Asimov’s Science Fiction – January 2012 – review

The novella in this month’s edition, In the House of Aryaman, a Lonely Signal Burns by Elizabeth Bear is a police procedural at its core, with Police Sub-Inspector Ferron investigating a baffling murder in India. Ms Bear describes an interesting future world where ubiquitous high speed connectiveness has lead to a very distributed workforce, where people in certain types of jobs (like police detectives) don’t gather in a physical location but connect to their workplace entirely virtually. It is a world of environmental damage and power shortages which make physical travel more difficult, but enhanced communications technology and wearable computing makes the virtual world much richer.

I admired the skill with which this (slightly concerning) world was brought to life. The main character, Ferron, was very relatable. The main plot device was serviceable and held the story together well.

I thought the concept of a “socweb score” (where you can see how effective in social situations everyone around you is) was an interesting part of Friendlessness by Eric Del Carlo. Perhaps something like that is the natural end point with the modern obsession with social media. Professional friends for the rich was an interesting consequence for such a trend. The ability to “see” these scores in real time was interesting given the recent news of Google’s upcoming Google Goggles – perhaps people knowing electronically how anti-social I am is closer than I think…

Also in this month’s edition was:

  • Bruce Springsteen by Paul McAuley
  • Recyclable Material by Katherine Marzinsky
  • Maiden Voyage by Jack McDevitt
  • The War is Over and Everyone Wins by Zachary Jernigan
  • The Burst by C. W. Johnson
  • Train Delays on the South Central Line by Fiona Moore
  • Seeing Oneself by Robert Frazier

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This work by Mark Webb is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Australia License.

Author: mark

A writer of speculative fiction and all round good egg. Well, mostly good. OK, sometimes good.

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