Monday, January 23, 2012

Analog Science Fiction and Fact, January-February 2006

A below average issue.

The Balance of Nature • novelette by Stephen L. Gillett, Ph.D. [as by Lee Goodloe ]
A protected area of volcanic activity is under study on a colonized planet. Some wardens of the conservation area are against all intrusions of the nature park. A really major eruption starts during the exploration trip. Not my cup of tea. A lot of too much detailed description of driving around the park. And conservationists apparently tend to turn to knife-wielding lunatics at a moment’s notice. **½
Dinosaur Blood • novelette by Richard A. Lovett
A super-rich girl and her friends are using the last gallons of gasoline on earth for a field trip on a refurbished Hummer. An alien probe observes them from the orbit pondering if the human civilization is worth saving, or has it entered a dead end as there is no more exploration going on anywhere and there is hardly anything new happening. But the girl and her friends might be on the cusp of something… maybe the humanity still has a chance. A pretty good story, or at least the first half of a story. ***½
Mop-Up • shortstory by Grey Rollins
An alien delegation has been on earth for a long time, but diplomatic negotiations aren’t going anywhere. Then one of the aliens begins to bond with the janitor of the conference building. A lighthearted piece, ok. ***
Kamikaze Bugs • [Jessie and Gus] • shortstory by Ekaterina Sedia and David Bartell
A scientist inadvertently helps to create locusts that destroy tobacco plants. Now he must help to stop them. A very short fairly lighthearted story which apparently has the same characters as in some earlier ones. I don’t remember reading those, and so the background was unfamiliar and the story didn’t really work for me. ***-
Report on Ranzipal's Plus-Dimension Carry-All • shortstory by Mark W. Tiedemann
A company sells bags which are basically bags of holding from D&D, which are larger from inside than from outside. A very short story where one malfunctions. ***-
Written in Plaster • novelette by Rajnar Vajra
The story happens in Britain in 1937. A young half Jewish boy who gets bullied in the school finds some strange pieces plaster from a forest. Even though there doesn’t seem to be any sharp edges he gets pricked by something. Later, a golem like creature appears to protect him. The story first seems to be a fantasy, but there turns out to be a science fictional explanation. Maybe a somewhat too neat an explanation. Writing was ok. ***+
Change • shortstory by Julian Flood
An alternative reality where Co2 has gone down and the climate is cooling. Practically all food has been produced on trees since ancient times and they have been cultured for centuries. I am not sure that the effect would be that, but very nice story nevertheless. ***+
"The Night is Fine" the Walrus Said • novella by John Barnes
Some kind of conspiracies, secret agents, hybrid human/AI personalities, clever murder attempts and a LOT of discussion. Everything for some fairly poorly defined reason, done by a very poorly defined secret organization. I didn’t really get into the story and didn’t care about it all although I struggled through it. **

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