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Asimov's Science Fiction, October/November 2011

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CONTENTS Novellas "Stealth" by Kristine Kathryn Rusch "The Man Who Bridged the Mist" by Kij Johnson Novelettes "The Outside Event" by Kit Reed "My Husband Steinn" by Eleanor Arnason Short Stories "The Cult of Whale Worship" by Dominica Phetteplace "This Petty Pace" by Jason K. Chapman "The Pastry Chef, the Nanotechnologist, the Aerobics Instructor, and the Plumber" by Eugene Mirabel CONTENTS Novellas "Stealth" by Kristine Kathryn Rusch "The Man Who Bridged the Mist" by Kij Johnson Novelettes "The Outside Event" by Kit Reed "My Husband Steinn" by Eleanor Arnason Short Stories "The Cult of Whale Worship" by Dominica Phetteplace "This Petty Pace" by Jason K. Chapman "The Pastry Chef, the Nanotechnologist, the Aerobics Instructor, and the Plumber" by Eugene Mirabelli "Free Dog" by Jack Skillingstead "To Live and Die in Gibbontown" by Derek Künsken "A Hundred Hundred Daisies" by Nancy Kress Poetry "Being One With Your Broom" by Ruth Berman "Extended Family" by Bruce Boston "The Music of Werewolves" by Bruce Boston "Galileo's Ink Spots Fade Into Twilight" by Geoffrey A. Landis "Vampire Politics" by Ruth Berman Departments "Editorial: Send in the Right Reviewer" by Sheila Williams "Reflections: A Writer's Diary" by Robert Silverberg "On the Net: Steamed" by James Patrick Kelly "On Books: Inside/Outside" by Norman Spinrad "SF Conventional Calendar" by Erwin S. Strauss Asimov's Science Fiction, October/November 2011, Vol. 35, Nos. 10-11 (Whole Nos. 429-30) Sheila Williams, editor Cover art by Paul Youll


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CONTENTS Novellas "Stealth" by Kristine Kathryn Rusch "The Man Who Bridged the Mist" by Kij Johnson Novelettes "The Outside Event" by Kit Reed "My Husband Steinn" by Eleanor Arnason Short Stories "The Cult of Whale Worship" by Dominica Phetteplace "This Petty Pace" by Jason K. Chapman "The Pastry Chef, the Nanotechnologist, the Aerobics Instructor, and the Plumber" by Eugene Mirabel CONTENTS Novellas "Stealth" by Kristine Kathryn Rusch "The Man Who Bridged the Mist" by Kij Johnson Novelettes "The Outside Event" by Kit Reed "My Husband Steinn" by Eleanor Arnason Short Stories "The Cult of Whale Worship" by Dominica Phetteplace "This Petty Pace" by Jason K. Chapman "The Pastry Chef, the Nanotechnologist, the Aerobics Instructor, and the Plumber" by Eugene Mirabelli "Free Dog" by Jack Skillingstead "To Live and Die in Gibbontown" by Derek Künsken "A Hundred Hundred Daisies" by Nancy Kress Poetry "Being One With Your Broom" by Ruth Berman "Extended Family" by Bruce Boston "The Music of Werewolves" by Bruce Boston "Galileo's Ink Spots Fade Into Twilight" by Geoffrey A. Landis "Vampire Politics" by Ruth Berman Departments "Editorial: Send in the Right Reviewer" by Sheila Williams "Reflections: A Writer's Diary" by Robert Silverberg "On the Net: Steamed" by James Patrick Kelly "On Books: Inside/Outside" by Norman Spinrad "SF Conventional Calendar" by Erwin S. Strauss Asimov's Science Fiction, October/November 2011, Vol. 35, Nos. 10-11 (Whole Nos. 429-30) Sheila Williams, editor Cover art by Paul Youll

30 review for Asimov's Science Fiction, October/November 2011

  1. 5 out of 5

    mark monday

    review for "The Man Who Bridged the Mist" by Kij Johnson build a bridge, bridge builder, build a bridge. to where? to yourself, of course. to other people. build a bridge across the mist, the alien mist, thick and full of life and toxic to the touch. build a bridge to bridge two lands, to make one empire whole. build a bridge that makes change. build a bridge to the you of your story, build a bridge back into your life, into your past and then out again, to your future. build a bridge to your fel review for "The Man Who Bridged the Mist" by Kij Johnson build a bridge, bridge builder, build a bridge. to where? to yourself, of course. to other people. build a bridge across the mist, the alien mist, thick and full of life and toxic to the touch. build a bridge to bridge two lands, to make one empire whole. build a bridge that makes change. build a bridge to the you of your story, build a bridge back into your life, into your past and then out again, to your future. build a bridge to your fellows, to love; build a bridge and keep it, keep the connection, for once. there are all sorts of bridges. make one that lasts. you can do it! the fantasy elements are minor. the mist is one such element. a river of it, an ocean of it. small un-fish swim in it, big ones too, big ones that rise with the mist, that make things disappear. looking for action, reader? don't look here. looking for a novella that gets deep into its fully three-dimensional protagonist's head - a story built around character? looking for the kind of tale that has an exquisite sort of tension based on things that may or may not happen to characters that you have come to understand, admire, even love? pick this one, pick it! looking for a whole world that is fully contained in a finite number of pages? a story that actually ends... but the best kind of ending! an ending that promises more, off the page, a bridge to a place that you will have to imagine yourself. you can do it! The Man Who Bridged the Mist won the Hugo and Nebula Awards for Best Novella in 2011. a well-earned win. the story intrigued me, it saddened me, it made me happy and hopeful and it made me think about myself and the choices I've made in my life. it was excellent. smart prose, smart characterization, smart and sensitive author. also, a lot of technical detail about building a giant bridge in the sky, across a strange and terrible and fascinating mist. hey you can read this for free: http://www.kijjohnson.com/MistBridge.doc

