Thursday, June 27, 2013

Analog, July/August 2013

- Reading “Thaw” by Arland Andrews, Sr. someone might think that the editors included this story by mistake. It seems that every element of the fantasy genre is in there while every element of science fiction is out of it. So, what’s going on? Did the editors drink too much vodka while watching “The Hobbit”? Did they shrank the thin line between sci-fi and fantasy so much that there is no more division among the two genres? Or more simply, is this an attempt to pacify hardcore sci-fi fiction fans with hardcore fantasy fiction fans? No, none of the above. “Analog” is the magazine of “Science fiction and fact” and the science fiction element is in the fact part of the story. (spoiler) The story is based on Earth, in a far/not to far future, after the global warming changed everything. People, the few still alive, are unable to read with their eyes not because they are blind or anything, but because history must’ve been forgotten – becoming oral tradition – and reading is fundamentally changed. People read with their touch. This story is quite an interesting device to discuss science, global warming and other hot topics (end of spoiler). I am not a big fan of this story in particular but I must give the author a lot of credit for fooling me and for writing down a good plot.

- “Not with a bang” by Rosemary Clair Smith is a time travel love story. Two scientists fall in love with Julianna. Both are sent back in time to the Late Cretaceous for a six-month mission. From that mission new facts about the dinosaurs and their extinction will emerge. The core of the story is the love for Julianna, which is a few million years later. Easy read, not a great story. The only part I really liked is when they find out that the T-Rex behaves differently than previously thought.

- "Other people's avatar" by Howard V. Hendrix reminded me of David Cronenberg's "eXistenz". A guy wasted his life in front of video games, has a heart attack and a whole new adventure begins. Is it real? Is it a dream? I kinda felt sorry for Anderson. This story had an amazing potential but it was way mistreated. Too long and the character felt incredibly dry.

- "Ready, Set" by Mary Lou Klecha is very short (not even two pages) but a nice read. The only thing the main character desires is to leave his current place. A long wait, and nothing will ever bring him away. Truly a sad one.

- "Milk Run" by Alec Austin and Marissa Lingen. A story about a mission with an "intern". Nothing to note on this one, pretty average.

- "Tethered" by Harris A. Durrani. A nice story about a janitorial spaceship devoted to pick up space trash. The crew finds itself faced with the risk of starting a diplomatic crisis or not respecting contracts with private corporations. I enjoyed it but I sometimes found myself lost among all the information that is thrown to the reader which is then left there.

- A Quiet Little Town in Northern Minnesota” by K.C. Ball is a nice little piece about an AI who wants to conquer the world starting from Blackduck, MN and, in part, its relationship with humans. Enjoyable.

- “Cronus and the Ship” by Seth Dickinson is a very short story about spaceships and their defense system. Another enjoyable story full of significant christenings for ships (Iliad, Edda, Argonautica etc.).

-“Love” by Rick Norwood. This is a sad love story, which strangely enough is not cheesy. At six Stephen is kissed on the cheek by a spaceship captain, Helen. She’s much older than him but since she is sent out to travel in space she ages a little while he ages according to Earth’s time. When she’s back he will meet her and they will have a one night stand. He deeply loves her so he will wait (and age) for her to come back.
I don’t think “CREP d’Etoile” by Bud Sparhawk is meant to be taken seriously. It’s about recycling food supplies and making them taste amazing while there is one crisis after another. Didn’t enjoy it; nothing wrong with the style, I just didn’t find it interesting.

- One story I loved is “The Chaplain’s Legacy” by Brad R. Torgersen. An alien race called the Mantis (due to their look) is unstoppable in their destruction of the galaxy’s civilizations. Harry Barlow, a chaplain, is able to make the humans and mantis to sign a truce by teaching the concept of religion to the Mantis who never heard about it. They are unable to comprehend it. Somehow the truce ends and Harry, a human female Captain, a Mantis called Professor and the Queen Mantis are stuck on a planet together trying to survive. Now, it’s obviously a story about preconceived notions and possibility of change and from time to time it’s actually cheesy but with some leap of faith (mainly believing that people/aliens can be englightened in a split second) it’s by far the best story in this issue.

- “Dark Secret” by Edward Lerner is the conclusion of a series. I haven’t read the previous episodes so I will not review it.

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