Cosmos: putting the science in fiction

I’ve finally sat down to comb through my honey’s stack of Cosmos Magazines for the year (I bought him a subscription for Christmas) and catch up on most of Cat Sparks’ first year as fiction editor. It’s a pretty solid mix with some absolute stand out stories – as you would hope when there’s only one fiction piece being published per issue.

I already talked about Thoraiya Dyer’s story “Breaking the Ice” back in the Feb/March issue.

I’m not sure it’s true to say I enjoyed reading Steve Singleman’s “Honour Those Who Serve,” in the June/July issue, but it was a very effective piece of body horror which looks at near-future society revolving around the military, and the use of skin art tattoos to honour the fallen. Deep, dark and dystopian to the core, this one made me shudder.

The highlight for me, though, was Kate Orman’s creepy “Head Case” in the current (Oct/Nov) issue. She tells the story of Viv, who was kept alive as a computer program after a near-fatal accident, and is allowed to borrow her twin sister’s body for one week out of every four. Which works okay until the lack of communication from her living sister starts pointing towards a terrible truth. Nothing I like better than the combination of smooth prose, hard science and crunchy human feelings, and I’m so glad to see Orman in print again – through her Doctor Who media tie-in work, she was one of my favourite SF writers of the 90’s and early 00’s, and I hope this is a sign we will be seeing more of her work soon.

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