Tuesday, November 14, 2017

November 2017 Ratings

5- & 4-Star Stories: 12;  Estimated Time: 7h:51m (141K words)
Recommended By Stories: 24;  Estimated Time: 13h:13m (238K words)
Total Stories: 77;  Estimated Time: 33h:28m (602K words)
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Rating: 5 -> Hugo-worthy

The Prisoner of Limnos by Lois McMaster Bujold  Time: 2h:28m (Novella)  IssueThe Prisoner of Limnos 2017
(Fantasy Adventure; Five Gods) When Nikys asks for Penric’s help rescuing her mother from an imperial prison, he jumps at the chance to win her affections back. It’s obviously a trap, and he doesn’t know anything about the place, but he does have a demon
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Rating: 4 -> Recommended

Confessions of a Con Girl by Nick Wolven  Time: 24m (ShortStory)  IssueAsimov's 11.12|17
(Dystopia) Sophie explains the events that led to her fall from grace—that is, how she accumulated enough “unlike” votes to be forced out of college.
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Keepsakes by Kenneth Schneyer  Time: 32m (Novelette)  IssueAnalog 11.12|17
(Near-Future SF) In 2070, you can take snapshots of your personality and talk to them later. Is it healthy talking to your Keepsake self decades later? And should a Keepsake be allowed to testify in court?
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Making Us Monsters by Sam J. Miller and Lara Elena Donnelly  Time: 36m (Novelette)  IssueUncanny 19
(Historical Uncanny Horror) Fifteen years after his lover died in World War I, Siegfried starts receiving letters from him, dated just before his death.
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Native Seeds by Catherine Wells  Time: 1h:06m (Novella)  IssueAnalog 11.12|17
(Post-Apocalypse) In 2284, Earth is recovering from geological and ecological catastrophe, and in Arizona a group of survivors on Kitt’s Peak reaches another group at the Montezuma Castle National Monument.
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Operators by Joel Richards  Time: 17m (ShortStory)  IssueAsimov's 11.12|17
(Near-Future SF) Barry investigates self-driving trucks that are being hijacked, although he has more than a little sympathy for the unemployed truckers who he imagines are behind it.
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Pipecleaner Sculptures and Other Necessary Work by Tina Connolly  Time: 02m (ShortStory)  IssueUncanny 19
(Generation Ship) As the ship approaches its destination, Ninah’s work teaching preschool is about to come to an end.
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Stillborne by Marc Laidlaw  Time: 1h:02m (Novella)  IssueF&SF 11.12|17
(Fantasy Adventure; Gorlen Stories) To find the magician who cursed them, Gorlen and Spar journey to the swarming of the Philosopher Moths, giant, telepathic insects reputed to cure even extreme ailments.
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The Faerie Tree by Kathleen Kayembe1  Time: 20m (ShortStory)  IssueLightspeed 90
(Modern Fantasy Horror) Only Marianne can see that her new brother-in-law is a horror, and although she knows she can summon the faeries to get rid of him, she also knows the price will be very high.
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The Last Dance by Jack McDevitt  Time: 11m (ShortStory)  IssueAsimov's 11.12|17
(Near-Future SF) Ethan gets an AI reconstruction of his dead wife. He can’t touch her, but just being able to see each other and talk should be enough. Right?
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Them Boys by Nora Anthony2  Time: 21m (ShortStory)  IssueStrange Horizons 11/06/17
(Modern  Fantasy) The narrator and her best friend explore the beach where other teens hang out, but the real action is in the little cave with the boys from the sea who have tails instead of legs.
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Untilted by K.A. Teryna  Time: 25m (Novelette)  IssueApex 102
(Modern Fantasy (Russian)) Little Marcus walks the Moscow Metro at Midnight looking for stray animals and lost souls to heal. But he needs something too.
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Rating: 3 -> Average

