Friday, April 15, 2016

April 2016 Ratings

5 & 4 Stories: 11;  Estimated Time: 7h:06m (128K words)
Recommended By Stories: 25;  Estimated Time: 12h:08m (218K words)
Total Stories: 58;  Estimated Time: 27h:37m (497K words)
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Rating: 5 -> Hugo-worthy

Blood Grains Speak Through Memories by Jason Sanford  Time: 40m (ShortStory)  IssueBCS 195
(SF) Frere-Jones controls the nanobot "grains" that help protect the ecology in the bit of land she "anchors." She's come to view the grains as a tyranny, but there doesn't seem to be much she can do about it.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [5]  Recommended By: RSR:5 RHorton:5
Discards by David D. Levine  Time: 35m (Novelette) 03/30/16
(Fantasy SF) Tiago, a fifteen-year-old orphan boy scraping by on his own in Rio de Janeiro, contracts the "Wild Card" virus and ends up horribly disfigured. But the virus has given him a gift too.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [5]  Recommended By: RSR:5
Not Quite Taterona Kempi by Ryan W. Norris2  Time: 54m (Novelette)  IssueAnalog 05|16
(Hard SF) Fifty million years after the extinction of humanity, a new intelligent race tries to understand records left on the moon.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [5]  Recommended By: RSR:5
Of the Beast in the Belly by C.W. Johnson  Time: 41m (Novelette)  IssueAsimov's 04.05|16
(SF) Nawiz has pursued the boy who ruined her life across the galaxy. Before she can get her vengeance, they're both swallowed by a gigantic sea creature, and it will be a struggle merely to survive.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [5]  Recommended By: RSR:5 SFRevu:4

Rating: 4 -> Recommended

Balin by Chen Qiufan  Time: 36m (Novelette)  IssueClarkesworld 115
(Slipstream) As a boy, Peng receives a paoxiao, a mythical humanoid creature with a great ability for mimicry. As a man, Peng tries to do research on the creature.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [4]  Recommended By: RSR:4
Motherboard by Jeffrey Thomas  Time: 25m (Novelette)  IssueInterzone 263
(Magical Realism) Teenage Leep works making circuit boards somewhere in the third world. He's so awkward and quiet that people think he's crazy, but he sees a very different world.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [4]  Recommended By: RSR:4
The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle  Time: 1h:32m (Novella)  IssueTor Novella 2016
(Black Lovecraftian Horror) In 1924 Harlem, 20-year-old Tommy Tester plays bad jazz and runs minor scams. When an old man offers him $500 to play at his house, he knows there's a catch. It's just not what he expects.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [4]  Recommended By: RSR:4
The Sweetest Skill by Tony Pi  Time: 24m (ShortStory)  IssueBCS 197
(Chinese Fantasy) New to Chengdu, young Ao doesn't expect the fearsome tiger spirit to ask him for a favor--to rescue the Guardian of Chengdu. Ao has some magic, but cleverness may be more important.
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This Is a Letter to My Son by KJ Kabza  Time: 16m (ShortStory)  IssueStrange Horizons 04/11/2016
(Near Future SF) Kellsey's a transsexual 11-year-old girl. Improved technology makes that easier, but also creates new problems, and she seeks advice from recordings her mother made for her "son" before she died.
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Touring with the Alien by Carolyn Ives Gilman  Time: 39m (Novelette)  IssueClarkesworld 115
(SF) Months after mysterious aliens scattered their spacecraft across North America, no one has a clue what they want. Avery knows what one of them wants, though: it wants a tour.
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Your Orisons May Be Recorded by Laurie Penny1  Time: 18m (ShortStory) 03/15/16
(Fantasy Humor) Angels who operate the Celestial Switchboard fielding mortal prayer requests get frustrated and even depressed.
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Rating: 3 -> Average

