Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Analog Science Fiction and Fact, December 2016

There were a lot of short stories in this issue, which is a pretty average one.

Prodigal • novelette by Gord Sellar
Dogs are being augmented for sentience and greater intelligence. A childless family gets a smart dog, but the wife gets pregnant soon after. The dog and the child first live as “siblings”, but then the dog starts to question certain things – like killing of the dogs in shelters. A fairly good story – the writing was okay. The radicalization of the dog was not portrayed well enough. The story happens to have some similarities to a Rick & Morty episode I just chanced to watch. ***+
Like the Deadly Hands • shortstory by Nisi Shawl
A woman is apparently uploaded to some sort of host body in a struggling colony or something. There is a shortage of food, stampedes of wild animals, and so on. A very fragmented and hard to follow story – I didn’t get it at all. **½
Fermi Meets Sagan • shortstory by Robert Scherrer
A short short about an alien invasion which was narrowly avoided. ***
Jewels From the Sky • shortstory by Brendan DuBois
A Company (which apparently is practically all-powerful) rescues derelict satellites and sends them to Earth for recycling. (A practice which doesn’t really make any sense – the amount of valuables certainly wouldn’t cover the costs. And as the company has a space station, it would make vastly more sense to recycle satellites in orbit. The cost of sending things into orbit is vastly more than the actual cost of the raw materials itself). The woman who is preparing the satellites is finishing her training. She used to live on Earth, but then something happened. A fairly good story, but the corporation was unreasonably and unnecessarily evil. ****-
In Boonker's Room • shortstory by Eliot Fintushel
An alien – or a god (?) plays a game with a high school kid. It is a simulation (?) where you can see everything anywhere in the universe and fiddle with all constants of the nature and see if life will exist. More of a treaties of things which have different sorts of effects on the universe. ***-
Evolution • shortstory by James C. Glass
A story of how robotic helpers slowly evolve to be more and more helpful for humanity, which is ultimately extremely helpful. Another very short story which is pretty good, but it might have been slightly more detailed and longer. ***+
Sister Loki • shortstory by Arlan Andrews, Sr.
Some sort of virtual reality battle is apparently going on. A lot of sketchy backstory in a pretty confusing and hard to follow story – I didn’t really get into it. ***-
Crowdfinding • shortstory by Eric James Stone
A new technology with cameras everywhere is used to solve a kidnapping (and another crime) by crowd sourcing. A very short story, but not bad at all. ***+
The Continuing Saga of Tom Corbett: Space Cadet • shortstory by James Van Pelt
When Tomika Corbet turned ten, she learned who Tom Corbet was. She became a fan, which wasn’t always easy: it isn’t common that preteen girls are interested in ancient TV-shows. She is neglected by her parents and she hopes she could join the Space Cadets. And then the story turns to a wish fulfillment fantasy, a pretty good one, though. ***½
Black Orbit • novelette by Martin L. Shoemaker
An undercover agent gets vital information from a space station at a high cost. However, her handler must get her hands on the information for it to be of any use. And that isn't too easy, as the information is on an ore ingot floating in space. More of a scene than as a story - as there was little background, it wasn't easy to really care about the characters. The story starts in the middle of the story and ends in the middle of the story. The writing as such was totally adequate. ***

Proofreading by eangel.me.

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