Michael J A Tyzuk concludes “The Other Side” with a shootout and a puzzle. Deep Bora’s astronaut-scientists will find their swimming vacation in Uranus’s glacial lakes interrupted by the discovery of “The Fourth Dimension” right over their heads.
This issue qualifies as a “sports edition” in the short stories. Steven L. Shrewsbury takes a sarcastic look at bloodthirsty competition and “political correctness” in “Spirit of the Game.” Thomas Lee Joseph Smith’s “A Nice Day for Balanced Contests” takes an opposite tack: what sporting events might be fixed to end in draws? Especially when the protagonist finds himself in the arena.
Two bowling stories serve as bookends both thematically and in the short-story index. Thomas R.’s “Holy Bowlers” finds that a game of propitionary ninepins may lead to significant results in the characters’ lives, while Don Webb’s “Scratch Handicap” shows how big victories can be won by paying careful attention to very small details.
The flash fiction category is something of an exception in this issue: three in a kind of boxed set. Ásgrímur Hartmannsson’s “Three Midnights in the Peaceful Garden” has nothing to do with sports aside from some quite unusual steaks that might evoke a tailgate party barbecue.
“Challenge 70 responses” summarizes what seems to be a consensus about the use of time in Kate Bachus’ “Twenty Views of Tanforan.” This issue’s official Challenge is very short and deceptively simple.
In the Reading Room, our own Jerry Wright reviews Neil Gaiman’s Coraline.
Issue 73 will have a couple of stories on the theme “Who am I?” Ásgrímur Hartmannsson is back with a comic take on the subject. In quite another mood, Roberto Sanhueza evokes sweet and sometimes mysterious memories of childhood. Roberto’s story ends with a surprise that’s in the best traditions of science fiction. The story suggests an intriguing question: have times changed so much that it’s not really science fiction any more?
In the “Letters” department, Kate Bachus tells us about the visual inspiration behind her “Twenty Views of Tanforan” The message is supplemented by pertinent links.
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