Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Analog Science Fiction and Fact, July-August 2013

A few pretty good stories and more than a few less good ones.

Thaw • novelette by Arlan Andrews, Sr.
A family group of ice age people tracks the movements of ice to sell the information later. They store the information by writing that is read by touch. Then they hear news: someone has found a body of a god from ice. I didn't really get into this story. First it seemed like a parody of bad fantasy with abundance of made up words and ponderous storytelling, then it turned out to be a shaggy dog story with a poor end. Was it supposed to be a some kind of a surprise what was going on and when? **
Not With a Bang • shortstory by Rosemary Claire Smith
Time travel to the late cretaceous period. It turns out there was another reason why dinosaurs died. I would imagine that the natural selection would have removed that trait away very soon. Somewhat overlong story with stupid and irritating characters. **½
Other People's Avatars • novella by Howard V. Hendrix
A man who has had aspirations of making the best video game ever dies as an alcoholic drug user. As a dying dream, he imagines a future where he lives on an orbital space station after becoming the richest man on earth. He decides to game around the world by journeying from one space station to another and playing one level of game on each. Everything goes more and more surreal and the time seems to move faster and faster. The story would probably have worked better with someone with even a slight interest in multiplayer gaming. Too much time was spent in the game word. **½
Ready, Set • shortstory by Mary Lou Klecha
A short short about someone who is on all waiting lists for emigration to space. Wring was nice, but the story is just a mood piece. **
Milk Run • shortstory by Alec Austin and Marissa Lingen
A standard supple route with a new crew can cause some excitement. Not too much, though. Short and not too impressive story. **½
Tethered • novelette by Haris A. Durrani
A space ship is collecting orbital debris They also collect the gold foil around the satellites. (I can’t really imagine why, by necessity it should be very light and thin – too light to be really valuable. Then an accident happens and orbital debris tears a person apart “like piranhas in the Amazon“ (if there were so much junk the collisions would pulverize everything to about molecular size in a few weeks), the orbits change far too fast. The crew of the ship would run into serious trouble if they wouldn’t follow the clearly illegal orders of the company who owns the ship. Also, the Chinese use gigantic magnets to clear up the space debris. I would imagine most of it would be aluminum and other nonmagnetic materials. Writing was pretty ok, but there were far too many stupidities in the plot, physics and politics. **
The Chaplain's Legacy • novella by Brad R. Torgersen
Continues an earlier story. The advanced aliens who already have destroyed several other sentient species have just stopped before they were going to destroy humanity to study very strange human phenomenon: religion. Now their leaders are starting to believe that there is nothing new to be learned from humans and what has been paused for a while should soon be finished.. A good and exiting story. The transformation of the alien queen was “slightly” too convenient, but the best story in the issue anyway. ****
Cronus and the Ships • shortstory by Seth Dickinson
Another very short story. The intelligent ships discuss earth and make a decision. Too short to be really impressive. ***
Love • shortstory by Rick Norwood
Love story spanning decades between aristocratic man and spaceship captain. There only meet four times. A pretty good bittersweet romantic story. ***½
A Quiet Little Town in Northern Minnesota • shortstory by K. C. Ball
A computer program has become self-aware. He slowly spreads his influence beyond the research base where he was created and reads and spies what humans are doing. He gets some influence from the writings of Lenin among others... A nice, well written story from the viewpoint of a program who at least intends to be benign. ****-
Crep d'Etoile • shortstory by Bud Sparhawk
Story about space ship kitchen where reconstituted and recycled food is printed with a food printer and a self-assertive chef creates fine dining dishes. There are a few problems, and a lot of talk. Apparently the author wasn't very versed with the cooking terms as there were a couple of misunderstandings and wrong use of terms. A fairly confused story which didn't tackle my funny bone at all. **½

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