  2. 4 out of 5

    Nataliya

    Every beginning is the end of something, but every ending is also the beginning of something new. Change will come everywhere, eventually. Bittersweet and hopeful and, more than anything else, inevitable. "But it will still have been a wonderful thing, to cross the mist." I can't promise you that you will love this story. All I can say - I loved it completely, but I've always been a strange kid. It is an unusual story. It lacks the extensive worldbuilding we assume from the beginning it will b Every beginning is the end of something, but every ending is also the beginning of something new. Change will come everywhere, eventually. Bittersweet and hopeful and, more than anything else, inevitable. "But it will still have been a wonderful thing, to cross the mist." I can't promise you that you will love this story. All I can say - I loved it completely, but I've always been a strange kid. It is an unusual story. It lacks the extensive worldbuilding we assume from the beginning it will bring us. It lacks the conflicts and the unexpected turns of events that we are so used to when thinking of a plot. Instead, it slowly but surely glides along in its own river of narrative, focusing not on the obvious that we can expect - the vast Empire, the strange mist and the ominous creatures it harbors, the potential conflicts between the bridge makers and the ferry drivers, the old and the new - but instead, through the bridge and its construction, it focuses on people and 'the invisible web of connections' they form when they slowly, through small and big actions change the world in millions of little ways. Kit Meinem, an engineer and an architect, comes from the capital of Empire to bridge the mist river on the sides of which, hidden by very tall levees, are the small provincial towns (villages, rather) of Nearside and Farside. We don't know what exactly the mist is - except that it's a strange pearly white corrosive substance that flows in the deep riverbed into an ocean just like water, and hidden in its depth are the 'fishes' and the 'Big Ones' (or, as a local joke has it, maybe just Fairly Large Ones). From the bits and pieces we hear, it's clear that the mist is dangerous, and the Big Ones are a clear source of well-deserved fear. The mist river, splitting the Country in half, is only crossed by select few in the ferries, each time setting on a journey on which they know they can perish any time, guided by little else but courage and a gut instinct that on this particular day they can cross the mist and live to see another sunrise. "​The mist streams he had bridged had not prepared him for anything like this. Those were tidy little flows, more like fog collecting in hollows than this. From this angle, the river no longer seemed a smooth flow of creamy whiteness, nor even gently heaped clouds. The mist forced itself into hillocks and hollows, tight slopes perhaps twenty feet high that folded into one another. It had a surface but it was irregular, cracked in places and translucent in others. The boundary didn’t seem as clearly defined as that between water and air." Kit Meinem comes here with the plans to undertake a massive construction project - a suspension bridge that will cross the mist river, connecting the parts of the country, making crossing the river a mundane activity instead of a daring and often doomed feat of courage, eliminating the need for ferry crossing, and - as everyone knows - put an end to the world as it used to be, bridging it to a different future. "​After a while, Kit noticed that a large part of the pattern that made a bridge or a tower was built entirely of people." And so the story flows through the five years Kit spends slowly but surely planning and overseeing the construction of the bridge - a feat thought almost impossible and yet inevitably progressing to its completion. Kit forms the 'invisible web of connections' with the towns and their inhabitants - especially with Rasali Ferry, a woman for whom the perilous crossing of the mist river in a ferry boat is both a curse and exhilarating destiny, whose work will be made obsolete when the bridge is finished and the dreaded 'Big Ones' are little but the creatures occasionally glimpsed from the towering height of the bridge, left behind in the wake of progress. He had a sudden vision of the bridge overhead, a black span bisecting the star-spun sky, the parabolic arch of the chains perhaps visible, perhaps not. People would stride across the river an arrow’s flight overhead, unaware of this place beneath. Perhaps they would stop and look over the bridge’s railings but they would be too high to see the fish as any but small shadows—supposing they saw them at all, supposing they stopped at all. The Big Ones would be novelties, weird creatures that caused a safe shiver, like hearing a frightening story late at night. ​Perhaps Rasali saw the same thing for she said suddenly, “Your bridge. It will change all this.” The entire story flows like a chronicle of sorts - a big feat to accomplish in a comparatively short novella. (It reminds me actually of the spirit of Ivo Andric's The Bridge on the Drina, the underappreciated in the Western world epic Nobel Prize winning chronicle of a real life bridge in Bosnia). Through the narration that at times has almost a dreamlike quality to it, through brief glimpses of the construction over several years we see the surrounding towns grow and change, people change, new connections grow and form - the people and the bridge alike - and through all of this the growth and change even in Kit, the quietly unhappy precise and measured man who set out to alter the world. ​“I know. You do care. But inside the framework of a project. Right now it’s your studies. Later it’ll be roads and bridges. But people around you—their lives go on outside the framework. They’re not just tools to your hand, even likable tools. Your life should go on, too. You should have more than roads to live for. Because if something does go wrong, you’ll need what you’re feeling to matter, to someone somewhere, anyway.” This short novella has mesmerized me, has spoken to something inside of me that both embraces and fears the change, the movement, the flow of history and life. The inevitable movement of change of history, the progress propelled by people with the vision, the subtle and not-so-subtle changes moving forward creates in the community, the good and the bad and the unstoppable that comes with it, and the thought that every end is a beginning of something new, and every beginning is the end of something old. “Did I change the world?” He knew the answer already. ​She looked at him for a moment as though trying to gauge his feelings. “Yes,” she said slowly after a moment. [...] ​“These cables will fail eventually, these stones will fall—but not the dream of crossing the mist, the dream of connection. Now that we know it can happen, it will always be here.” ------------ You can read this award-winning novella free on Kij Johnson's website-: http://www.kijjohnson.com/MistBridge.doc

