Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 147

Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 147 by Neil Clarke

I decided to try out a subscription of this magazine, to give them a little support and say thank you for all the free stories they publish—not that many of this particular magazine, actually. But I wanted to give it a try. And I might switch to other online magazines and give them a shot, too. Maybe a little project for 2019?

Anyway, updates of each story will follow, as I read them:

Marshmallows by D.A. XIAOLIN SPIRES, 3430 words, ★★★☆☆
A world that has gotten so gruesome and dilapidated that people on their daily commute use visual and auditory enhancements to see a more appealing world. I did not like the storytelling much per se, but the idea was interesting enough.

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Dream novella

I just found an apparently unposted draft, so here it is!

TraumnovelleTraumnovelle by Arthur Schnitzler

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Fridolin and Albertine are married with a child. One evening Albertine confesses to Fridolin that she had sexual phantasies involving a man she had seen during their vacation. That sets off Fridolin on an exploration into his life, his wishes and desires.

In 1926, when this was originally published, it was probably a pretty scandalous book. My thoughts were more along the lines of “oh, another guy exploring his midlife crisis!” Which is probably really shallow of me. Eroticism is only one aspect of this novella. It looks at our dreams, our wants and how we deal with them.

Go read some of the other reviews, they looked at this properly and made an effort to give you a well rounded and educated idea about this famous piece.

The movie Eyes Wide Shut is based on this novella, but I have never watched it, so I can’t say how it compares.

The delivery of the German audiobook I listened to was pretty wooden.

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Lazarus #27

Lazarus #27 by Greg Rucka

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

We find out what happens to Jonah, after he jumps into the North Sea in that stolen immersion suit.

Back to the great artwork of the original artist. The attention to detail is great.

The bilingual speech is a little distracting. Anders looks a bit like the local Gestapo guy.

Great story telling. Nicely done, showing the passage of time. And I guess the romance was inevitable.

This is the first part of a prelude to the new storyline, Fracture. That one, according to Amazon, will be published in March 2019. I preordered it…

Lazarus #28

Lazarus #28 by Greg Rucka

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The second part of a prelude to the new storyline, Fracture, which currently will be published in March 2019.

Who would have thought that I would come to care for Jonah Carlyle. He was such a traitorous bastard. There you go, now I can barely wait to find out what happens to him next. But I wouldn’t be surprised, if he was a no-show in the upcoming Lazarus #29.

This issue pretty much had the outcome I feared, based on the cover. The story was not quite what I expected though. Which is a good thing.

Yet again, beautiful artwork. Love of details, great scenes with almost hyperrealistic art. The scenes where they were fishing—the look of the water and the fishing nets for example—were just splendid. Same for the interior of their house. So many small details so beautifully rendered, really fun to see.

4.5-5 stars

One question… should I read the source books? Are they essential? They sound a bit like filler to me.

Gone for a year with a BANG!

Saga, Vol. 9 (Saga, #9)

Saga, Vol. 9 by Brian K. Vaughan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

And excuse all the swearing. If it bothers you, this is not your kind of comic anyway. Emotional rollercoaster indeed. 😭

”The forces that wanted to destroy my parents and me were closer to their goal than they had ever been…“

Chapter 49… well, ok, interesting start to this volume. The Will as a slave… odd! And those two fish people, how did they end up meeting our wandering band of fugitives? I don‘t remember that. Might have to flip through Volume 8 again to remind myself…

Chapter 50… great artwork. I love the line art and the colours.

Chapter 51… “Instant gratification is for boring assholes.“
Definitely no instant gratification for Marco, poor guy! Lol.
And then…. Oh no!!! Wow.

Chapter 52… ominous…

Chapter 53… Bummer! Uh-oh indeed. Holeymoley. Holy crap! Nooooo!
Wow, that sucks! They certainly don‘t pull their punches. I did not see that coming….

Chapter 54… Fuuuuuck… seriously? Bloody hell.

Well, I am crushed. That is going to take some time to come to terms with. Wow.

One of my buddies wrote that it will be a year until Saga 10 comes out, because the authors are taking a break. Sigh. I will definitely continue. This was brilliant, even if the ending wasn‘t what I would have liked. But isn‘t the story telling great? Better than being slightly boring, because it is predictable and has the expected outcome.

And again, the artwork is great, I love the colouring. The story is a bitch, but it definitely isn‘t boring.

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More Verity

Corpselight (Verity Fassbinder #2)

Corpselight by Angela Slatter

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Jumped in straight after reading Vigil, the first book of the series. It‘s good, although I liked the first book better. It was fresher somehow, lighter, funnier. Livelier. This one here is more plotted, structured, but also a little less fun. I liked the plot, though.

Brisbane is not quite as center stage and we do not meet as many new Weyrd. I liked the addition of Olivia. Are the characterizations a little flat? I am not sure. The snark is good though and I laughed quite a bit.

The last chapter is a pretty elaborate set-up for the next (and final?) part of this series. I wasn‘t sure in the middle and latter part of this novel, if I would want to pick up the next installment. I am now, I want to know how Verity‘s story ends and if she will get a HEA.

