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Marilee J. Layman

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August 11th, 2007

06:12 pm: Asimov's September 2007
This was an uneven issue. There was only one story I really liked, two that were good but had problems, a lot that were okay, and one that was bad. Oh, and Jo's Cendrillon, which was quite good.

I liked The Good Ship Lollypop by R. Garcia y Robertson. It's the story of a teenager in a far future colony ship that has become a habitat. She gets taken to JuVee a couple of times and ends up learning a lot and having a lot of adventures. The only thing that struck me as odd was that the kids were using txting like today: "R U OK?" but didn't use any contractions when they spoke.

The two that were good but I would have liked better with changes are:

1. The Caldera of Good Fortune by Robert Reed. This story is about another world settled by many intelligent species and there is one hamlet with humans that has steady-state -- one leaves, one can come in. They accompany tourists to the caldera to see amazing things. This is mostly fast-moving thriller, but I kept getting stuck because the description of the landscape never told me about the relationship of the high valley, the hamlet, and the caldera. I think if that had been cleared up in the first couple of paragraphs, I would have marked it best.

2. How Music Begins by James Van Pelt. A busload of band kids and their directors, plus everything in the bus except the driver, ends up in an installation that they theorize is alien. This is really a great story -- being a bandkid, I loved reading about the musical part and I remember being Elise -- but I would have liked having more of the kids' non-musical interaction (which would probably bring it up to a novella).

The bad one was Draw by Pati Nagle. The story was amazingly predictable and the writing rather clunky. I was surprised to find it in Asimov's.

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06:27 pm: Got Jesus?
I slept in a bit today and went to have lunch at Pizza Hut and then to take the bags of clothes to the House of Mercy which supplies SERVE with clothes. Well, the Got Jesus? panel truck was parked out front and my heart sank. This is an independent rabid evangelical group and I didn't realize they ran the House of Mercy. I told myself this would help SERVE and pulled in to the donation area where I found out the latest they ever close is 2pm and that made up my mind. I took the clothes to the other thrift shop and as long as I was in the area, got next week's money from the credit union ATM.

Also in the area is Nathan's, the really great ice cream place -- you stay outdoors and there are round tables with seating & umbrellas -- and so I had a small vanilla cone. The part that comes out of the cone is about four inches, so you can imagine what the medium and large look like! I had just settled in to lick the cone when I saw friends arriving. Two members of the library group got in line and as Mike looked my way, I waved, and he looked closer and said Hi! He came over after ordering and Jackie waited at the pick-up window. I said "It's not 5pm yet" and it turned out Jackie didn't work today -- she's a part-time librarian and our book group leader.

She also volunteers as librarian for a local Catholic school and Mike and I discussed their problem. They have a DOS 5.0 system in the library with a library system that uses a proprietary file setup, and they have no printer that will work with it. So Mike and Jackie had been at the computer show and bought DOS 6.0, a printer and monitor, and had worked on it at the school, but the library system didn't work on DOS 6.0. It won't output to CSV, so they're thinking about Linux. Then Jackie told me they had 4000 books in the system and I told them I was entering that many in my own database: They should just get a library system that works with the school's XP computers and have kids enter in the catalog. Jackie can check them. They're not so sure about that. So we talked about other things and then all set off for home.

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