Thursday, April 29, 2010

Analog Science Fiction and Fact June 2010

Apparently artificial intelligence themed issue which seems to be fairly average in quality.
The Anunnaki Legacy • novelette by Bond Elam
A planet is going to be used for mining in spite of strange “worms” living on its surface. There is also a wreck of an ancient alien space ship orbiting the planet. A pair of researchers get a only a few days to find out if there are anything worthwhile on the surface of planet, and after that the mining of the planet will start. I wonder why it is so necessary to to dismantle planets for the raw materials, surely there would be asteroids with much lower gravity wells usable for raw materials? Also, the “company men” are so evil caricatures, that they are practically twirling their mustaches. The story was okay as such, with slightly less black and white characters it might have been clearly better. ***
Cargo • shortstory by Michael F. Flynn
The story happens in a postapokalyptic future where a tribe of humans live near an abandoned city. All science and books are forbidden and the punishment for third error (involvement with any scientific matter) is death by stoning. An older uncle is reminiscenting a tale his mother told, and is trying to find a young male who is on the brick of the “third strike”. Okay story, uses the old cliche of postapokalyptic future where all technology is forbidden. It seems to go too far - it is hard to understand that after a catastrophe all technology and book would be forbidden, even those which are essential for survival. ***+
Space Aliens Taught My Dog to Knit! • novelette by Jerry Oltion and Elton Elliot
Tall tale a out man who believes that a huge conspiracy is withholding evidence about aliens in earth and their base on the far side of the moon. Story goes to more and more preposterous, and I was expecting some sort of trick ending. It didn't exactly come, and the ending wasn't entirely satisfactory. ***+
A Time for Heroes • shortstory by Edward M. Lerner
A video game tester is play-testing the newest and best virtual reality gaming simulator there is. He plays and plays and slowly starts to wonder a few things. Why he has no recollection of entering into the simulation, and why he has no knowledge how to get away from it? He is part of the simulation, of course. ***1/2
Heist • shortstory by Tracy Canfield
A heist where a computer AI tries to escape a mmorpg where he was born. Interesting use of Finland as a place where AIs might escape to. By the way, you can't tell from a Finnish phone number that it is from "a Helsinki suburb" as the area codes don't go to that detail - and very few people probably will have land lines anyway in 2020; as fairly few, mainly only middle-aged and older people have them anymore even at the moment. Not too bad story anyway, probably the one I liked most in this issue. ****-
At Last the Sun • shortstory by Richard Foss
A research group who is exploring an oxygen starved and dead area of ocean finds something new. Well told short story in with nice tone and style. Sf content is fairly light after all. ***1/2
Connections • novelette by Kyle Kirkland
Future where the government is very centralized and has banned everything even remotely harmful, and a secret opposition is trying to influence things. There are retraining camps for those who get caught. And there is a guy who has gotten killed, who was into AI-research, whose AI says he was murdered. There seems to perhaps too many plot-lines with not entirely connected details going on. The plots come together somehow in the end, but not entirely satisfactorily and logically. The story might have been better with a few less details or in a clearly longer form. ***-

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