Sunday, March 22, 2015

Analog Science Fiction and Fact, May 2015

A pretty average or perhaps even below average issue. The writing was mostly ok, but the plots were mostly below par.

Zen Angel • novella by Rajnar Vajra
An apparently immortal man is picked up by federal agents and transported to a secret base in a moderately near future. (agents don't recognize some pretty ordinary linguistic metaphors as they are so old fashioned- don't anyone read any older books or watch any movies older than a few decades anymore if common idioms are forgotten so soon?) It turns out that the aliens need him. They have found an artifact which is apparently older than the Big Bang and they need members of several different species to open it. But there are hostile forces working against that goal. And the alien's safety procedures seem to be horribly bad in spite of their high technology level. In the end, they are able to open the artifact which is colder than the background radiation of the universe? And no one seems to wonder about that (including the author). A straight adventure story which might be a start of a new series, but the story was somewhat disjointed. ***+
Slider • novelette by Bud Sparhawk
A sports story. About baseball. The premise as such couldn’t be much less interesting. A young man is succeeding in baseball – and the major leagues are showing some interest. But he should consent to a procedure which would prolong his active career with possible long term side effects. His father is a washed up player who never really got his chance at really important games, and is really pushing his son forward. A pretty predictable story. The writing was fairly good, but this really wasn’t science fiction at all. The premise of the treatment is the only part which can be considered as sf, but that wasn’t very important for the plot itself. ***
Sentience Signified • shortstory by J. L. Forrest
Human explorers have come to a new planet and they discover sentient life. Not much happens in this story, but it is pretty well written with some nice thoughts and technologies. But it feels like just a fragment of a larger story and as such not satisfying enough. ***
Arnheim's World • shortstory by Therese Arkenberg
A group of friends live on a private planet freshly terraformed. Colonists from a failed colony arrive and want to move in. The owner of the planet isn’t too happy about that. The writing ok, but pretty simple story, reminds me about a couple other fairly similar ones. ***-
No Gain • shortstory by Aubry Kae Andersen
Another sports story. A gymnast seems to be unbeatable. She came from nowhere, and trains merciless and seems to be able to tolerate vast amounts of pain. She has some small accidents, but those don't seem to be slowing her. She gets some plasma infusions and just goes on (that’s doping by the way, even though the author seems to assume it isn't). Is she doing something forbidden? Not very good story, which was pretty implausible. The pain tolerance would not be enough – if the body parts won’t take the damage they won’t. ***-
Cetacean Dreams • shortstory by Robert R. Chase
An expedition on Europa tries to find a strange animal which is much greater than the ecosystem supposedly could support. They have trained dolphins to assist in that task. But one dolphin attacks the creature apparently unprovoked. Why? A fairly average story and fairly implausible, also. ***-


Anonymous said...

Seems like you mixed up your reviews for Sentience Signified and Cetacean Dreams... might want to switch those.

tpi said...

Thank you for information, I made the change.