future contest.
"All You Zombies" by Robert A. Heinlein
One thing to bear in mind about this story and its setting is the year in which it was written. As it deals with time travel, the year is 1958 and their future is in the seventies, which of course has already passed for today's readers. It is however interesting about the predictions Heinlein would make for his own future setting. You know something is going to happen when a writer sets a scene up in a bar. The unexpected part of this story is the main subject matter of gender-bending along with the travel scenario. Who would have thought changing sex would feature as a topic of a story back then? Robert A. Heinlein is a very well-known sf author of several novels and short stories and is still considered a veritable legend in the genre.
"The Book of Alexander" by Zaslow Crane
What if stories seem to be a fascination at the moment. These concern famous people in history being involved in time travel to the future. In this same volume is another what if with "Counterfactual," by Gardner Dozois concerning the American Civil War. Here we find conqueror Alexander the Great stood poised to dive into Niagara Falls, of ending it all after two thousand years of life. Thanks to the Book of Thoth where he learned of many insights into the Egyptian gods he wonders whether it was worth it. I felt satisfied with Crane's inclusion of the near perfect setting and Bagoas; the deep love he felt for him even after his death. Zaslow Crane has sold stories and articles on almost everything and has contributed to www.smoke-and-mirrors.us.
"Nothing Ever Happens in Rock City" by Jack Mc Devitt
To say nothing ever happens there, Peg's husband has been kept busy with all kinds of issues and gossip to be getting on with. This is the shortest story in here, but also the funniest and most tongue-in-cheek. Jack Mc Devitt is the author of 21 novels, 5 collections and 80 short stories too.
Later on in the magazine, there are two Sargasso Containment stories by Andrea G. Stewart and Tina Glover, a Galaxy's Edge interview with Michael and Peter Spierig by Joy Ward, which tells all about the new sf movie Predestination which is based on Robert A. Heinlein's short story "All You Zombies" The Spieirigs are the directors who tell why they made the movie about such a forward thinking subject. Book reviews by Paul Cook are of the novels from the last year; The Martian by Andy Weir, Twenty-First Century Science Fiction by David G. Hartwell and Patrick Nielsen Hayden, Afterparty by Daryl Gregory, The Very Best of Fantasy and Science Fiction - Volume Two by Gordon Van Gelder, The Best of Connie Willis: Award Winning Stories, From The Vault: Chernobyl by Frederick Pohl. It's a mixed bag of stories and Cook gets to the bottom of them all and has a good thing to say about them. Gregory Benford manages his column this time around with Mining A Genre or SF Lite: Star Trek. Benford looks back at a previous article he wrote on the new Star Trek series; Enterprise with Quantum Leap’s Scott Bakula as the captain. His article which was written back in 1996 also comes with a 2014 additional piece I found ends the article really well as it is surprising with its honesty. From the Heart’s Basement by Barry N. Malzberg, called Life-Line mentions Robert A. Heinlein’s work and the affect it had on the public. The Serialization this month is Melodies of The Heart Part 1 which is a novella and one of three to be continued in future volumes.
I can imagine readers will have their own favourites. I had a few; Curtain Call, “All You Zombies“, The Book of Alexander and Nothing Happens in Rock City. They are all different, but they have the essential elements of humour, surprise and wonder.
This Galaxy's Edge #12 book review was written by Sandra Scholes
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