Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Analog Science Fiction and Fact March 2008

I got this issue only after complaining to Analog, so I read it only after reading two later issues. Pretty average issue. Haven’t read the last part of Wake yet.

Cavernauts • novelette by David Bartell
The main protagonist is going to a rescue mission to Jupiter’s moon Callisto, which has an extensive cave system beneath its’ surface. A pair of “cavernauts” is missing, and presumed dead. Story tells about an almost hopeless rescue attempt. All caverns seem to be named after body parts, and at places it is fairly irritating, as a lot of space is used for careful naming of seemingly every singly nibble of the caves - why would I care or be interested in what are the fictional names of the different fictional caves in Callisto. There are also at least two really major stupidities in the story. One is that normal “dead tree” books are supposedly most often read in space ships due to “amp rationing”. One would presume that any kind of power requirements of any kind of reading device for e-books would be ridiculously minor when compared to the cost of accelerating and de-accelerating the weight of a real book. Also, the actions of the “hero” in the last quarter of the story are unforgiving and unbelievingly stupid. I almost liked the first part of the story, but ending was really bad. **½
Lifespeed • shortstory by Carl Frederick
Fencers are very fast - but why they are so fast? Is there perhaps a genetic reason for it? Good story, the biochemistry is bit jiffy, but nevertheless nice and readable story. Might have been a bit longer. ****-
Madman's Bargain • shortstory by Richard Foss
A very creative AI is losing its’ coherence (as AIs always do sooner or later). But why that happens, and can it be prevented? A bit too talky story, the premise is nice and interesting. More plot, less discussion! ***½
After the First Death • shortstory by Jerry Craven
An anthropologist(?) encounters apparently hostile aliens - but are they hostile? At least they say that they just trying to save the members of the expedition (even those they apparently have already killed). The end part is fairly confusing, and seems to bear close resemblance to some ideas in Orson Scott Card’s book Speaker for the Dead (or was it Xenocide?) The ending was maybe a bit too concise, too fast and too easy. The first half was best part. ***½
When All Else Fails • shortstory by H. G. Stratmann and Henry Stratmann III
Pretty good and funny Probability Zero story.

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