Monday, March 28, 2011

Analog Science Fiction and Fact, April 2011

A fairly nice issue. Nothing really good, but no real stinkers, either. I haven’t received my subscription copy yet, so I bought an electronic copy from Fictionwise.

Hiding Place • novella by Adam-Troy Castro
Another part of stories involving a special investigator (with some problems of her own) investigating an unusual crime. Who is the guilty party, when the person who committed a murder later get involved in a mind melded triplet where it isn't possible to differentiate individuals any more. A pretty nice story. ***1/2
Ian's Ions and Eons • novelette by Paul Levinson
A man travels back in time to change the results of a presidential election. He succeeds, but finds out that the cut rate price of a trip doesn't include all the frills. Fairly good, but slight condensing night have been nice. ***+
The Flare Weed • shortstory by Larry Niven
A pretty good Draco tavern story. A tale of an intelligent "plant" that needs a solar flare to live and reproduce. Above average draco story. +++1/2
Two Look at Two • shortstory by Paula S. Jordan
A nice elderly couple living on countryside meet a nice and polite pair of aliens. A very simple story, but very smoothly written with nice, fluent language. ***1/2
Blessed Are the Bleak • shortstory by Edward M. Lerner
Virtual people are coming more and more common, they seem to be surpassing the living humans. And the economy is suffering, living is more expensive and there are more and incentives to be a virtual being. Told from a viewpoint a young man who has some reservations about what is happening. Writing was good, but a bit fragmented style.***
Remembering Rachel • shortstory by Dave Creek
In middle of important negotiations between moon and earth officials a bride on main negotiator is murdered. A mystery story which depends on far too many future technologies in both the method of crime and in solving the puzzle to be really captivating. ***+
Quack • shortstory by Jerry Oltion
A skeptic scientist and a homeopath join forces when they try to proof or disproof homeopathy for good. Very stupid story, there is more than ample proof of the inefficiency of homeopathy. Might have worked as a probability zero story. Writing is smooth, typically for Oltion. ***+
Balm of Hurt Minds • novelette by Thomas R. Dulski
Insectoid aliens have arrived. They have bestowed gifts for mankind, the latest being a perfect sleeping tablet. At the same time many people are starting to have hallucinations...well written, probably somewhat too condensed story. The subject matter would have supported a longer form. ***1/2

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Hannu Rajaniemi: Kvanttivaras

The first book by a Finnish author which has been written in English and which has gotten fairly wide recognition. Not something to be read when you are stressed out and have problems with concentration due to sleep deprivation. A lot of strange terms and with a complex structure. A very interesting read, however.

Ensimmäinen suomalaisen englanniksi kirjoittama teos, joka on saanut merkittävää julkisuutta ja menestystä.
Sellainen kirja, jota ei ole tarkoitetu luettavaksi univelkaisena, väsyneenä ja stressantuneena, ja osittain siksi tämän lukeminen onkin kestänyt aika pitkään. Kirja sisältää enemmän kuin tarpeeksi outoja termejä, ja lukeminen vaatii melkoista keskittymistä.

Kirjan sankarina on mestarivaras, joka kirjan alussa on vankilassa. Hänet vapauttaa sieltä salaperäisen naisen ja älyllisen avaruusaluksen parivaljakko, joilla on mestarivarkaan taitojen arvoinen tehtävä.

Tästä alkaa vauhdikas meno, jossa on välillä vaikea pysy mukana, sillä kirja on suoranaista värikkäiden termien ilotulitusta. Mieleen välillä kyllä tuli tämä XKCD:n pilapiirros kylla aika elävästi...mutta kaikesta huolimatta kirja oli kyllä hyvin lukemisen arvoinen ja kiinnostava. Kielessä tosin mielestäni kyllä oli paikoitellen jonkinlaista jähmeyttä tai persoonattomuutta, en teidä onko tämä alkuperäistekstistä, käännöksestä vaiko vain keksityn terminologian runsaudesta johtuvaa.

Juonen perässä en ehkä ihan koko aikaa pysynyt, mutta se ei pahasti menoa haitannut.

Tapahtumapaikkaa jäin hiukan miettimään. Nimellisesti kirja tapahtuu tulevaisuuden Marsissa. Mutta aika moni asia selittyisi paremmin jos ajattelisi, että tapahtumat ovatkin kokonaan virtuaalisia, tietokoneessa tapahtuvia. Ehkäpä kirja tapahtuu samassa maailmassa kuin Charless Strossin Accelerando, kun koko asteroidivyöhykkeen sisäpuolinen massa on muuttunut tietokoneiksi joissa elää määrätön määrä virtuaalista elämää, joka ei enää ”oikeista” ihmisistä välitä tai niitä edes muista, ja jäljelle jääneet ”oikeat” ihmiset elävät Jupiterin paikkeilla myös enemmän tai vähemmän tietokoneisiin siirtyneinä. Aika monet asiat kirjassa selittyisivät paljon paremmin jos asiat todella ovat näin..