A Long Day in Lychford by Paul Cornell  Time: 1h:26m (Novella)  IssueTor Novella 10/31/17
(Modern Fantasy; Lychford) Autumn learns that casting spells when drunk and angry has bad results when she accidentally shatters Lychford’s magical defenses and traps a number of people inside unstable space-time bubbles.
A Wound Like an Unplowed Field by Max Wynne1  Time: 06m (ShortStory)  IssueLightspeed 90
(Fantasy Horror) In which a witch offers to save the life of a wounded soldier, but she takes her time with it.
Afloat Above a Floor of Stars by Tom Purdom  Time: 23m (ShortStory)  IssueAsimov's 11.12|17
(SF Adventure) Revali and Kemen are on a 36-year mission to be the first people to view the Milky Way from well above the galactic plane. Their mission is scientific, but also symbolic, and it’s the latter that’s problematic.
An Unexpected Boon by S.B. Divya  Time: 20m (ShortStory)  IssueApex 102
(Modern Fantasy (India)) Little Kalyani might be autistic, but no one in her village knows what that means. A passing sage offers her a boon, but it’s not at all a cure.
And No Torment Shall Touch Them by James Patrick Kelly  Time: 20m (ShortStory)  IssueAsimov's 11.12|17
(Near-Future SF) Before Nonno died, he had himself downloaded. Now he manages to attend his own funeral, causing chaos in his family.
And Then They Were Gone by Ian Creasey  Time: 14m (ShortStory)  IssueAnalog 11.12|17
(Near-Future SF) Samanda famous parents are going to upload and leave her behind. She’s suffered in their shadows, suffered their neglect, but she doesn’t know how to handle this.
(Modern Fantasy) In the Azores islands, as the world’s last snake woman heads home from her bookstore and gets ready to reincarnate herself, she reminisces about the excavation of Knossos, which she had known in its glory.
Attachments by Kate Wilhelm  Time: 36m (Novelette)  IssueF&SF 11.12|17
(Modern Fantasy) On a visit to England to try to forget about her abusive ex-boyfriend, Drew accidentally picks up a couple of ghosts, who follow her home.
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Big Girl by Meg Elison  Time: 14m (ShortStory)  IssueF&SF 11.12|17
(Modern Fantasy) A missing teenage girl turns up in San Francisco Bay, and now she’s 350 feet tall.
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By the Red Giant's Light by Larry Niven  Time: 06m (ShortStory)  IssueF&SF 11.12|17
(Hard SF) She’s been on Pluto for a billion years, watching the sun expand. An alien robot has set up camp nearby, and she needs its help with a problem.
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(SF Humor) To avoid having their spaceship repossessed, Kango and Sharon go on a dangerous mission to infiltrate a cult and steal DNA from their children.
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Carbo by Nick Wolven  Time: 36m (Novelette)  IssueF&SF 11.12|17
(Near-Future SF) The young narrator hacks his self-driving car to get around a few restrictions, but soon it takes on a life of its own: watching porn and chasing girls—making it impossible for him to take people anywhere. He can’t undo his changes, and i
Dead Heroes by Mike Buckley  Time: 16m (ShortStory)  IssueClarkesworld 134
(SF Horror) A community of survivors waits in an abandoned stadium surrounded by a giant forest that slowly sucks their memories away, but they still remember the soldiers who are fighting for them.
Elemental Love by Rachel Swirsky  Time: 01m (ShortStory)  IssueUncanny 19
(SF Poetic Prose) An android expresses its love for a human being in terms that are at once romantic and chemical.
Fermi's Slime by Tom Jolly  Time: 08m (ShortStory)  IssueAnalog 11.12|17
(First Contact) We finally get to the stars, and every planet looks the same: a gray ball of slime.
Forgive Us Our Trespasses by Bennett North2  Time: 23m (ShortStory)  IssueBCS 237
(Historical Fantasy) In the old west, in a terrible drought, the narrator seeks vengeance with a pistol and two very special silver bullets.
Gluttony Bay by Matt Wallace  Time: 1h:43m (Novella)  IssueTor Novella 11/07/17
(Modern Fantasy Horror; Sin du Jour) Now that Sin du Jour is in open conflict with Allenby, something terrible is bound to happen. Allenby has something suitably sadistic in mind, tailored to the unique nature of Sin du Jour.
His Wife and Serpent Mistress by Gillian Daniels  Time: 20m (ShortStory)  IssueBCS 238
(Fantasy Adventure) The young Marquis has to marry for money, and he’s not quite sure how his new wife is going to cope with his mistress.
Hot Air by Igor Teper  Time: 09m (ShortStory)  IssueAnalog 11.12|17
(Near-Future SF) An American and a Chinese scientist collaborate in secret on a special type of atmospheric laser.
Housekeeping, 100 XP by Brenta Blevins  Time: 08m (ShortStory)  IssueAnalog 11.12|17
(Near-Future SF) Lilit makes a nice living troubleshooting problems in smart houses. Bringing her old-fashioned grandmother along on a call doesn’t look like the smartest move, though.
How to Survive an Epic Journey by Tansy Rayner Roberts  Time: 15m (ShortStory)  IssueUncanny 19
(Mythic Fantasy) Atalanta was the only woman Argonaut, and her version of the story of Jason and the Golden Fleece is rather different from the one we usually hear, albeit a bit more plausible.
Hybrid, Blue, by Firelight by Bill Johnson  Time: 40m (Novelette)  IssueAnalog 11.12|17
(Time Travel; Martin & Artie) In the mid-Pleistocene, Martin and Artie try to work a deal with Neanderthal time travelers in hopes of finding a way back to our timeline.
I Met a Traveller in an Antique Land by Connie Willis  Time: 1h:01m (Novella)  IssueAsimov's 11.12|17
(Urban Fantasy) A novelist finds a bookstore in New York that sells “the rarest of rare books.” These books look pretty ordinary, for the most part, and there sure do seem to be a lot of them.
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In Dublin, Fair City by Rick Wilber  Time: 43m (Novelette)  IssueAsimov's 11.12|17
(Alternate History; Moe Berg) It’s 1940. Moe Berg heads to Dublin to do a deal that might help the US get the Japanese out of San Diego before the armistice signed after the Nazis captured England falls apart.
