Monday, October 4, 2010

Analog Science Fiction and Fact November 2010

Pretty variable quality of stories in this issue. Some good, some not so good. I read this issue as en alectronic version, as I haven't gotten even October issue yet as my subscription copy.

Phantom Sense • novella by Richard A. Lovett and Mark Niemann-Ross
A former special forces agent has some trouble adjusting to civil life. He used to have control of a swarm of bio-engineered insects carrying surveillance equipment, but when he quit his job he lost his swarm. When one is used to aware of everything inside a radius of a few hundred meter and when one loses that suddenly it's like you would have lost one of your ordinary senses, and more. His marriage breaks, he loses connection to his daughter, and life generally suck. He follows his daughter's videoblog, where she is complaining about those irritating flies which follow her, especially when she is changing her clothes... A good story, maybe a bit too easy ending. ****-
Zoo Team • shortstory by Allen M. Steele
A team of astronauts are on a “practice run” before manned mars mission. Several different teams are being tested for how they manage the isolation for a long period. One team consists of practical jokers and people with authority problems. They find out that their group has been selected as a certain failure to make other groups look better. They decide to give the controllers something to really think about...Pretty funny and enjoyable story. ***½
Contamination • shortstory by Jay Werkheiser
A group of researchers lives nearby a planet which orbits another star. They only study it, they have not even landed on it yet, as their leader are afraid of contaminating the native life. Then, another ship from earth arrives, and they were expecting that the planet would have been habited by now, and they are going to land as soon as possible. And both sides are ready to fight for their goals – or at least their leaders are ready to sacrify other people for those ideals. Fairly good, but the motives of the “conservationists” could have been explained better. ***
Howl of the Seismologist • novelette by Carl Frederick
A seismologist happens to have a dog which is able to predict earthquakes. He has also taken notes of all howls the dog has made when there hasn't been any earthquake. Correlating that information he and his friend find out that particle colliders are causing earthquakes, especially when two are run at the same time. I didn't like writing, and there were some illogicalities. One would imagine that particle beam accelerators would have automatic shutdown systems to shut them down in case in earthquakes as one would imagine that any shaking would spoil the containment of the particle beams anyway. And it felt slightly forced when one character was described as having “dilated pupils and sweat-glistening forehead”; it wasn't hard to guess what was his problem. **
The Deadliest Moop • shortstory by Michael A. Armstrong
Most or the orbital satellites have been blown up. It isn't know who has done it, but there is a lot of rubbish on orbit which poses a danger for space ships. “A garbage collector” space craft encounter something strange. A fairly fragmentary story and a bit more backstory would have been nice. I didn't like the writing too much either, as it was a bit too colloquial for my taste. **+
Outbound • novelette by Brad R. Torgersen
Earth is destroyed in a war. A young paraplegic boy manages to survive fortuitously and an old couple who is traveling on an old space observatory picks him up. (Well, the husband has died years earlier, and lives as a computer simulation). They decide to head outwards to the oort cloud, where has been rumored to exist human habitats. A very good story, well written especially considering that this is apparently the first published story by this author. The only downside of the story was that it was somewhat too short and hurries at places. Maybe a novella or even novel form would have been better. ****-

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