Friday, July 23, 2010

Analog Science Fiction and Fact December 1998

Maybe a bit better than average issue.

Aurora in Four Voices • novella by Catherine Asaro
A man (Jato) is kept as a prisoner on a planet inhabited by pretty peculiar colonists. There value art and mathematics over everything. Jato has been charged for a murder he did not commit, and now he has to pose for an artist who is very unusual even for pretty strange standards of the planet. And beautiful young woman who happens to be a some sort of government inspector/law enforcer comes to visit. Well written and entertaining story, there was more than a little back-story missing. ****-
 Zwarte Piet's Tale  • novelette by Allen Steele
Christmas story from Mars. “Christmas” on Mars has decayed for a good reason for adults to get drunk and rowdy. Two guys decide to make some amendments. The explanation why the meaning of Christmas was forgotten was not entirely convincing, but very good and entertaining story. ***½
 Outsider's Chance • shortstory by Geoffrey A. Landis
Space pirates attack to slow tug ship transporting raw materials. A game of wits decides who gets the cargo. Pretty average story of its type, entertaining. ***+
 Ataxia in Ataraxia • novella by Fran Van Cleave
A clone of a more or less benevolent dictator is kidnapped after he and his “father” have been on a negotiation trip on a nearby colony. Not entirely consistent at all places, nothing surprising in this coming of age story which is written more than a little in YA-style. ***-
High Flight • shortstory by Bud Sparhawk
A really irritating and neurotic sister (who studies storms) has come to Jupiter where her brothers work as pilots piloting sailplanes. Inevitable tragedy and growing up happens. Another pretty average story, nothing really excellent, but not bad. ***-

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