Sunday, March 22, 2009

Analog August 1977

Fairly good issue, the novellas/novelletes are both very fine, shorter works are ok for most part.
Cold Cash War • novelette by Robert Asprin
Major corporations wage war with each others. Governments of most countries aren’t very happy about that, and try to stop that practise. But very well trained mercenaries tend be much better fighters than regular army troops…Well written, pretty intriguing story. It’s hard say to who to root for, when the main characters probably are pretty bad guys, but are portrayed sympathetically. There some minor nitpicks. It seems strange that the general population seemed to be easily and completely on side of mercenaries, as they are pretty ruthless against the government troops, when one supposes that most of government forces have families and friends around. Why be so sympathetic to someone who might kill your son, brother or close friend? ****+
The 63rd of August • shortstory by W. Macfarlane
A nerdish inventor invents a chamber where times seems to move extremely fast. Story which is more than a little hard to understand. Contains a lot of pretty uncongenial language - it is probably just me, but I really didn’t get the story. Anyway, there didn’t seem to be much of a plot. *½
Information Station Sabbath • shortstory by Kevin O'Donnell, Jr.
A researcher is living on a planet where there is just one religion, with no real difference of opinion. The aliens seem to think, that their god is literally true, and literally visits them. The scientist is naturally sceptical, but then he starts to get very strange feelings about an invisible powerful being…Pretty good, well told story, the ending is probably the worst part. ***½
Ender's Game • novelette by Orson Scott Card
One of the best stories ever. I have read the novel version, and I am pretty sure I have read this novella version earlier, too. This time I mainly skimmed the story, but it is as good as I remember. Well, most probably know the main story: kids train on an orbital “battle school” for a future fight against a ruthless alien race. One kid, very bright one, seems to be able to win everyone else even when the rules of the games are being changed, and the training seems to speed up. Very good story. One gripe is that while Ender (the hero) is considered to a tactical genius, and extremely intelligent, his innovations in the war games seems pretty obvious, something which should have been invented years ago by others pupils of the school (who are all supposed to be the brightest of earth - well, on the other hand they really don't give that impression in other ways, either). *****-
Rotating Cylinders and the Possibility of Global Causality Violation • shortstory by Larry Niven
Timetravel seems to be theoretically possible, but the universe seems to go extraordinary lengths to prevent it. Could that phenomena be used as a weapon of war? Nice but short story. ****-
Skysinger • shortstory by Alison Tellure
Continues a story from June 1977 issues (fact that isn’t stated anywhere). A sentient, sea living, life form in another world battles against its’ predecessor with help of land living creatures. A bit too heavy on battles, otherwise nice story, a bit longer version might have been easier to follow up, as events seem to happen too fast. ***½
The Fourth-Stage Polygraph • shortstory by Sam Nicholson
A sea captain who usually works on container ship is ordered to work on a cruise ship to relieve captain who suspected of wrongdoings, and at same time to investigate the chief steward who might have some shady dealings going on, also. At the same time he should investigate if a novel development of a lie detector would be any use in the investigation. Story is meant as a funny, but isn’t, not at least funny enough. ***½

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