Monday, December 8, 2008

Analog Science Fiction and Fact July/August 2003

This was bad issue, and it took some time to read. Most of the stories were pretty bad, couple real stinkers. Only a few pretty decent ones, and even those had some minor faults.
12 • The Fire and the Wind • novelette by G. David Nordley
A rescue party (from a moon colony) tries to save a stranded exploration (or spying) expedition from Antarctic. More of a spy story than sf. If the rescue wouldn’t come from the space, and the spying “country” wouldn’t be the moon, this story would be just a standard James Bond-style action adventure. A bit on a long side, bit hard to keep my interest up at some places. ***-
52 • The Meeting of Pilgrims • novelette by Robert R. Chase
Continues a story I don’t remember reading. Not really enough background is given to really stand on its’ own. Apparently humans have colonized only the mountaintops of a world where lowlands are filled by local flora and fauna with alien natives. The natives have changed a human child with a child of their own so that the two cultures might learn to understand each others better. In this story the changelings are changed back. A troupe of characters journey to the lowlands meeting several pretty clichéd dangers on the way. As the characters were not familiar to me, and they were not properly introduced, I really couldn’t care very much for them – not mentioning pretty clichéd nature of several of them (noble alien, xenophobic militaryman…). Writing was ok, not nearly as good as in Robert Chase’s later works. **½
73 • The Robot Who Knew Too Much • novelette by Ron Goulart
Continues the story of a robot detective, the detective in a robot body solves a case of missing starlet, while his ex-wife working for ad-agency is trying to get a huge advertising contract. There is material for a short story, but not for something in the novella length. Condensing might have made the fundamentally very simple story into something a bit better. Pretty boring stuff after all. **+
86 • Traveling, Traveling • shortstory by Sarah A. Hoyt
A woman traveling on a some kind of high tech flying path is forced to make emergency landing in backward community. A small story aiming more to mood than plot. Ok writing, nothing special. ***-
94 • Cowzilla • [Probability Zero] • shortstory by Geoffrey A. Landis
Cow + Godzilla = Probability zero story.
100 • Not a Drop to Drink • novelette by Grey Rollins
A colony world is being destroyed by a drought. As a solution a biologist suggests that the new children should be modified genetically, so that they are able to drink salty water. However, the colony seems to consist mainly of religious lunatics, who think that just praying hard enough is the only viable solution. Somehow it is hard too that a sizable portion of colonists could so fixed on their religion, that they would continue this through years of drought. Well written, maybe a bit unlikely, but nice story anyway. ****-
119 • Triumph in the Desert • novelette by Bud Webster
Prequel for a series of stories about Bubba Pritchert. I have read at least one of those, but I don’t remember anything else than generally positive vibe. Mainly introduction, not much happens, but interestingly written, anyway. ***½
136 • A Professor at Harvard • shortstory by David Brin
History lecture, boring as hell, on the last page turns out to be alternative history. There might have been clues earlier, but if there were I missed them, as the complete dryness of the story hurt my concentration, and I am not expert in Anglo-Saxon/American history of 16th century. Struggle to read. **-
145 • Brownian Motion • shortstory by Richard . Lovett
Blind dates by virtual reality. Pretty simple story, where the protagonist meets several women, seeking for the “right one”. Science fictional content pretty slight, not entirely convincing explanation of why the dating happens in VR. Nice read anyway. ****-
154 • The Spacemice Incident • shortstory by Carl Frederick
Mice are used as “biological warfare” in two space habitats which are competing of tourists. Writing is ok, simple, short story. Doesn’t irritate, doesn’t leave anything extra positive to mind. ***
163 • Agent • shortstory by Shirley Kennett
Crooked hacker who is a serial killer (using computer hacking to murder) sends his self-aware avatar to a generation ship’s computer. Pretty simple, not too surprising, not too bad. ***½
170 • Linda's Dragon • shortstory by Brenda Cooper
Epidemic is killing space ship crew. Two doctors left are pushed to desperate and illegal action: they make computer uploads of themselves to help beating the infection. Solution is finally found (which doesn’t make a slightest sense from medical viewpoint). Pretty nice, but the end solution is extremely stupid and the internal logic of the world isn’t most solid, but ok anyway. ***½
180 • Home on the Range • shortstory by Pat York
Buffaloes have come so common that they are nuisance to property owners. Not too surprising ending and end solution. (bring up some wolves, too). There just might be a few minor problems there…which of course are not thought up be characters in the story or mentioned anyway. Well, then there might have been a better story – this sucks. Not to mention that most of story is boring dialog and not much happens. *½
194 • Trinity Bay • novelette by Alexis Glynn Latner
A glider flies over industrial accident involving nanotechnology. Long infodumps, bad, clumsy, writing, plot which is not too interesting, pretty unlikely premise, ending is practically deus ex machine. Pretty bad story. **
210 • Still Coming Ashore • novelette by Michael F. Flynn
Lecture of the water ape theory of evolution, then a fable-like story within story, then another lecture of evolution. Pretty boring, overlong story, could have been a bit better if that all exposition would have been cut. ***-

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