Stories published October 1998
reviewed by Mark R. Kelly
Analog October 1998
Jerry Oltion, ''Artifacts''
Humans have found artifacts from dozens of aliens races littered throughout the solar system. The captain of a resupply ship to a space-station-like artifact realizes the scientists working there have become victims of dangerous alien memories -- and he may have been infected too. Crisply told, the story cleverly employs technical details about the ship's propulsion system in a dramatic conclusion.
Paul Urayama, ''Living in a Stranger''
A man wakes in a hospital room and is told he is suffering amnesia, that four years have passed since the last thing he remembers, and that every morning his previous day's briefing is forgotten. New writer Urayama takes a familiar SF situation and poignantly depicts the gradual crisis of identify suffered by a man who over the years becomes less and less able to identify with the person he sees in the mirror.
(Sat 21 Nov 98)
Interzone October 1998
Gwyneth Jones, ''La Cenerentola''
Thea, her wife, and their daughter, on holiday in France, meet another woman, Laura, who has beautiful twin daughters plus a third, oddly-neglected daughter, and Thea becomes obsessed with understanding why. Near-future technology enables not only new ways to create babies -- fused-egg embryos, enhanced clones -- but magical ways to envision people who may not even exist. This is a story about clones that's far more sophisticated than most treatments of the subject. Cloning will be a way to indulge dark psychological tendencies, but not the ones usually suspected.
(Sat 21 Nov 98)
Realms of Fantasy October 1998
Robert Charles Wilson, ''The Inner Inner City''
A group of Toronto friends holds a contest to invent a religion. The narrator sets out to create an urban occultism, or paracartography, during late night walks around the city, but when he has memory lapses he realizes something far more sinister than a party game is going on. With subtle and frequently lovely writing, this story about the hidden power of urban places bears comparison to Fritz Leiber's classic Our Lady of Darkness. (Note: this story was previously published in the Canadian anthology Northern Frights 4, edited by Don Hutchison, published by Mosaic Press in 1997.)
Fiona Kelleghan, ''The Secret in the Chest''
A woman living alone in a castle poses three problems to each knight who would rescue her: to release a vicious bull from a stable; to interpret a map; and to not do one particular thing. In all cases she wants something not normally to be expected of a man, the fantasy equivalents of expecting a lost male driver to stop and ask for directions. A clever, sly tale that illuminates fantasy cliches with insights into male/female psychology.
James Van Pelt, ''Home''
A foster child and high school misfit struggles through another day at school, when a 10 foot tall silver robot -- that no one else can see -- comes to take him away. In ''Solsbury Hill'' Peter Gabriel sang ''Grab your things, I've come to take you home'' and this story uses the same refrain in an eccentric treatment of the classic fantasy situation about an outcast who discovers he's really someone very special.
(Sun 18 Oct 98)