Sunday, December 23, 2012

Analog Science Fiction and Fact, March 2013

Very average issue with ordinary stories. No award nominees here, I believe.

The Radioactive Etiquette Book by Marissa Lingen
A day of life in the diplomatic corps. There are slight problems: children of an important official is missing, the talks with vacuum dwellers are stalling and an important book which describes the diplomatic protocols and procedures is missing, which doesn't make the talks easier. ( I wonder why the diplomats aren’t expected to know the details of the book by heart - it shouldn’t be an insurmountable task as it is a real book and small enough to be easily carried around. A fairly standard story of its type. Nothing really groundbreaking. ***

The Firewall and the Door by Sean McMullen

An interstellar probe reaches another sun. It is supposed to slingshot to the next sun, but there has been an accident and the maneuverability of the probe is impaired. A planet orbiting the sun seems to have life on it. Suddenly, it turns out that the probe is able to change its directions after all. And it seems that one of the crew who are remotely controlling the probe via a subspace link has sabotaged the probe. The story consists mainly about the hearing detailing the crime – if there was a crime. The story works fairly well for a “court room drama”, which usually isn’t one of my favorite subtypes of story. ***+
It's the End of the World as We Know It, and We Feel Fine by Harry Turtledove
The future world is nice, very nice. And very peaceful, and the people are nice, polite and considerate. They have been bred for that. There are sometimes a few throwbacks to the old type, but those rare individuals are taken care of. Politely, of course. A nice wry story, which is written in a very polite and considerate style. ***½
High Concept by Barry Malzberg and Bill Pronzini
The aliens have arrived; they seem to be very friendly and curious, so curious that it is sometimes annoying. A Sf author proposes a novel story idea for an editor of a sf magazine: why not use the aliens in a humorous story in style of Fred Browns “Martians Go Home!”. Not a good idea. A pretty nice story where the humor works better than usually in stories meant as humorous. ***+
The Paragon of Animals by Andrew Barton
Some unknown species has seeded an earthlike plane with earth animals millions of years ago. A species of birds has apparently become intelligent. I didn't get this story- there didn't seem to be any real plot. **-
The Snack by Bud Sparhawk
Intelligent wardrobe can be a pain in an ass by nagging endlessly about wrong diet, being overweight and alcohol consumption. And everyone is very health conscious, at last appears to be. An OK story in a light vein. ***+
Instinctive Response by Bond Elam
A pair of researchers is studying a new solar system. They encounter an abandoned space ship. As they are idiots they don’t report the finding but rather study it themselves. The ship is orbiting a planet which contains a single habitat. As they really are idiots they still don’t report but study the compound themselves. Soon they find themselves imprisoned by a species which seems to follow its instincts. The story contains an immense amount of technobabble about alien DNA, also the lack of common sense displayed by the characters was disconcerting. **½

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