Monday, February 15, 2016

February 2016 Ratings

5 & 4 Stories: 4;  Estimated Time: 2h:09m (39K words)
Recommended By Stories: 15;  Estimated Time: 6h:59m (126K words)
Total Stories: 40;  Estimated Time: 16h:07m (290K words)
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Rating: 5 -> Hugo-worthy


Rating: 4 -> Recommended

(Urban Fantasy) Rabbit holes open at random, summoning people to fairy-tale universes where they are the heroes. Louisa keeps waiting for one to open for her.
(Near-future SF) Bay lives alone and subsists off things that wash ashore from cruise ships and such. Then Gabby washes up, alive, and complicates her life.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [4]  Recommended By: RSR:4
The Coward's Option by Adam-Troy Castro  Time: 1h:09m (Novella)  IssueAnalog 03|16
(SF) On Caithiriin, murderers get a choice between execution or anti-violence treatment. No human has had to make that choice before, but it's suspicious that the natives almost always prefer death.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [4]  Recommended By: RSR:4 SFRevu:5
The Grocer's Wife: Enhanced Transcription by Michael Libling  Time: 18m (ShortStory)  IssueAsimov's 02|16
(SF) Thomas is in the early stages of Alzheimer's, and his wife, Lynn, is trying to support him. Andy is spying on him, and wondering why the government is interested in a retired grocer.

Rating: 3 -> Average

Anabaptist by Daniel Rosen  Time: 15m (ShortStory)  IssueApex 81
(SF) Ephraim never questioned God's Will until the morning when the sun went out.
(Fantasy) Teenage friends Domei and Hano live in a refugee camp for survivors of a war fought with dragons.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [3]  Recommended By: RHorton:4
(Magical Steampunk) Elijah is dying of tuberculosis in a London where Darwin discovered spirits, not evolution. He and a vampire friend descend into the underground to look for a cure.
Breaking Water by Indrapramit Das  Time: 28m (Novelette)  IssueTor.com 02/10/16
(Zombie) In modern India, Krishna encounters (and ignores) a dead woman's body by the river just before the dead start to walk. He feels guilty and determines to do something about it.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [3]  Recommended By: RHorton:4
Bringing Them Back by Bruce McAllister  Time: 05m (ShortStory)  IssueAsimov's 02|16
(SF, ~2060) A man reviews drawings and descriptions of animals he knew and loved during his life, updating them to reflect recent changes. Very moving.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [3]  Recommended By: SFRevu:4 GDozois:4
Charlotte Incorporated by Rachael K. Jones  Time: 11m (ShortStory)  IssueLightspeed 69
(Science Fantasy) Charlotte is tired of being a disembodied brain; she wants a real body of her own, as soon as she can afford it.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [3]  Recommended By: RHorton:4
Conjure Man by Stefon Mears  Time: 17m (ShortStory)  IssueStrange Horizons 02/01/16
(Urban Fantasy) Heath comes to a park in Portland, Oregon to rid a client of some sort of spirit that's been pestering him. Business has been bad, so he really needs this to go well.
Drummer by Thomas R. Dulski  Time: 48m (Novelette)  IssueAnalog 03|16
(SF) Dale Maygan has sold Fermi Furnaces on planets along the "great circle" for twenty years. He meets young Barclimas Tragg, more con-man than salesman, and tries to help him despite his better judgment.
(Fantasy/Myth) The goddess of order has been flayed, and without the laws on her skin, the world will fall into chaos. So she goes beyond the world to look for it.
In Equity by Sarah Gallien1  Time: 20m (ShortStory)  IssueAsimov's 02|16
(Near-future SF) A thirteen-year-old orphan gets an offer from foster parents in a wealthy, walled community. There has to be a catch, but what could it be? Moving.
In Skander, for a Boy by Chaz Brenchley  Time: 24m (ShortStory)  IssueBCS 191
(High Fantasy) Having no heir, King Rulf sends Harlan, his most trusted adviser, to find the son of the king he overthrew 20 years ago
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [3]  Recommended By: RHorton:5
Passion Summer by Nick Wolven  Time: 30m (Novelette)  IssueAsimov's 02|16
(near-future SF) At 14, Jeff can get his first "passion" treatment, which artificially makes you passionate about something or someone.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [3]  Recommended By: RHorton:4
Small Wars by Matt Wallace  Time: 28m (Novelette)  IssueTor.com 01/19/16
(Urban Fantasy) Ritter's "Sin du Jour" comes to Wales to extract some Welsh gold from an abandoned mine. Supposedly abandoned.
Snowbird by Joe M. McDermott  Time: 19m (ShortStory)  IssueAnalog 03|16
(near-future SF) Mary Margret gets suspicious when one of the solar-powered, self-driving SUVs popular with retired people parks itself at her dad's New Mexico ranch and just sits there. Entertaining.
The Charge and the Storm by An Owomoyela  Time: 54m (Novelette)  IssueAsimov's 02|16
(SF) In a colony on an almost uninhabitable planet, the technologically-superior Su share power with the humans, but some humans want independence.
The Drowning Eyes by Emily Foster1  Time: 1h:26m (Novella)  IssueThe Drowning Eyes 2016
(High Fantasy) Shina books passage to another island on Captain Tazir's fishing boat without mentioning that she's caught up in the war between the powerful "Windspeakers" and the invading Dragon Ships.
The Maiden Thief by Melissa Marr  Time: 32m (Novelette)  IssueTor.com 01/27/16
(Dark Fantasy) Verena wants to stop the killer who takes one local girl every year. And she's just barely old enough to be a target herself.
The Monster of 1928 by Sandra McDonald  Time: 12m (ShortStory)  IssueAsimov's 02|16
(Horror) There was a monster hurricane in South Florida in 1928, but the narrator tells about "Tulu," a different kind of monster, and what happened when they met.
(Urban Fantasy) In New Orleans, women with stillborn children can deliver them to the Bayou Lady, who gives them to the luminous ones. But sometimes a grieving mother wants to accompany her.
The Three Dancers of Gizari by Tamara Vardomskaya2  Time: 22m (ShortStory)  IssueBCS 192
(High Fantasy) Bethenica Morning, humble, penny-pinching accountant to the wealthy and powerful Nahemiah Froll, travels abroad to acquire a famous statue for her mistress.
Tom, Thom by K.M. Ferebee  Time: 29m (Novelette)  IssueTor.com 02/03/16
(Modern Fantasy) What if the fairies brought a changeling but forgot to take the original child? Little Tom wanted a brother, but "Thom" is strange in many ways.
Unlinkage by Eric Del Carlo  Time: 28m (Novelette)  IssueAnalog 03|16
(Military SF) Years after her military service, Etta's "link" with the supersoldier she directed seems to be coming back--even though the man died in action. Exciting.

