Friday, August 13, 2010

Analog Science Fiction and Fact September 2010

A very good issue – the best a long time. Most stories were excellent.

That Leviathan, Whom Thou Hast Made • novelette by Eric James Stone
A Mormon missionary is working to convert aliens who live on the sun and are made from plasma. He has made some converts, but then a one of them has bad conscience about a sexual act.
A well written and good story, in spite of having a totally despicable main protagonist, who is trying to brainwash aliens to totally alien (to them) ideology. That point isn’t really discussed in the story; apparently the author doesn’t recognize the ethical problems. Personally, I think that all missionary work has some very racist connotations: OUR religion is so much better than YOUR religion. ****-

Pupa • novelette by David D. Levine
A story which is told from an alien viewpoint.
An alien child’s father is murdered just, when he was going to uncover an alien conspiracy. It is up to our hero to prevent that, and to take care of his siblings. Too bad, that he is in a larval stage, and has no rights what so ever and all other adult aliens totally ignore him, and are even ready to kill him. And the time to go to pupa is approaching. Another good story. ****-

Spludge • shortstory by Richard A. Lovett
Little green men come to earth on an April Fools Day. And they behave in a pretty strange way… An experienced prankster starts to have some suspicions… and starts to plan a prank of his own. A fun little story. ***½

Red Letter Day • shortstory by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
At fifty years of age, everyone gets to send a letter back in time for their younger counterpart. Some people get encouraging letters, some get letters that warn the recipient about something, but a few get no letter at all. A very good and though provoking story. ****+

Flotsam • shortstory by K.C. Ball
A problem solving story. How to back to earth after an accident on orbit? Ok effort for a new author (?), but fairly ordinary story. At places felt a little disorganized. ***-

The View from the Top • shortstory by Jerry Oltion
A scientist on ISS starts to have some emotional problems. They are getting so bad, that he is ready to ground himself. But might there be some other solution. A smooth, fairly good story. Average for Oltion. ***

Sandbagging • shortstory by Kyle Kirkland
Everything is controlled by a self-aware, giant computer in the name of functionality. The computer has apparently decided that there are about 50% too many people around. Is there anything that could be done to prevent that? A better than average story, but somehow felt somewhat disjointed. A longer form might have served better. ***+

Eight Miles • novelette by Sean McMullen
A steampunk story in Analog? Is this a first? A balloonist gets an interesting offer from a nobleman in 19th century Britain. The nobleman has found a strange woman, who is very lethargic and passive, and clearly is not a human. He assumes that she comes from the highlands of Tibet, and uses the balloon to get higher up to thinner air. Another very good story in an excellent issue. ****

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