Monday, October 12, 2009

Analog Science Fiction and Fact December 2009

Pretty average issue.
Formidable Caress by Stephen Baxter
Continues series I am not very familiar with – I believe that I have read one installment years ago. The story happens on a world (presumably far future earth) where time passes at different speed on different heights. The lower you go, the slower the time goes. There is a fair amount of exposition, but especially in the beginning it's kind of hard to know what's going on. Presumable at least some of the same characters have been in the earlier stories, and being familiar with them might have been to story easier to get. ***-
The Jolly Old Boyfriend by Jerry Oltion
Old boyfriend comes back on Christmas night bringing presents. The trouble is that he has been dead for some time already. Ok story, average for Oltion. ***
The Universe Beneath Our Feet by Carl Frederick
Aliens living in fairly strange surroundings seem to have fairly anthropomorphic disagreements about religion and authority. Pretty good story nevertheless. I was expecting that the aliens turn out to live in a sub-Antarctic lake, but that wasn't the case. Probably the best story in ‘zine. ***½
Wilderness Were Paradise Enow by H.G. Stratmann
Continues an earlier story about a couple stranded on a Mars which is terraformed by unknown aliens. The former story ended when both of the characters were given god-like powers. Now they get to use them. It seems that with great power comes great responsibility, but even the greater naivety. Both characters seem to be very stupid, just like they were in the former part of the story. Makes me really wonder why they were selected. Both make very bad decisions with fairly strange and not so logical consequences. Writing is ok, but as both main protagonists are extremely irritating the story ends as irritating as well. ***
To Climb a Flat Mountain by G. David Nordley
Concludes two part serial begun on the November issue. A rescue mission to free a planet enslaved by a religious dictatorship has gone wrong. The rescuers have overshoot by hundreds of light-years and about a thousand years. The few survivors find themselves on a strange, obviously manufactured habitat with strange fauna and flora. When they try to find out what has happened, they find out that their mission was sabotaged. The survivors have some difference of opinion, and are divided. One faction lead by a nutcase religious fundamentalist is left behind, while another group tries to find a shuttle which might explain how they ended where they did, and which might enable them to return. Writing isn't as fluent it could be, and the story is slightly old-fashionable (but not necessarily in bad way). The characters have some strange leaps of logic, and they don't exactly behave totally sensible at all times. And I am pretty sure that atmosphere so rich in oxygen that fires burn faster than normal, would be very toxic at a high pressure. Also, the ending seem very rushed and every open story detail is ”reeled in” in about two pages. ***

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