440 s.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Analog Science Fiction and Fact February 1976

A fairly average issue. Most of the space is taken by a Dune serial.

A Martian Ricorso • shortstory by Greg Bear
An expedition to Mars has had some problems, the communications have been broken down and they are going to have problems leaving the planet. And then the Martians appear. The seem to evolve extreme fast and they aren‘t at least completely co-operative. I am somewhat divided with this story. On other hand it is technically well written, but on the other hand it is very detached and almost everything that happens is just told, little is shown. ***
The Better Mousetrap • shortstory by Hayford Peirce
An inventor designs a perfect mousetrap which has some very implausible consequences. An ironic story that doesn’t really work. **½
The Winnowing • shortstory by Isaac Asimov
Thematically related to the above story. Overpopulation has reached its limits and something must be done. A scientist has developed a disease which kills a certain percentage of people painlessly and doesn’t harm others. The powers that be want to use the virus, but the scientist has more than a few reservations. ***½
A Matter of Pride • novelette by Kevin O'Donnell, Jr.
American pilots are kept as prisoners on a North Korean prison camp. The Koreans use a disease which strips the prisoners from their strength as a mean of control. The escape seems impossible if you only have strength to walk a few hundred meters at a time. But there is a way.. Fairly obvious way. A story stuck to a cold war era. Writing was ok and it was probably the best in this issue. ***½

Monday, March 14, 2011

Galaxy Science Fiction, December 1952

Homesick • shortstory by Lyn Venable
The first expedition to another star returns. The astronauts are really eager to escape their confined ship.It turns out that they have become allergic to almost everything. A simple nice story with some interesting structural tricks (which I spoiled with this review).
The Reluctant Weapon • shortstory by Howard L. Myers
An extremely powerful ancient civiliazation has abandoned a sentient weapon. Much much later another alien race wants to use it against humans. The weapon must first familiarize itself with someone who belongs to the enemy and a human male, who has been snatched at random from earth is brought to it. What is almost invitable happens. A fairly clumsy story.
The Leech • shortstory by Robert Sheckley [as by Phillips Barbee ]
A creature that is able to convert matter to energy and energy to matter at will threatens earth. No wonder Sheckley didn't use his own name on this. Pretty stupid and mediocre story. I wonder why the creature enjoyed “the rich energy” of attacks against it, as even the energy of nuclear weapons would be totally insignificant compared energy gained from even the smallest direct matter-to-energy conversion.
 Cost of Living • shortstory by Robert Sheckley
There are a lot of nice work saving machines available. And you can get them on credit on very affordable terms. You don't have to sign off more than thirty years of your children's future earnings for the dept. A minor Sheckley, but still good and timely.
The Deep • novelette by Isaac Asimov
All life on a planet which rotates a dead sun has retreated underground. When even the internal heat of the planet is dying, the inhabitants try to find a new world. They use a sort of mental projection to evaluate if Earth would be a suitable place and if the inhabitants are worth of co-operation. Unfortunately, the original inhabitants have some extremely disgusting habits: they take personally care of their children, they even know who they parents are and they have not even rudimentary telepathic skills. Clearly there can be no contact whatsoever with such creatures. An average Asimov.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Analog Science Fiction and Fact September 2007

I have read this issue from my phone during lunch breaks . Fairly average quality.

Some Distant Shore • [Mike and Linna] • novella by Dave Creek
Mika and Linna, a pair of explorers have arrived to see the destruction of an entire solar system. Members of several alien races have also come to study planets which will be destroyed by a rogue star which happens to strays through the system. The face several crises which ultimately have very serious consequences. Fairly nice story, tad overlong.
Stranger Things • [Bill, Greg and the Couch] • novelette by E. Mark Mitchell
The barriers between different alternative realities break and several different versions of the same people start to appear. And everything escalates to a ridiculous degree. Pretty nice, more amusing than most of the “humorous” stories in this issue.
A Plutoid By Any Other Name . . . • shortstory by Richard A. Lovett
A short short story what might be caused when Pluto isn't called a “planet” anymore. Mildly amusing.
Palimpsest • shortstory by Howard V. Hendrix
The ultimate e-mail spam prevention method leads to some unforeseen side-effects. A story that acknowledges Clarke's Nine Billion Names of God. A very contrived way to explain the ultimate effect the plan has.
Ginger Ear and Elephant Hair • novelette by Uncle River
A story about the old bad times when scientists “Ginger Eared” elephants. Extremely, extremely preachy, practically unreadably preachy story about the dangers of western lifestyle and gene engineering with all the subtlety of hitting your head with a sledgehammer. And badly written, also.
Vertex • [The Black Hole Project] • novella by C. Sanford Lowe and G. David Nordley
The black hole project stories culminate. The project is nearing completion, and if everything goes well a micro black hole will be created. That should have numerous applications and might even enable faster than light space travel. However, not everyone wants that the project succeeds. And as apparently there are no security arrangements of any kind, some problems are to be expected. A lot of viewpoint characters. Pretty much similar standard as the other stories in this series.

