Thursday, October 21, 2010

Analog Science Fiction and Fact December 2010

Some good, some not so good stories.

The Man From Downstream • novella by Shane Tourtellotte
A strange man appears on a farm near Rome. He seems to be loaded up with silver and he is soon making all sorts of new, strange inventions, like a printing press, a steam engine and so on. A pretty good time travel story. Could have been clearly longer, now at places felt a bit too much like an outline. ****-
The Hebras And The Demons And The Damned • shortstory by Brenda Cooper
A colony on another planet has serious trouble with the local fauna which very ferocious, and there hasn't been any species which shows any signs of possible domestication. Good, but pretty short story, mainly a few scenes of a possible larger story. ***+
Deca-Dad • shortstory by Ron Collins
A man meets his grand-grand -and so on- father who is a crew member on a space ship travelling on relativistic speeds. . He is supposed to be Finnish descent, and to have a Finnish name (which isn't spelled right :-). Matter transfer gates are surpassing the older means of space travel. A short, simple story, nothing surprising. **+
Happy Are The Bunyips • shortstory by Carl Frederick
A zoo with some financial problems gets two new animals due to some sort of mishap. The animals are pretty strange, as the head zookeeper who thought he would be able to identify all large animals there are, hasn't ever seem such creatures. A fairly good story, another one which could have been somewhat longer. ***+
A Placebo Effect • shortstory by Brian C. Coad
A retired patent attorney gets some notorious publicity when a patent agreement he crafted years earlier almost causes war between China and India. India is apparently producing medicines which are more inert than placebo as they contain ingredients which suppresses the placebo effect. Somehow that makes the drug so powerful that Chinese is spending so much money on them, that it is causing financial problems. A really, really, stupid story. It might have worked as a probability zero yarn, but as a proper short story it is very ridiculous. And the author seems to imagine that homeopathic “medicines” work because the contain trace amounts of medicines. First, they DON'T work, secondly they DON'T contain and trace amounts of effective ingredients (except perhaps one molecule for every solar system size volume). **-
Home Is Where The Hub Is • novella by Christopher L. Bennett
Another in the series about a young man who wishes to find how the hub (an interstellar transport system) works. No progress is made. Mainly light chatter during an adventure, the main story doesn't progress. Not especially good. **+
Primum Non Nocere • novella by H. G. Stratmann
A woman has been condemned to rehabilitation camp because of her behavior. She has been eating several donuts everyday, and has already passed the maximum BMI allowed. The beginning was pretty good, but the joke didn't carry on, and there were a few too many twists in the end. ***-

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