Friday, May 1, 2015

Analog Science Fiction and Fact, June 2015

The thousandth issue of Analog/Astounding ever. A pretty nice one. The theme seems to be aliens and alien influence. There are a few essays about the history of the magazine. The most of those were very good and interesting.

The Wormhole War • novelette by Richard A. Lovett
A wormhole experiment leads to apparent war against aliens (or perhaps against the whole galaxy) where humans are sending wormholes at relativistic speeds to prevent the alien wormholes reaching the earth. Ok story, but a little overlong. And it is hard to believe that the political leaders and different countries would be so unanimously for the continuing battle when the goals of the aliens aren't known and even the war itself is somewhat open to interpretation. ***+
Very Long Conversations • shortstory by Gwendolyn Clare
A joint expedition of humans and aliens explore a new planet which is supposed to be uninhabited. They find strange stick figures. Are they being pranked by some other members of the expedition or what is going on? A pretty simple and short story - a pretty inventive concept of language though. ***
The Kroc War • shortstory by Ted Reynolds and William F. Wu
Short personal viewpoints of soldiers, who fight at war between humans and ruthless aliens. But war changes those who take part on it. Too short pieces and about too many people. **
Strategies for Optimizing Your Mobile Advertising • shortstory by Brenta Blevins
A short and fairly stupid story about an age where advertising rules everything, including relations. **+
The Odds • shortstory by Ron Collins
Not a story – just a philosophical pondering about the likelihood of life in the universe. **
The Empathy Vaccine • shortstory by Charles Coleman Finlay [as by C. C. Finlay ]
A ruthless businessman wants to be really ruthless and goes for an undercover scientist, who has developed a "vaccine" against empathy. Not bad, with a couple of nice twists. Short, but doesn’t necessarily need to be any longer. ***½
Three Bodies at Mitanni • shortstory by Seth Dickinson
A story which seems to continue an earlier one. An expedition is checking human colonies which have been separated from Earth for centuries. If the colony might present danger for humanity as large, the expedition has been to exterminate it. There has been a close call, and now the next colony seems to be very malignant and powerful at the same time. A fairly nice story, but constant references to earlier events to something, what happened at “Jotunheim” with no real explanation feels kind of irritating. But the “culture” they encountered was refreshingly interesting and there were some real interesting moral points to ponder. ***+
Ships in the Night • shortstory by Jay Werkheiser
A spaceman, who travel with ships at relativistic speeds between solar systems, tell tall tales to locals at a bar. A simple story, not bad, but not especially good. ***
The Audience • novelette by Sean McMullen
A human ship encounters some very strange but powerful aliens who live under the ice which covers a rogue planet which passing fairly close to the sun at about Kuipier belt. The aliens seem to take an interest to humans with pretty unfortunate results for most of the crew. The lone survivor takes drastic measures to protect the earth from possibly devastating alien interest. A pretty good and interesting story. ****-

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