Asimov's June 0623 Aug 2006
I only finished one magazine last night, mostly because I spent too much time re-reading Iain M. Banks’ first SF novel, Consider Phlebas. It sucked me in, and I ran low on time. Unfortunately, I bounced off almost everything in this issue, with the lone exception of the Robert Reed story, “Eight Episodes”. I read at least half of every story, and the whole of a couple of them, but nothing grabbed me. To be fair, even the Robert Reed story wasn’t one of his better ones, just another meditation on light-speed and the loneliness of organic species. Elegantly written and inventive as usual, but not something that we haven’t seen from him before. As an aside, I really want to witness a drunken argument between Reed and Ken MacLeod about the place of humanity on a deep time-scale. I feel that it would be deeply amusing, as long as they weren’t too respectful of each other. The most interesting discussion would come from what I perceive as MacLeod’s hopefulness and Reed’s pessimism (yes, I know that Reed has immortal, vital humanity in the deep future stories too, but they are, to me, less deeply felt than MacLeod’s, as if Reed were trying to sell us a future that he desperately wants to believe in, but cannot).
Anyway. Not an auspicious beginning. Hopefully I’ll resist the siren call of Consider Phlebas/Look to Windward tonight and make it through two of them.