Saturday, November 19, 2011

Analog Science Fiction and Fact, November 2011

Fairly nice issue, perhaps slightly above average.

With Unclean Hands • novella by Adam-Troy Castro
An incredibly advanced alien race which is thousands year ahead of humans is dying out. As herbivores, they are so timid that when they first encountered other species in space they just retreated and basically slowly dying from the shock as a race. For some reason they are trying to find the worst murderers mankind has and they are ready to pay practically anything for them. Why would they want them? A very good and well written gripping story. ****-
Dig Site • shortstory by Jack McDevitt
A very strange statue is found in an island in Greek. It looks very different from other statues, is in modernistic style and appears to depict a space suit or a diving suit. Writing is pretty nice, but the story ends just when it is starting to get interesting. Is it even science fiction or not? ***½
The Buddy System • shortstory by Don D'Ammassa
A pair of friends develops an AI based expert system which co-ordinates almost everything. It seems to be a success and the world seems to be a better place. Until things go wrong.. Shortish and fairly simple and not too unpredictable tale, but is very entertaining and well written anyway. ***+
Rocket Science • shortstory by Jerry Oltion
A man is waiting in a cabin of his self-made suborbital space ship for the launch. Another man who has attached weather balloons to a lawn chair causes a dangerous situation during the launch. And man on the top of the self-made rocket wonders how some people are cranks? Nice, a very short and ironic story, but the irony is spelled out a little too clearly. ***
Chumbolone • shortstory by Bill Johnson
The story goes from fixing an election with a computer system to finding intelligent radio signals from interstellar noise with the same computer system. I wasn’t too impressed, the story felt somewhat disjointed and didn’t make any lasting impression - I had trouble remembering it only after a few days. ***-
Ian, Isaac, and John • novelette by Paul Levinson
A man travels back in time to make small adjustment in a David Bowie music album. He may have also another motive. (to warn John Lennon about his coming murder). An ok story, not bad. ***-
The Boneless One • novelette by Alec Nevala-Lee
A ship which is doing biological research finds a colony of unusual biolumescent octopuses. The stop to study them, but soon the leader of the expedition is murdered and the motor of the boat is sabotaged. The first part of the story was pretty good, but the plot and even the writing seemed to decay towards the end. From a scientific viewpoint the plot was totally, totally, ludicrous. A virus which could infect both humans and octopuses with similar mental effects - no way. **+

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