I received October's issue of Analog and it was so good I read it in just a few days. I am happy to say that this issue is a much better than average issue, with two stories sharing the first place as my favorites and one that is a close second. It has been long since I have have felt this satisfied by one of the magazines I read.
Let's get down to the fiction.
"Lune Blue" by Janet Catherine Johnston is this month's novella. This is one of my two faves. Two researches are sent to the Moon while doing some research for NSETI, which is a derivative of SETI. Unfortunately, Earth is politically on chaos with nuclear war looming over the entire globe. Nice story, nice characterization and a very good ending. It's pure sci-fi. As a plus, Daleks are mentioned, which is always a good thing.
"Sixteen Million Leagues From Versailles" by Allen M. Steele is the second favorite. A long time ago, when Louis XIV, aka the Sun King, was ruling over France a vase with a tribute to Mars, the god of War, used to lay over a fireplace at Versailles. A few centuries later the precious vase is lost on Mars (the planet!). A small team will have to find it and will quickly find out that there is more important than life itself.
"Following Jules" by Ron Collins gets the second place not because it is not well written but because I really can't stand stories about virtual reality anymore. Surprisingly, this story ended up being very interesting so I don't have much to complain. The ending is a bit cheesy but it fits the general mood of the novelette.
"Putting Down Roots" by Stephen W. Wilk is a short story which is more a meditation on culture than actual science fiction. I liked it mainly because I never turn down a good red wine or a pint of beer.
"Things We Have in This House For No Reason" by Marissa Lingen is flash fiction. Weak story.
"At The Peephole Palace" by William Eakin is more flash fiction. Not as nice as the other stories.
"Fear of Heights in the Tower of Babel" by Carl Frederick. While reading this I couldn't understand if it was satire or not, and still don't. A set of elevators with a very elevated AI kidnap some VIPs and ask for a ransom. I think it's funny. However, the problem is that the person in charge of solving the kidnapping is afraid of heights and will have to go on top of Europe's tallest building, which makes my cruel mind have even more fun. I enjoyed it, although the ending was quite obvious from the start of the story.
"Conscientious Objectors" by Jay Werkheiser. A story based at a VA hospital with a lot of cross-cultural issues tackled. Nice, but I guess it ends up preaching too much.
Last (but not least) mention to the cover art. I am quite happy about it, no weird monsters, no fantasy-like stuff. Just three naked bodies floating in a good 'ol lab.