I’m shuffling through snowdrifts towards a Himalayan mountaintop temple. Why does it always have to be a mountaintop temple? Why can’t it be the ‘temple next to the burger king’? The wind dies down for a moment, giving me a glimpse of my goal through the blowing snow. Or was it just another rock? The snow on the ground looks soft – maybe I could sit down and rest, just for a few minutes.
No, I have to keep moving more than my chattering teeth or I’ll freeze. I’m wearing gloves and my hands are in my pockets, but I can’t feel my fingers. I slip on ice and fall, landing hard on my ribs before I can get my hands free. As I push myself up, I feel stone steps under my palms. I crawl up the ice-covered stairs using hands, knees, and feet.
I push open the ornately-carved temple door, then quickly close it behind me to keep the warmth inside. Mike Resnick sits cross-legged on the floor in front of me, wearing a golden robe embroidered with writing — writing that uses characters I’ve never seen before.
I bow at the waist. “Oh mighty Resnick, your words on paper outnumber the stars in the sky. Will you guide me on my quest?” I stand straight, my full attention on the mighty Resnick.
He motions with one hand towards my feet. “These are the stories you need to read.”
I look down, and see a copy of Galaxy’s Edge magazine that I’m sure wasn’t there a second ago. “These are the stories that will end my quest? When I open this magazine, I’ll feel like a kid opening Christmas presents?”
“These are the stories you need to read … today.”
I sit on the floor and open the magazine to the first page.
Like the copy of Interzone I read, this magazine begins with an article about the Hugo/puppies conflict, but Resnick’s article does two things Interzone’s doesn’t: provides useful information, and delivers it in a neutral tone. He describes several past Hugo conflicts, making the point that Hugo and controversy are old friends. My guess would be that Resnick falls into the pro-puppy camp, simply because some of the anti-puppy crowd have attacked him over an unrelated matter. However, nothing in the article gives any hint that he’s on one side or the other.
The Colossal Death Ray by Ron Collins. You would think a story about an orbital weapons platform AI would be cool, but I found this one tedious. Not only tedious, but also tedious. I’d even go so far as to call it tedious.
Multiples by Robert Silverberg. People use technology to intentionally give themselves multiple personalities. (Why?)
Miss Darcy’s First Intergalactic Ballet Class by Dantzel Cherry. Aliens abduct a ballet teacher.
Tidal Effects by Jack McDevitt. Another one of those long character stories with almost no sci-fi.
Do Not Fear To Touch Flesh by Leena Likitalo. Prostitute bots have, for no apparent reason, been programmed to have emotions so they can feel bad about their assigned career.
Islands in the Sargasso by Alex Shvartsman. A reasonably spacious and operatic space opera.
Form and Void by Elizabeth Bear. This is mostly about the relationship between two women, with a limited sci-fi component.
Escape Mechanism by Josh Vogt. A humorous flash-fiction.
Saul’s Diary by Lawrence Person. A different kind of old man’s war. I enjoyed this one, possibly because I’m in the grouchy old man demographic, at least in spirit if not yet in actual age.
The Eagle has landed by Robert J. Sawyer. A whiny piece about an alien observing Earth. Humans fight wars, humans are racist, humans don’t spend enough on space exploration, whaa whaa whaa.
A Mild Case of Death by David Gerrold. Imagine the Grim Reaper in a Cheech and Chong skit, only not as funny as that sounds.
Reboots. I haven’t been checking out serials in my quest, but since I landed on part one of Reboots, I tried it. The portion I read was written by Cody Martin, and Mercedes Lackey will take over from there. A spaceship is crewed by vampires, zombies, and a werewolf due to their immunity to aging. The main character is one of the zombies. I don’t think I’m on board with the serial format; I like to read a story until it wraps up.
I drop the magazine on the floor. Why did the mighty Resnick show me these stories? Is he telling me my quest is futile? My life is futile? All life is futile?
I pull the Andromeda Spaceways ticket from my pocket. I could head for the spaceport and leave this planet for good. Two words pop to the front of my mind: talking chicken. No, the quest will continue. I put the ticket back in my pocket, zip up my coat, and head into the cold.
Galaxy’s Edge magazine operates a bit differently from the others. To submit a story, you’ll have to be invited by the editor – no unsolicited submissions allowed. The magazine also mixes in classic science fiction stories with its newer material.
I’m shocked that I didn’t like this magazine. Editor Mike Resnick is an accomplished sci-fi author, and he had both classic and modern sci-fi to draw from. I assume he’s squarely in the grouchy old man demographic with me. What went horribly wrong?