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Leading off this month, we have a classic hard SF story—perhaps the classic hard SF story—“The Cold Equations” by Tom Godwin. In it, a deep space pilot discovers a stowaway on board while on a routine transport mission. But the fuel-to-mass ratio on deep space missions is calculated precisely, and what options are there when the cold equations allow for no variables?

A space pilot on the first human flight to Gliese 581 d discovers that the journey he’s embarked upon is not the one that he or the wife he left behind expected, in Jake Kerr’s astonishing debut “The Old Equations.”

In “Sweet Sixteen” Kat Howard introduces us to a girl who, like every girl on her sixteenth birthday, gets to choose her own destiny (through gene therapy)—as long as it’s the destiny that’s needed most by everyone else.

Karen Joy Fowler’s “Face Value” brings us the story of the xenologist Taki, and his struggle to understand the alien nature of the mene, and the equally alien nature of his partner, Hester.

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