  3. 4 out of 5

    Richard Derus

    Rating: 4.5* of five The Publisher Says: The river of Mist, an almost living organism, divides the Empire in two. A few Ferries make dangerous and treacherous journeys across the Mist when they can, trusting in good fortune and the uncanny skills of those plying the trade. *** A bridge across the Mist will greatly ease the suffering of those who risk crossing the river. The last bridge builder sent by the Empire died while building it. *** Kit now comes to the town of Nearside to complete the tas Rating: 4.5* of five The Publisher Says: The river of Mist, an almost living organism, divides the Empire in two. A few Ferries make dangerous and treacherous journeys across the Mist when they can, trusting in good fortune and the uncanny skills of those plying the trade. *** A bridge across the Mist will greatly ease the suffering of those who risk crossing the river. The last bridge builder sent by the Empire died while building it. *** Kit now comes to the town of Nearside to complete the task left unfinished by the dead bridge builder. Will he be the man who will finally bridge the Mist? My Review: My Goodreads friend Nataliya recommended this novella to me today. The title, as beautiful and evocative as this author's debut collection of short fiction's was (At the Mouth of the River of Bees), hooked me; the Doc's warble of rapture sealed the deal. There was for everything a possibility, an invisible pattern that could be made manifest given work and the right materials. Bless you, dear Doc, bless you and those whose hurts and harms you heal with that magiqckal ability to see and fix a pattern. This story was a piece of my own pattern that was missing, and you gave it to me. This tale of a man in a world not entirely like our own, a man whose purpose is to function and whose function is to build, that needs a way to communicate and connect its parts. Technology isn't advanced, and there's not even a HINT of majgicqk to sully the handsome, spare caternary curve of the story. It is a story of a world beset by troubles we know bone-deep, connection and confusion and longing and fear. And every character, no matter how fleeting their time or how small their space on the page, carries the weight of their piece of the pattern fairly and squarely. This is how I know I'm in the presence of top-quality writing. I see the pattern, I sense the supporting structure, and I am still *in* the story. Many writers write lovely sentences and many others imagine some strong characters, relatable and investible, and many many more create stories that bind and grip and sweep and carry me away. A very few do two of these things, and a vanishingly small number do them all. In this work, Johnson has done them all. In a fortyish-page novella, five years of toil and change and death and learning fold into a structure as deceptively simple as an origami crane. The slow and unhurried pace at which the folds present themselves belies the time it took to craft them as well as the conciseness of their delivery. It is never easy to be brief. It is much more demanding to satisfy the jaded, spoiled-for-choice reader in a compact package. “The soul often hangs in a balance of some sort. Tonight do I lie down in the high fields with Dirk Tanner or not? At the fair, do I buy ribbons or wine? For the new ferry’s headboard, do I use camphor or pearwood? Small things. A kiss, a ribbon, a grain that coaxes the knife this way or that. They are not, Kit Meinem of Atyar. Our souls wait for our answer because any answer changes us. This is why I wait to decide what I feel about your bridge. I’m waiting until I know how I will be changed.” “You never know how things will change you,” Kit said. “If you don’t, you have not waited to find out.” Simple, direct, truthful, and (for me anyway) resonant with truth. Perhaps the defining moment of the story, the bridging of the Mist River, came for me when Kit and Rasali experience a deeply, intensely frightening encounter with the Mist. Reflecting on it, and on the death that comes for us all at some time we can't know for sure, Kij Johnson rang my eyes like gongs: “If {Death} comes for you?” he said. “Would you be so sanguine then?” She laughed and the pensiveness was gone. “No indeed. I will curse the stars and go down fighting. But it will still have been a wonderful thing, to cross the mist.” Won't it, though? This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    I like stories that lie on this particular border of fantasy and science fiction: stories set in strange cultures or places that are in themselves the fantastic element, allowing the focus to be on the characters and how they react to their environment. This story has the requisite stranger come to town, which allows the reader to experience a simple and scary and beautiful location through his fresh eyes. It's a lovely read and worthy Nebula-and-Hugo Best Novella nominee, though I think it will I like stories that lie on this particular border of fantasy and science fiction: stories set in strange cultures or places that are in themselves the fantastic element, allowing the focus to be on the characters and how they react to their environment. This story has the requisite stranger come to town, which allows the reader to experience a simple and scary and beautiful location through his fresh eyes. It's a lovely read and worthy Nebula-and-Hugo Best Novella nominee, though I think it will probably lose out to the gorgeous Valente piece.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Ana

