Clarkesworld Magazine Issue 197

I didn’t start my subscription to Clarkesworld Magazine until after the first of January, so the February issue is my first issue. It was worth the wait.

For me the first story is an outlier. I didn’t like it very much. In fact, I’m not sure I really understood it. Maybe I was too tired. Maybe it just isn’t for me. You be the judge of “The Portrait of a Survivor, Observed from the Water” by Yukimi Ogawa. It didn’t work for me. (My rating: 2/5)

There is a lot of talk these days about AI. One researcher even believes that the AI he works with is sentient! In “Somewhere, It’s About to Be Spring“, Samantha Murray tells how a space ship achieves sentience throughout its systems after losing its crew. A touching story. (My rating: 4/5)

A philosopher of cognition doesn’t sound promising as a short story writer. But in “Larva Pupa Imago” Eric Schwitzgebel tells the fascinating journey of a caterpillar from birth to becoming a butterfly. As a caterpillar he enjoys a close friendship until he becomes a butterfly and sets out to procreate. (My rating: 4/5)

An Ode to Stardust” by R. P. Sand is about a woman hampered by real chronic pain her whole life. She tries to hide it from everyone around her and succeeds to become the youngest commander on the moon. There, for the first time, she makes a friend that she can be completely honest with. And it changes both their lives. (My rating: 5/5)

Introduction to 2181 Overture, Second Edition” by Gu Shi, translated by Emily Jin is presented as the introduction to a book in the future about cryosleep. People are frozen until their terminal illness has a treatment. This is nothing new in fiction. But the author goes a bit further. People become voluntary “time migrants”. They allow themselves to be frozen for a time so they can travel into the future where presumably things will be better. Throughout this story is weaved the author’s relationship to the history of cryosleep. Wonderfully told. (My rating: 4/5)

Silo, Sweet Siloby James Castles is one of my two favorite short stories of the year so far. The story takes place after a nuclear war. A group of survivors looking for safety and shelter find a missile silo complex that has been abandoned by humans but is controlled by a missile that failed to launch. They come to an uneasy agreement. The humans can stay if one of them will launch him in thirty days. After all, he wants to complete his mission. Read it to learn how it all turns out. (My rating: 5/5)

In a world with no food other than nutritious but tasteless bran bars, an old woman awaits her “Going Time“. Amal Singh describes a chaotic society that is barely held together by a religious leader. The old woman’s daughter learns some things about the leader that she refuses to believe. And her neighbor shares with her a view of where she will retire to. But is everything as it seems? (My rating: 4/5)

My average rating for the fiction in this issue is 4/5. Let me know if you agree with my ratings. Happy reading!

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