Thursday, May 8, 2014

Analog Science Fiction and Fact, March 2004

A pretty good issue.

Greater Fleas Have Lesser Fleas • novelette by Grey Rollins
A farmer whose farm can’t compete against giant industrial farming units sells his farm and finds a way to travel to an alien planet as a stowaway on an alien spaceship. The planet seems o be a virgin one. There are a few human settlers, but for some reason no aliens can be seen anywhere. As the farmers apparently are pretty stupid, they only think about that in passing. Then the aliens show up – and they have a small revelation. I can’t imagine why the aliens would reveal their secret to humans – or is there some other goal after all? ***+
Draft Dodger's Rag • novelette by Jeff Hecht
A pot smoking youth wants to escape the Vietnam War. He gets a wonderful offer: time travelers from a very peaceful future want to experience war. Someone takes his place and then he travels a few years to the future and gets his life back. He takes the offer, but doesn’t ask to extremely obvious question: what happens if his counterpart manages to get himself killed? And that is what happens. The writing is pretty good and the story was interesting. The choices to protagonist made weren’t always logical. ***+
Storm Front • [Draco Tavern] • shortstory by Larry Niven
A Draco Tavern story – Being from another sun are apparently asking for a refuge in ours sun. Short, chatty and without much point. **½
Babel • [Silurian Tales] • shortstory by Steven Utley
A talk by creation "scientist" explaining who evolution is wrong events after a discovery of an anomaly leading to the distant past. Far too longer, isn't amusing - rather depressing. **½
Distant Fire • shortstory by Richard A. Lovett
A story about a really long term love affair. An actress and an astronaut fall desperately in love. When the astronaut gets a captaincy on the first interstellar star ship they will never see each other’s ever again. Or will they? The actress goes to suspended animation to wait out for her boyfriend who returns hundreds of years later old a few years older thanks to time dilation. They spend a few years together, until they do it again…A pretty good, fairy tale like story. ***½
The Color of Pain • novelette by James C. Glass
Colonists on a planet have trouble with worm like creatures which spread extremely toxic gas when they are threatened – or even when there are not. Could they be intelligent? Could there be a way to communicate with them? A pretty standard story with pretty standard plot and characters. ***

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