    Anything is safe until it kills you. I loved this short story. It's well written, it has a nice feel to it, like for the first time you touch silk, for example, and you are amazed by how it moves in your hands. That's the way this story made me feel. Lately I'm really into short stories, because I haven't read much of them over the years and I recently found out I have a passion for them, so I devour anything that I can find. Kij Johnson is one good writer and she can put thoughts into words wit Anything is safe until it kills you. I loved this short story. It's well written, it has a nice feel to it, like for the first time you touch silk, for example, and you are amazed by how it moves in your hands. That's the way this story made me feel. Lately I'm really into short stories, because I haven't read much of them over the years and I recently found out I have a passion for them, so I devour anything that I can find. Kij Johnson is one good writer and she can put thoughts into words without missing a single idea! Love love love it!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Althea Ann

    A beautiful and romantic fantasy novella of an engineer who arrives to build a bridge over a river of poisonous mist, and the ferrywoman whose life has been devoted to crossing that treacherous expanse. Evocative, thoughtful, and bittersweet.

  7. 5 out of 5

    prk

    Reviewed as part of the 2012 Hugo Voter Packet. Synopsis: Kit Meinem, engineer and architect, comes to the towns of Nearside and Farside to finish construction of a bridge over the magical and mysterious Mist. Once complete, this bridge will join the Empire, currently split by the Mist, and herald significant changes to the two towns, including the end of the need for the Ferryfolk. Plot: Kit needs to build a bridge and get over it. No, I’m not kidding, that’s pretty much the entirety of the plot. Reviewed as part of the 2012 Hugo Voter Packet. Synopsis: Kit Meinem, engineer and architect, comes to the towns of Nearside and Farside to finish construction of a bridge over the magical and mysterious Mist. Once complete, this bridge will join the Empire, currently split by the Mist, and herald significant changes to the two towns, including the end of the need for the Ferryfolk. Plot: Kit needs to build a bridge and get over it. No, I’m not kidding, that’s pretty much the entirety of the plot. Characters: What’s lacking in plot is made up for in characterisation. We get significant insight and character development of Kit, who approaches initially as a somewhat aloof character trying not to alienate the townsfolk and ends up forming solid friendships and relationships with them. We also get snippets of characterisation from a number of townsfolk and people in Kit’s life, including Rasali Ferry of Farside, the lead Ferrywoman, who’s livelihood and meaning in life will be rendered obsolete if the bridge is completed. Scope: In one way, this novella is very small in scope, focussing entirely on Kit and the building of the bridge, with no coverage of the Empire, the Mist, or any of the rest of the world. In another way, the novella is wide in scope, and examines the importance of human interaction and personalities in completing large projects and the significant changes in Kit’s life through the relationships he forms with the townsfolk and his lover. Writing: Nothing specific to comment on, writing wise. Pacing: The pacing is reasonable, with a steady build up (pun intended) towards the completion of the bridge. There are some appropriate interludes, cleverly done, based on emotions and events, which allow us to see even more of Kit’s character development. Other Comments: I found the ending of the novella very anti-climactic and this left me rather dissatisfied with the story as a whole. I wanted to know more about the Empire, about the Mist and about the world, none of which was forthcoming. Overall: I suspect that for the reader who likes character driven stories, this would have been a very enjoyable novella. However, as more of a plot driven reader, I didn’t enjoy it that much.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Peter Tillman

    My review & rating is solely for "The Man Who Bridged the Mist" by Kij Johnson, which won both the Hugo and Nebula Awards for Best Novella. First-rate story -- highly recommended. Ken Liu described the story as "hover(ing) half way between science fiction and fantasy," stating that he likes "the way the precise nature of the mist is never made clear." https://kenliu.name/blog/2012/03/07/t... Yet another stealth GR merge. This is a particularly dim-witted one, since the story was also collected in My review & rating is solely for "The Man Who Bridged the Mist" by Kij Johnson, which won both the Hugo and Nebula Awards for Best Novella. First-rate story -- highly recommended. Ken Liu described the story as "hover(ing) half way between science fiction and fantasy," stating that he likes "the way the precise nature of the mist is never made clear." https://kenliu.name/blog/2012/03/07/t... Yet another stealth GR merge. This is a particularly dim-witted one, since the story was also collected in the author's fine collection, At the Mouth of the River of Bees. Even worse, the novella has been reprinted separately as a chapbook, https://www.amazon.com/Man-Who-Bridge... This nonsense has gotten out of hand!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Sunil

