Thursday, March 8, 2018

Analog Science Fiction and Fact, March-April 2018

A fairly good issue, with nice stories.

“An Incident on Ishtar” by Brian Trent (short story)
A woman practically runs away from home to a floating colony on Venus after some sort of mistake. A part of the colony is lost during a heavy storm. She finds the missing habitat, but everything isn’t what it seems. The story has a very irritating and whiny heroine. At first, I thought that she behaved like a twelve-year-old child, but later I had to revise my estimate to about six years. I wonder if she was meant to be autistic or what? She was very irritating anyway. ***
“The Tailgunner’s Lament” by Brendan DuBois (short story)
A tail gunner of a bomber during the Pacific War sees some strange lights following his plane during a bombing run to Japan. An officer asks about them, as similar lights had been seen over Europe. Both happen to be science fiction fans and connect. A well-told tale with an open ending. ****-
“Sicko” by Jerry Oltion (short story)
A man spreads infections for the good of mankind. A short and stupid story.**
“Car Talk” by Mary A. Turzillo (short story)
A car with a new, modern AI has more AI than it first seems. Not bad. ***
“Frog Happy” by Bruce McAllister (short story)
Strange animals start to appear around the world. A short, nice story. ***+
“The Spires” by Alec Nevala-Lee (novelette)
A husband and a wife hire a pilot to take them to a remote island where a mirage can be seen on certain dates - at least according to a story told by Charles Fort. Due to extreme weather, they must stay overnight. A well-told story with fairly small science fictional content. A well written and entertaining tale anyway, but the ending was a slight letdown. I was expecting something a bit more dramatic. ***½
“Lab B-15” by Nick Wolven (novelette)
A very introverted scientist comes to a lab he is running. A couple of his employees are behaving strangely and asking him to go to the Lab B-15. Eventually, he goes there and time seems to reset. A nice story, which in places seemed a bit confusing (on purpose), but eventually things straighten out pretty well. A nice story that was written pretty well. ***½
“Razzibot” by Rich Larson (short story)
A girl gets a kind of drone with a high-quality camera that records everything and posts it on social media. Its logic is optimized to get as many followers as possible. Of course, that doesn’t end well – or doesn’t end well on all levels. A short story that might have been longer, especially the end was pretty sudden. ***
“The Selves We Leave Behind” by Gwendolyn Clare (short story
An alien, apparently pretty slow moving, hivemind isn’t happy about humans, who have moved to the planet. As neither party really understands the other, things go very wrong. The story is written from the alien's point of view, but isn’t really anything new. The writing is pretty good. ***-
“The Streaming Man” by Suzanne Palmer (short story)
A man has installed different sort of monitors inside himself and transcribed their output to sound. He streams the sounds to the internet. For some strange reason, the stream has become extremely popular. And popularity in the net always has its downsides, too. A pretty good story in spite of its hard to believe premise. Why in hell would anyone listen to such a stream or find it so important or meaningful? ***+
“Beek” by Tom Ligon (short story)
A beekeeper gives a lecture about bees to the president. A little science fictional twist at the end, but otherwise mainly a lecture about the behavior of bees. As someone who keeps bees, it was a nice story, but there wasn’t much new. ***+
“Sun Splashed Fields and Far Blue Mountains” by Susan Forest (short story)
Husband needs expensive cancer treatments. The wife doesn’t want to live alone and volunteers for a lucrative career as a medical guinea pig. An okay story, but it is hard to imagine a “civilized” country where a sickness might very likely bankrupt you. Oh yeah, there is one. But is it civilized...? ***
“Big Thompson” by James Van Pelt (short story)
As a child, a SETI researcher lost his survivalist mother to a heavy flood. Just before the flood, there was an event that later made him choose the career he chose. No bad, but it is based on a far, far, far too unlikely coincidence. ***+
“The Camel’s Tail” by Tom Jolly (short story)
A Somalian just barely surviving space transfer company gets a chance of a lifetime – or several lifetimes. They just have pull it off. A pretty good story, with nice and interesting characters. ***½

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