Tuesday, March 15, 2016

March 2016 Ratings

5- & 4-Star Stories: 7;  Estimated Time: 2h:31m (45K words)
Recommended By Stories: 19;  Estimated Time: 8h:37m (155K words)
Total Stories: 56;  Estimated Time: 19h:59m (360K words)
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Rating: 5 -> Hugo-worthy

I Married a Monster from Outer Space by Dale Bailey  Time: 42m (Novelette)  IssueAsimov's 03|16
(SF) Ruth, a 22-year-old Walmart cashier, meets a very weird-and-scary-looking alien, who seems down on his luck, and brings him home with her.

Rating: 4 -> Recommended

Early Warning by Martin L. Shoemaker  Time: 10m (ShortStory)  IssueAnalog 04|16
(Time Travel) Art's twenty-years-future self returns to warn the graduate student that he's about to ruin his life.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [4]  Recommended By: RSR:4
Foxfire, Foxfire by Yoon Ha Lee  Time: 28m (Novelette)  IssueBCS 194
(Military Fantasy) Baekdo, a fox who wants to become human, needs one more kill to achieve his goal. A collapsing city in the middle of a civil war seems like a good place to do it but there are complications.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [4]  Recommended By: RSR:4 RHorton:5
Loser by Matthew Hughes  Time: 24m (ShortStory)  IssueArchonate 2016
(Near-Future SF) A former critic of the new US president works on a labor camp building a wall. Then the new government gives him a way to earn his freedom.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [4]  Recommended By: RSR:4
Montague's Last by Ekari Mbvundula1  Time: 10m (ShortStory)  IssueStrange Horizons 02/29/16
(Historical Fantasy) In a prison in 18th-century France, Montague struggles to redeem himself by completing one last magical device before he dies.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [4]  Recommended By: RSR:4
Red in Tooth and Cog by Cat Rambo  Time: 22m (Novelette)  IssueF&SF 03.04|16
(SF) When a feral robot steals her phone, Renee acquires a keen interest in the little robotic ecosystem that flourishes in the park.
Sparks Fly by Rich Larson  Time: 11m (ShortStory)  IssueLightspeed 70
(Slipstream) Electricity does strange things around Arthur, especially when he gets excited. He's excited about Christina, so their first date is going to be a real adventure.