The Gorgeous Blogger

Kiitän Taikakirjaimet -blogia The Gorgeous Blogger -tunnustuksesta. Vastaus on hiukan viivästynyt, sillä viimeiset vajaat pari viikkoa ovat olleet erittäin hankalia ja ikäviä. Isompi firma jonka ”alihankkijana” yritys, jossa itse työskentelen, on toiminut, irtisanoi sopimuksemme varoittamatta ilman mitään neuvotteluja. Yhtiön oletuksena on/oli, että siirtyisimme jatkossa ilman mitään kompensaatioita työskentelemään suoraan sen alaisuuteen, mitäs siitä meidän firmastamme, ei sillä merkitystä vaikka se joutuisi lopettamaan toimintansa. Onneksi olen sellaisessa asemassa, että voin hyvin vapaasti valita työpaikkani, eikä minulla ole mitään syytä miksi jatkaisin sitten jatkossa nykyisessä työpaikassani, työskentelemässä tuon ”petollisen” isomman yrityksen hyväksi. Mutta mietittävää ja järjesteltävää on ollut todella paljon. Lisäksi samana päivänä kuin sain töissä tuon ilmoituksen kotona alkoi pesuhuoneen remontti, ja sekin on aiheuttanut ovat, ei ihan vähäiset vaivansa.Mutta ihan kivan valonpilkahduksen tuo tunnustus viikkoon antoi. Eteenpäin en nyt osaa kiertopalkintoa jakoon laittaa.

1.Milloin aloitit blogisi?
Olin pitänyt lukupäiväkirjaa Librarythingissä jo puolisentoista vuotta. Ajattelin, että blogi-muoto olisi vapaampi, ja voisi joskus kirjoittaa muutakin kuin pelkkiä kirja-arvioita. Osittain muistiinpanojen tekeminen on ihan oman muistin tukemista. Etenkin novellit unohtuvat helposti, jos niistä ei ole kirjoittanut jotain pientä yhteenvetoa.

2.Mistä kirjoitat blogissasi, mitä kaikkea se käsittelee?
Blogi on aika puhdas lukupäiväkirja. Kirjoitan arvion kaikista kirjoista ja scifi-lehdistä jotka luen. Tai ainakin melkein kaikista, sarjakuvia on jäänyt useampia bloggaamatta, mm. Girl Geniusta, Buffy Season seveniä, Don Rosaa jne.

3. Mikä seikka tekee blogistasi erityisen verrattuna muihin?
Varmaankin vanhojen scifi-lehtien arviot. Olen kiinnostunut pulp-scifistä ja -lehdistä, ja kerään Analog- ja Galaxy-lehtiä. Ensinmainitusta tällä hetkellä minulla on vuodesta 1948 alkaen vain kahta numeroa vajaa täydellinen kokoelma. Tämä osa syytä miksi kirjoitan paljolti englanniksi. Ei ehkä ole kovin järkevää kirjoittaa suomeksi arviota lehdestä, jota Suomessa mahdollisesti ei ole kenelläkään muulla. Lisäksi jotenkin tuntuu luonnollisemmalta kirjoittaa aina samalla kielellä millä on lukenutkin.

4. Mikä sai sinut aloittamaan blogin kirjoittamisen?
Halusin ihan omaksi huvikseni ja muistikuvien tueksi listauksen kirjoista mitä olen lukenut.

5. Mitä haluaisit muuttaa blogissasi?
En ole mikään kielinero ja haluaisin, että englantini olisi parempaa.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Analog Science Fiction - Science Fact January 1976

A serial Children of Dune takes the major part of the magazine and there are only three short stories.

The Perfect Cop • shortstory by H. H. MorrisLaw enforcement power is given to robots. They are totally incorruptible and have total knowledge of all laws. Unfortunately, they are somewhat too perfect, and practically the entire population of the city is thrown into a jail. Pretty ok humorous story. ***+
Seven is a Birdsong • shortstory by Charles L. GrantA postapocalyptic world where androids and diseases are feared. There is nothing really interesting. I read this a few days ago and it is a struggle to remember anything about this story. **
Angel • shortstory by Herbie Brennan A religious crank preaches nonsensical religion involving Venusians and Atlantis. But the nonsense in interspaced with military secrets. That might represent a severe security leak. What to do? A small surprise in the best cold war spirit in the end. ***