Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Analog Science Fiction and Fact January 1974

Niven's short story is very good, otherwise not too good issue. Long interesting editorial by Heinlein.

The Horus Errand • novelette by William E. Cochrane
It is possible to be reincarnated! Apparently soon after death everyone's mind goes to a mind of a close-by baby which happens to be born around the time of death. Usually adult mind goes crazy inside an unformed infant mind, dies out, and a new mind then takes over. But a telepath is able help the adult mind adjust so that it will survive the transition. For some reason the telepaths helping on those transitions work for police, not for healthcare. And one team consists of one telepath, and two armed police officers. One transfer goes bad, as after the mind ”donor” dies, the baby who was supposed to be born at just the right moment wasn't born yet, and the mind has gone amiss. Now there are only a few hours to find the right newborn baby with the right mind. Very strange story – there are implications of very strange world.
1. Resurrection is enforced by armed police.
2. Parent's consent apparently is not need or asked.
3. Rich and powerful are able to have resurrection, normal people apparently not at all.
4. The police seems to have practically unlimited powers to perform searches without any due process when they are trying to find where the stray soul went.
The implications are that the story happens in some kind of fascist, or almost fascist, state, but that, or any other moral implications which the story raises are not treated at all, it's like they never even occurred to the author. And it it is not even very well written, and ends as a very irritating story. **-
The Astounding Dr. Amizov • shortstory by R. F. DeBaun
Short story of the amazing Dr Azimov, who has written hundreds of books covering dozens of different subjects. How he can do it all? The solution is simple: cloning. Nothing really special. **½
The Hole Man • shortstory by Larry Niven
A story I have read a few times. Expedition to Mars finds an alien artifact. There seems to be something strange with very high mass inside it. The mass is a miniature black hole, of course, which is dropped through one of the characters. Main weak point in the story is that it seems implausible easy to control alien machinery. Very good story anyway. ****+

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