Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Analog Science Fiction and Fact, July-August 2004

Mainly pretty long stories which are fairly nice, readable and though provoking.

To Emily on the Ecliptic • novella by Thomas R. Dulski
A poet with a writer’s block uses an alien magic tech device to get over it. The device is supposed to give an experience which helps the person who is using the machine. It takes so much power that the nearby suns dim when it is used (I wonder about the light speed limit). The poet meets Emile Bronte, and some other classic authors. Is the experience real? Does it matter? A pretty good and very well written story with a slightly too slow start and too mystical and magical device. And really, are they still using inches, grosses and other already antiqued measurements in the far future on another planet? But on the other hand, liters and meters are also being used. Probably they haven't made their mind? ***½
Clay's Pride • [Glass Ships] • novella by Bud Sparhawk
After a short prologue (which has practically no relation with the rest of story) a military vessel on a training run encounters a strange apparently alien vessel which is apparently made from glass. The space ships collide and the alien one is apparently completely destroyed while the human one is seriously damaged. After that fairly promising start, everything in the story goes downhill. The story goes from a first encounter to surviving in a damaged ship story to a trial of justice story to political scheming to romance to agent adventure. While the single most interesting detail, the aliens are largely forgotten warranting just a few mentions. And the military is apparently run by morons, who hire captains who are seriously offended by slight problems in the chain of command in the middle of disaster. And apparently they are not bright enough to equip their space destroyers with cockpit recorders of any kind to properly document what happens in accident situations or store visual recordings of surprising situations. A pretty bad story, which might have been a lot better, if it had concentrated on just one thing. Now it was all over the place with irritatingly stupid and fairly badly drawn characters. **
The Clapping Hands of God • novelette by Michael F. Flynn
Explorers from earth arrive at a new planet through a wormhole. They apparently appear by themselves to new places. The planet has life, and humans (who apparently are mostly Muslims) observe their life with miniature drones. They are starting some sort of military preparations, and soon there is an invasion by another alien race which is technologically on much higher stage. Should humans be neutral? Is they anything they could (or should?) do? A very well written story with some very huge coincidences. Very enjoyable and good nevertheless. ****
Moreau² • [Near Space] • novelette by Allen Steele
Reporters are covering a story about military action on the moon between the Earth forces and a Lunar colony. Their shuttle is shot down and they are rescued to a secret research facility. They find out that a shady scientist who goes by the name of Dr. Moreau has something even more newsworthy than the war. An ok story with some holes in it. I do wonder what was worth of an extremely costly military action in the first place? I the way the protagonist survives (or at least believes he will survive) was pretty contrived and uncertain. ***+
Fool Efficient • shortstory by Bob Buckley
An alien has an ingenious plan to invade the Earth and enslave all humans: he starts to market perfect cars which are supposed to run on the static left from the Big Bang. Alien military is getting restless and looking forward to using more drastic measures, but the plot seems to be working pretty well: humans are getting totally dependent of the new vehicles. The writing was ok, but the end was too fast and too easy. ***

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