Sunday, November 27, 2011

Analog Science Fiction and Fact, April 2006

A pretty good, above average issue.

Boundary Condition • novella by Wil McCarthy
A space ship is recording quantum boundary effects of some sort which only can be detected using the brains of certain individuals as a sort of receptor. This might have something to do with god, religion, meditation and/or prayer. The Pope (the first American pope, Dave the first), comes to visit the space station as a surprise. There are a LOT of discussion about different things and a lot of explaining of different things. A few totally ridiculous situations happen. (The bodyguards of the pope are apparently total idiots with no sense what can be dangerous and what isn’t) The ending is sad and/or ambiguous. The writing is such is very good, but I didn’t get the point of the story. ***
Nothing to Fear But • shortstory by Stephen L. Burns
An inventor who has phobias for almost everything, tries to find a way remove all fear from people. He succeeds only too well. The story is told as a diary which was found from the ruins after a devastating fire. Very enjoyable story, but not really special in any way. ***
The Lowland Expedition • [Old Earth] • shortstory by Stephen Baxter
A part of series which happens on a planet (A far future earth?) where time passes at different speeds on different altitudes. An expedition is sent to explore lowlands where time moves much slower than on the high ground most people live. They encounter a strange town and strange woman who has metallic smell. A pretty good but simple exploration style adventure story. ***+
Lighthouse • [Kristi Land and Greg Cooper] • shortstory by Jack McDevitt and Michael Shara
A young scientist has discovered a new class of strange stars. That type of stars should not be able to exist in nature. She finds an explanation (which is about what could be expected). A well written story which uses flashback format. There isn’t much happening and there isn’t anything surprising, but nevertheless this worked pretty well as a story. ***+
Lady be Good • novelette by John G. Hemry
A story about an old and worn spaceship which has to take slightly suspect cargoes to be able function at all. The first mate rescues passengers from a ship which was destroyed by pirates and he must ultimately make a desperate choice. A very well written story with an emotional ending. There were some things to nitpick though, if two spaceships hit each other, you really are not going to see “structural beams bending”, as speeds would be so great that everything would be over in microseconds and probably so far that nothing could be seen anyway. Aside from that a rare story which made my eyes to mist for a second. ****
Numismatist • novelette by Richard A. Lovett
A pastor has been shot dead after he went on a shooting spree. A psychologist tries to find out what happened to him and why. He seems to have lived very quiet and peaceful life; why he went to the mall and tried to shoot several kids? A well written and gripping story with some emotional scenes. ****-

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