Book Diary: Clarkesworld Magazine #63 (December 2011)

Still lagging behind a bit here, but at while I’m not catching up, at least I’m not falling farther behind either…

Clarkesworld Magazine Issue 63 by Ben PeekAfter the really excellent November 2011 issue, this December one comes as a bit of a letdown. The first two stories fall firmly into the “nice but not particularly exciting” category – Ben Peek’s “Sirius” merely presents an SFnal dressing-up of historical events, with aliens being the bad guys instead of European colonists; it is saved from being completely trite only by the way it is narrated, short point-of-view chapters forming an almost stroboscopic sequence. “In which Faster-Than-Light Travel Solves All of  Our Problems” by Chris Stabback seemed rather pointless to me, and I am still undecided what to think of his almost wholesale inclusion of a story by Franz Kafka (“Auf der Galerie”) into his text, but am leaning strongly towards “annoying”. The third part of Catherynne M. Valente’s “Silent and Very Fast” on the other hand was as much a joy to read as the first two installments – things finally fall into place here and the novella comes to a by no means happy but artistically brilliant conclusion.

For non-fiction, there is “Where No Human has Gone Before: Visiting Sci-Fi’s Exoplanets on Earth” which reads much like a travel guide (and maybe was even intended as one). It has some pictures, too, but as I read this on my Kindle I cannot say much about them. Rounding things off is the customary interview, this time with Aliette de Bodard. Jeremy L.C. Jones really seems to have a knack for coming up with questions that his interviewees enjoy answering, And Aliette de Bodard does have some quite interesting things to say in her replies.


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