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ISSUE no. 19 - SUMMER 2015

In this issue of AE, old fantasies take flight; sharks dream; and twilight comes.

Meanwhile, D.F. McCourt revisits Riverworld; Jonathan Crowe reviews Jo Walton's Tiptree-winning novel; and J.J.S. Boyce surveys the Utopian landscape.

FICTION
Flight Check

Holly Schofield

At five o’clock Jessica swivelled her black leather chair away from her screen and poured herself the last of the Glenlivet. The client would just have to wait a bit longer for final approval on their advertising campaign.

 
The Dream Junkie of Canvas Town

Preston Grassmann

New forms begin to spread out across his face, streaming down his neck like watercolors. They are cut-and-splice fragments of lucid dreams, reshaped and mixed into new images.

 
Götterdämmerung

William Squirrell

A thousand new stars came to life one night in September; a great sparkling swath of them dancing along the southern horizon. And then as quick as they appeared, they leapt away in a dazzling, white rush.

 
NONFICTION & EDITORIAL
God and the Machines: The Short Fiction of Peter Watts

Jonathan Crowe

The notion that Peter Watts’s work is particularly dark, dystopic or depressing is common enough, but it’s an assessment that could stand some scrutiny. In his afterword to Beyond the Rift, a collection of his short fiction that came out from Tachyon Publications in 2013, Watts himself makes the case that his work, in that it expects better from humanity, is actually optimistic.

 
AE Classics: Riverworld

D.F. McCourt

Socrates, Abraham Lincoln, and Neil Armstrong sit down for tea. It’s not the opening of a poor joke, but rather a potential scene from Philip Jose Farmer’s Riverworld. In Riverworld, the entirety of humanity is resurrected naked and youthful along the banks of a single immense river that winds through an intricate valley on a vast and temperate planet. Peoples ancient and modern mingle in what can only be described as a cosmic social experiment.

 
MY REAL CHILDREN by Jo Walton

Jonathan Crowe

In alternate history there is the concept of the jonbar point: the key turning point in history where, had things gone the other way, the present would be a very different place. The classic examples are usually war-related — if the Confederacy had won the Civil War, if Germany had won the Second World War — and frequently didactic. Rare is the alternate history that posits a better world had something else happened at that crucial moment; alternate histories are fun because they allow us to imagine how awful things might have been from the comfortable and safe vantage point of our own timeline.

 

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ISSN: 1925-3141