This week's story recommendation is "Marya and the Pirate" by Geoffrey A. Landis, a novelette from the January 2010 issue of Asimov's Science Fiction.
Some readers complain that nobody publishes the kind of fun space adventure that was the bread and butter of science fiction in the 1950's. The trouble is that all those stories were published in the 1950's, and it is awfully difficult to write a story like that today that doesn't feel stale.
Geoffrey Landis pulls it off in "Mary and the Pirate." Like a Murray Leinster story of old, it begins with a space pirate closing in on a transport ship carrying a very valuable cargo into Earth orbit. Later, the pirate and his captive face a problem of inexorable celestial mechanics, reminiscent of Tom Godwin's "The Cold Equations." But Landis manages to add enough new twists and details and modern sensibility to keep it all fresh, and not just a pastiche of old-style skiffy.
Among his many awards, Geoffrey A. Landis has garnered two Hugos and a Nebula. His output has declined in quantity the past few years, but not at all in quality.