Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Analog Science Fiction and Fact October 1998

Fairly good issue, lead novelette is fine.

Trade Warriors • novelette by F. Alexander Brejcha
A lone human female tries to cope on an alien commercial school, which resembles a military boot camp. And the fact that the race is extremely male chauvinistic isn’t exactly helping. Very good, well written and exciting story. I would like to see more stories involving the same character. ****+
Drawn Words • novelette by Brian Plante
A young boy living on a farm starts to make marks representing words. His father freaks out. Eventually after some tragical events boy must leave his home and go to the town, where he meets some interesting people. Fairly good story, maybe a bit too short. Background of the world would have been interesting, also the events happen fairly fast. Reads like a detailed outline of the first quarter of a very good novel. ****-
Artifacts • shortstory by Jerry Oltion
A group of scientist examine an alien artifact, presumably a giant space habitat. But those scientists who have stayed on the station seem to act a bit differently. Nice, story, a bit implausible, hard to think that alien memes would transfer so easily to humans. ***½
O'Carolan's Revenge • shortstory by Rick Cook
An Irish bard gets some strange visitors who want to listen his songs, and they are even ready to pay for him. But are they planning to swindle him? Another pretty nice and entertaining story. ***½
Phoenix • shortstory by H. G. Stratmann
A time traveler appears to expecting mother and demands that she won’t stop smoking cigarettes. Short, but good story. ****-
Nor Through Inaction • shortstory by Charles Ardai and Michael A. Burstein
A space ship with an AI brain crashes. The sole human occupant survives only with extremely severe wounds with no chance of escape or long-term survival. But the AI is determined to keep him alive as long as possible. For some reason this story reminds me of Larry Niven. Fairly good, nothing really surprising. ***½
Living in a Stranger • shortstory by Paul Urayama
A man suffers from posttraumatic memory defect which causes him to forget everything always after a night’s sleep. Naturally he has some problems with adapting to this ailment, again and again. Good idea, nice story but ending is over sentimental and irritating. ***
Ashes to Ashes • novella by Grey Rollins
AI and its’ creator try to escape religiously oppressive earth to more open minded moon, and a simpleminded man with a cat is asked by Jesus to help them. Sound pretty strange, and it is. Continues earlier stories, and the first part felt really confusing - I almost gave up reading it - even though I believe that I have read at least one of the earlier stories years ago. ***


Michael A. Burstein said...

"Nor Through Inaction" had an interesting genesis. I asked Charles if he had any unfinished stories I might find interesting to work on. He handed me something close to the first half of this story. I edited that and wrote the second half. Then he edited that, I edited it again, and we were done.

One of the drafts included a subtheme of the astronaut enjoying hard-boiled mysteries, and having the computer narrate to him while he tried to survive.

We also briefly toyed with the alternate title "Survival Coefficient."

tpi said...

Thanks for the comment!
It is always extremely interesting to learn something about story behind the story.