Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Analog November 1977

Pretty nice issue. Contains also a serial by Mack Reynolds (which I haven't read.)

Beachhead • novelette by Dean McLaughlin
The story happens in a colony world where only mountaintops and plateaus around them are habitable. The lower altitudes have hot climate with atmosphere high in carbon dioxide. The most of the colony lives in a dome city, but a single group has established a farming colony on the plateau in spite of the wishes of the majority of the colony. They seem to be almost succeeding, when very powerful storm starts approaching. Very Analog-style storytelling on surviving in a difficult situation. Writing is fine, the story is interesting, but a bit overlong. There some irritating details, like the insistence using made-up unit of time (“desi” and so on). Also, the author seems to thing that the survival in temperatures exceeding the body temperature is next to impossible for more than a few hours. Well, if that would be the case, there would be a lot of unpopulated territory around on the tropical areas of earth… Ending is more than a bit letdown, by far too convenient. Also, some of the characters did things stupid enough for nomination for the Darwin award. As a whole, nice story anyway. ****-
Mirror/rorriM Off the Wall • [Callahan] • shortstory by Spider Robinson
Nice Callahan story. A man from a mirror reality comes to Callahan’s and wants to have the worst alcohol imaginable for a drink. One of the better Callahan stories, enjoyable, contains something more than bad puns. ****
The Trees • shortstory by John Charles Baker
A ancient space ship is found from a former red wood forest. Very fragmentary story, told in short flashes of conversation. More like are starting point, or prologue, not much of a point or content. **+
Malpractice • shortstory by Orson Scott Card
The story is told by diary comments written by the protagonist, who discovers for his surprise that he got a heart transplant during a minor operation. He finds several other people who have suffered something similar. A bit strange story. I don't know who to protagonist is supposed to be? The comments are written in language which is something an 8 year old would write, but at same time he seems to be an adult, a cop or private eye or in some corresponding job. The ending is also something I didn't really get. **
Legal Rights for Germs? • shortstory by Joe Patrouch
Bacteria should have right to live also! And what about the plants the cruel humans eat by millions? Probability zero story in all but in name. **½
Home Computers Now! • essay by Martin Buchanan
Usually I haven't reviewed the fact articles, but this is a pretty interesting one. There are some very fine predictions (effect of data networks to shopping, entertainment and banking), but also some less good ones. Why anyone would want to use his computer as an alarm clock using spoken alarm sounds - or why would anyone use self-made programs for text processing and accounting?

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