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Kindle No Flame by Stephen R. Loftus-Mercer1  Time: 09m (ShortStory)  IssueAnalog 11.12|17
(Near-Future SF) A scholar travels to the Bodleian Library in Oxford on the same day a mysterious problem with disintegrating paper erupts in the US.
Laminated Moose Zombies and Other Road Maintenance Problems by Dennis M. Flynn1 and Michael F. Flynn  Time: 16m (ShortStory)  IssueAnalog 11.12|17
(Zombies) It’s just a fungus that temporarily animates dead bodies, and it’s only an annoyance because it can’t infect living people. Yet.
Learning to See Dragons by Sarah Monette  Time: 02m (ShortStory)  IssueUncanny 19
(Horror) Annie’s grandmother is dying, and her parents are fighting, but she keeps imagining that she sees giant dragons under the mountains and wishes she could join them.
Marley and Marley by J.R. Dawson1  Time: 23m (ShortStory)  IssueF&SF 11.12|17
(Time Travel) At age 12, Marley loses her parents, but instead of getting foster parents, her 28-year-old future self comes to take care of her.
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New Teeth by James Sallis  Time: 07m (ShortStory)  IssueAnalog 11.12|17
(Horror) Something is taking over the bodies of human beings. No one is sure what or why, but Walsh’s mission is to kill them when he finds them.
Nine Lattices of Sargasso by Jason Sanford  Time: 46m (Novelette)  IssueAsimov's 11.12|17
(Post-Apocalypse) Amali’s family are refugees on an artificial floating island, but she risks all of their safety when she defends a genetically engineered girl who arrives unexpectedly.
Papoose Lake by Richard A. Lovett  Time: 13m (ShortStory)  IssueAnalog 11.12|17
(Near-Future SF) The narrator’s girlfriend has an annoying friend whose conspiracy theories are threatening their relationship.
Quirks by Marie Vibbert  Time: 11m (ShortStory)  IssueAnalog 11.12|17
(Near-Future SF) Stosh prides himself on using union labor, with union-approved downloads, but someone seems to have been stealing the union's IP and competing unfairly.
Reentry by Brendan DuBois  Time: 23m (ShortStory)  IssueAnalog 11.12|17
(SF Adventure) After almost three years in space following an accident, Nelson is stuck in a hospital on Earth, and more than anything, he wants to go home.
Retrieval by Suzanne Walker1  Time: 12m (ShortStory)  IssueClarkesworld 134
(SF Adventure) Riva vows to find the spirit of his dead father, lost in space somewhere, and lay him to rest on their home planet with the gods of their ancestors.
Sorrow and Joy, Sunshine and Rain by Troy L. Wiggins  Time: 18m (ShortStory)  IssueUncanny 19
(Modern Mythic Fantasy) A new god arises in response to the pleas of an oppressed people. Unfortunately it’s not exactly the god they were asking for.
The Discrete Charm of the Turing Machine by Greg Egan  Time: 40m (Novelette)  IssueAsimov's 11.12|17
(Dystopia) Dan loses his job and goes looking for something that hasn’t already been automated away. There’s not much, and what he does find is rather strange.
(Near-Future SF) Otto and Trevor host a party where some friends demonstrate the latest in polymer toys. Otto meets Avram, who won’t be good for their relationship. But it’s the toys he should be worried about.
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The Influence of the Iron Range by Marissa Lingen  Time: 20m (ShortStory)  IssueBCS 237
(Alternate History Fantasy) Viola helps keep the 1888 election free of influence from Faery, which almost destroyed the country in 1876. In a little Minnesota town, she’s about to meet a stronger-than-expected adversary.
The Nanny Bubble by Norman Spinrad  Time: 13m (ShortStory)  IssueAsimov's 11.12|17
(Near-Future SF) At age 11, Teddy has the best life, with great hardware and software toys. Those toys let his parents keep him under tight control, but he doesn’t mind until he finds something he really wants to do.
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The Pilgrimage by Edward M. Lerner  Time: 01m (ShortStory)  IssueAnalog 11.12|17
(SF Humor) The narrator prepares to say farewell to his best, most-trusted friend.
The Siret Mask by Marie Brennan  Time: 18m (ShortStory)  IssueBCS 238
(Fantasy Adventure) Viorica attempts to steal the famed Şiret Mask from Codruţ, brother of her dear friend. There are lots of complications, not least of which that Codruţ expects someone to try to take it.
Time Travel is Only for the Poor by S.L. Huang  Time: 21m (ShortStory)  IssueAnalog 11.12|17
(Near-Future SF) A homeless man fights a government decision to put him in hibernation.
Timewalking by Michael Cassutt  Time: 24m (ShortStory)  IssueAsimov's 11.12|17
(Time Travel) James’s sleepwalking therapist tells him his episodes are caused by someone from the future trying to contact him. But about what?
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Water God's Dog by R.S. Benedict1  Time: 26m (Novelette)  IssueF&SF 11.12|17
(High Fantasy) What the water god wants, the water god gets, for the city depends on him utterly. Ur-ena hears his voice and brings him what he wants. No matter how strange.
Weaponized by Jay O'Connell  Time: 07m (ShortStory)  IssueAnalog 11.12|17
(Near-Future SF) Everything is so perfect—except this this weird game on her phone she always runs before they make love. And which she’s very secretive about.
Weaver's Lament by Emma Newman  Time: 2h:03m (Novella)  IssueTor Novella 10/17/17
(Alternate History Fantasy Adventure; Industrial Magic) Charlotte’s brother Ben needs her help to stop a saboteur who keeps destroying looms at the factory where he’s apprenticed. Magic may be involved, but she has to keep her own abilities secret.
Whatever Comes After Calcutta by David Erik Nelson  Time: 26m (Novelette)  IssueF&SF 11.12|17
(Horror) Lyle is having a bad day, what with finding his wife in bed with a cop, but not as bad a day as this lady he finds hanging from a tree because her neighbors decided she’s a witch.
Who Won the Battle of Arsia Mons? by Sue Burke  Time: 34m (Novelette)  IssueClarkesworld 134
(Military SF) Four international teams develop combat robots to stage a fight on Mars—televised live, of course.
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Rating: 2 -> Not Recommended

