Thursday, 17 November 2016


Image result for galaxy's edge #11
Galaxy's Edge #11 By Mike Resnick

A review by Sandra Scholes

Galaxy's Edge number #11 takes our editor Mike Resnick reminiscing that the publication has been running for two years already - it's a surprise to everyone I suppose, especially me, but judging by the amazing cover image of a craft and a burning planet, this is going to be a really good one. Mike's The Editor's Word announces that before the year is out they will be releasing an anthology of what they have published over these past two years; The Best of Galaxy's Edge. Here we have new stories by James Aquilone, Ralph Roberts, Lou J Berger, Leena Likitalo, Marina J Losteter, while other well-known writers have returned with other interesting works; Robert Silverberg, Maureen McHugh, Jack Skillingstead and Jack McDevitt.

Mike's current focus is on the Matrix movie with some fans after fifteen years saying it could be a true depiction of the future. With people on line arguing about it, when it is obviously only a movie, only Mike could try to make sense of it all using other novels and references from sci-fi in general to get the message across that maybe no one knows what the future will bring.

There is no shortage of good fiction in this landmark issue with Zombies At Work by Leena Likitalo, The Pain Peddlers by Robert Silverberg and No Place for a Hero by James Aquilone.

"Zombies at Work," by Leena Likitalo has Luiza get asked for a date by Johnny, the guy she's lusted after for months. She wondered what it would be like to kiss him, hug him, stroke his chest, but now that he's been in a car accident, it seems all the romance has been taken out of what would have been a good relationship. Though whichever way she looks at it, there's something different about Johnny and it affects their relationship when he asks her to dinner. Leena Likitalo is from Finland and is a Writers of the Future 2014 quarterly winner and Clarion San Diego 2014 graduate.

"The Pain Peddlers," by Robert Silverberg has Northrop and Maurillo as the pain peddlers who prey on people who have surgery to allow it to be televised live for all to see. Northrop cares little about the patients who come to him. He only gets them to sign waivers and holds back the aesthetic for dramatic effect, regardless of the pain the patients must feel. Silverberg is a Nebula Grand Master, WorldCon Guest of Honor, Multiple Hugo winner, Multiple Nebula winner and first President of the SFWA. What is satisfying is the ending of this story that means someone gets his just deserts.

"No Place for a Hero," by James Aquilone. Superheroes can't exist in the real world, just ask Bernard Kowalski. He's broke out of prison on Riker's Island, but this isn't the end of his story. General Duncan makes him an offer as he sees him as a real superhero. It is one Bernard decides to take as he has to stop Madame Devastator. As she has destroyed most of New Jersey, he is sent out to address the situation and prevent her from doing anymore damage. For the first time, he feels like a real superhero with a responsibility to help rid the world of villains - and at least one, Madame Devastator. When he comes into contact with her, she's the sort of villain he wants to fight with. Superheroes have never treat their villains like this, though and the humour of this story is worth the read - even if it's a short one. James Aquilone has had his fiction appear in Wierd Tales Magazine, and DarkFire's Horsor d'ouevres and this is his first story for Galaxy's Edge.

"Honeymoon," by Maureen McHugh has a woman waiting to take part in a drug trial to test for a leukemia drug as several people are needed for the trial, but as the drug hasn't been tested on animals before, it is hit and miss as to how the test subjects will react to the clinical trials. As she knows, there is also a huge risk involved if it does go wrong. The whole point of her taking part is to get the money needed for taking a trip to Cancun When others who have taken part in the trial get ill and die, she thinks she can put what happened to them behind her and enjoy her holiday with her friend, but life has a funny way of catching up with some people. China Mountain Zhang was Maureen McHugh’s first novel. She’s a Tiptree winner and a Hugo and Nebula finalist and won the Hugo for her story “The Lincoln Train.”

“Fate and Other Variables,” by Alex Shvartzman. Michael is confronted by Coins, a low down drug dealer who demands money from his brother, Greg. He knows he is in deep with the man as Greg has a drug dependency to deal with and a lack of cash to pay for his addiction. Coins is well aware of this, and as Greg doesn’t have the money, he turns his attention to Mike who confronts him, but nearly ends up dead before Nathan Adler, a Kabbalist helps rid them of the dealer. Adler doesn’t use normal means to send him away though, far from it. And as it happens, he needs his help. This story is philosophy, religion and science fiction that all coexist in there. It’s as enjoyable as it is interesting. Alex Shvartzman is a writer, game designer and translator who has had more than 30 stories published and has also won the WSFA Small Press Award for Best Short Story with “Explaining Cthulhu.”

“Dead Worlds,” by Jack Skillingstead. Robert takes a ride out in the country, happy at his freedom, then his freedom is cut short when he runs down a dog that ran into the road. Even if he doesn’t feel in the wrong, he gets out to see if the dog is still alive. Kim Pham is the owner and it’s as if their meeting was meant to be, even though Robert isn’t what he appears to be. Kim takes an interest in him despite his accidentally hurting her dog. She tells him all about her life, yet she gets nothing about Robert from him. This is explained once the reader realises who he is. Jack Skillingstead had his first story published in Galaxy’s Edge and was a finalist for the Theodore Sturgeon and Philip K. Dick award for his work.

“The Orphan Tractors,” by Ralph Roberts. For one of the more unusual, yet comical stories in this volume, tractors who have sentience, even a sense of humour toward their owners feature in here. They work in tandem when problems arise and are treat more like members of the family than inanimate objects. As strange as the story may be, there is a warmth to it that seems rather special. Ralph Roberts   has sold screenplays, books, (a hundred to be precise) and also acts as a publisher of over 300 titles, not that this stops him running an annual film festival too.

“Cryptic,” by Jack McDevitt introduces Harry who finds a manila envelope in the bottom of Frank’s safe. As far as he can see, the envelope has nothing in it, only an old date in the corner and a notation of “40 gh” near it. Frank thinks it might be some a joke done by someone he knows, but Harry disagrees. He thinks it could be a cryptic message left by extra-terrestrials. As is with most cryptic messages, there is no certainty that they are to do with little green men from other planets, but this story does a lot to clarify what it is about. Jack McDevitt  is a Nebula winner as well as a 16-time Nebula Nominee and a multiple Hugo Nominee as well as being the author of 21 novels, 5 collections and 80 short stories.

There is a lot more to this latest issue of Galaxy’s Edge, Song of the Sargasso by Marina J. Lostetter (A Sargasso Containment Story), Nikki Dark and the Black Rust by Lou J. Berger (A Sargasso Containment Story) and the Galaxy’s Edge Interview with Eric Flint by Joy Ward. Joy gets the information needed about Eric’s early life as a writer and his very first rejection when he was a young teenager that encouraged him to carry on with his craft. Paul Cook has his reviews column where he criticises the latest science fiction novels. These are; Old Mars edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois and is an anthology of short stories by some of the most famous names in sf today., Robot Uprisings edited by Daniel H. Wilson and John Joseph Adams which is a tip of the hat to author Mary Shelley’s Frankenstiein, A Darkling Sea by James L. Cambian, The Memory of Sky by Robert Reed, Yesterday’s Kin by Nancy Kress, Gregory Benford’s The Galactic Center Companion and Andre Norton’s Secret of the Stars. Resident columnists are Waiting for Shakespeare by Gregory Benford and From the Heart’s Basement by Barry N. Malzberg. Everyone has opinions though our columnists know you might not always share them. We have part 5 of Lest Darkness Fall, the serialization by L. Sprague de Camp which was continued from issue 10.

Galaxy’s Edge issue 11 is, like the others a very entertaining read with something for everyone.