Rating: 3 -> Average

A Little Bigotry by R. Neube  Time: 21m (ShortStory)  IssueAsimov's 03|16
(Military SF) Rachael flees Mars for Hanah. She'll be safe there if she can find a job. Unfortunately the only aliens who seem interested are a species she still has PTSD over.
A Mother's Arms by Sarina Dorie  Time: 26m (Novelette)  IssueF&SF 03.04|16
(SF) On an alien world, an 8-tentacled native adopts an unwilling human.
Agent of V.A.L.I.S. by Lavie Tidhar  Time: 27m (Novelette)  IssueApex 82
(Surreal) Thomas knows this world is an illusion, a "Black Iron Prison." V.A.L.I.S. tells him he needs to escape, if he can only figure out what's real.
Alloprene by Stephen R. Wilk  Time: 15m (ShortStory)  IssueAnalog 04|16
(Hard SF) Jason got paid for doing an experiment with a robot today, and he and his wife try to figure out what it was all about.
Big Thrull and the Askin' Man by Max Gladstone  Time: 12m (ShortStory)  IssueUncanny 9
(Folk Tale) A small, pink, human asks Big Thrull's protection. She's the toughest mammoth herder there is, but she's got a soft spot. His endless questions are a problem though.
Death Flowers of a Never-Forgotten Love by Jason Sanford  Time: 05m (ShortStory)  IssueApex 82
(SF) The not-quite-human narrator mourns the death of his/her all-too-human lover amidst human mourners who want to forget about him/her entirely.
Diamond Jim and the Dinosaurs by Rosemary Claire Smith  Time: 31m (Novelette)  IssueAnalog 04|16
(Time Travel) Light story about a time-travelling biologist who runs into some problems in Cretaceous Antarctica.
Forest of Memory by Mary Robinette Kowal  Time: 57m (Novella)  IssueTor Novella 2016
(SF) A century or so from now, Katya sells 20th and 21st-century memorabilia. Walking through the woods after a purchase, she's kidnapped. But she has no idea why.
Love Is Never Still by Rachel Swirsky  Time: 30m (Novelette)  IssueUncanny 9
(Greek Myth) A sculptor falls in love with his statue and asks Aphrodite to turn her into a real woman. Then things start to go wrong--for all parties concerned.
Meltwater by Benjamin C. Kinney2  Time: 07m (ShortStory)  IssueStrange Horizons 03/14/16
(Far Future SF) Far, far in the future, Percel still loves Emlune, despite all the ages that have passed and all the changes. Or at least one copy does.
Michael Doesn’t Hate His Mother by Marie Vibbert  Time: 12m (ShortStory)  IssueLightspeed 70
(SF) Micheal and Julie, kids with no parents, are cared for by a mechanical "mother." Trouble is, the machine is having problems, and no one will believe them.
Playthings by Stephen L. Burns  Time: 33m (Novelette)  IssueAnalog 04|16
(SF) In a caste-based future officer John Blank investigates a serial killer whose victims seem to have mysterious connection to upper-caste people.
Project Empathy by Dominica Phetteplace  Time: 27m (Novelette)  IssueAsimov's 03|16
(Near-future SF) Teenage Bel worked as a host at a Blue Cup restaurant in Concord, CA before Blue Cup moved her to San Francisco for special training. Very special.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [3]  Recommended By: RHorton:5
Recalled to Service by Alter S. Reiss  Time: 30m (Novelette)  IssueTor.com 02/24/16
(Fantasy) At the end of the revolution, Ao Laiei raised the war hero Uroie Aei from the dead, but then he disappeared, and she's been seeking him ever since. A dream told her to wait at a cafe, and while she waits, a bomb goes off.
RedKing by Craig Delancey  Time: 20m (ShortStory)  IssueLightspeed 70
(Hard SF) In an near future when everyone has brain implants, a computer virus can be a health issue. Especially when it turns users into killers.
Salvage Opportunity by Jack Skillingstead  Time: 11m (ShortStory)  IssueClarkesworld 114
(SF) Badar has a 4-year contract sits all alone at a salvage site on Kepler-186f.
Sleep Factory by Rich Larson  Time: 06m (ShortStory)  IssueAnalog 04|16
(SF) Abdoulaye and Safi work in the "Sleep Factory," where third-world workers with neural implants can do jobs around the world. It's dangerous, but they almost have enough to quit.
(Post Apocalypse) Agneta and her little sister, Saga, are among the last human survivors. The invading aliens have assigned a modified human "governess" to watch over them.
The Liar by John P. Murphy  Time: 1h:19m (Novella)  IssueF&SF 03.04|16
(Horror) Middle-aged bachelor, Greg Kellog, has a secret knack for making small changes to reality by "lying." To stop a series of deaths, "small changes" may not be enough.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [3]  Recommended By: SFRevu:4 RHorton:5
The Right Bright Courier by Anaea Lay  Time: 07m (ShortStory)  IssueBCS 194
(High Fantasy) A Bright Courier arrives at the Palace of Abandoned Dreams, where many come to collect the package, but none ever returns.
The Shadow Collector by Shveta Thakrar  Time: 19m (ShortStory)  IssueUncanny 9
(Fantasy) Rajesh does an excellent job tending the queen's garden of girl-flowers, but he secretly steals people's shadows for his collection.
The Ship Whisperer by Julie Novakova  Time: 18m (ShortStory)  IssueAsimov's 03|16
(SF) The Giordano Bruno investiages a black dwarf (which shouldn't exist). The narrator has a special rapport with the ship's AI, and he's sure it's trying to tell him something is wrong.
The Wolf and the Tower Unwoven by Kelly Sandoval  Time: 14m (ShortStory)  IssueUncanny 9
(Fantasy) The Tower Unwoven gives animals human form, and old Cresa takes them in and teaches them. But this naked wolf-boy is going to be more trouble than usual.
(SF Humor) A choose-your-own-adventure story in which you navigate the clinic on a space station full of aliens.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [3]  Recommended By: SFRevu:4 RHorton:4

