Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Analog Science Fiction and Fact, December 2015

A fairly nice issue, above average.

Builders of Leaf Houses • novella by Catherine Wells

A pair of humans are studying a kind of little known ”reservation” on an alien planet. After one of them breaks her leg, a young sentient alien takes them home as a “pet”. Her parent at first doesn’t even believe that the strange creatures are sentient, but slowly they are able to establish a connection. A pretty good story, but there is a lot going on, and even novella length might have been too short – or something, like the problems aliens were having, could have been left out. ***½
The Museum of Modern Warfare • shortstory by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
A veteran of a bitter war who now serves as an ambassador visits an alien war memorial with unique qualities. It is rumoured that the exhibition is horribly offensive towards humans. Is it? A pretty good story which aims for emotions. ****-
Footprints in the Snow • shortstory by Bud Sparhawk
A lonely and fairly bitter male widow gets new neighbors: a family of refugee aliens. There is a fair share of resentment in the beginning, but slowly things change. A kind of science-fiction retelling of the Grand Torino movie. There are more than a few implausibilities and illogicalities, but the story aims more for emotion and succeeds pretty well. ***½
Paris, 1835 • shortstory by Bill Johnson
A time-travel story where a group time-travellers try to force history to a similar mold as their original timeline. It feels like a chapter from a larger story, and little backstory is given at first. The writing is ok, but is typical of so many Analog stories of late – it is just a fragment. **½
The Master's Voice • shortstory by Brendan DuBois
A young boy who lives in Mars has an initiation to adulthood. A story which is a sort of tribute to Heinlein and almost makes him a god-like figure. A pretty blatant story as such. Nothing really new. **+
A Case of Identity • novelette by Edward M. Lerner
An artificial intelligence gets a new, strange case. Another AI has disappeared after a row with his fiancée, an extremely rich heiress. The server the AI was living doesn’t show any activity. What has happened? Has the AI been murdered? There has been more than a little offence after the relation had become public. But how could the murder have happened? Or was it a suicide? A pretty nice story, but I guessed what was going on about half way. ***+

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