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Filling in some gaps…

Lazarus: X+66

Lazarus: X+66 by Greg Rucka

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Stand-alone stories in the world the Lazarus comics, set after Volume 5, Cull. Good story telling, but with other artists. And none of them as good as the original artwork. So that took some getting used to. The only artwork I actually liked was the last story, about the Vassalikovska Lazarus (Spelling? Never mind…). I liked all of the stories, my favourite was probably Issue #4, with the journalist looking for clues of…. not telling you! That one at least will probably have an impact for the main storyline. Although the last panel of the Dragon storyline was pretty ominous as well.

Is this necessary reading for the Lazarus series? No, I don‘t think so. But I haven‘t read what comes after this, so I might be wrong. Did I enjoy reading this? Apart from the artwork, yes! Will I continue? Definitely.

Issue #1 is with Casey Solomon in military training: The lineart looks coarser and thicker somehow.

Issue #2 is Joaquim‘s story. It‘s ok, but again the art is not as good as in the main story. I didn‘t really like Joaquim in this.

Issue #3 is about Joe and Bobbie, Michael‘s parents from Volume 2. I liked this one. It looks at how they adjust to life as serfs.

Issue #4 is about families I don‘t really remember from the main storyline, Meyers-Qasimi and Nkosi. The initial pages consist of panels alternating from family to family with almost exactly the same layouts—I really liked that—and identical conversations, just switching viewpoints as well. Neatly done.

Issue #5 is the story of journalist Seré Cooper, someone else I don’t recall from the main series. She‘s in the doghouse and trying to redeem herself. And she finds something that might just do the trick…

Issue #6 is about The Zmey. Finally, I liked the artwork. The story is gruesome, brutal and borderline on the violence scale for me.

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Weyrd, but good

Vigil (Verity Fassbinder #1)

Vigil by Angela Slatter

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was pretty good! I was expecting another UF along the usual lines. Tired tropes, a little paranormal romance thrown in… but the setting in Brisbane is refreshing, the Weyrd are mysterious and there is good world building. It is not corny, there is no silly paranormal romance, Verity is kick-ass and snarky. The sleuthing could be a bit more intense—I like my crime to be a bit more procedural. But bottomline pretty darn good.

This actually seems to be UF for grown-ups, what a nice discovery. I liked the short history lesson, how all the Weyrd happened to end up in Brisbane. Lots and lots of potential.

I would have liked more character development for Ziggi and Bela. I have a pretty good idea, what type of Wyrd Bela is (Tepes, D-oh!), but it is never spelled out or strongly hinted at. His powers also don‘t seem to be quite what I thought. He stays a little too episodic and one-dimensional. And does Ziggy really have a third eye in the back of his head or is that a metaphorical eye?

And how fun is it that she doesn‘t end up with the tall, dark and handsome guy?

The only thing that bugged me a little: It feels as if I missed reading an important prequel. Which doesn‘t exist, as far as I can see. And I really looked. I am a little vexed about this strong feeling of having missed something in the FIRST book of a series.

Anyway, good stuff, the next book of the series is downloaded and ready to go.

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The end. A weird one.

Lies Sleeping (Rivers of London, #7)

Lies Sleeping by Ben Aaronovitch

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Halfway through the book I was still trying to find a cohesive plot. No red line in this one, more like the odd breadcrumb of something familiar… the breadcrumbs made up a story eventually and there were lots of entertaining bits and chuckles. I loved Foxglove. But the final battle was a bit WTF, the resolution was a teeny bit lame and the ending left me with a „Wait, what? That was it?“

So, was that really it? The end of the series? Hm.

Not sure how to rate this. 4 stars, because the overall series was great and lots of fun, I guess. Kobna-Smith did another great job of narrating this. Weird ending.

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And another Naomi Kritzer story

Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 100 (Clarkesworld Magazine, #100)

Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 100 by Neil Clarke

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Cat Pictures Please by Naomi Kritzer

“I want to be helpful. But knowing the optimal way to be helpful can be very complicated. There are all these ethical flow charts—I guess the official technical jargon would be “moral codes”—one for each religion plus dozens more. I tried starting with those. I felt a little odd about looking at the religious ones, because I know I wasn’t created by a god or by evolution, but by a team of computer programmers in the labs of a large corporation in Mountain View, California.

Another AI story. Can she look for a flat for me? Frankenstein is an AI… Interesting.

For free online here:…

Locus Awards and Hugo Award Winner for Best Short Story 2016

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More Naomi Kritzer

Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 126 (Clarkesworld Magazine, #126)

Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 126 by Neil Clarke

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“Waiting Out the End of the World in Patty’s Place Cafe” by Naomi Kritzer

“I ran out of gas in Belle Fourche, South Dakota, just two hundred miles short of Pierre, my goal. Pierre, South Dakota, I mean, I wasn’t trying to get to someone named Pierre. I was trying to get to my parents, and Pierre was where they lived. I thought maybe, given that the world was probably ending in the next twenty-four hours, they’d want to talk to me.“

End of the World. Nothing else needed to make me read this. Nice. Relationships, family, should you fulfill the usual expectations, just because it‘s the done thing?

Can be found for free here:…

About the Arecibo Oberservatory:…

Internal soundtrack, while listening to the podcast: GoldenEye by Tina Turner (because of the Arecibo Observatory—watch the movie, if you haven‘t yet, it‘s great).

Quirky podcast. At one point she took a break to drink something. That was a first!

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