Friday, January 15, 2016

January 2016 Ratings

5 & 4 Stories: 10;  Estimated Time: 3h:52m (70K words)
Recommended By Stories: 25;  Estimated Time: 10h:09m (183K words)
Total Stories: 43;  Estimated Time: 15h:23m (277K words)
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Rating: 5 -> Hugo-worthy

Rating: 4 -> Recommended

A Strange Loop by T.R. Napper  Time: 32m (Novelette)  IssueInterzone 262
(SF) In a future Australia, Irving sells his memories for ready cash, hoping to put his life back together. To the extent he still remembers it.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [4]  Recommended By: RSR:4 RHorton:4
Bones of the World by Jennifer Hykes  Time: 16m (ShortStory)  IssueApex 80
(Fantasy) Maggie's fisherman father died at sea recently, and since then, she seems to have acquired some supernatural powers.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [4]  Recommended By: RSR:4
Circa Diem by Carole Johnstone  Time: 10m (ShortStory)  IssueInterzone 262
(SF Fantasy) When Earth's day changed to 96 hours, some adapted (with drugs) and some did not (with lights). Now they hate/fear each other. But two young people are curious.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [4]  Recommended By: RSR:4 SFRevu:4
Finnegan's Field by Angela Slatter  Time: 36m (Novelette) 01/13/16
(Fantasy/Horror) Three years ago, nine-year-old Madrigal Baker disappeared. Recently, she returned, and she's still nine. But her mom is sure something else is wrong.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [4]  Recommended By: RSR:4
Razorback by Ursula Vernon  Time: 19m (ShortStory)  IssueApex 80
(Folk Tale) Sal, the country witch, took a razorback hog as her familiar and named him Rawhead. Sal was a good witch, but then Rawhead disappeared. Simple, but effective.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [4]  Recommended By: RSR:4 SFRevu:4
Smooth Stones and Empty Bones by Bennett North1  Time: 16m (ShortStory)  IssueF&SF 01.02|16
(Horror) Helena's mom's a witch, their small town is blaming them for a missing boy, she and her girlfriend have to stay in the closet, and to top it off, there are chicken skeletons walking around.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [4]  Recommended By: RSR:4
The Savannah Liars Tour by Will McIntosh  Time: 13m (ShortStory)  IssueLightspeed 68
(Urban Fantasy) In the near future, Ben uses cryosleep for a side-effect: while he's under, he can meet his dead wife. Trouble is, he has a new wife.
The Tomato Thief by Ursula Vernon  Time: 46m (Novelette)  IssueApex 80
(Fantasy) Someone (or something) is taking Grandma Harken's tomatoes, but finding the thief leads to a real mystery--and danger.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [4]  Recommended By: RSR:4 SFRevu:4
The Visionaries by Albert E. Cowdrey  Time: 23m (ShortStory)  IssueF&SF 01.02|16
(Urban Fantasy) Jimmy and Morrie's "Paranormal Services" investigates a haunted forest--tree farm, actually.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [4]  Recommended By: RSR:4
Touch Me All Over by Betsy James  Time: 17m (ShortStory)  IssueF&SF 01.02|16
(Fantasy) Hilil weaves and ties the best knots in Sulik, but a curse causes made things to fall apart at her touch.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [4]  Recommended By: RSR:4

