Sunday, September 4, 2011

Analog Science Fiction and Fact September 2011

A serial takes lot of space from this issue. Otherwise below average issue.

Therapeutic Mathematics and The Physics of Curve Balls • novelette by Gray Rinehart
A boy with a malformed skull living on a freak show (in the 1930s) is a mathematical whiz kid, and is able to read minds and influence thoughts. He is maltreated by the owner of the freak show (I wonder why he isn't able to influence him?). He runs away to see a baseball game. There are some good ideas in the story, but it is far too short to explore them properly. And there is the baseball, always a turnoff for me...**1/2
Hostile Environment • shortstory by Emily Mah
Two teenagers on a Mars colony manage to get in trouble more than once. They have an accident while driving surface vehicles and they suspected from a foul play. A pretty simple story where children seem to be behaving below their age. Writing was ok. ***
The Chaplain's Assistant • shortstory by By Brad R. Torgersen
There apparently has been a human invasion of a hostile alien planet. It has failed completely, but a few survivors of the invading fleet live in a sort of reservation where they are studied by insectoid aliens, most of whom seem to have lost interest. It might be only a short while before the aliens destroy the survivors. One day an alien visits a small church some of the humans have built. Apparently the alien have no concept of religion at all. Is that something which could be so interesting for the aliens they will think that there might be something to be learned from the humans. Average story with old and irritating trope: “no religion” = “cold and evil”. ***+
Asteroid Monte • shortstory by Craig DeLancey
Humanity has joined a sort of galactic community. The more barbaric species (like humans) are often used for police work. A human who has broken some rules is drafted to a very elite police force. His first mission is to examine the smuggling of a potentially dangerous machinelike life form. The background of the story feels very interesting, but the plot and resolution of this story (the first of a series?) wasn’t anything really special. ***-
Helix Of Friends • novelette by Carl Frederick
An experiment in some sort of mind melding using some sort apparatus as help leads to a discovery of alternative worlds, as an imaginary friend of a child turns out to be something more. A small nice twist in the middle of the story, but otherwise something which could have been published in Astounding during Campbell’s Dianetics phase. Writing is on about the same level, also. **-

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