Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Analog Science Fiction and Fact, January-February 2005

A double issue with pretty nice and readable stories.

Seventy-Five Years • shortstory by Michael A. Burstein
An ex-wife comes to meet senator who has aspirations to run for presidency. She has a simple request: the senator should not push for legislation which would prolong the release of 75 year old census information. There is a good reason for that, of course. Nice, short story. ***+
A Few Good Men • novella by Richard A. Lovett
Two female friends frequent a cafe where students often read to their exams. They notice that several students stop appearing. One time one of the friends notice a pair strangely dresses women who appear to follow one male student who isn’t seen after that anymore. It turns out that the future is stealing all decent men from the present. The time travelers captures one of the female friends by accident, who them starts work in a waystation outside of time straight away, without much batting her eyelash and without giving much thought to her surroundings.. The plot itself is tolerable, but the characters aren’t too believable and the writing is fairly clumsy. ***
Mars Opposition • novelette by David Brin
The Martians land. They have a list of names and they are seeking people from that list – and they are ready to pay handsomely of the information. If they find someone, who is mentioned on the list he is coolly and efficiently killed. Soon it is discovered that the name list is from a Mars probe. All attempts to fight the Martians are completely futile. A pretty nice story about aliens with really alien thought patterns, which ends with some nice moral ambiguity. ****-
Rough Draft • shortstory by Kevin J. Anderson and Rebecca Moesta
A "one hit wonder" sf author whose only book won both Nebula and Hugo awards has never written other books as he believes everything would be just going downhill from his first success, get a copy of his counterpart from an alternative reality has written. What is he going to do with it? A pretty good story with nice resolution. ***½
The Supersonic Zeppelin • novelette by Ben Bova
A story about rise and fall of supersonic zeppelin. Starts as an irony of government run ventures and committee run engineering projects, but ends up as pretty confusing mess where everyone is an idiot, more or less. **½
Uncreated Night and Strange Shadows • [The Gift from the Stars] • novella by James E. Gunn [as by James Gunn ]
Continues an earlier story. An eccentric and more than half-mad inventor has decoded plans for limitless power and FTL space ship from a broadcast sent from a star far away. In this story, a FTL space ship arrives to a planet from where the transmission originated. They find an empty looking planet and a lot of strange looking space on different orbits. The most partly metaphysical secrets are then revealed in seemingly endless expositionary speech which lasts for pages and pages. The law of diminishing returns works once again. The first story of the series was pretty decent, but this one sucks big time. **-
Nova Terra • shortstory by Jeffery D. Kooistra
An engineer gets a letter from his deceased childhood friend. The letter includes a draft of an engine which could not possibly work. Men in black suits arrive the retrieve the letter, but they miss the draft. The engineer decides to build the engine as a tribute to his friend. A pretty good and well written story. ***½

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