Yes, this is the October 2011 issue of Clarkesworld, and yes, I’m writing this in January 2012 – I’ve fallen behind a bit, which tends to happen to me with magazines (although I did read it in December 2011 – I’m a bit behind with this diary, too).
The first story, “Staying Behind” by Ken Liu, shows the Singularity from the point of view of those staying behind, clinging to their humanity. And as it turns out, seen from this perspective it’s all about surviving the zombie apocalypse. A bit slight, but definitely a fun story.
I really liked “Pony” by Erik Amundsen – those ponies are not cute at all (unless you think weapon arrays fit that category), and this is a Space Western done in a very original way, getting both genres right and melding them into something new and original.
Probably the high point of this issue is Catherynne M. Valente’s “Silently and Very Fast”. I say “probably” because it’s only the first part of three, and I’m still trying to figure out what it’s all about. It’s science fiction, which is unusual for Valente (might even be her first foray into that genre), but as it’s Valente it’s full of mythical resonance, here mostly relating to Tammuz and Inanna (which I admit I had to look up). It seems to involve an AI and is a very fascinating read even though things are only starting to fall into place at this stage. I’m not sure this was actually the best story to split up like this, but it’s still very enjoyable.
In the non-fiction section, there is an article by Mark Cole “The Joys of Independent SF Film” from which I’ve mainly taken home that there are a lot of independent SF films out there, most of which I have no desire of ever watching. I suspect he might have done his subject a better service by looking at just a few movies, but in some more depth instead of a constant barrage of what is basically no more than name dropping.
Finally, there are two interviews by the as always excellent Jeremy L. C. Stones, one with Steven Gould, the other with Joan Slonczewski; the latter one in particular made me very curious to finally go and read Door Into Ocean which I’ve had for a whole but never got around to reading.