Thursday, April 11, 2013

Analog Science Fiction and Fact, June 2013

Is Analog changing? This issue had a few stories which were somewhat different than those usually from this magazine, with more emphasis on writing. Alas, at the same time those stories seemed to have little emphasis on the plot.

A Cup of Dirt • novelette by Mark Niemann-Ross
A project to grow “dirt-grown” tomatoes in a space ship get started first in secret, later more and more publicly. Ok story, but making dirt shouldn’t have been so hard. Googling with terms mentioned in the story which were supposed NOT to give any hits about making dirt produced a lot of web pages involving composting. Also, the author seems to imagine that compost need worms to work - not so as a really well running compost is far too warm for worms or any critters to survive. That said with a 15 years of experience of running a compost pile. A pretty standard story of its type.***+
In the Green • shortstory by K. S. Patterson
An autistic boy who communicates only by Bliss language or by some cruder picture signs has a small adventure on an alien planet. The writing has quite high literary aspirations and an overdose of sentimentality, but little really happened in the story. **+
Hydroponics 101 • shortstory by Maggie Clark
Criminals are punished by confining them with some sort of nanites which react to the thought patterns of the prisoners. Usually, they end up torturing themselves, but then one seems to have overcome his past and grown as a person. This is another story where the writing felt overwritten and the plot was lacking. I didn’t really grasp what was the objective of the prison. Torture or rehabilitation?***-
Wavefronts of History and Memory • shortstory by David D. Levine
An archeologist studies ancient radio waves broadcast from 2nd World War Japan. He discovers other, more personal transmissions. A lot of literary descriptions and musings of personal things. The idea itself nice but it was used enough.***
Out in the Dark • [Zeke Choy] • shortstory by Linda Nagata
A cop investigates how a woman appeared to a commercial settlement on a remote asteroid without any previous credentials. Is she illegal copy ( the technology for making clone bodies and copying consciousness is well established, but it is extremely illegal to have more than one copy of an individual at the same time) and was the police who let her in corrupt? A pretty nice, but too short police procedural. A little too detailed description of tech involved. ***+

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