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the genre's premiere review magazine for short SF & Fantasy since 1993

Aurealis #116, November 2018

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Aurealis #116, November 2018

"Walking on Titan" by Mike Adamson

"To Drown in Silver" by Hester J. Rook
"Apple Black" by Barry Charman

Reviewed by Chuck Rothman

"Walking on Titan" by Mike Adamson starts out issue 116 of the Australian magazine Aurealis with a hard SF puzzle. Wanderer-2 is introduced as a robot working on Titan, there to service Wanderer-1 in case of trouble. Wanderer-2 is impressed by the beauty of the planet and also is troubled by some odd thoughts it's not sure it should be having. And then we discover that Wanderer-2 is actually Dr. Carl Harmon, part of an expedition and who has lost sight of the fact that he is human. His friends have to try a radical method to try to convince Harmon of the truth. Good setup and emotionally strong as we learn the reason Harmon does what he does.

Hester J. Rook's "To Drown in Silver" follows Rona, who discovers an undine, a legendary monster from the sea, on the beach, dying. She saves it and begins to wonder. Rona, turns out, is a silkie, and put on her seal skin to find and follow the undine, who may be leading her to her death. Nice images and a poetic sensibility, but I found it really led nowhere.

"Apple Black" by Barry Charman tells the story about Lear, who terraforms planets to make them playgrounds for the rich. But something goes horribly wrong, and the people working on a planet are stranded there, while Lear is forced to face the consequences. It touches on some deep issues but I felt the ending only raised questions as to why Lear didn't get to it sooner.

Chuck Rothman's novels Staroamer's Fate and Syron's Fate are available from Fantastic Books.