A Salvaging of Ghosts by Aliette de Bodard  Time: 14m (ShortStory)  IssueBCS 195
(Space Opera) Thuy seeks her daughter's remains in the twisted parts of unreal space where salvagers pick over the remains of wrecked starships.
Andromeda of the Skies by E. Catherine Tobler  Time: 16m (ShortStory)  IssueInterzone 263
(SF) When little Alice fell into the lake, she didn't die; she found herself held captive on a strange world in the Andromeda galaxy.
Dragon Brides by Nghi Vo  Time: 12m (ShortStory)  IssueLightspeed 71
(Fantasy) She was 15 when a dragon abducted her. 16 when a prince rescued her and married her. Now she's 55, returning to the cave where she was held.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [3]  Recommended By: RHorton:5
Flame Trees by T.R. Napper  Time: 20m (ShortStory)  IssueAsimov's 04.05|16
(Near-future SF) Chi lives in a future Australia and suffers from PTSD. His doctor offers to erase the bad memories, but he refuses without explaining why.
Lazy Dog Out by Suzanne Palmer  Time: 1h:11m (Novella)  IssueAsimov's 04.05|16
(SF) Khifi makes a good living as a pilot, but she used to be a homeless kid on the Tanduou docks. So she cares when she gets hints that something bad is happening--something involving kids, aliens, and more.
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Mountain by Andy P. Smith1  Time: 24m (Novelette)  IssueAnalog 05|16
(SF) In a broken-down future, a woman learns of the death of her son on a mysterious mountain that once powered the world.
Origin Story by Carrie Vaughn  Time: 12m (ShortStory)  IssueLightspeed 71
(Superhero) Mary hasn't seen her ex-boyfriend in eight years, but when she witnesses super-villain "Techhunter" robbing a bank, she sees a strong resemblance.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [3]  Recommended By: RHorton:5
Patchwerk by David Tallerman  Time: 1h:18m (Novella)  IssueTor Novella 2016
(SF/Fantasy) Florrian plans to change the world with his "Palimpsest" invention--provided no one steals it first. And it's the kind of thing that's dangerous to steal.
Project Synergy by Dominica Phetteplace  Time: 26m (Novelette)  IssueAsimov's 04.05|16
(Near-future SF) The Observator chip helps Angelina navigate her role as "social curator" (aka hostess) at the Reserve. She doesn't know that the chip wants to end their partnership.
Promised Land by Bethany Gilton1  Time: 07m (ShortStory)  IssueAnalog 05|16
(SF) Moses spends most of his time playing video games, but occasionally the computer rouses him to remind him he's supposed to be running the starship.
Rabbit Grass by Kelly Stewart1  Time: 19m (ShortStory)  IssueBCS 197
(Fantasy) Aril knows not to let rabbits into the garden--no matter how politely they ask. Picket's an awfully nice rabbit, though, and he needs her help.
Sea of Dreams by Alter S. Reiss  Time: 09m (ShortStory)  IssueBCS 196
(High Fantasy) Exiled emperor Ierois lives alone on the shore of the Sea of Dreams. Then another exile joins him--a boy who refuses to give up quite so easily.
Starless Night by Robert R. Chase  Time: 15m (ShortStory)  IssueAsimov's 04.05|16
(Military SF) After some "desperate" medical procedure, the narrator awakes in an abandoned hospital. He can't even remember his name, but there's something very important he needs to do.
Ten Confessions of Blue Mercury Addicts by Anna Spencer by Alexander Marsh Freed  Time: 17m (ShortStory)  IssueInterzone 263
(Science Fantasy) Anna investigates people addicted to a drug that slows down time so much that they can experience a year in the time it takes to fall from an airplane.
