1: The Political Prisoner by Charles Coleman Finlay: This was a fascinating piece. It was one of those stories that barely even needs to be science fiction. The gist of the story is a political operative/assassin/general spy has found himself on the wrong end of something and ends up in an education camp. The setting, a strange sort of Amish planet where a Christian group insists in living in 20th century technology, is nearly irrelevant as it really isn't about the actual politics so much as how this man, the propagandist and political officer, deals with being on the wrong end. What I particularly liked is that it doesn't take the easy way out. This is not a "fascists are bad" sort of piece, but instead, explores how nearly everyone is a slave of politics.
2: Truth by Robert Read: Nearly is good is a directly contemporary piece involving prisoners and how to get information from them. In 2002 a man is caught smuggling nuclear material into the US. This man turns out to have a supernatural knowledge of the future. The story is about a new interrogator brought in to find the truth after the last, an expert at psychological interrogation, is found dead, a suicide. It is a story of manipulation on both sides.
3: The Tear by Ian McDonald: This is a bizarre story that starts out describing an odd offshoot of humanity where multiple personalities are the norm, and then goes...weird. It's good, but the ideas almost come too fast, and aren't explored. This is 2-3 unrelated novels in a novella. It was good...but I kept wanting to know about the last thing when it switched gears. The initial setup was interesting, but never fully examined.
4: True Names by Cory Doctorow and Benjamin Rosenbaum: This is a very odd story. They are trying to write an "after the singularity" story. It is about software routines in competing galactic super-intelligences. In some ways, it is a noble effort in that he is certainly trying to stretch the genre, but the result is confusing and hard to follow. Point of views change instantly and characters appear in multiple versions and incarnations, certainly quite deliberately, but it makes for a hard to follow story.
5: The Erdmann Nexus by Nancy Kress: This is a decent story, but in the end, there is a "been there, done that" feel to this story. It's Coccoon mashed with Childhood's End. I didn't feel like there was anything new here.
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