We start 2009 with the first “double” issue in our new format, with a strikingly dramatic cover by John Allemand for Rajnar Vajra’s novella “Doctor Alien,” which gives new meaning to the archaic term “alienist.” It’s hard enough for psychiatrists to help patients of their own species, for whom they have a pretty good idea of what is “normal.” But what is one to do when thrust into the life-or-death position of having to treat a motley collection of extraterrestrials, whose standards of normality are all over the mapand all quite unknown? The possibilities are, so to speak, mind-boggling. . . .
As usual, we take advantage of the extra space in a double issue to feature items that wouldn’t fit in a regular issue. Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s January/February offering in this category is “The Recovery Man’s Bargain,” an offshoot of the “Retrieval Artist” series she started here some while back, but with a different kind of specialistwho has a lot to learn, not all of it comfortable.
Kevin Walsh returns with another of his fact articles exploring our rapidly expanding knowledge of what sorts of extrasolar planets are really out there. This one he calls “Neptune, Neptune, and Neptune . . . But Not Neptune,” examining a trio of discoveries which all have some similarity to one of “our guys”but also plenty of differences from it, and from each other.
Rounding out the issue is a mixed bag of intriguing stories by Dave Creek, Edward M. Lerner, Richard Foss, Richard A. Lovett, and John G. Hemryand, last but by no means least, Part 3 of Robert J. Sawyer’s Wake.