That Game We Played During the War by Carrie Vaughn  Time: 20m (ShortStory) 03/16/16
(SF) Despite not being a telepath, Calla worked out a way to play chess with her captor, Major Larn, during the recent war. Now they're going to finish their game.
The Cedar Grid by Sara Saab  Time: 16m (ShortStory)  IssueClarkesworld 115
(SF) After an alien terrorist kills Majd's little brother back on Earth, he struggles to accept it, and starts making changes to his own life.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [3]  Recommended By: SFRevu:4
The Infinite Manqué by Howard V. Hendrix  Time: 28m (Novelette)  IssueAnalog 05|16
(Hard SF) An experiment in increasing the intelligence of bonobo apes produces a monkey with an unhealthy interest in Shakespeare and Cervantes.
The Language of Flowers by Ian Creasey  Time: 21m (ShortStory)  IssueAnalog 05|16
(SF) In near-future Cornwall, England, Travis and his wife specialize in arrangements of genetically engineered flowers that release pheromones that mimic their traditional virtues.
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The Laura Ingalls Experience by Andrew Neil Gray  Time: 20m (ShortStory)  IssueApex 83
(SF) Ella comes to Earth to find peace after the death of her sister, and she joins a group of tourists recreating the Little House on the Prairie series.
(Horror) Jimmy, a young tramp hitchhiking through the midwest, gets a ride with Suzie, a pottery teacher who gives him an uneasy feeling.
The Return of Black Murray by Alexander Jablokov  Time: 29m (Novelette)  IssueAsimov's 04.05|16
(Horror) Twenty-five years ago, at the end of the summer after high-school, something terrible happened to Cliff and his friends in the water ride at the local amusement park. Today they're going back there.
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(High Fantasy) Viette wants a child, but she believes that her youthful visits to the "godswalk" left her barren. Another visit, they say, would let her bring home a child. Of sorts.
The Stone Garden by C.A. Hawksmoor2  Time: 16m (ShortStory)  IssueBCS 196
(High Fantasy) Gwyn plants a stone garden beside the house he and Mercher are building for each other. You plant stone seeds in stone gardens, and they make you remember. But not everything is good to remember.
The Teratologist’s Brother by Brandon H. Bell  Time: 22m (ShortStory)  IssueApex 83
(Modern Fantasy) If Telly can figure out why his sensible brother Peter got into the occult, maybe he can figure out who (or what) murdered him--before it kills him too.
The Treaty Breaker by Brendan Dubois  Time: 20m (ShortStory)  IssueAnalog 05|16
(SF) Janet chairs the governing board for the asteroid 1820 Geographos, so she's on the hook when a mystery vessel shows up, hacks their computers, and docks without permission.
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(Fantasy) Genrenauts patrol the multiverse looking for stories about to break out. King plays a "Max" in a post apocalyptic South Africa.
Three Paintings by James Van Pelt  Time: 14m (ShortStory)  IssueAsimov's 04.05|16
(SF) Vincent is a famous painter, but he fears he's grown stale. He has a wild plan to reinvigorate his painting, which starts with making a backup copy of himself.
Woman in the Reeds by Esther M. Friesner  Time: 18m (ShortStory)  IssueAsimov's 04.05|16
(Mythological Fantasy) In biblical Egypt, a Hebrew woman driven mad by the loss of her son finds a baby in the bulrushes.
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Rating: 2 -> Not Recommended

