Monday, May 7, 2018

Analog Science Fiction and Fact, May-June 2018

A fairly nice issue.

The Last Biker Gang • novella by Wil McCarthy
An elderly man in his eighties is in tolerable physical condition due to new treatments. His wife has had dementia for 10 years. She has been cured by a breakthrough. When she comes to her senses, she leaves him. With poor relations with his sons, he feels very useless. He starts to repair his old Harley and eventually becomes a member of a bike gang of eighty-year-olds picking fights and boozing. Seems like a fun story, but it isn’t. It’s tragic, moving, and a very well written tale of a man who isn’t able to feel a part of changed society. Perhaps he has never really been able to be part of society. ****-
Hubpoint of No Return • [The Hub Gates] • novelette by Christopher L. Bennett
Continues a story where an eager young man works on a “hub” which enables instant travel between different points in the galaxy. The downside is that there isn’t a way to predict where a certain movement vector will lead without trying it out. He is trying to find a way to change that and has bought a fish-like biological computer to help him in his calculations when a cat-like alien steals the fish. And then he finds himself kidnapped by space pirates. A pretty fun story with a lot of fast talking. ***½
Finding Their Footing • short story by Marissa Lingen
A divorced mother with her children is on the way from the Oort cloud to Callisto. They use their savings to have a little adventure and go to see the ice volcanoes of Triton. There is a problem on the ship and their ticket is canceled. Should they use the rest of their savings to change the booking and go for the adventure? Of course they do. Nice story, in spite of totally irresponsible and stupid behavior. ***+
Finding Their Footing • short story by Marissa Lingen
A colony planet is inhabited by humans and green aliens. One time when the parents are at the market an alien comes to visit a farm with a strange basket. A short, nice and heartwarming story.***+
Two Point Oh • short story by Robert Reed
A shady person (a criminal mastermind?) is hired for a job as he is known to be able to “persuade” people to do almost anything. He is paid very well, and his employer is apparently one of the aliens who live in the mountains of Bolivia. A pretty good story, but I just wonder if it is a part of some series, as there seemed to be little to no backstory and at first it wasn’t easy to figure what was going on, and who the main character was. ***+
The Willing Body, the Reluctant Heart • short story by Marie Vibbert
An alien seeks out a lung, a brain and a heart (they apparently are separate things who live in symbiosis) to meet strange creatures, humans. A short story with poetic language. ***
While You Sleep, Computer Mice™ Earn Their Keep • short story by Buzz Dixon
Mice (mice – or rats? The story first calls them mice but for some reason switches to rats at the end) with a computer chip implanted in their brains take care of household chores. They encounter a problem, but solve it with cool efficiency. A short, lightly-told story. ***
My Base Pair • short story by Sam J. Miller
Cloned celebrity sperm is readily available on the black market. Children born that way have limited rights and mostly live undercover. A man who has worked for law enforcement tracking illegal DNA suppliers tries to find a childhood friend and lover who ran away as a youngster and is the “child” of a celebrity. A pretty nice story which is well written. ***+
A Borrow for the Living • short story by Alison Wilgus
A few women who comprise the first expedition to Mars struggle after apparently having several accidents. A supply drop lands some distance away. They must get to it. A short scene-like story without much background. Good as such, but just a short glimpse of the whole story. ***-
Shooting Grouse • short story by Ian Creasey
Environmentalists use holograms to prevent grouse-hunting. A pretty well-told story which doesn’t describe the hunters as totally evil. ***
Mission Accomplished • short story by Stephen L. Burns
Political prisoners in fairly near future US work in a run-down satellite defense faculty shooting down satellites (as they are about the only ones capable of working with computers that demand scientific k-knowledge). A good story, an unfortunately too-realistic glimpse of the future. ***½

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