A Vortal in Midtown by Ashok K. Banker  Time: 28m (Novelette)  IssueLightspeed 90
(SF Horror) A tiny spherical gateway into another reality opens in Manhattan, and it causes chaos as it sucks things in and grows.
Airswimming by Aisha Phoenix1  Time: 13m (ShortStory)  IssueStrange Horizons 10/09/17
(Modern Fantasy) Imani mourns the loss of her grandfather, so she goes to a clinic where sufferers of chronic grief can get over it by learning to “airswim.”
Downsized by Bud Sparhawk  Time: 18m (ShortStory)  IssueAnalog 11.12|17
(Dystopia) Now that his wife has passed away, Matthew must move from their spacious apartment on the retirement space station into smaller quarters.
Love and Death and the Star that Shall Not Be Named: Kom's Story by James Gunn  Time: 16m (ShortStory)  IssueAsimov's 11.12|17
(SF Adventure; Transcendental) Kom violates the taboos of his own species and visits the sun that shall not be named, finding it something of a disappointment. But the alien he finds there changes him forever.
Luscinia by Robert Reed  Time: 04m (ShortStory)  IssueAnalog 11.12|17
(Dystopia) Luscinia doesn’t want to spend money—she just wants more of it. And more. And more.
Skipped by Emily Taylor1  Time: 11m (ShortStory)  IssueAsimov's 11.12|17
(SF) The space station’s high-speed transit system has a glitch: occasionally it swaps passengers from alternate realities.
The Catalog of Virgins by Nicoletta Vallorani  Time: 09m (ShortStory)  IssueClarkesworld 134
(SF Horror) As Nigredo, discovered observing, flees from a torture chamber, we learn about girls who were sold to men who tortured them to death.
The Day the Wizards Came by Rachel Swirsky  Time: 07m (ShortStory)  IssueLightspeed 90
(Alternate History Fantasy) On 9/11, a squad of wizards from the UK appears and uses magic to prevent most of the carnage.
The Tablet of Scaptur by Julia Keller  Time: 31m (Novelette)  IssueTor.com 11/01/17
(Young Adult SF Adventure) A scientist at the museum slipped Violet an ancient Martian rock just before the authorities arrested her. She and her friends are determined to decipher the writing on it, but it’s not in any known language.
This World Is Full of Monsters by Jeff VanderMeer  Time: 33m (Novelette)  IssueTor.com 11/08/17
(Apocalypse) The narrator is a writer who finds a story on his porch. A story that enters his body, grows out of the top of his head, and destroys the rest of the world. Then things get strange.
Two Hours at Frontier by Sean McMullen  Time: 22m (ShortStory)  IssueAnalog 11.12|17
(SF Adventure) The digitized crew of the Icefarer awaken near the distant planetoid they were meant to investigate, but almost everything seems to be wrong.

