Tachyon tidbits featuring Pat Murphy, James Patrick Kelly, and Michael Swanwick

The latest reviews and mentions of Tachyon titles and authors from around the web.

Pat Murphy (photo: Lawrence Person), James Patrick Kelly (Bill Clemente), and Michael Swanwick (Beth Gwynn)

CLARKESWORLD (ISSUE 140, MAY 2018) reprints “Cold Comfort” by Pat Murphy and Paul Doherty.

I stood in the center of the frozen Arctic lake, chipping at the ice with an ice chisel, a sharp-edged piece of steel attached to a five-foot-long handle. It was the middle of May, and the ice was still about a meter thick. I made an indentation large enough to hold a bundle of six explosive cartridges.

One cartridge in the bundle was primed with a number 6 electric blasting cap. I attached the lead wires to the cap, placed the cartridges in the crater I had made, then scraped the ice chips back into the hole to cover them. The afternoon sun would warm the surface and melt the snow a little. In the chill of the evening, it would refreeze, sealing the charge in place.

I walked north on the ice, unrolling the lead wires. The spruce trees that surrounded the lake tilted this way and that, leaning on each other like drunks at closing time. A drunken forest. The trees had grown in the permafrost, the permanently frozen soil of the Arctic Circle, and their roots were shallow. As the frozen soil had melted, the trees had abandoned their upright posture, beginning a slow motion fall toward the ground. As the permafrost melted, it released methane, the main component of natural gas.

Art by Arthur Haas

TOR.COM publishes James Patrick Kelly’s new story “Grace’s Story.”

We are a way for the cosmos to know itself.

—Carl Sagan

I set my coffee cup on the watch officer’s console, careful not to spill. “Not even the next episode of the Fleeners?” I said, already knowing how Grace would reply. We’d had this argument about stories before. Not always about the Fleeners, but still. “Come on, it’s even kind of educational.”

Art by Jun Cen

Grace was her usual adamant self. “Jojin, you’re standing watch. That means you need to pay attention. Stories in their proper time.”

“But you can keep watch on yourself. You do all the time.” No matter how many times I’d asked, Grace never got impatient about this. She treated each request for a story break as if it were the first. Annoying, yes, but it also gave me hope that she might change her mind someday, so I kept trying. If I’d nagged Mom or Dad this way, they would’ve half-seriously threatened to space me. “I happen to know that you were alone for two and a half hours yesterday. All alone.”

“Only because your dad couldn’t stand watch. And I wasn’t always alone. Your sister did half-hour check-ins.” Grace dialed the color temperature in the command center’s lighting down to her most intimate yellow-rose glow to soften her refusal. Sometimes I thought her need for an audience was pathetic. “It’s not just about the watch. You know I like the company.” She purred like she was about to introduce one of my sex stories. “Your company, dear Jojin.”

On his FLOGGING BABEL blog, Micheal Swanwick reveals that he’ll be teaching this summer.

I’ll be teaching for two days at Rutgers University next month. I don’t teach very often – and less with each passing decade – so this is a rare event for me.

Aaaaand… apparently they’re full up. But there’s a waiting list. You can find it and everything else about the conference here.