    There is a man. He bridges the mist. This story is boring and there's nothing interesting about it besides detailed descriptions of bridgemaking. I have no idea why it won the Hugo over its superior competitors. There is a man. He bridges the mist. This story is boring and there's nothing interesting about it besides detailed descriptions of bridgemaking. I have no idea why it won the Hugo over its superior competitors.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Suz

    This is one of those books that is hard for me to classify as either sci-fi or fantasy. It's deliciously subtle and simple and complex, all at the same time. Kit is a bridge builder who has come to build a bridge across the mist. This mist "river" slices the empire nearly in half. The only way to cross the mist is by ferry, which is more than a little treacherous. The mist is dangerous and mysterious. Its properties are neither thoroughly explained, nor really Known. There are dangerous creatures This is one of those books that is hard for me to classify as either sci-fi or fantasy. It's deliciously subtle and simple and complex, all at the same time. Kit is a bridge builder who has come to build a bridge across the mist. This mist "river" slices the empire nearly in half. The only way to cross the mist is by ferry, which is more than a little treacherous. The mist is dangerous and mysterious. Its properties are neither thoroughly explained, nor really Known. There are dangerous creatures that live in the mist and it seems to be largely unpredictable. This story isn't about the mist, though, although it is almost its own character. The story is about Kit and not just his building of the bridge, but his life, his character and his relationship with the townsfolk and other workers, especially the ferry-woman Rasali, whose livelihood (and love) his bridge will destroy. I love the townsfolk, the characters, their feelings and acceptance of life. I love the environment and the weirdness and zen of it all. This work is complicated and deep, gentle and sophisticated. I've only read a couple of Johnson's other works and she's just a consistently phenomenal writer. This doesn't have the emotional sucker punch of last year's Ponies, but it's just as strong and beautifully done.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jenny (Reading Envy)

    I didn't enjoy this one very much. Johnson usually writes at the limits, pushing the reader to accept something uncomfortable or horrific, and this book was the opposite - I was pushing myself to finish, instead. I hate to say it, but I just didn't care about the bridge or the mist or any little part of it by the end. I'd definitely recommend reading Spar or Ponies instead. I think she's a great writer, and this little misstep won't stop me from trying her again in the future. I didn't enjoy this one very much. Johnson usually writes at the limits, pushing the reader to accept something uncomfortable or horrific, and this book was the opposite - I was pushing myself to finish, instead. I hate to say it, but I just didn't care about the bridge or the mist or any little part of it by the end. I'd definitely recommend reading Spar or Ponies instead. I think she's a great writer, and this little misstep won't stop me from trying her again in the future.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Anthony Panegyres

    Growing up with a civil engineer as a father, I could really relate to this work. A beautiful and gentle novella about engineering, love and change. Liked the fact that it wasn't overly pacey but, like the bridge being built, the story took all the time it needed. A fresh take. Recommend it. Growing up with a civil engineer as a father, I could really relate to this work. A beautiful and gentle novella about engineering, love and change. Liked the fact that it wasn't overly pacey but, like the bridge being built, the story took all the time it needed. A fresh take. Recommend it.

  13. 5 out of 5

    A. Dawes

    3.5 stars A fantasy novella, set in another world, which feels much older than our own. This is a story about engineering feats and love. I found it both brave and unique. It flows along at a gentle, unforced pace. An enjoyable and recommended read.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kristin

    I knew this one was going to be good. Kij's short story "Ponies" from 2011 Hugo Nominees elicited a very strong Ewww response. If a writer can pull an emotion out of the reader like that, they know how to write. Kij had demonstrated she knows how to write well. Man/Bridged had a fascinating world setting and was an interesting look at how a large scale project can be looked at in so many different ways. Well done. I knew this one was going to be good. Kij's short story "Ponies" from 2011 Hugo Nominees elicited a very strong Ewww response. If a writer can pull an emotion out of the reader like that, they know how to write. Kij had demonstrated she knows how to write well. Man/Bridged had a fascinating world setting and was an interesting look at how a large scale project can be looked at in so many different ways. Well done.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Andrea

    I read this in Asimov's, and immediately knew here was an award winner. Subtle, haunting, exquisite. I read this in Asimov's, and immediately knew here was an award winner. Subtle, haunting, exquisite.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Tyler

