Thursday, October 1, 2009

Analog Science Fiction and Fact June 2000

The lead novella was excellent. Other stories weren't nearly as good.

The Retrieval Artist • novella by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
How to find someone who wants to hide? And is there a good reason why someone should try to find people who usually don't want to be found? The inheritance of a giant corporation might be such reason. A story of professional recovery artist, who tries to find hidden people. An excellent and entertaining story, best I have read for a while. ****1/2
Debunking the Faith Healer • novelette by Michael A. Burstein and Lawrence D. Weinberg
A journalist examining faith healers studies one, who really seems to be able cure people, but only mostly one or two in every meeting. Spoilers for this stinker follows: the healer is a time traveler who has come to take samples of DNA. Apparently _every_ human's in future has DNA which has been modified to resist cancer. Unfortunately that has caused a disease which is killing everybody off. And all samples of pre-change DNA have been destroyed because they could be used for harmful purposes. That is so stupid in so many levels. Everyone has changed DNA? So every native living in middle of Amazon? Every loony conspiracy theorist living in fortified bomb shelter in Utah? And ALL samples of pre-change DNA has been destroyed? Like all tissue samples from all hospitals? All people who have been buried in permafrost regions? And apparently all things which were made before the change (as enough DNA apparently can be harvested from the gloves used to touch people coming to the faith healer for a “cure” and which are buried until the future "catches up".) And risks the man collecting the DNA is taking for a really, really stupid and they are taken only for “punchline” reason. Writing is ok, and the story is readable but so full of so stupid plotholes that it ends as really irritating. **-
All Mine • shortstory by Laurence M. Janifer
How to survive on a planet which is filled by bouncing ball-like creatures which love to bump on people and third of them are deadly poisonous? Problem solving story. Short and not especially surprising. ***
A Threat of Cinnamon • novelette by Rajnar Vajra
A man and his AI run in a trouble when mining asteroids on an another star. Told as a tale told to a grandchild. A lot of info dumping and exposition. Some condensing might have nice. ***
The Money Tree • shortstory by Charles L. Harness
Money doesn't grow in trees. Or does it? Very implausible genetic engineering, and very implausible scheme. Money grown in trees is supposed to be exactly like the real currency, but it withers away in a few weeks – that's a pretty contradictory. ***-
A Pig Tale • shortstory by Guy Stewart
Memory altering viral therapy, downfall of personal life and of a small farm. If there are enough troubles, it might be easier just to start again with no recollections of the bad thing. Pretty nice and well told story ***½
Unthinkable • shortstory by Sean McMullen
Mars mission by private enterprise. Very short story picking on NASA. **½
Splendor's Laws • novelette by Dave Creek
Humans are evacuating a planet where two sentient species are living in harmony, before it is sterilized by nearby nova or other similar phenomena. Another alien race decides to use the planet for weapons testing, as it will be destroyed anyway.
Fairly average story in every way, didn't irritate, but was hard to remember only a few days later so didn't have must impact either. ***

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