Saturday, September 10, 2016

Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact, August 1973

This issue contains the first part of a serial which I haven’t read. As a whole, it is a fairly adequate issue, but many of the characters were irritating and stupid.

Forty Days and Nights • novelette by Rob Chilson [as by Robert Chilson ]

A woman works as a researcher at a gene-tech firm. They develop far-fetching gene and germ-based solutions. They are discussing killing all rats. Her husband is an artist of sorts. There is a lot of description of the world, and of fairly unconnected events (such as, among other examples, a totally unconnected visit to a semi-independent black state inside New York or wherever the events happened since I don’t remember anymore). A pretty disjointed story as such. ***-
The Sweet Smell of the Past • short story by Lawrence A. Perkins
A man is finishing his time machine. He is able to send things to the future and bring back things from the past, but the transfer breaks everything on a molecular level, so everything is just a pile of dust. He, or rather his wife, finds a way to use the invention in an extremely polluted future. The possible problems the solution has aren't investigated though. (Bringing back clean air and water from the past would surely backfire spectacularly.) ***
The Epoxy Goat • novelette by David Lewis
A man a takes advantage of his friend by living at his place, eating his food and using his car; years before he stole his girlfriend and later abandoned her. He designs a “mechanical goat”, a machine which cleans roadsides and sorts all rubbish into recyclables portions. Of course it is very sensible to design the machine with half inch steel plates, with no external controls what so ever and a very bad AI with no provisions for the size of the “rubbish.” There is some trouble when the “goat” escapes and goes to the local airport looking for some juicy planes. A fairly fun story, but every single character was unbelievably and irritatingly stupid. ***
Stimulus-Reward Situation • short story by Gene Fisher
Humans have come to a planet with dog-like aliens. They are very passive and sleep most of the day and eat abundant fruits which fulfill all their dietary needs. The new leader of the human colony wants to educate the natives. They aren’t interested in following the teaching, as they don’t see how it would benefit them in any way. But if the natives could be motivated somehow, maybe they would start to learn. Certainly that can’t backfire. A mildly amusing story with an unreasonably stupid leader. ***
The Jungle • short story by Karl Hudgins
A mercenary who usually works for the military is drafted to take care of an internal problem in a slum, where a group of criminals have killed several people. The mission doesn’t go smoothly. A fairly nice story. ***+

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