"The perfect day" by C.S. Friedman
The story I enjoyed the most is "The Perfect day" by C.S. Friedman. This is very surprising because Friedman's work does not try to be the best in modern science fiction or, for the matter, in this issue. It is a satyrical view of today's dependence on portable devices and on our attitude toward communication technology. It is an interesting scherzo. The story got me at its first sentence:
"When Stanley Betterman awoke Monday morning he didn't know that everyone else in the world was naked"The story then revolves around what we actually live every day, but in a futuristic environment. I have to admit that the Nigerian scam personification is a first-rate funny idea. "The Perfect Day" seems a mix between J.C. Hertz' "Surfing the internet" and "The Matrix" in satyrical tone. Most readers will forget it soon, which is a shame since the actual topic is quite important.
"The queen and the cambion" by Richard Bowes
This story features Queen Victoria and Merlin (the wizard). The queen is forced by a court conspiracy to summon Merlin for the first time and ask him to solve the issue. During the story, when Merlin is summoned he is in a different time and in contact with a different ruler. So, the reader meets Henry X, king of Britain in 2159. In the XXII century the crown is used only for advertisement and has no real value.
"The great triumph of his reign was being named spokesperson for Vhang'an/Ford/Honda, the world's mightiest automaker"
Sad, isn't it?
"Twenty-two and you" by Michael Blumlein
Interesting story about DNA manipulation and its consequences. It is very credible and quite possibly real in the near future. Just be warned that changing what you wish and fear brings consequences!
This story has the WORST sentence of the whole issue:
"They ordered the genome kit that same morning. Like an arrow waiting to be launched, it came the very next day"I couldn't help but laugh.
Electrica by Sean McMullen
Cover story. Here we are reading about some invention that may help the British to communicate via ether which means only one thing: the defeat of Napoleon. The story has its potential but what we really get is a love triangle and a mad scientist.
Greed by A.E. Cowdrey: a weird castle in Mississippi? Well, "greed is good" may not be the best slogan for the main character. I found it very readable.
The man who murdered Mozart by Robert Walton and Barry N. Malzberg: a story with clones and time travel. Sufficiently interesting.
Olfert Dapper's Day by Peter Beagle: a story in early Puritan America, with unicorns and indians. Enjoyable.
Full Index from F&SF website:
Electrica – Sean McMullen
Twenty-Two and You – Michael Blumlein
Greed – Albert E. Cowdrey
Gnarly Times at Nana'ite Beach – KJ Kabza
Olfert Dapper's Day – Peter S. Beagle
Repairmen – Tim Sullivan
One Year of Fame – Robert Reed
The Tortoise Grows Elate – Steven Utley
The Queen and the Cambion – Richard Bowes
Demiurge – Geoffrey Landis
The Man Who Murdered Mozart – Robert Walton and Barry N. Malzberg
Perfect Day – C.S. Friedman
Hanging Noodles – Sophie M. White
Books to Look For – Charles de Lint
Books – Chris Moriarty
Plumage From Pegasus: Pimp My Read – Paul Di Filippo
Films: Melancholy Danes Nacho E.T.s, and Nazis from the Moon – Lucius Shepard
Coming Attractions –
Curiosities – Frances Grimble
S. Harris, Tom Cheney, Frank Cotham, Bill Long, John Jonik, M. Nadler, J.P. Rini, Tom Cheney.
David A. Hardy For "Electrica"