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Month in review

Archibald's Swiss Cheese Mountain by Sylvia Lieberman
Arkfall by Carolyn Ives Gilman
The Blunder by Joe Kilgore
A Bell for Adano by John Hersey
The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder
The Chinese Orange Mystery by Ellery Queen
The Copenhagen Connection by Elizabeth Peters
Eat, Drink and Be Married by Eve Makis
Forty Days by Jill Smolinski
Four Seasons in Five Senses by David Mas Masumoto
The Going to Bed Book by Sandra Boynton
Hello Piglet! by Muff Singer
Idaho Snapshots by Rick Just
Inside Story by Albert E. Cowdrey
Just Visiting by Nancy Sparling
King, Queen, Knave by Vladimir Nabokov
King of the World by David Remnick
The Last Plague by Glen E. Page
Lifeguard by James Patterson and Andrew Gross
Marvin K. Mooney Will Please Go! by Dr. Seuss
The Mental Environment by Bob Gebelein
Moscow Rules by Daniel Silva
Night Train to Memphis by Elizabeth Peters
Nine Whispered Opinions Regarding the Alaskan Secession by George Guthridge
Peachblossom by Eleanor Frances Lattimore
Picnic at Pentecost by Rand B. Lee
Ookpik by Bruce Hiscock
Quondam by Jayel Gibson
Run! Run! by John Aikin
Salad for Two by Robert Reed
Search Continues for Eldery Man by Laura Kasischke
Shed That Guilt! Double Your Productivity by Michael Swanwick and Eileen Gunn
Small Worlds by Gretchen Laskas
Templeton Turtle Goes Exploring by Ron Pridmore
The Twenty Dollar Bill by Elmore Hammes
The Uncertainty Principle by Lynda Curnyn

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5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

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Nine Whispered Opinions Regarding the Alaskan Secession: 09/20/08

I'm taking a break from my reviews of current F&FS stories for one originally published in the July 2004 issue, "Nine Whispered Opinions Regarding the Alaskan Secession" by George Guthridge. From now through October 20, 2008, the magazine's blog is offering a web version of it in light of recent political events.

Like many of my favorite science fiction short stories, this one was inspired by a bet. The author explains at the stories close: "This story was the result of a bet with Bruce Holland Rogers. It had to consist of nine vignettes, each of which had exact attributes, including a specific number of words and an sf idea of its own besides being integral to the story." These constraints help give each vignette its own voice. Some are just scenes, nothing more than a quick description, while others are lengthy explorations of what would have to happen for Alaska to try secession.

In this near future Alaska has a number of problems. The moose population has been depleted, a "Frankenfish" salmon has taken over and the newest totem celebrates beer, pizza and cars.

It's tricky to review this story. Prior to Palin's inclusion on the GOP ticket, Guthridge's story would have read like any number of quirky Alaskan stories. Had I read this in 2004, I would have thought first of Northern Exposure but now it's impossible to think of the story without thinking of Gov. Palin.


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