Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Analog Science Fiction and Fact July/August 2009

Double issue with two long novellas and some shorter works. Contains also the first part of a serial by Barry Longyear which I haven’t started yet. I usually try to read serials only after getting all the parts - and I am busy reading Hugo-nominated works, anyway.

Seed of Revolution by Daniel Hatch
Chamal is a planet with very unusual (and unlikely) genetics. All the planet’s larger animals belong in principle to the same species, but with widely varying phenotype (and intelligence). A human scientist who has been studying Chamal’s society is found murdered. How? Why? Who?
A pastiche of hard-boiled mystery stories.
In my opinion the story seemed a bit overtly complicated, however, the ending felt a bit too easy. ***
The Bear Who Sang Opera by Scott William Carter
Another noirish detective story involving animal look-alikes. Seems that there is a theme in this issue? A android grizzly bear opera singer has lost his voice - literally. Some fairly mundane detecting follows. Humorous story, but the humor didn’t really works for me. ***+
Payback by Tom Ligon
Earth encounters an unprovoked attack from another solar system. The attack, which would have destroyed the sun is only narrowly defeated. But why would someone do such a thing? And how to respond to it? Very nice, good story. I believe the story might have been even better without the first chapter, where the motivation for the attack is at least partly explained, as it took away part of the mystery which actual protagonists in the story faced. Anyway, best story in magazine. ****
The Calculus Plague by Marissa K. Lingen
Viral though-patterns which are literally viral. Short, nice story. Might have been a bit longer. ***½
Duck and Cover by Don D’Ammassa
A story about very strange and very obnoxious solder in Vietnam War. Good, well written, exiting story. The ending didn’t seem right, however. If that would be reason for the existence of that/those soldier[s], why so unappealing behavior. ****-
Failure to Obey by John G. Hemry
Terrorists attack a space station, but they are narrowly defeated. That seemed pretty interesting. However, the gist of the story follows legal proceedings about a situation, which happened completely offstage of the events described in the first part of the story. And which is worse, a major part of the military tribunal seems to revolve around aspects of military obedience. When the proceedings finally get to the actual events, the charges turn out to be laughingly flimsy - at least to someone not familiar with military law. Well written, but not what I was expecting - I was looking forward to hear about the motivations and aims of terrorist and the actual aftermath of the attack - those were totally forgotten. ***½

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