Rating: 3 -> Average

Beyond the Heliopause by Keith Brooke and Eric Brown  Time: 15m (ShortStory)  IssueLightspeed 68
(SF) Suzanne's worries about her aging father are interrupted by her ex-husband, who left her two years ago to go explore the frontier of the solar system.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [3]  Recommended By: GDozois:4
Braid of Days and Wake of Nights by E. Lily Yu  Time: 21m (ShortStory)  IssueF&SF 01.02|16
(Urban Fantasy) Julia hunts for a mysterious white horse in Central Park, certain it must be a unicorn that can heal her friend who is dying of cancer.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [3]  Recommended By: SFRevu:4
Caspar D. Luckinbill, What Are You Going to Do? by Nick Wolven  Time: 22m (ShortStory)  IssueF&SF 01.02|16
(SF) When "mediaterrorists" attack, the disrupt Caspar's comfortable life in a near-future where everyone is connected.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [3]  Recommended By: SFRevu:4 RHorton:5
Dependent Assemblies by Philip A. Suggars  Time: 14m (ShortStory)  IssueInterzone 262
(Horror) In 1890's Argentina, Alfonso and Marcelo try to manufacture a child to call their own, even though it's illegal.
Extraction Request by Rich Larson  Time: 29m (Novelette)  IssueClarkesworld 112
(Military SF) Elliot's squad of convict-soldiers crash-lands in the middle of a swamp far away from help. Extracting them doesn't seem to be a priority, but something seems to be wrong with the swamp.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [3]  Recommended By: GDozois:4
Longsleeves by Mike Allen  Time: 24m (ShortStory)  IssueBCS 190
(High Fantasy) Rescued from men who tried to kill her, Merav struggles to understand why and to adjust to life with her rescuer: a widely feared witch.
Lotus Face and the Fox by Nghi Vo  Time: 10m (ShortStory)  IssueUncanny 8
(Fantasy) A nameless child, a petty thief who mourns her dead sister, seeks help from a deeply feared magician.
Maiden, Hunter, Beast by Kat Howard  Time: 08m (ShortStory)  IssueLightspeed 68
(Urban Fantasy) A virgin girl thinks she sees a unicorn--and a woman hunting it.
Number Nine Moon by Alex Irvine  Time: 26m (Novelette)  IssueF&SF 01.02|16
(Competence SF) In the 2080s, Humanity is abandoning Mars, and Steuby and his companions think they can make money by looting the abandoned settlements at the last minute.
Robot From the Future by Terry Bisson  Time: 14m (ShortStory)  IssueF&SF 01.02|16
(SF) About 100 years from now, eleven-year-old Theodore meets a robot from "the far future" which demands he find gasoline for it, but Theo isn't even sure what that is.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [3]  Recommended By: RHorton:5
Secondhand Bodies by JY Yang  Time: 19m (ShortStory)  IssueLightspeed 68
(SF) Agatha wants a svelte replacement for her plump body, but since she can't get one grown in a reasonable time, she looks into an illegal swap.
Telltale by Matthew Hughes  Time: 32m (Novelette)  IssueF&SF 01.02|16
(High Fantasy) Raffalon the thief's latest contract goes wrong when he's transported to a gray world that he must figure out how to escape. Entertaining.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [3]  Recommended By: GDozois:4
(Fantasy) Vadrai and Maru begin a professional correspondence as fellow artisans, and over time it becomes more than that.
The Glass Galago by A.M. Dellamonica  Time: 22m (ShortStory) 01/06/16
(Fantasy) Captain Gale Feliachild and her handsome first mate, Garland Parrish, must find the inscription for a spell that turns people's skins into glass. Entertaining.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [3]  Recommended By: RHorton:5
The Godbeard by Lavie Tidhar  Time: 12m (ShortStory)  IssueStrange Horizons 01/11/2016
(Fantasy) Iyob mourns the loss of his wife and daughter, and he decides to ride a balloon to heaven and demand an explanation from God.
The Mama Mmiri by Walter Dinjos1  Time: 14m (ShortStory)  IssueBCS 190
(African Fantasy) The narrator's twin died in a caisson, but he's sure the foreigner supervising the construction sacrificed him to the water spirit.
The White Piano by David Gerrold  Time: 40m (Novelette)  IssueF&SF 01.02|16
(Ghost Story) A little boy mourning his mother is sure that he's hearing ghosts in the house.
Two's Company by Joe Abercrombie  Time: 23m (ShortStory) 01/12/16
(High Fantasy Humor) A warrior woman and a thief fleeing from the south meet a male warrior fleeing from the north in the middle of a bridge. Then it gets complicated.
Vortex by Gregory Benford  Time: 22m (ShortStory)  IssueF&SF 01.02|16
(Hard SF) The Chinese Mars base asks old First-Expedition crew members Julia and Viktor for help with a problem involving Mars's only large native life form.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [3]  Recommended By: LTilton GDozois:4

