January 16, 2015

Asimov's 1977, Robinson, Learning Curves

At what seems a glacial pace, I am making my way through Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazines.



The first issue starts off really strong.  Perhaps it is my bias, however The Homesick Chicken by Edward D. Hoch stuck with me from this one.  A quick whodunit where the clues are sprinkled throughout, the impressive detective stringing them together in the end.  Here, the formula works in a fun way.

A couple from the summer issue, Low Grade Ore by Kevin O'Donnell, Jr. and To Bell the Cat by Joan Vinge kept the impressive streak going for Asimov's.  Others not mentioned may be just as good, however these were the two I have reread since for pleasure.

Asimov himself inserts a favorite of mine, Good Taste, in the penultimate issue of 1977.  A great Asimovian story; as always you can feel his smirk gracing the page as he takes you through the twists and turns of a culinary competition between brothers.  Lorelei at Storyville West presented by Sherwood Springer is a deliciously haunting tale involving the hypnotic voice of a female jazz singer whose mysterious disappearance has perplexed two particular jazz enthusiasts.

The final issue of the year left me wanting. Maybe the stories all just hit wrong, maybe I took too long to read this volume and just got tired of it, however none of the writing really knocked me back.  Story collections are fickle friends.  Here's to 1978.

*

Robinson
By Weldon Kees

The dog stops barking after Robinson has gone.
His act is over. The world is a gray world,
Not without violence, and he kicks under the grand piano,
The nightmare chase well under way.

The mirror from Mexico, stuck to the wall,
Reflects nothing at all. The glass is black.
Robinson alone provides the image Robinsonian.

Which is all of the room—walls, curtains,
Shelves, bed, the tinted photograph of Robinson’s first wife,
Rugs, vases, panatellas in a humidor.
They would fill the room if Robinson came in.

The pages in the books are blank,
The books that Robinson has read. That is his favorite chair,
Or where the chair would be if Robinson were here.

All day the phone rings. It could be Robinson
Calling. It never rings when he is here.

Outside, white buildings yellow in the sun.
Outside, the birds circle continuously
Where trees are actual and take no holiday.

*

It's not really obvious from the picture, however that's the start of our plans for the garden.  Right now, it is a box.  Soon, it will represent 2000 square feet of plants, bees, and chickens replacing a good portion of what was once lawn.

Go big or go home right?