    The Man Who Bridged the Mist is a Nebula and Hugo award-winning novella by Kij Johnson. The story is as the title suggested, but the mist is a thick, poisonous river that houses dangerous creatures. It also focuses on the bridge builder, Kit Meinem, and his relationship with the town-folk on either side of the mist, and with Rasali Ferry, one of the few ferry captains who cross the treacherous mist. A delightful and entertaining story dealing with the interconnection of people, and how we deal wi The Man Who Bridged the Mist is a Nebula and Hugo award-winning novella by Kij Johnson. The story is as the title suggested, but the mist is a thick, poisonous river that houses dangerous creatures. It also focuses on the bridge builder, Kit Meinem, and his relationship with the town-folk on either side of the mist, and with Rasali Ferry, one of the few ferry captains who cross the treacherous mist. A delightful and entertaining story dealing with the interconnection of people, and how we deal with change.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Roger Bailey

    I really like this magazine and I really like this issue. However, there is something about it that rather disturbs me. This is Asimov's Science Fiction magazine, not Asimov's science Fiction and Fantasy magazine. That story about the trolls did not belong here. It was much more appropriate for the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. Okay, I like fantasy. I don't like it as well as I like science fiction, but I still like fantasy. But I like it where it belongs. Please keep fantasy out of m I really like this magazine and I really like this issue. However, there is something about it that rather disturbs me. This is Asimov's Science Fiction magazine, not Asimov's science Fiction and Fantasy magazine. That story about the trolls did not belong here. It was much more appropriate for the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. Okay, I like fantasy. I don't like it as well as I like science fiction, but I still like fantasy. But I like it where it belongs. Please keep fantasy out of my science fiction magazines.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Patrick

    I asked myself why the hell I was reading this on every page. A man sets out to build a bridge; he builds a bridge; wins both Hugo and Nebula. What? Don't tell me one ought to read this for the characters. There are no characters here. Read Wendell Berry, Chekhov, Hilary Mantel, whoever. Those are characters. They cast shadows. They make hard choices. They achieve genuine insights. I'd recommend John Williams' novel Stoner for anyone who liked what Kij Johnson's book was trying to be. I asked myself why the hell I was reading this on every page. A man sets out to build a bridge; he builds a bridge; wins both Hugo and Nebula. What? Don't tell me one ought to read this for the characters. There are no characters here. Read Wendell Berry, Chekhov, Hilary Mantel, whoever. Those are characters. They cast shadows. They make hard choices. They achieve genuine insights. I'd recommend John Williams' novel Stoner for anyone who liked what Kij Johnson's book was trying to be.

  19. 4 out of 5

    S.A. Adams

    I still buy a few issues a year, this was the first one I ever read. They still publish the best short stories you will find this side of the galaxy. Some of them are so good I remember them years later. The stories usually have a human theme to them, so even non sci-fi fans would get something out of reading these.

  20. 5 out of 5

    LiB

    Kij Johnson’s “The man who bridged the mist” is a lovely novelette, about life and death and work and passions and human dignity and love, all wrapped up in a vaguely Steampunk tale of an engineer building a massive bridge on an alien world. The rest of this issue is OK, nothing memorable.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Philipp

    You know this is fantasy since people are in touch with their emotions.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Ana TM

    The idea was very interesting, even though the narration was sometimes too slow for me.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kam Yung Soh

    Overall: A pretty good issue with some fascinating stories and one that should need more of the same to explore the interesting world revealed. 'Stealth' by Kristine Kathryn Rusch - set in the author's 'Diving' series, Rosealma (or 'Squishy') evacuates a space station that is dealing with old, unknown dangerous 'stealth' technology. The events leading up to this are told in past/present sections that tell the character's past and shows why she is trying to prevent any more research into such tech Overall: A pretty good issue with some fascinating stories and one that should need more of the same to explore the interesting world revealed. 'Stealth' by Kristine Kathryn Rusch - set in the author's 'Diving' series, Rosealma (or 'Squishy') evacuates a space station that is dealing with old, unknown dangerous 'stealth' technology. The events leading up to this are told in past/present sections that tell the character's past and shows why she is trying to prevent any more research into such technology. 'The Cult of Whale Worship' by Dominica Phetteplace - a look at an unusual solution to the problem of stopping people from eating whale meat. The solution is unusual, possibly dangerous and involves research into a parasite that makes rats 'worship' cats. 'This Petty Pace' by Jason K. Chapman - an emotional look at a person who is influenced by visitations from the future, with devastating effect on his personal life. As time passes, he realises that he himself is the source of the visitation and what the future has in store for humanity. And he is determined to change not only the future, but the past as well. This story does not provide an answer to the "Grandfather Paradox" implied in the story, which makes the ending unsatisfying. 'The Outside Event' by Kit Reed - a contemporary story about a group of writers who enter a celebrity contest in an isolated location takes a fantastic turn near the end. But I wish it had done so earlier in the story and followed through more thoroughly the implications of the turn. 'The Pastry Chef, The Nanotechnologist, The Aerobics Instructor, and The Plumber' by Eugene Mirabelli - an entertaining story that starts off with a faucet apparently talking in Italian and finishing with the various people mentioned in the title ending up in relationships that matter to them. All in a day's work for a talking faucet. 'Free Dog' by Jack Skillingstead - a look at how the future might be if the things could be duplicated by nanomachines. In this story, a man becomes frustrated when his ex-wife releases 'copies' of his dog performing a trick he alone taught the dog. What can he do to get back at her and should he? 'My Husband Steinn' by Eleanor Arnason - an interesting look at an Iceland still inhabited by trolls, elves and other various Scandinavian creatures of legend and how one woman gets involved with them. But left unanswered is an apparent legend involving Loki and an apple coring machine. 'To Live and Die in Gibbontown' by Derek Künsken - an entertaining tale, set in an alternate earth where humans are missing, involving gibbons, chimps, bonobos and an a macaque who is hired to assassinate...the bonobo client. Only the client is an ambassador's mother and well protected and the macaque has a reputation to protect. 'A Hundred Hundred Daisies' by Nancy Kress - in a drier world where people are arguing over who has the rights to the remaining water in the Great Lakes, one man tries to keep his family together. And his younger sister tries to imagine the world as it had been after seeing a picture of daisies. 'The Man Who Bridged the Mist' by Kij Johnson - an imaginative story set on a world that has just industrialised. One may is charged with building a bridge across a river of substantial mist which hides unknown wonders and creatures. In the process, he gets to know the inhabitants of a town, especially the people whose lives would be affected by his project. This story just cries out for more stories that explore the hidden world of the mist.

