Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Analog Science Fiction and Fact, September 2012

A fairly average issue.

Done That, Never Been There • novelette by Brad Aiken
A detective story of a kind. The surgeon who made the first neurosurgical operation in the moon (done from earth using remote operating software which used a some sort of faster than light link (which isn't explained or much in other way in the story, but is mentioned)) is almost murdered and all information concerning the operation is removed of his patient database ( well, usually patient databases are very secure, and it is impossible to remove any data, at least without root privileges and intimate information concerning the database used, if then). A little earlier the woman whose life the surgeon saved is killed in the moon. The writing was pretty ok, but the plot was very contrived and totally ridiculous at places, especially the reasons why the data was tried to remove were not plausible. That act only made the crime which it supposed to hide much more noticeable. ***
Mythunderstanding • shortstory by Carl Frederick
A man who evaluates planets takes a vacation on his home town and visits a strange church which spreads apple trees and a religion based on them around the galaxy. He finds that a soil sample from one planet where apples can't grow contains high levels of osmium, which has a lot of commercial value. After a race to the planet it turns out that the aliens there seem to be very slow and stupid. There are some nice ideas there, but I am not sure if fitting them all in the same story was a great idea. The story was fragmented and I wasn't too happy about the writing. **+
The Long View • shortstory by Jerry Oltion
A millionaire has spent a significant amount of his wealth for a trip to the moon. He intends to leave a shire of all human knowledge and art there for all eternity. On top of a crater mountain where he was supposed to leave the artefact is a surprising find which will change everything...a pretty nice story with an optimistic ending. ***½
Elmira, 1895 • novelette by Michael F. Flynn
Rudyard Kipling comes to see Samuel Clemens about a story involving flying ships with monkey crews. A lot of discussion, little story. The writing is excellent, but the really interesting story would start where this story ends. ***+
Rent in Space • novelette by Susan Forest
A man whose company has just folded finds a "rent" in space from his living room. It is an area which swallows everything without any apparent consequences. He tries to contact government agencies without any success as no one takes him seriously. Then an old friend takes some interest on the fold, but his motivations might somewhat selfish. The beginning of the story was pretty good, but then it decayed beyond all believability. Another rent? In that location? Expelling THAT product? Really? Purely by change? Even the writing seemed to decay, but that might just be due my increasing irritation. ***
The Voices • novelette by Alec Nevala-Lee
A young woman who has heard voices for all her life takes part in an experimental treatment program which uses MEG recording combined with magnetic stimulation to remove the hallucinations. There are some consequences, though. A pretty good story which almost isn't science fiction. Only a few small nitpicks: auditory hallucinations don't automatically mean schizophrenia. Probably the best story in this issue. ****-

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