Rating: 2 -> Not Recommended

(Magical Realism) Hannah watched her sister Melanie die, incinerated with her own magic. Hannah can't accept that and sets out to use her own magic to put things right.
A Partial List of Lists I Have Lost Over Time by Sunil Patel2  Time: 02m (ShortStory)  IssueAsimov's 03|16
(SF Short-Short) Entirely via lists, the narrator tells a story about fighting his duplicate from another dimension.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [2]  Recommended By: SFRevu:4 RHorton:4
Belief by Nancy Kress  Time: 18m (ShortStory)  IssueF&SF 03.04|16
(SF) While Andrea struggles to make progress at the lab, her teenage daughter, Natalie, is getting involved with people doing spiritual "research."
Call and Answer, Plant and Harvest by Cat Rambo  Time: 13m (ShortStory)  IssueBCS 194
(Science Fantasy) Cathay, a Chaos Mage in the city of Serendib, thrives on randomness. And how better to make the world more random than gambling?
Coyote Invents the Land of the Dead by Kij Johnson  Time: 19m (ShortStory)  IssueClarkesworld 114
(Fantasy) Dee, a Coyote in the mythical sense, seeks her lost lover in the land of the dead, even though she may not be able to return.
Do Not Forget Me by Ray Nayler  Time: 21m (ShortStory)  IssueAsimov's 03|16
(Tale) In the style of the Arabian Nights, this story tells the tale Batyr related to his wife after an evening with a great poet.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [2]  Recommended By: SFRevu:4 RHorton:4
Golden Gate Blues by James L. Cambias  Time: 20m (ShortStory)  IssueF&SF 03.04|16
(Alternate History Fantasy) In a modern San Francisco in a world with super heroes and monsters, a retired super villain hires a detective to investigate the death of a giant octopus.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [2]  Recommended By: SFRevu:4
Into the Wreck by June Oldfather1  Time: 14m (ShortStory)  IssueStrange Horizons 02/22/16
(SF) A human science team studies the colossal wreck of an alien spacecraft.
Listen by Karin Tidbeck  Time: 14m (ShortStory)  IssueTor.com 03/09/16
(Fantasy Science) In the far future, Mika translates for a group of ambassadors who're looking for a new home on the moon of a gas giant.
Nanabojou and the Race Question by Justin Barbeau  Time: 12m (ShortStory)  IssueF&SF 03.04|16
(Tale) Nanabojou, the trickster, visits Virginia in 1924 to see if he can play a trick on them.
Screaming Without a Mouth by Travis Heermann  Time: 14m (ShortStory)  IssueApex 82
(Modern Fantasy) Yukiko's best friend just died, one of her other friends has lost his mouth, and she's starting to think there's a connection.
Seven Cups of Coffee by A.C. Wise  Time: 13m (ShortStory)  IssueClarkesworld 114
(Time Travel) Narrator, in 1983, takes a job that involves going back to 1945 to do some dirty work, but she becomes infatuated with her target.
(SF) The narrator fled her world's brutal religion for a role with an interstellar science team. But a distress call puts her back on a collision course with it.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [2]  Recommended By: RHorton:4
The Angel of Divine Intent by Tim Akers  Time: 22m (ShortStory)  IssueStrange Horizons 03/07/16
(SF) Haelice pilots the starship Sanctuary of Divine Intent on behalf of the "angel" who commands it. The angel has detected one of her kind, a ferel, and risks the starship chasing it.
The Artificial Bees by Simon Guerrier  Time: 04m (ShortStory)  IssueUncanny 9
(SF) Randall, a robot, investigates an unfamiliar place: a home garden.
The Bewilderness of Lions by Ted Kosmatka  Time: 27m (Novelette)  IssueAsimov's 03|16
(SF) Caitlin does data mining for a presidential campaign, but her analysis is resulting in unusually precise and downrightstrange predictions.
The Ghost Penny Post by Marc Laidlaw  Time: 40m (Novelette)  IssueF&SF 03.04|16
(Historical Fantasy) The Victorian England postal service sends Mr. Hewell to investigate some problems with the mail in Binderwood, where something very strange seems to be happening.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [2]  Recommended By: SFRevu:4
The Great Detective by Delia Sherman  Time: 42m (Novelette)  IssueTor.com 02/17/16
(Steampunk) In 1880s London, Sir Arthur's "Illogic Engine" has gone missing, so he seeks help from Mycroft Holmes.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [2]  Recommended By: RHorton:4
The Language of the Silent by Juliette Wade and Sheila Finch  Time: 32m (Novelette)  IssueF&SF 03.04|16
(SF) En route to planet Enikiu, an accident ruptures Ifigenia's eardrums--a disaster for a translator. She can get them fixed on Earth, but first she explores Enikiu a little, with unexpected consequences.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [2]  Recommended By: SFRevu:4

Rating: 1 -> Needs Improvement

Chimera by Gu Shi  Time: 59m (Novella)  IssueClarkesworld 114
(Hard SF) Evan hasn't seen his wife in six years--ever since she left him and their newborn child. But their son needs special medical attention, and she's the world's expert.
New Earth by James Gunn  Time: 09m (ShortStory)  IssueAsimov's 03|16
(Hard SF) Human colonists arrive at a new world but debate how cautious they need to be, given that there's no animal life.
The Silver Strands of Alpha Crucis-D by N.J. Schrock  Time: 06m (ShortStory)  IssueF&SF 03.04|16
(Hard SF) Explorers are baffled by mysterious silver strands on a remote planet of a distant supergiant star.

Rating: Not Rated

Diamond by Chris Devito  Time: 04m (ShortStory)  IssueF&SF 03.04|16
(Mainstream) A familiar-seeming major-league baseball player goes up to bat.
Most Valuable Player by Eric Choi  Time: 04m (ShortStory)  IssueAnalog 04|16
(Mainstream) Terry used to be a professional baseball player, but he's had a hard time adjusting since he lost his arm.
Soap Opera by Edward M. Lerner  Time: 25m (Novelette)  IssueAnalog 04|16
(Historical) In 1932 New York City, William works for a broadcasting company.


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