Monday, September 21, 2015

Analog Science Fiction and Fact, November 2015

A pretty nice issue for a change.

Season of the Ants in a Timeless Land • novelette by Frank Wu
Ants are behaving strangely in Australia. They are forming large swarms with several species working together in an unprecedented manner. A pair of scientists are studying them and trying to defeat the apparent threat. The ants travel to autonomous areas governed by aborigines. There they start to build something. The story starts pretty well, but seems to decay towards the end. It is too hurried and eventually very implausible. The romance parts felt pretty awkward, but the participants were awkward people. ***½
Exit Interview • shortstory by Timons Esaias
An insurgent of some sort is kept in a super-secure prison in solitary confinement. One day the prison's automatic systems say that he should be ready for his exit interview. That sounds slightly ominous. Then the cell door unlocks. A pretty good and even haunting story. ***½
Baby Steps • shortstory by Lettie Prell
A recently deceased woman is being uploaded to a computer. There seems to be some trouble and a higher level of technician must get involved. After a fair amount of work, everything seems to be going smoothly, but…A short, pretty open ended story. ***
The Story of Daro and the Arbolita • shortstory by Shane Halbach
A man on an alien planet must go to trial, when he inadvertently destroys some trees, which are considered holy. The trial involves some stories. A very short, ok story, the writing as such was ok but the plot might have benefitted from a few more details. ***-
Building, Antenna, Span, and Earth • shortstory by Ken Brady
A BASE jumper jumps from a tall building. The building AI stops him midair as it is designed to prevent suicides. (By the way - you don't "feel the acceleration" when you jump from a building, that is by definition free fall.) They have a nice discussion about life and its meaning. Short, but pretty good story. ***+
Evangelist • shortstory by Adam-Troy Castro
Man who has had a lot of problems in his life lately seeks help from a missionary run by an alien species. They promise that he will be fed, no strings attached. But if he wants, he could help the aliens in their religion. He could just get a little brain stimulator which would create actual, real religious ecstasy for the alien god. A tempting offer... A pretty good story. ***½

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