Saturday, October 31, 2009

Analog Science Fiction and Fact August 1978

Very variable issue. Something pretty good, something pretty bad.

Starships In Whose Future? • novelette by Sam Nicholson
Two artists, a “bard” and apparently second generation (at least) comedian seem to have some disagreement for some reason. There apparently is also some sort of “no fault” insurance law regarding public figures, making them responsible if someone is hurt when trying to hurt them - or something. It isn’t explained practically at all, and certainly there are no reasons given for so strange law. Then they have some sort of competition by performing in front of audience. Pretty confusing story – partly probably because I was pondering the meaning of the “no fault” insurance and wasn't able to really concentrate on the story. **-
I Put My Blue Genes On • shortstory by Orson Scott Card
Refugees fled from earth just before a global bio-war was starting. Now years later a spaceship is returning to find out what has happened to the mother planet. The entire surface of the planet is covered by a thick “pea soup”. There seems to be one single stronghold still standing. The humans living there seem to be physically a bit changed, and are still waging bio-war against the Soviet Union. But how changed they actually are? Pretty good story, maybe a bit too short as there many good ideas which aren't explored as deeply they could have been. ****
The Man Who Was Heavily into Revenge • shortstory by Harlan Ellison
A contractor swindles an old man on a bath room repair contract overcharging 9000 dollars. He falls in despair. And the contractor starts to have VERY bad day ( + very bad rest of life). Probably Ellison got fed up by some contractor and after suing him up let a bit steam off by writing this story. Pretty good, ending is a bit too depressing, especially considering the otherwise light tone of the story. ****-
Cousins • novelette by Bernard Deitchman
Cave men hunt other species of cave men. It took a while to get into the story, as I was trying to figure out that just what the species of prehumans mentioned were. Soon it became pretty obvious that at least most of them were totally made up species. It was a bit disappointing, but it didn't totally ruin the story. One race had very strange properties which would be hard explain in evolutionary terms, also the mating habits it had were not very logical or believable. Otherwise fairly ok story, but demanded a bit concentration when one species was called “longheads” and one important member of other tribe was “longhair”. As I was reading fast, it always took just a little bit time remembering just what was what. ***½
Right of Passage • shortstory by Jayge Carr
An alien takes a test for citizenship. She almost makes it, but is caught on a technicality. But who was testing who? Pretty good, a bit too short story. ****-
Brother to Demons • novelette by Jack Williamson
I hated the first part of this story, and I didn't finish the second part. I am certainly not going to read this third part. -
The Water Doctor • shortstory by Edmundo Hamiltowne
A student gets a PhD in water making after long period of hard study and practice. Interesting choice of a career, considering on what kind of planet he lives. Meant as an ironic story, but ends up just as a very, very stupid one. **-

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