Galaxy's Edge #9 by Mike Resnick
A review by Sandra Scholes
In the previous issue of Galaxy's Edge, editor Mike Resnick offered readers an in-depth look at his new magazine, well it's considered new at seven issues with his eight I reviewed, now at the ninth issue, he has a lot more to offer. They are now considered an official SFWA-approved market and selling paper subscriptions. Mike always has his own topics he can discuss in his The Editor's Word slot and this time around it's about science fiction fandom, claiming his own fandom as 'oldphart' who has collected all the information needed to pass onto the next generation of fans so they have a clearer idea of the fandom. Here, Mike goes into the history starting with The Immortal Storm by Sam Moskowitz way back in 1954 and chronicles the history of American science fiction fandom from "the first World Con in 1939." The thought that most science fiction fans have is that fandom is relatively new can be rubbished by this revelation.
Totalled by Kary English has a father going out in his car with his children, which should have been a great day, but after an accident leaves only his children uninjured, he thinks there is the possibility that he could be dead. It is strange that if he is dead, he is still deep in thought about the accident, concerned that he had signed a waiver on death that said his body would be used for medical science. Kary has been a Writers of the Future two-time finalist and her stories have appeared in the Grantville Gazette's Universe Annex and Daily Science Fiction. This marks his debut in Galaxy's Edge and we hope to see more of his work after seeing this one.
In The Peacemaker by Gardner Dozois, Ray has been taken under Uncle Abner's wing being told to stay pure and let the peace of God into his heart. Ray is a pure boy just as he promised, but through the harder times, he becomes the enemy of the village. Abner has several refugee kids working on his farm who get fed meagre rations while they watch Ray eating only the best food kept back for him. The jealousy grows so bad, some families leave the farm, seeing him as an abomination, though the outcome isn't one I had thought would happen.
Honey, Plums and Cinnamon by Andrea G. Stewart leads us through the life of Iyalah who had lost an eye to be given a god's talent after her mother placed her on Belast's altar. Her talent it seems is to be able to smell beloved objects or the true love in people, but instead she sells lamps and other trinkets to sell to people for very little money. Her shape-changing pet, Niyat thinks she should use her talent to make real money, but she thinks otherwise. her moment comes when she meets Raj Mefit purely by chance. He believes she can smell love and loyalty in people and wants to use her talent, though Mefit makes promises to her to send doctors to her ill mother, Niyat can't be sure Mefit will keep his end of the bargain. He suspects he is not being entirely honest with her about the attempts on his life. This story feels as though it's been plucked straight out of the Arabian Nights with the eastern setting and words of beauty and scented palaces from the past.
Street of Dreams, Feet of Clay by Robert Sheckley has the sort of humour you would come to expect from him in this, a science fiction story about Carmody, an urbanite who sees an advertisement for a model city in New Jersey and decides to go there. Bellwether, Carmody thinks is an okay city to look at, but once the city starts to speak to him, he sees it as strange that a city would talk, and that all the people had left. Carmody thinks the place will be different from the New York he was used to and hopes to settle in. However, once the city keeps talking to him, sooner or later he has to take action. As a big admirer of humorous fiction whether it is fantasy or sci-fi, this tickled me enough to want to read more of his stories.
The Wings, The Lungs, The Engine The Heart by Laurie Tom has Karl, a surgeon who is assigned the task of performing a heart transplant that could reanimate the infamous Baron von Richtofen. Most of us know him as the "Red Baron" who enjoyed his notoriety from the red painted plane he took to the skies in, yet this, according to the story made him more of a target. Karl had been reading about a doctor who had been working on a mechanical heart that would keep beating even after the patient's heart had stopped. Richtofen's resurrection was believed to be essential to the Fatherland, so the story is told from the Germans perspective during the war. For me this point of view would not be the first one to think of, but it serves its purpose as a snippet of time that could have been different and works in many ways.
Matial by Lou J. Berger is one of the shortest stories in here and there is always one that gives us a glimpse of Matial who is supposed to sacrifice a young woman on the Day of Plenty to ensure the sun will rise and they will have a plentiful harvest. Chimalma doubts the validity of the sacrifice as the sun will rise anyway, with or without her blood sacrifice. Matial tries to deny her reasons, but her doubts have the ability to prove him wrong. This might be short, but it is interesting.
The Very Pulse of the Machine by Michael Swanwick leaves Martha Kivelsen dragging Burton's dead body back to her ship. When she hears Burton talk to her via the radio, she thinks she is losing her mind and that is the last thing she wants to do under such dire circumstances. This story won the 1999 Hugo award and he has already won four others for his work.
In "Hark" Listen to the Animals by Lisa Tang Liu and Ken Liu Todd has gone missing, presumed mauled and eaten by bears on a hiking trip and Maggie needs Nifer's help to find out the truth about the bears - whether they have a higher intelligence than humans have come to believe. Did they plan to kill Todd, or was is accidental? They also believe he might still be alive, but this will take a lot of investigating if they are to get to the bottom of it. In the wild of this story, animals have been attacking humans; Massachusetts has wild turkey attacks every Thanksgiving, Black bears have got more aggressive in New Jersey while rats the size of cats roam the streets of Cambridge. Nifer and Maggie only have so much time before Todd is either alive or dead, but later in the story this fact might not matter as there are worse matters to deal with. I liked the story being made up of emails, though I've never had them quite as long as these.
The Book of Faces by Kay Kenyon has a fifteen-year-old girl without a face who wants to select one from the Basal Facial Types and Maxillofacial Outcomes - the Face Book or Book of Faces, she calls it, but when she finds an old woman, Yaga at the Mercy General Clinic, she tells her everything about the ones who work there. They both soon learn that the haves get more unlike the have-nots who cope with waiting to get less from the surgeons who already look like they have had nose-jobs. They both want a new face, but the likelihood of them getting the face they want is unlikely with the Book of Faces. Kay Kenyon is a Philip K. DIck and John Campbell Memorial Award nominee who is the author of seven novels as well as the four-book series "The Entire and the Rose."
Each issue, Galaxy's Edge features a serialization. Here Lest Darkness Fall by L.Sprague de Camp is in its third part.For readers of Mercedes Lackey and Larry Dixon there is an interview with the both of them conducted by Joy Ward. Columns are from Gregory Benford with his How Space Was, and Barry Malzberg with his From the Heart's Basement. Both have their own views on varying themes, and even if they might shock the reader, that is not their intention, (or is it?) Book reviews are by Paul Cook as always who runs his critical eye over some novels we might have missed; Prophets of the Ghost Ants by Clark Thomas Carlton, Mars Inc: The Billionaire's Club by Ben Bova, The Serene Invasion by Eric Brown, Burning Paradise by Robert Charles Wilson, Ancilliary Justice by Ann Leckie and Empress of the Sun by Ian McDonald. Issue nine is full of recognised authors where best work has been included for the full benefit of the reader.