Sunday, November 2, 2014

Analog Science Fiction and Fact, December 2014

A fairly good issue, clearly above average.

The Anomaly • novelette by C. W. Johnson

A young poor, but brilliant man works himself out from a future ghetto (on an alien planet?). He gets a job mining for “anomalies” which are used for interstellar travel. He gets a chance to return to his birth place, but his family’s and his friend’s expectations aren’t exactly what he wants from the life. A well-written story, which feels more like a beginning of a larger work than a separate novelette. The actual story seems to start from here. ***½
Dino Mate • interior artwork by Andrea Radeck
A couple who dates goes to the past with a time machine to see dinosaurs. Some small drama, a lot of descriptions of dinosaurs and engagement proposal at the end. The writing was ok, but there was little actual plot. ***-
Citizen of the Galaxy • shortstory by Evan Dicken
The aliens have come and everything has changed. A history teacher in Japan tries to connect with her child who has been born to a completely different world. She doesn't really care even talk in human language, but communities by light in the way of the aliens. And the history curriculum is being changed, the emphasis is going to the wider galactic viewpoint rather than provincial earthen things. A short but good story which is able to present different viewpoints very well. The writing is good. ****-
Mammals • shortstory by David D. Levine
The AIs which have destroyed humans might encounter something strange. But will they really notice it? Short and pretty unsurprising, but the writing was interesting. ***
Saboteur • shortstory by Ken Liu
A short story about a trucker who tries to sabotage trucks with AI (without human drivers). He succeeds – with a cost. A very short poignant story. ***
Twist of Coil • shortstory by Miki Dare
The story happens in an alien world - no humans are even mentioned. The aliens have "coils" which contain sensory organs and manipulative appendages. A young female is a fine coil dancer, but her brother is sickly. The don't have money for the operation, but the priests say that if the protagonist lets her coils be cut, the gods will surely grant a miracle. She faces a hard choice. A well written story with moving and very irritating, even frustrating content. Probably too short. ***+
Racing the Tide • shortstory by Craig DeLancey
Sea level is raising and a village is drowning slowly. A mayor’s son is badly sick and needs expensive treatment. There is a plan to save the village which also would give a lot of money, but as often the long term effects might be unknown. The writing was ok, but the story was pretty fragmented- the two plot lines didn't seem to have much to do with each other’s. ***
Humans First! • novella by Kyle Kirkland
A man who services neural network computers is almost fatally stabbed at his work by a computer advocacy terrorist (I wonder why there should be a terrorist organization for that - the story doesn’t give any good answer. ) He isn’t allowed back to work as a computer analysis predicts that he suffers from a severe posttraumatic stress and is too volatile to return to work. Is there a way he can convince the “black and white” computer algorithms that he is able to work? Or are the algorithms right? And why he, who was repairing the computers, was attacked by a group which is pro-computer? A pretty good story in spite of some illogicalities. ***½

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