Saturday, 19 November 2016


Galaxy's Edge #14 Edited by Mike Resnick

A review by Sandra Scholes
In The Editor's Word, Mike welcomes readers to the latest issue of stories, articles and reviews of the latest novels, discussing at length about a book called Seriously Funny by Gerald Nachman who wrote on the stand-up comedians from his youth, Henry Youngman and Milton Berle. The book itself mentions the new wave of comedians like Mort Sahl, Tom Lehrer, Lenny Bruce, Mike Nichols and Elaine May who were never very famous, but were humorous at a time before it felt forced and in some ways, humour has changed since then. He also talks about The Compass, by Janet Coleman in the Compass Players, a comedy group with an impressive line-up that stood the test of time. Compared to today's comedians, it is questionable as to whether these comedians will be remembered while the ever newer ones will entertain us with jokes that result in many profanities.

With articles and short stories by Robert A. Heinlein, Harry Turtledove, Nancy Kress, Anna Wu, and Alan Dean Foster, to name a few and another Draco Tavern story from Larry Niven.

In Field Defects: Memo from a Cyborg, by Robert A. Heinlein, X-Model 6g-606-ZSCCC-75-RAH exhibits all the characteristics of a defective cyborg, memo style. Here, Heinlein uses his excellent comic skills once again with a fun and memorable short form the sf side of things.

In Shore Leave by Jennifer Campbell-Hicks, First Lieutenant Benji March knocks a mother and her daughter out of bed, hoping he can stay after a man comes looking for sanctuary. The mother is wary of the man, but tries to earn their trust. At a later time, the story comes full circle. This is a short that works and is longer than it should be.

Hi, Colonic by Harry Turtledove was published in 2005 in I, Alien, an anthology by DAW Books. Here, the narrator and his partner, Iffspay are probing other planets for intelligent life, but they don't expect to find any. A Hugo winner, Turtledove is know as the master of Alternative History and he finds this is one of his newer stories.

Luck of the Chieftain's Arrow by C. Stewart Hardwick is his first story published in Galaxy's Edge and is a tale of an inanimate object being sentient and aware of its own evolution over the centuries. Starting out as an arrow head, then a coin, a talisman to the one who finds it first, then a chess-player who loses it - and as it is his lucky penny, we wonder if his luck will run out.

The Angst, I Kid you Not, of God by Michael Bishop tracks the development of Earth by aliens for the betterment of the planet and subsequent taking of Earth people to their planet to work. These aliens are unusual as expected, their best skill being to be able to stop the effects of ageing by sprouting limbs every few days. They also have a great number of ideas but invading Earth isn't one of them as retaliation is bound to happen. This is Michael's first published story with Galaxy's Edge and readers will no doubt hope there will be more.

The Dark Matters by Sean Williams is where Susan is a teenager who tells her therapist about the night creatures who come to her room. She isn't afraid of them, which is strange, but as each session with her ends with her therapist feeling troubled about her own experiences of being in the dark at night when no one else  is around to help her, and thing become very uneasy indeed. Known for his Star Wars novels, this is a nice distraction from all things George Lucas.

Margin of Error by Nancy Kress has Kamen visited by her sister who needs her help on an important science project. After years of Paula stealing what was hers, he recognition, her notes on findings, her job at the institute and even her husband, she tells her she isn't about to help her again, but this time it's not about what she has told her. Karen proves to be the perfect character who has been undermined for years by the one woman she thought she could trust. Margin of Error is one of my favourite stories in this issue.

Book reviews are from Jody Lynn Nye and Bill Fawcett who browse and comment on the latest novels in fantasy and science fiction. Coming Home by Jock McDevitt, Vigilantes (Book 6 of the Anniversary Day Saga), by Kristine Katherine Rusch, Into the Hinterland and Into the Maelstrom by David Drake and John Lambshed, Tima's Mistress by Steven Saville and lastly the Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester.

Recent columns are from Gregory Benford for an Effing the Ineffable where he explains the theme of science fiction genre that goes beyond the aliens some dream up and From the Heart's Basement by Barry N. Malzberg. Here he mentions a certain writer who hid her true self from everyone as one of the most famous writers of her generation. He talks about Alfred Bester, Heinlein and Campbell in the greatest detail to thrill us all.

The Galaxy's Edge interview is by Joy Ward with David Brin, the author of The Postman, Sundiver and The Uplift War. Joy makes it possible for readers of his work to find out what kind of writer he is and what motivates him to write, even though he is one of many who practises his art to make the world a better place. The serialization this time around is Melodies of the Heart (novella) part 3 by Michael Flynn, the author of Elfelheim & The Wreck of the River of Stars. Issue 14 has a brilliant cover, some of the best stories in it for ages and an interview that keeps the interest nicely.