Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Analog Science Fiction and Fact, July-August 2012

A thick double-issue with a lot to read, some fairly nice stories.

Zeitgeist, Inc. • shortstory by Carl Frederick
A scientist has developed AI:s that can encompass the opinions of an entire group. Those AI:s can be used in android bodies, and there planned to be used by marketing agencies and other such groups. The Chinese start to produce similar androids and there is suspicion of industrial espionage. That’s the gist of the story, but there are many, many subplots, far too many for a short story. As a result, the story felt very disjointed. Also, the main character who was supposed to be a genius gave an impression of being an idiot. **
The Song Of Uullioll • shortstory by Gray Rinehart
A tale of a beached whale from the viewpoint of the whale (who wants to be near the sun.) Nothing especially especial, but ok. **½
Nightfall on the Peak of Eternal Light • novella by Richard A. Lovett and William Gleason
A man comes to the moon to find a new life. In spite of overwhelming odds against managing it he finds a new life, a new work and a very attractive forewoman who is also the daughter of his boss. But his past isn't forgotten be everyone and there might be serious repercussions. A pretty good story, perhaps somewhat on the long side, but it is an enjoyable one nevertheless. ***½
Red Rover, Red Rover • shortstory by Howard V. Hendrix
A man comes to Mars with his intelligent talking dog. For some poorly defined reason he feeds him drugs which cause the dog have nightmares. I didn't get the motivations of the character or of the dog. Also, one important item in the story is a knife made from a meteorite found in the Mars which originates from the Earth. That wouldn’t' t work, as a such meteorite couldn’t be an iron meteorite, and it would be next to impossible to construct a knife with any useful purpose from any other type of meteorite. **
To Save Man • novelette by H. G. Stratmann
Aliens come to earth trying to bring help for humanity as their main religious belief is to help other species to grow. At first they are baffled as humans can't read minds and seem to be very suspicious of everything. It doesn’t even stop after their burn up an asteroid which would have hit earth in some centuries as a second sun. How they will gain the trust of humanity - it seems impossible and eventually turns out to be impossible - if the humans retain their destructive urges. But soon they won't have them anymore...a pretty good first contact story which is told from the viewpoint of superpowerful but benevolent (at least from their perspective) aliens. ****-
The North Revena Ladies Literary Society • shortstory by Catherine Shaffer
An woman who is an ex- US government secret agent joins a book club which turns out to be a cover for a secret organization which is covering up an invention enabling seeing to the future and at the same time builds a library larger that the US congress library apparently only by the voluntary donations of book club members, and which is threatened by some terrorist organization. Sounds confusing? Yeah, it is even more confusing than it sounds. **-
Sam Below Par • [Sam Gunn] • novelette by Ben Bova
Sam Gunn arranges the first golf tournament in the moon. He has hired a professional golf course designer who has had some trouble in earth. A pretty good story in spite of the far too detailed description of a golf game. ***
The Conquest of the Air • novella by Rob Chilson
A private company with some financial trouble is mining the asteroids of a mineral heavy star system. They are using a livable planet for recreational purposes. The system has an earth like planet and it is used for recreational purposes by the mining crew even though it is so rich in heavy metals that all plants and even rainwater are poisonous for humans.
The planet turns out to have intelligent life in oceans. The story describes how the aliens conquer the air and contract humans. A very entertaining story. There was some unnecessary repeat with even the same words which might have been cut, but otherwise very readable story. ****-
The Mutant Stag at Horn Creek • novelette by Sarah K. Castle
A game warden in a near future where the Grand Canyon has become very inhospitable finds a mutant deer and only narrowly survives the encounter. Years later she is taking her niece for a sightseeing trip to the canyon. She seems to be mostly interested in capturing exiting footage for a popular youtube-like video service. The warden has dreamt that the young woman would have had some real interest to scenery or even to the career or a warden. But the Canyon has some surprises to both of them. Another fairly nice story in spite of far too quickly working evolution. ****

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