Rating: 1 -> Needs Improvement

How Val Finally Escaped from the Basement by Scott Edelman  Time: 32m (Novelette)  IssueAnalog 11.12|17
(First Contact) Val is kidnapped and imprisoned by a man who lost his father and blames Val because Val’s uncle messed up our first meeting with aliens.
Prasetyo Plastics by D.A. Xiaolin Spires1  Time: 17m (ShortStory)  IssueClarkesworld 134
(Hard SF) In which the end of the world is brought to you by plastics.
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Racing the Rings of Saturn by Ingrid Garcia1  Time: 25m (Novelette)  IssueF&SF 11.12|17
(SF Adventure) While racers compete in the Ring Race at Saturn, other people fight for freedom and the future of the solar system.
The Darwinist by Diaa Jubaili2  Time: 16m (ShortStory)  IssueStrange Horizons 10/30/17
(Modern Fantasy) Shafiq has a birthmark on his face shaped like a banana. This may have some connection to his father’s belief that people came from monkeys.

Rating: Not Rated

Judo by Rasha Abbas1  Time: 05m (ShortStory)  IssueStrange Horizons 10/30/17
(Literary Fiction) A young woman is fascinated by a young man whom she only sees from her window.
The Bone Plain by Karin Tidbeck  Time: 11m (ShortStory)  IssueUncanny 19
(Mainstream Horror) Running away from a relationship that ended very badly, Erika joins some hikers en route to a place called “World’s End.”

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