Galaxy's Edge #10 Mike Resnick
So far the issues up to this one have had some major talent within the pages, this time around sci-fi great Larry Niven author of Red Tide with Brad R. Torgerson and Matthew J.Harrington has his Draco Tavern story, Mercedes Lackey, Eric Flint, Tobias S.Buckell and Robert J. Sawyer all have their part to play in entertaining readers with their tales, but one special feature and an interview with world-famous Hugo award winner Game of Thrones author George RR Martin.
"I, Arachnobot," by Brian Trent concentrates on the Arachnobot of Sheldon Springs Retirement Home - His sole purpose is to spin webs to keep the flies at bay, and keep Mildred happy by spinning his webs that are different from the normal webs spiders usually make. After a while, the Arachnobot grows to like Millie very much, but when nurse Janet and her accomplice porter David plan to kill her for her money, the Arachnobot has to consider the three laws of robotics before taking action. It doesn't take long for the Arachobot to become sentient and be able to differentiate a good person from a bad one in the story. What is truly endearing is the dedication to Isaac Asimov at the end.
"Star Light, Star Bright," by Robert J. Sawyer is of a future where humans live in domed structures. Dalt can se lights in the sky where there are none, and ever though he defies his father, he thinks he should see the doctor to get his eyes checked out of sure. The story takes readers from Dalt being a young boy to becoming a man and having a child of his own with the love of his life, but there is much more of a discovery to make when they journey to a place that so far had been out of bounds for them.
"Eine Kleine Nachtfilm," by Alvaro Zinos-Amaro is about Doug and Jenn who have movies they want to show to an open and welcoming audience. These are not ordinary films, these are moments in time that the pair have seen throughout their lives, wonders, amazements, they want to show the world if they can, and the world almost comes to see them. Although this is an unusual story with a fleeting quality to it, it also has a lasting effect on the memory you don't expect.
"God Walks into a Bar (A Draco Tavern Story)," by Larry Niven has Rich the bartender washing the glasses when aliens of every shape and size spill through the doors - and are claiming to be God. Everyone likes a humor story with an interesting ending, and some ideas on the theme of gods and existence, war and peace. Known for his Ringworld novels, the Man-kzin series, the Known Space series and The Mote in God's Eye (with Jerry Pournelle, Larry Niven is an great who has written some of the most enlightening novels and short stories today.
"Living Rooms," by Laurie Tom watches Rill return to her home, but instead of it letting her inside automatically, she has to use her key. What follows is the account of what Rill experiences while in her home, and the fact she believes she might not be welcome there. The rooms, as the title suggests are alive with the people who have lived there before and everyone seems to have different opinions about the occupants. A short story, this won her the Gold Prize for the Writers of the Future Contest in 2010.
"Neep," by KC Norton we discover the life of a Neep, Pluto who is a root born person kept by a man called Mads Pouslson. He isn't the sort of man anyone would want to cross as he would have no qualms about killing, not even Pluto who he already intends to cut, cook and eat when the times comes. Pluto has a friend, Sissel Peals who washes the clothes. Mads thinks the Neep don't have feelings or even feel pain, but Pluto does, yet she refuses to tell him. It seems cruel letting the Neep grow, only to later kill them for food when they are ready to flower, but Mads is much more sinister and that can make rather uneasy reading.
"The Rydr Express," by Tobias S. Buckell has a science-fiction feel to it with it being written like a D & D interactive story. The Rydr Express is a train that goes through wormholes to forty eight worlds, some at risk of terrorism while there are others who are assigned to help them from the perpetrators. Vee is sent to take a man called Pepper out on Rydr's world, but Pepper is a living legend, a piece of history he can't ignore. He has questions even though he holds a gun. Vee has a set of choices, he can kill him, talk to him, or never get involved as a volunteer. The story at first doesn't follow a set pattern, yet anything could happen. Tobias is a new York Times bestselling novelist nominated for the Hugo, Nebular and Campbell awards. I liked the ending to this one that makes the story an endless continuation.
"Wourism," by Ian Whates is after a time where storms had ravaged Serna and what followed was food shortages and power outages. Humans have a need to see what life was like years ago, and have the interest in a Jasna Petrovic seen on a screen telling about the siege at the heart of the war. Serna ends up being the first warzone theme park encouraging what is known as Wourism. Unlike standard tourism, this destination is full of memories of the places where the people died - everything had been kept from those days and it isn't hard to understand how some would see Wourism in bad taste. As Yoda from Star Wars said: "wars not make one great," and this is as good an example as any of not glorifying it.
In "Exemplar: A Secret World Chronicles Prequel Story," by Mercedes Lackey, Vickie Nagy has gone to the St Rhiannon's School for Exceptional Students in up-state New York, feeling a stranger out of place in a new world full of beautiful people. She is bored with her magic classes, wishing they would send her into more advanced classes due to her abilities. Her father thinks she should give them a chance as he believes they are still evaluating her abilities rather than counting on her parents rumours. As she has to fit in, she also discovers she is the victim of prejudice she can't understand. The question is no matter how good she is, will she make any friends, even one? Mercedes Lackey is a writer of bestsellers and has collaborated with Anne McCaffrey, Andre Norton and Marion Zimmer Bradley.
"Lest Darkness Fall Part 4," is the serialization by L. Sprague de Camp, Eric Flint's the Thief and the Roller Derby Queen: An Essay on the Importance of Formal Education shows what happens if you steal from Satan. If only Loretta (the witch) and her boyfriend she asked to go to Hell to steal a piece of brimstone had more knowledge. Most folk would not be that foolish to venture there and steal anything from the guy of darkness, but as you have noticed, these two had no formal education (Loretta didn't know what a pentangle was) and her boyfriend couldn't resist her charms. You know it's going to be a comedy of errors in the sort of place you might not expect - Hell. This is the right length fof a comical story and funny enough to work so well.
The interview in this issue is with George RR Martin who is considered "one of the most prolific fantasy writers of our time." Joy Ward asks the questions about how he got started in the writing business, what other writers he is interested in reading, his early struggles and of course the success of being published simultaneously in Analog, Amazing and F&SF. It is an interview that yields a lot of interesting results. There are other delights in this issue, columns from Gregory Benford, Sunshine Technopolis: Southern California's Utopian Futures and Barry Malzberg's From the Heart's Basement, Counting Coup. Gregory Benford's column enlightens readers about Southern California's technical scientific complex and what drew him to get a doctorate in physics at UCSD in 1963. His driving force was the question of the future of science fiction. Barry Malzberg's From the Heart's Basement discusses the early science fiction greats; Moorcock, Ballard, Bova, Pohl who all wrote at a time when Vietnam and Nixon was on everyone's minds, so there wasn't a shortage of influence for the stories that got published. His column this time around acts as a review of the books mentioned, sort of. Paul Cook's Book Reviews column takes a look at The Year's Best Science Fiction: Thirteenth Annual Collection edited by Gardner Dozois, The Year's Best SF 18 edited by David G. Hartwell, Nebula Awards Showcase 2014 edited by Kij Johnson, Shovel Ready by Adam Sternbergh, The Aethers of Mars by Eric Flint and The Time Trap by Henry Kuttner. Part 4 of the serialisation of Lest Darkness Fall by L.Sprague de Camp continues the story from issue #9.
Galaxy's Edge #10 has proved how impressive it is through the issues, this being one of the finest with the George RR Martin interview. It is obvious that the editor has been careful to select the best stories from award winning authors.