Fantasy & Science Fiction

January 1993

Editor: Kristine Kathryn Rusch
Issue: Volume 84, No. 1
ISSN: 0024-984X
Pages: 162

The next issue of my current subscription didn't come quite fast enough, so for exercise reading material I turned to an older issue that I had from a previous subscription years ago. There wasn't anything particularly memorable in this issue (although I found Gregory Benford's defense of hard science fiction interesting, if amusingly narrow-minded) until the last story, but Jack Cady's "The Night We Buried Road Dog" is excellent stuff.

"Re-Entry Shock" by Ben Bova: A short SF story about immigration that exists only for its ending twist that plays with the reader's assumptions. I admit, it caught me. Nicely done, if not particularly memorable. (6)

"The Personal Touch" by Diane Mapes: Sales employees in a department store are threatened by the latest in smart garments, which knows how to sell itself. A vaguely amusing bit of revenge fantasy without anything much to it. (5)

"God Rest Ye Merry, Gentle Ghosts" by Nina Kiriki Hoffman: I liked the setup well enough. A choir director has ghosts show up at his rehearsal to sing. I read on, waiting for the twist, the conflict, the point. Then the story ended. Er? Either I missed something or there's just nothing here but an image (and it's not a good enough image to carry things all by itself). (4)

"The Ghosts on Christmas Eaves" by Marina Fitch: The sort of story that people call heartwarming and sweet and that I find boring. Nothing much really happens. There is a cute child and a ghost and people are puzzled for a while and then everyone is happy. Yawn. (4)

"The Night We Buried Road Dog" by Jack Cady: I wans't expecting to like this story, given that small-town life in Montana isn't really an interest of mine, but it is just wonderfully written. The start of the story is a bit confusing until one figures out the beautifully charming concept, and then I found myself really enjoying a tale of life on open highways. There is a small fantasy element, but not one that takes over a story that could just as easily be read as quirky mainstream. The writing is excellent, capturing an atomsphere and a tone. It's a character study rather than an idea story, and my personal enjoyment was hampered because it deals with a life in which I don't have a lot of interest, but I think it deserved its Hugo nomination. (7)

Rating: 6 out of 10

Reviewed: 2005-01-23

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