Sunday, January 31, 2010

Analog Science Fiction and Fact October 1999

Below average issue.

Late Lessons • novelette by Paul Levinson

Time travellers try to change key points in history to create a future which has space travel and doesn't have Soviet Union. Continues earlier stories, which I haven't read. It seems to be more of a character based story than an action piece. A bit hard to get into, as I didn't know the characters beforehand. **+
The Poisoned Feather • shortstory by Laurence M. Janifer
How to rescue a damsel from distress? Especially if the damsel is kidnapped by a notorious torturer. A very short story which depends on a trick done by magic tech. **+
Kinds of Strangers • novelette by Sarah Zettel
A space ship returning from an expedition to asteroid belt has suffered the failure of a light sail and will be unable to return to earth. The crew is unraveling and there has already been a suicide or two. Then they get a strange message...there might be a way out after all. Pretty good story, the only irritant is that the aliens never come out. (the other explanation for the signal (that it was faked by one of the crew) isn't very logical). ***
The Menace from Earth • novelette by Jerry Oltion
Another astral astronauts story. Earth is finding the “paradise”. Is there something that could prevent the destruction of paradise? Ok story, problems are solved a bit too easily. ***+
What Lurks in a Man's Mind • shortstory by Christopher McKitterick

Space marines mount a rescue mission to a planet surrounded by an almost impenetrable force field. Sounds much more interesting, but the story with “a guardian of a hiding civilization” turns out to be much less exiting as it sounds. **+
That Sleeper in the Heart • novelette by Ramona Louise Wheeler

A spaceship almost hits a derelict ship, and the guidance computers automatically come to a full stop orbiting the giant ship. (two really big stupidities - killing all the velocity to avoid a direct hit is very unnecessary. Then the smaller craft goes to an orbit around the larger craft. Even if the larger craft were as big as the Death Star from Star Wars, orbiting a space ship isn't really a practical possibility – it can't have enough mass for that. The writing is somewhat better that the author's grasp of orbital mechanics, but that doesn't really save the story, which is an over long ghost story about a haunted space ship. Ending is fairly stupid, and wasn't one key point left open? It might be that I just didn't care. At least the tone shift from horror to comedy was jarring. **

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