Rating: 2 -> Not Recommended

Empty Planets by Rahul Kanakia  Time: 25m (Novelette)  IssueInterzone 262
(SF) In a future where most of the galaxy is run by "the Machine" for the benefit of those lucky enough to own shares, a young shareholder goes to school to learn how he can make a difference.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [2]  Recommended By: RHorton:5
Geologic by Ian Sales  Time: 10m (ShortStory)  IssueInterzone 262
(Hard SF) On 61 Virginis b, Keller endures the cold, the two gravities, and the poisonous air at 30-atmospheres to study the only alien artifact ever found by humans.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [2]  Recommended By: SFRevu:4
Soursop by Chikodili Emelumadu  Time: 06m (ShortStory)  IssueApex 80
(SF) The narrator watches a cooking show beamed down to the miserable remains of Earth from the happy people who live in the habitats above.
Squidtown by Leo Vladimirsky  Time: 14m (ShortStory)  IssueF&SF 01.02|16
(SF) In the late 21st Century, Johnny returns to Squidtown after years of captivity in Texas, and he finds it's all different.
That Lucky Old Sun by Carrie Cuinn  Time: 17m (ShortStory)  IssueApex 80
(SF) Melanie's mother wants Melanie to stay indoors today so she can "spend all the minutes I have left with you," but the fifth-grader thinks something's wrong with that.
The Algorithms of Value by Robert Reed  Time: 18m (ShortStory)  IssueClarkesworld 112
(SF) In a future world made rich by AIs and other technology, wealthy Parchment goes for her morning walk, but a teenage boy keep annoying her.
The Open-Hearted by Lettie Prell  Time: 17m (ShortStory)  IssueApex 80
(SF) Palmer makes a living promoting fads, and he thinks the body modifications called "stomata" have enormous potential.
The Virgin Played Bass by Maria Dahvana Headley  Time: 29m (Novelette)  IssueUncanny 8
(Fantasy) In a war-torn Europe, a refugee meets a man-sized cat, and they create a travelling show, picking up others as they keep ahead of the fighting.
The Water-Walls of Enceladus by Mercurio D. Rivera  Time: 20m (ShortStory)  IssueInterzone 262
(SF) A disfiguring illness drove Lilly to leave Earth and live in a community of aliens who think she's beautiful. Trouble is, they like her too much.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [2]  Recommended By: GDozois:4
Tower of the Rosewater Goblet by Nin Harris2  Time: 19m (ShortStory)  IssueStrange Horizons 01/04/16
(Fantasy) Erheani wanted to be a master storyteller, and the first task her teachers set for her was to update an old classic tale. But there are tales within tales...

Rating: 1 -> Needs Improvement

Everybody Loves Charles by Bao Shu  Time: 1h:09m (Novella)  IssueClarkesworld 112
(SF) Charles Mann leads a wild, exciting life, which he shares with millions who join his "live-link."
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [1]  Recommended By: SFRevu:5 RHorton:5
The Abduction of Europa by E. Catherine Tobler  Time: 19m (ShortStory)  IssueClarkesworld 112
(Fantasy Science) Out on Europa, Marius has vanished and Kotto has come to rescue his partner, Bolaji.

Rating: Not Rated

The Creeping Women by Christopher Barzak  Time: 24m (ShortStory)  IssueUncanny 8
(Literature) In Victorian England, Jennie keeps house at a rented summer estate where her brother's wife is trying to recuperate from madness.
The Sincerity Game by Brit Mandelo  Time: 10m (ShortStory)  IssueUncanny 8
(Mainstream) The commitment-averse narrator meets a man at a party and they begin a relationship.

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