  24. 5 out of 5

    John Wiswell

    My first longer work from Kij Johnson, who has wowed me every time with her short stories. The first impression was how it lacked that verve and immediate sense of purpose that “Spar” and “Mantis Wives” have from their first paragraphs, even though the story is so deliberate that the lead’s desire is its title. Here we follow an outsider, who was an anti-social bookworm as a kid and is now a frequent traveler and engineer of difficult structures, planning to build a bridge across a giant river o My first longer work from Kij Johnson, who has wowed me every time with her short stories. The first impression was how it lacked that verve and immediate sense of purpose that “Spar” and “Mantis Wives” have from their first paragraphs, even though the story is so deliberate that the lead’s desire is its title. Here we follow an outsider, who was an anti-social bookworm as a kid and is now a frequent traveler and engineer of difficult structures, planning to build a bridge across a giant river of caustic mist, beneath which moves dangerous creatures only called “the Big Ones.” The territory of the Empire is split by this river, and it will change the course of commerce if he can erect this great bridge. In terms of Fantasy, it’s nice reading a story about simple construction, no war or epic destiny waiting on it. He’s never besieged by orcs, though sometimes by bad weather. And he has an interesting side, particularly early on when he observes that “a large part of the pattern” of building a bridge is made up of people. It’s exciting to get a sociological view on how to motivate the locals to yield materials and brave dangerous work to construct something the likes of which the world has never seen. But the sociology falls away very quickly, and while we meet some interesting faces, they’re washed aside by tide of other non-recurring names. It’s a bummer to meet the eccentric hands-on Liu Breaker and then have her never resume a speaking role again, especially when the dialogue begins to shift to our lead’s pathos. He mourns the world he’s changing, what he’s taking away from ferry captains and the like, and does so exclusively in talking. There’s never a revealing action; the novella devolves into the announcement of melancholy, which is not something I’d cross a bridge for. What we come for is that Johnson verve, and there’s still some of it keeping it above a typical story. That first page crinkles with details, with golden limestone walls and the schematics hidden in folios. And she lands some memorable lines – “Anything is safe until it kills you” could have been an alternate title.

  25. 5 out of 5

    John

    [I read this novella as part of the Hugo Voter Packet in 2012.] The last of the novellas that I read for this year’s Hugo Awards was also very gripping and came from the same editor as ‘Kiss Me Twice’, more or less confirming my suspicions that Sheila Williams will be doing very well when I vote in Best Editor (Short Form). This story really drew me in with the strange and ethereal Mist, and the descriptions of the crossings performed by the Ferrys are awesome to read – very vivid! (view spoiler)[ [I read this novella as part of the Hugo Voter Packet in 2012.] The last of the novellas that I read for this year’s Hugo Awards was also very gripping and came from the same editor as ‘Kiss Me Twice’, more or less confirming my suspicions that Sheila Williams will be doing very well when I vote in Best Editor (Short Form). This story really drew me in with the strange and ethereal Mist, and the descriptions of the crossings performed by the Ferrys are awesome to read – very vivid! (view spoiler)[The main character in this novella has issues when it comes to connecting with others and it’s interesting to see how these are developed. We are treated to flashbacks to his relationships in the capital, before his job building the titular bridge. He seems close to his father, but his mother is nowhere near as important; his relationships with anyone else prior to his university education are non-existent and even when he reaches university he is more in the business of casual relationships than anything approaching commitment. This is exacerbated by his job, which requires him to leave a place after each successful project. This is all changed by the project described in the novella, in which he feels himself becoming known by the entire town before he gets involved with a woman and, at the same time as they become close, he realises that his departure grows near and thus begins to become distant from the town he’s been living in. I liked this journey of his, and I found it interesting to observe the changes and the way Johnson describes his interactions with the villagers. In addition to this evolution of the central character there are really two stories being told – one is the story of a bridge being constructed, and the other is a love story. (hide spoiler)] I have to admit that I don’t think this will place above ‘The Man who Ended History’ for me due to the lack of conceptual brilliance here. I thoroughly enjoyed the tale, but I didn’t fall in love with it in quite the same way that I did with ‘Kiss Me Twice’; as such, it goes into a comfortable third place in my voting.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kathy