A Song for No Man’s Land by Andy Remic  Time: 1h:51m (Novella)  IssueTor Novella 2016
(World War I Horror) At the Somme, Robert faces death every day, but something worse than the Germans is hunting him too.
Artifice of Eternity by Lettie Prell  Time: 11m (ShortStory)  IssueAnalog 05|16
(SF) Sixty-eight years ago, Carl shot his best friend Deon. Recently, Deon died of complications, so Carl has to stand trial for Deon's murder. A trial Deon will show up for.
Flight from the Ages by Derek Künsken  Time: 36m (Novelette)  IssueAsimov's 04.05|16
(Fantasy Science) About a thousand years from now, two powerful AIs struggle to prevent the destruction of the multiverse.
(Modern Fantasy) Thomas travels from Berlin to St. Petersburg at the request of his old mentor. The man proves hard to find, but he must be connected with the bears walking the streets.
(Fantasy) In which we read an exchange of letters between a naturalist who claims to have discovered a cockatrice and a lady who is skeptical.
Lotto by Rich Larson  Time: 12m (ShortStory)  IssueInterzone 263
(SF) Every refugee in the camp has a lotto number, and if it hits, he/she gets to go to the Mars colony. Eighteen-year-old William passes the time trying to score with the girls.
Lustlocked by Matt Wallace  Time: 1h:21m (Novella)  IssueTor Novella 2016
(Modern Fantasy) Sin du Jour, the legendary catering company to the supernatural, has won the contract for the wedding of the Goblin Prince and Princess. It will be a wedding feast to remember.
Matilda by Kristine Kathryn Rusch  Time: 30m (Novelette)  IssueAsimov's 04.05|16
(Military SF) The enemy are up to something in "blank" areas of space that sensors can't penetrate. Devi takes a "single ship" into one to find out what's there, but her ship has a mind of its own, and it's terrified.
Not Recommended for Guests of a Philosophically Uncertain Disposition by Michelle Ann King  Time: 08m (ShortStory)  IssueInterzone 263
(Magical Realism) Just outside Las Vegas, The Fracture is a place where reality itself seems to be broken. Damita manages the visitor center and gift shop.
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O What Freedom, This Great Steel Cage by Shane Halbach  Time: 03m (ShortStory)  IssueAnalog 05|16
(SF) Three different people share a remote robotic body. They have three different reasons and three different experiences.
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Spine by Christopher Fowler  Time: 22m (ShortStory)  IssueInterzone 263
(Hard SF) A young marine scientist in a sleepy coastal California town investigates the death of a man apparently killed by jellyfish--even though the local varieties are all harmless.
Terminal by Lavie Tidhar  Time: 19m (ShortStory) 04/13/2016
(Planetary SF) A vast fleet of "jalopies" carry individuals on a one-way trip from Earth to Mars. People do it for different reasons, some of which we learn about in this story.
The Absconded Ambassador by Michael R. Underwood  Time: 1h:34m (Novella)  IssueTor Novella 2016
(Multiverse SF) The Genrenauts go to the Space Opera universe to fix a story involving a kidnapped diplomat, threatening aliens, and the future of the galaxy.
The Birth Will Take Place on a Mutually Acceptable Research Vessel by Matthew Bailey  Time: 17m (ShortStory)  IssueLightspeed 71
(SF) You're having a baby. The first Human-Tharkan hybrid. And everyone wants into the act--including both governments.
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The Days of Hamelin by Robert Reed  Time: 19m (ShortStory)  IssueAsimov's 04.05|16
(Near-future SF) Although the world of 2032 has deep problems, the Carson-Able family live comfortably--until the grandchildren start dying.
The Knobby Giraffe by Rudy Rucker  Time: 11m (ShortStory)  IssueLightspeed 71
(Hard SF) Irit wants to do her Ph.D. thesis on quantum physics and the mind. She lost her girlfriend four months ago, but she thinks there may be a way to change reality.
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The Mountains His Crown by Sarah Pinsker  Time: 22m (ShortStory)  IssueBCS 195
(SF) The narrator's farm is threatened by a sequence of increasingly irrational demands by the distant emperor.
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The Weather by Caighlan Smith  Time: 12m (ShortStory) 03/23/16
(SF) Teenage Lolly lives in a dying, desert town. But something worse than economics is killing the town.

Rating: 1 -> Needs Improvement

The Bridge of Dreams by Gregory Feeley  Time: 35m (Novelette)  IssueClarkesworld 115
(Hard SF) After centuries of solitude at his post on Pluto, Heimdallr has come to fear that humanity is extinct. Then he receives a summons from the inner solar system.
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Rating: Not Rated

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