Sunday, September 22, 2013

Analog Science Fiction and Fact, November 2013

An average or below average issue, nothing really memorable.

Bugs • shortstory by Ron Collins
Experimental nanomachines are used to treat an otherwise incurable heart disease. They work. Very, very, well. A pretty good and well written tale, which deserves to be the lead story of the issue. ***½
The Matthews Conundrum • [InterstellarNet] • novella by Edward M. Lerner
Earth is a part of an interstellar information sharing network. There are several inhabited words inside a radius of twenty something light years. As different words have different strengths trading with information has a boon for all of them. However, there is something strange: all the civilizations are on approximately on the same level of technological advancement. How likely is that? Not very. A guy who was going to publish that finding disappears after a bar night for a week. His reputation is hurt as everyone assumes that he has been boozing for the whole time. A slightly overlong story which probably will be continued as ending was pretty open. ***-
Copper Charley • shortstory by Joseph Weber
The manager of a coal mine has some trouble. The pesky lawyers are suing his company just because the slush from coal mining is causing cancer and ruining houses. A friend introduces him to a botanist, who has developed plants which are able to collect pure copper from the soil. He plants them over the coal mines and it seems his problems are solved. He runs into some trouble though: The plants use so much water that the groundwater of the whole state is depleted. The writing was ok, but the ending was very stupid: where would all that HUGE amount of water go? ***-
Make Hub, Not War • [The Hub Gates] • novelette by Christopher L. Bennett
One more story in the series about a young man who wishes to find how the hub (an interstellar transport system) works. This time they get to visit earth, someone is using spaceships for smuggling dangerous cargo in a novel way. A lot of idle talk and felt overlong. **½
Deceleration • shortstory by Bud Sparhawk
A strange and unusual light is seen on sky on rare intervals during several centuries. It is what you would expect. **½
Distant • shortstory by Michael Monson
An astronaut on top of a rocket has a lame spiritual moment. Yawn. **½
The Eagle Project • shortstory by Jack McDevitt
The nanoscale space drones have reached one more solar system. No one is really interested as none of the others have ever seen anything really interesting. This time there is a glimpse…Another very short story with a minor foreseeable twist. ***
Redskins of the Badlands • novelette by Paul Di Filippo
A lot of explaining of a technology which involves multipurpose, semi intelligent “skins” people wear and some sort of robotic drones. The is some sort of plot which involves the desecration of the limestone pillars build by carbon binding bacteria and some ridiculous plot involving dinosaur bones. A pretty stupid story which was probably meant to be funny. It didn’t really work for me. **½

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