Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Analog Science Fiction and Fact, June 2016

A below-average issue, some of the stories have too little background.

The Journeyman: In the Great North Wood • [Journeyman] • novella by Michael F. Flynn
This continues a series I haven't been a great fan of. A pair of adventurers continue their adventures on a planet that apparently has been colonized centuries ago, and some high-tech artifacts can still be found. They are hired as bodyguards on an expedition that is trying to find such artifacts. They find a malfunctioning spaceship with badly-working AIs, and are ambushed by natives. More sightseeing and world description than plot — this is not my favorite style, and I had to struggle to get through this story. **+
When the Stone Eagle Flies • novelette by Bill Johnson
Time travelers in ancient Babylonia try to guide events towards the future they are coming from, which has been destroyed by events that have been changed in the past. But someone might notice that something strange is going on. A fairly nice story, but slightly too much of a fragment. Better than some other parts of the series, though. ***-
Hold the Moment • shortstory by Marie Vibbert
A woman who tried to invent a stasis machine manages the opposite: a machine that apparently makes everything outside of it “freeze” (sounds slightly implausible — the entire universe?). She also has some trust issues with her preteen daughter. The writing was OK, but somehow left a slightly unsatisfied feeling. ***+
The Anthropic War • shortstory by Jay Werkheiser
A strange changed region of space is spotted. Scientists find out that our universe is “contaminated” by another, and the contamination spreads as beings of the another universe make observations of ours. The only way to fight back is to make observations of the “contaminated” area, which causes it to revert back to the properties of our universe, with the budget of deep-space cosmology and exploration mushrooms. A short, fairly fun story. ***+
The Nult Factor • shortstory by J. T. Sharrah
A lazy man decides to market things that aren’t good for anything, which leads to a peculiar religious cult, which turns out to have (after a few stages) a major effect human and interstellar history. A fun little story.***
Murder on the Cislunar Railroad • novelette by Christopher L. Bennett
The story starts with an apparent murder: a woman is stranded in space with no chance of getting back to the space station. Who did it? And why? Had it something to do with AIs — or an organization that apparently “helps” AIs to run away from sometimes-abusive treatment by humans? This story feels like a third part of a series: background at first is very sketchy, and then there is a lot exposition. It is hard to form any emotional connection to the victim (or to anyone else) when you don’t know the characters at all. **½

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