Rating: 2 -> Not Recommended

And the Blessing of the Angels Came Upon Them by Dean Wells  Time: 14m (ShortStory)  IssueBCS 193
(Interstellar Steampunk) Peavey is the last survivor of a marooned expedition, whose descendants are holding an annual festival. His grandson is excited, but Peavey dreads it for some reason.
Exceptional Forces by Sean McMullen  Time: 20m (ShortStory)  IssueAsimov's 02|16
(Hard SF) A radio astronomer comes to a conference prepared to deliver a shattering paper, but fully expecting to die before he gets the chance.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [2]  Recommended By: GDozois:4
In the Midst of Life by Nick Wolven  Time: 49m (Novelette)  IssueClarkesworld 113
(SF) In a rude, career-ending memo to his boss, Doug recounts a disaster that occurred on a company property in Indonesia when they tried to evict a group of squatters and their charismatic leader.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [2]  Recommended By: GDozois:4
Salt Circles by Andrew F. Sullivan1  Time: 13m (ShortStory)  IssueBCS 193
(Fantasy America) Heath leads Dennis and Mitchell in a crusade across a cursed America, killing mutated people, but gradually becoming corrupted themselves.
Starfish by Karin Tidbeck  Time: 06m (ShortStory)  IssueLightspeed 69
(Fantasy) Kim takes a cruise in icy northern waters to help her recovery, but she can't shake the feeling that what she really needs is another world entirely.
(Military SF) Rinthira retired from the Thai military a while back, but her former commander (and ex-lover) has come to call her back to duty.
The Fixer by Paul McAuley  Time: 12m (ShortStory)  IssueClarkesworld 113
(SF) An AI trying to establish a human colony discovers there's an individual it cannot account for.
The Four Gardens of Fate by Betsy Phillips  Time: 15m (ShortStory)  IssueApex 81
(Paranormal) Fifteen-year-old Kayla can predict the future, but she wants to avoid the bad things that have happened to her other gifted relatives.
The Perfect Bracket by Howard Hendrix and Art Holcomb  Time: 18m (ShortStory)  IssueAnalog 03|16
(SF) Against impossible odds, John Peoples successfully picked a perfect NCAA bracket, winning the billion-dollar prize. But Richard Mann is determined to prove he cheated.
Told By An Idiot by K.J. Parker  Time: 36m (Novelette)  IssueBCS 192
(Historical Fantasy) In Elizabethan London, an entrepreneur skilled in identifying legitimate antiquities ends up with a bottle that happens to have a demon in it.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [2]  Recommended By: RHorton:5

Rating: 1 -> Needs Improvement

Elderjoy by Gregory Benford  Time: 05m (ShortStory)  IssueAnalog 03|16
(SF) Elderly couple in the near future decides to rebel against the tax on sex, levied only on older people to pay for the health costs.
First Kill by Jennifer Fallon  Time: 24m (ShortStory)  IssueTor.com 01/26/16
(High Fantasy) To complete his apprenticeship in the Assasins Guild, Kiam Miar must prove himself. Oddly, his target is a prostitute, but how hard could that be?
The Beast at the End of Time by Benjanun Sriduangkaew  Time: 13m (ShortStory)  IssueApex 81
(SF) As the world approaches destruction, the Beast awakens, armed with information that may stave off destruction.

Rating: Not Rated

The Caretakers by David Nickle  Time: 19m (ShortStory)  IssueTor.com 01/20/16
(Mainstream) A group of people travel from all over the country to meet their mysterious benefactor.



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