Review of Asimov’s Jan/Feb 2017

Cover of the Jan/Feb 2017 double issue

This is the first issue of the new format for Asimov’s: six double-issue bi-monthly publications. I’ve been buying Asimov’s since the very first issue, so I remember when the magazine was published a bi-monthly. But that was when the magazine was ramping up to monthly publication from quarterly publication. I can’t help wondering whether the move to bi-monthly is the first step on the road to closure (of the print version, at least). I hope not.

The Jan/Feb issue itself has “40th Anniversary Year!” plastered over the cover. I can’t believe that it is 40 years since I saw the Good Doctor’s face staring out at me from the magazine rack in WH Smith’s. Neither, it seems, can many of the contributors to this issue: each of the authors gives a few lines of reminiscence, which appear as asides to the stories.

The stand-out story here for me is Stephen Baxter’s short story The Starphone. Perhaps I’m biased — the story addresses the Fermi Paradox, which of course I’m interested in — but Baxter never fails to write clear, idea-based thought-provoking SF (the sort of stuff I enjoy).