Sunday, November 22, 2009

Analog Science Fiction and Fact January-February 2010

Fairly average issue, Rusch's novella was fine, but I was expecting something even better.

"Neptune's Treasure", Richard A. Lovett

Continues an earlier story involving a space tug owner and his self-conscious AI implant. They are around Neptune, and have some life changing events. Well written, good story, but somehow I was expecting even more. The ending was very bittersweet, I wonder if story ends here or not? ***½
"Shame", Mike Resnick & Lezli Robyn
A story about a strange looking alien living on a remote village (on sparsely inhabited planet) and prejudice he'll encounter. Typical Resnick story: well written, but very heavy handed parables. ***½
"On Rickety Thistlewaite", Michael F. Flynn
A pair of spies, a man and a woman, are trying find the mother of the woman spy. They have traveled to a planet ruled by an emperor who seems to have power over everything happening on the planet. The story felt somehow disconnected, like a part from a larger story. As a small dose I didn't really get into it – the adjective laden prose felt a bit heavy. ***-
"Rejigging the Thingamajig", Eric James Stone

A galaxy wide teleport networks breaks down – and only one uplifted tyrannosaurus rex who was by chance alone on a remote interconnection, located on very untamed planet, is able to repair it. The planet is so untamed, that it is very dangerous even for tyrannosauruses to venture outside. Too bad that the part needed for repair has fallen miles away to the top of dormant volcano. Humorous little story, ending wasn't on par with the first part of the story. ***+
"A War of Stars", David L. Clements
A galaxy wide war is nearing end. An uploaded mind with a human body is nearing the enemy target, and he has a normal human body as a ”backup”. When his fighter is damaged, he is forced to ”download” to the body. But what the fight is about? Ok, nothing really surprising, ending is far too esay and fast. ***-
"Simple Gifts", Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff
A planet contains very valuable alloy (having extremely unlikely – irritatingly unlikely- properties). The main deposit is near a village of aliens. All that remains before its' exploitation is a impartial agreement between the mining company and the aliens. And that's not so easy when the alien's language haven't yet been deciphered, and all their trading is based on barter. And the company is very anxious to get best deal possible, even on cost of any ”fairness”. Well written, good story, but nothing really surprising, ****-
"Thus Spake the Aliens", H.G. Stratmann
Continues a story from December issue. Aliens have terraformed Mars. Two explorers, a young man and a woman, Katherine, were given practically unlimited powers by the aliens as a test. They failed the test, and now earth is facing destruction. Is there something which could prevent that? The main protagonists are at least as irritating and childish as before. At one point Katherine even stomps her feet. And the man compares everything, and I mean everything, to science fiction stories and movies. It begins to be very tiresome fairly soon. A large bulk of the story is taken by totally unnecessary sightseeing tour in the alien artifact and to the earth's past. The actual resolution takes place in the last few pages. A lot of condensing would have nice. **+
"The Possession of Paavo Deshin", Kristine Kathryn Rusch
A retrieval artist story. Paavo (very Finnish name – however no reason why he has a Finnish forename is given in the story – no one else has anything resembling Finnish names) is a troubled but extremely bright young boy who has seen two ”ghosts” for all his life. One day those ghost appear in physical form to his school yard and try to make contact with him. Turns out they are ”disappeared” people who have had to go underground due to ”crimes” against an alien species. Why have they come out of the hiding, and why are they harassing a young boy? Very good story, perhaps not one of the best of the series, but good anyway. It also nice that there are shades of gray in storytelling, practically no one is purely bad or purely good. ****-

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