Friday, January 7, 2011

Analog Science Fiction and Fact May 2000

Some fairly nice stories, some less so. Average or slightly above average issue.

The Debt • [Haley and Taylor] • novelette by Bud Sparhawk
Prospecting in Io. Some sort of volcanoes bring up volatiles and mineral from the deep parts of the moon. Automatic systems are going to replace humans in this work. A lot of discussion and exposition, fairly little happens before the end. Very boring story to read. **½
Pathways • [Mike and Linna] • shortstory by Dave Creek
A mystery style of story. A man has been murdered. There are only two possible suspects – his wife, and an alien who consist of an unintelligent symbiont and from smaller intelligent part. Some very contrived ideas. ***-
Sheena 5 • [Manifold] • shortstory by Stephen Baxter
A modified squid is sent to space as a part of a project to bring an asteroid to near earth orbit. The squid might have been made to somewhat too intelligent... A very good story, I might have to dig up the novel which is based on this premise. ****-
The Horse Raiders • novelette by Kij Johnson
Different human tribes live on an alien planet. Horses are very important for them. A few member of one are slaughtered by another. One young woman and a child survive as captives. A well written and good story. More stories on this setting would be interesting. ****
One Thousand Years • shortstory by Pauline Ashwell
Time travel is used to speed terraforming a planet (go a million or so years back in time, spread algae, return to see the results). A fairly average story, mainly because there is a lot of exposition and there a lot of things happening, so everything feels very rushed. Considerable expansion might have been useful. ***
Any Mother's Son • shortstory by Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff
A woman travels forward in time and finds out that her son is responsible for legislation which allows mercy killings for people suffering from certain illnesses. She reacts to that pretty badly, even surprisingly badly. Every time and every situation have pretty much their own morality, after all. Good writing, good thought provoking story. ****+
Agape Among the Robots • novelette by Allen Steele
Two groups compete in trying to develop anthropomorphic robots for home use. The robots are behaving in a very strange way, sometimes when they are supposed to behave in friendly manner they tend to smash things against people and each other. Turns out they are learning things by example and they are misunderstanding some fine points. Pretty smoothly written, but otherwise not too impressive story. ***

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