Thursday, August 4, 2016

Analog Science Fiction and Fact, July-August 2016

A few pretty nice stories – and a few pretty average ones.

No Strangers Any More • novelette by Ian Creasey

Aliens have arrived. They want to purchase the moon. Why? They are not telling and there is a lot of mistrust towards them. The princess of Great Britain befriends one of the aliens (a referendum of continuation of the Monarchy is closing and voting will be tight). They go together to art shows and so on and tabloids are having fun at their relationship. What is the agenda of the aliens? Somehow this story feels too short and too long at the same time. It is a bit sketch-like and fairly little happens, but at the same time it feels like there would be many interesting plots that could be told from this background. It wasn’t bad, but not something really exceptional, either. ***+
The Metal Demimonde • novelette by Nick Wolven
Highly sophisticated robots have taken over almost all jobs. A young woman manages an amusement park with robotic rides. She meets a young man who has a rare and at almost illegal non-self-driving car. But he has a secret agenda. Overly long story with too much irritating and boring teen romance. Writing, in and of itself, was pretty good. ***
Pleistocene Brains • shortstory by Christina De La Rocha
A professor gives a demonstration on making Stone Age flint tools. At the same times she speculates about human and Neanderthal genetics. And apparently she and at least some of the students are Neanderthals. Ok, but not really a story with a real plot. ***
A Violent Wind • shortstory by Andrew Barton
A research space ship is falling into a gas giant. The crew is abandoning the ship, but the captain is reluctant to leave. The writing was ok, but the background was very sketchy and the emotional involvement in characters wasn’t very deep.***
Story Night at the Stronghold • shortstory by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle
The survivors of a global catastrophe discuss what happened to them. Would never have been published if written by unknown authors. Possibly there is a point somewhere. **-
Mandalas on the 405 • shortstory by Elisabeth R. Adams
Remote-controlled cars start to form patterns. Perhaps the computer controlling them tries to communicate or something. Short and silly. ***-
The Battle of Ceres • novelette by Karl Bunker
The asteroid miners fall victim to the “low grade” war the mining companies are fighting with each other. One woman whose partner dies decides to do something. A pretty good story. The best so far in this issue. ***½
Fall • novella by Arlan Andrews [as by Arlan Andrews, Sr. ]
Continues an earlier story. A young adventurer has escaped with superconductive cloth. He meets new people and has new adventures. He draws attention from a spunky princess, who drafts him to fight in some sort of game with an important reward. Clearly better than a few earlier parts of the series –there is a bit more plot and not only sightseeing. ***½
Fallacious • shortstory by Sean Vivier
A man uses brain surgery to remove cognitive biases from his thought processes. It doesn’t end well. Another short and stupid story. **+
Death of a Starship Poet • shortstory by James Van Pelt
A poet on a spaceship has been killed. By whom? And why? Sshe doesn’t stay dead as her uploaded memory can’t be run on a computer. Unfortunately, she has been pretty lax and her last recording isn’t very recent. As she hasn’t made any notes, her last poems have apparently been lost. A pretty nice story but a bit too short; the ending was too impossible to guess due to insufficient data. ***
Cory for Coriolis • novelette by John Shirley
Cory wants to fly inside a hurricane in a near future where hurricanes are very common. His father is also a hurricane flier. An overly long story with not very believable plot points. ***-
Purytans • novella by Brad R. Torgersen
A member of social group “marriage” between future androgynous humans has gone missing. She is assumed to be dead, but then she is found on a protected planet that isn’t part of the “federation” which has stabilized practically all conflicts in human-inhabited space. The protected planets are kept separated from the rest of space and are considered technologically and socially backward. It turns out their friend has changed: she has been transformed to be physiologically female and horror of horrors, she is pregnant and living with a single man. Has she gone mad? A pretty good and well-written story in spite of some oldish attitudes. ****-

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