Thursday, January 26, 2012

Analog Science Fiction and Fact, April 2012

A fairly good issue in spite of one infuriating short story. There seems to be a theme: how easy it is to misunderstand the customs of a different species. (and a subtheme: homages to classic stories if you count the Probability Zero story, “To Serve Aliens (Yes, It's a Cookbook)”, another homage is the Kevin J. Anderson's story )
And beware, there are spoilers for stories in these reviews!

The Most Invasive Species • novella by Susan Forest
Humans are studying (and colonizing) a planet with indigenous aliens. Aliens seem to mistreat their children with copious kicks, hits and bites whenever they misbehave even slightly. When the mother of one family group is killed in an accident colonists adopt the children. Soon they start to get sick… The reason is obvious, of course. The kids NEED the punishments to develop normally. A fairly nice story in spite of not too surprising end-twist. ***+
Ecce Signum • [Marrion's Kids] • novella by Craig DeLancey
A part of a series where children who have been gene modified to really care about the future are taking over the world. Some of them are being murdered by very strange and high-class assassins just when they are getting ready for a wide spread roll out of a new technology. A “Wikileaks”-story? :-) A well written and entertaining story, which isn’t very tightly connected to others in the same continuum. ***½
A Delicate Balance • shortstory by Kevin J. Anderson
Colony has run into a serious trouble as the planet wasn’t habitable for human life as it supposed to be. It can only sustain a set number of people until relief comes decades later and for every new child an older member of the colony must die. Then a sixteen-year-old girl gets pregnant and her father is the next in line to die..So stupid story at so so many levels. Oh there is no birth control for all fertile women, or compulsory sterilization for all males (and artificial insemination for the planned pregnancies). And sixteen year olds are stupid enough to have unprotected sex in THOSE conditions, don’t they have any sex ed? And it ok to demand people to suicide, but abortion is a no-no? And don’t they do any prenatal ultrasounds in THOSE conditions to find out if the fetus is even viable? And the standard method of committing suicide is to walk out into chlorine based atmosphere? If the existence would really be so on the edge, that would destroy a great amount of extremely valuable carbon-oxygen based biomass which would in invaluably for the colony. I do realize that this story is supposed to comment the unbelievable medieval attitudes in America towards sex education and abortion, but really? **
You Say You Want a Revolution • shortstory by Jerry Oltion
A mutiny occurs in some human worlds which have been politically stable for centuries. An alien gives his viewpoint on what is happening. A story which is very similar in the theme as the first novella of this issue.
Human customs how to treat children aren’t always the right ones for aliens. For example, if you are not allowed to eat your leftover children, there might be some serious consequences. ..Another nice story. ***½
Follow-Up • shortstory by Stephen L. Burns
A surgeon repairs war wounds with extremely advances nanotechnology surgical apparatus. It seems a patient comes to her more than once. A fairly nice story, but I was left wondering what the point of the story was. What was the point of the repetition? Was the whole situation just some sort of a test for the skills of the surgeon? Or are the same soldiers being wounded time and time again? I am not sure. ***+

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