    Description: Kit Meinem of Atyar is an architect who builds a bridge across the mist that ends up bringing people together. The townspeople would normally take ferrys to get from one town to the other. Curriculum Connection: 6.5 The student will read and demonstrate comprehension of a variety of fictional texts a) Identify the elements of narrative structure, including setting, character, plot, conflict, and theme. Personal Reaction: What a great book about change and how old things are put to re Description: Kit Meinem of Atyar is an architect who builds a bridge across the mist that ends up bringing people together. The townspeople would normally take ferrys to get from one town to the other. Curriculum Connection: 6.5 The student will read and demonstrate comprehension of a variety of fictional texts a) Identify the elements of narrative structure, including setting, character, plot, conflict, and theme. Personal Reaction: What a great book about change and how old things are put to rest and then replaced with something new. Like when the remote sheep fields become construction sites. Visual Appeal: The author does a great job of trying to paint a picture that correlates with the title on the cover, which shows a man looking out over a bridge that has a cloudy mist-like look over it.The author's use of a light orange color enhances the mist-like appearance. Genre: Science Fiction Intended Audience: Ages 9-12

  27. 4 out of 5

    Norman Cook

    This story is a wonderful piece of world building, concerning an architect who is tasked with building a long bridge across a mysterious valley connecting two isolated villages. The mist that fills the valley has strange properties and is home to large, deadly creatures. One of the beauties of the novella is that Johnson’s descriptions of the mist and the creatures are from the viewpoint of the characters who are so familiar with them that no further descriptions are necessary, letting the reade This story is a wonderful piece of world building, concerning an architect who is tasked with building a long bridge across a mysterious valley connecting two isolated villages. The mist that fills the valley has strange properties and is home to large, deadly creatures. One of the beauties of the novella is that Johnson’s descriptions of the mist and the creatures are from the viewpoint of the characters who are so familiar with them that no further descriptions are necessary, letting the readers’ imaginations fill in the gaps. In lesser hands this would have been disastrous, but Johnson deftly weaves the mysteries into her story, letting them take a back seat to the human relationships between the architect and the natives. I hope that there will be more stories set in this fascinating setting.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Mike Ehlers

    Novella, read online I haven't really cared for this author's work in the past, although I must admit I haven't read much of it. This story was better, at least I enjoyed the characters, but kind of slow. I mean, the drama revolved around building a bridge. The Mist of the title gave it a quasi-fantasy feel, which didn't do much for me either. This is definitely a character development story. That doesn't make it bad, just not what I was looking for. Nicely written, but feels like a set up for a Novella, read online I haven't really cared for this author's work in the past, although I must admit I haven't read much of it. This story was better, at least I enjoyed the characters, but kind of slow. I mean, the drama revolved around building a bridge. The Mist of the title gave it a quasi-fantasy feel, which didn't do much for me either. This is definitely a character development story. That doesn't make it bad, just not what I was looking for. Nicely written, but feels like a set up for a novel set in the same world.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Andreas

    Is this an Urban Fantasy or a (imaginary) documentary? It was a little bit too much of the bridge technology descriptions for me - which made it more like a documentary of a suspension bridge. I saw a couple of those on discovery channel, so they weren't that interesting any more. Also, this work needs a bit more of a story to get five stars. As it is, it is a bit too character driven. But the characters were absolutely worth the read. It is a slow ride with beautiful moments. No stressful moment Is this an Urban Fantasy or a (imaginary) documentary? It was a little bit too much of the bridge technology descriptions for me - which made it more like a documentary of a suspension bridge. I saw a couple of those on discovery channel, so they weren't that interesting any more. Also, this work needs a bit more of a story to get five stars. As it is, it is a bit too character driven. But the characters were absolutely worth the read. It is a slow ride with beautiful moments. No stressful moments or action is to be found here.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Omly

    Reviewed as part of the 2012 Hugo Voter Packet. I deeply enjoyed this one and was immediately really sucked into it, only grudgingly putting away the kindle. To be fair, I love a good character driven story, and this one totally is. Also I really liked the author's insight into both the engineering and the social aspects that such an undertaking would require. A for consistent plausibility, which is rarer than I would like to admit. Reviewed as part of the 2012 Hugo Voter Packet. I deeply enjoyed this one and was immediately really sucked into it, only grudgingly putting away the kindle. To be fair, I love a good character driven story, and this one totally is. Also I really liked the author's insight into both the engineering and the social aspects that such an undertaking would require. A for consistent plausibility, which is rarer than I would like to admit.

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