Thursday, October 4, 2012

Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact, April 1971

An average issue. Schmidt’s novelette was pretty good, the other stories less so.

The Unreachable Stars • novelette by Stanley Schmidt
A construction foreman has found ancient books from an old tomb they were demolishing. The books seem to claim that people used to be able to travel in space. He hopes that space travel could be used to ease the severe population problem, and shows what he found to government officials. They don’t seem to like too much that idea, and soon he finds himself running and hiding. And then a voice starts to speak directly to him in his mind. It turns out that an aliens ship is orbiting the earth and trying to find out why humanity has forgotten the space travel. A pretty nice story, where the characters were not black and white, even when at first they might have seemed to be so. At place the story was more than a little preachy about the necessity of space exploration. ***½
Heart's Desire and Other Simple Wants • [Ravenshaw] • novelette by W. Macfarlane
A man who is studying paranormal phenomena learns how travel to different alternative realities. He briefly visits several with a beautiful woman and then returns. A somewhat fragmented story without a real point. **
Higher Centers • [LaNague Federation] • shortstory by F. Paul Wilson
Apparently belongs to a series: The background was pretty sketchy, but an investigator arrives to a fishing city on an alien planet. A strange malady seems to be spreading: people have trouble sleeping and have to use copious amounts of stimulants to be able to function. The investigator works out what has happened: a sort of Ondine’s curse (taking far too much time to figure it out) due to an extremely implausible explanation. And that malady is supposed to very ironic for some reason a casual reader of the story can’t really fathom out. **½

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