4 • Mars Needs Children • [Editorial (Analog)] • essay by Rosemary Claire Smith 8 • The Analytical Laboratory (Analog, July-August 2017) • [The Analytical Laboratory] • essay by uncredited 10 • Not Far Enough • novella by Martin L. Shoemaker 46 • The Science Behind "The Final Nail" • [Science Fact (Analog)] • essay by H. G. Stratmann [as by H. G. Stratmann, MD] 58 • The Fool's Stone • short story by Aubry Kae Anderson 70 • The First Rule Is, You Don't Eat Your Friends • short story by Robert R. Chase 80 • Alouette, Gentille Alouette • short story by Andrew Barton 84 • Fat Bubble • short story by Thomas A. Easton [as by Tom Easton] 86 • Perspective • short story by Kyle Kirkland 95 • A Theory of Gravity • poem by Josh Pearce 96 • For All Mankind • novelette by C. Stuart Harwick 116 • Clarity of Signal • short story by Holly Schofield 124 • Space Junk • poem by Bruce Boston 125 • Belly Up • novelette by Maggie Clark 140 • A Little Spooky Action • [Probability Zero] • short story by Howard V. Hendrix 142 • Pitch • short story by Bruce McAllister and Patrick Smith 144 • Why Does Matter Exist? • [The Alternate View] • essay by John G. Cramer 147 • Phuquiang: A History • short story by Uncle River 152 • Blinking Noon and Midnight • short story by Tim McDaniel 155 • In Times to Come (Analog, July-August 2017) • [In Times to Come (Analog)] • essay by uncredited 156 • Teamwork • short story by Eve Warren 159 • Often and Silently We Come • short story by Ron Collins 166 • Galleon • novelette by Brian Trent 178 • Across the Steaming Sea • novelette by Rob Chilson 198 • The Reference Library (Analog, July-August 2017) • [The Reference Library] • essay by Don Sakers 206 • Brass Tacks (Analog, July-August 2017) • [Brass Tacks] • essay by various 206 • Letter: The Author Responds: (Analog, July-August 2017) • essay by Nickolas Falkner [as by Nick Falkner] 209 • Upcoming Events (Analog, July-August 2017) • [Upcoming Events] • essay by Anthony Lewis
For some reason, these days, when I get a new issue of "Analog" in my hands, I'm reluctant to start reading it. I guess that's because when I get it, it feels like it's interrupting my reading schedule. Which is absurd since I know when I'll be getting the next issue and have already made mental allowances for it and know approximately where the issue goes in reading order. But usually, once I get started on the current issue, everything's okay and I get into it.
This issue in particular made it easy to ignore the feeling of interruption. Overall, it was a pretty good installment of "Analog". With the exception of two or three stories, this may be one of the better "Analog" volumes in a while.
Issues highlight were "Not Far Enough", "For All Mankind", "Galleon", "Clarity of Signal" and "Perspective".
The low points were Uncle River's "Phuquiang: A History". Really hated this pointless, meandering "story" primarily because it felt like I was being talked down to, like the entry was written for an audience between the ages of 10-13, maybe even younger, than a full grown adult.
Then there's Rob Chilson's misplaced "Across the Steaming Sea". This is a story that felt more like it was Fantasy rather than Science Fiction. It's not that I dislike Fantasy, but "Analog" *is* devoted primarily to Science Fiction. Chilson's story would have been a better fit in an issue of "The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction". Plus, I found the verbal tics of his characters (a "ha" or "eh" or "ho" or "huh" after every damned sentence) annoying as hell. It took forever to get through the 18 pages it lasted.
I also wasn't too impressed with Ron Collins' Evolution parable, "Often and Silently We Come". It's not that it was terrible or anything. It was just kind of meh.
10 • Not Far Enough • 36 pages by Martin L. Shoemaker Good. The Bradbury's mission to Mars has several mishaps. The landers barely make it to the landing site before a storm hits. They can't get the landers in the pit. One crashes into the propellant storage and causes major damage and one death. The other sent back to orbit crashes into the Bradbury. Poor analysis from Deece the AI a major problem in both incidents. The survivors have some friction, but also work as a team, and most importantly don't give up. Reading about them working out of one hairy situation after another was a bit tedious, but by the end the characters were defined and developed.
58 • The Fool's Stone • 12 pages by Aubry Kae Andersen OK/Good. Al-Ta'ir gets a stone from his mother. It is painful to the touch, causing blisters and more. It made his mother sick. He throws his gold and silver coins into the box with the stone and they turn into lead.
70 • The First Rule Is, You Don't Eat Your Friends • 10 pages by Robert R. Chase Good+. Dr. Wells in on his way to the monastery run by his former partner, now Father Considine. Lawrence and Mazer find him hurting call for help, then find his car back a ways in a ditch. At the monastery they study intelligence in unaugmented animals. Wells is in the forefront of augmenting animals, so they can talk, use hands, etc. The philosophic difference is why the partners went their own ways after being such great friends. Nice set of characters.
80 • Alouette, Gentille Alouette • 4 pages by Andrew Barton Good/OK. Zhu and Pine are on a mission to collect an old satellite to go into a museum. The problem is because of the antenna it can't fit into the cargo hold, they are going to have to cut them off so it'll fit. Zhu wants to save it whole. We flashback to when she went to a museum as a youngster.
84 • Fat Bubble • 2 pages by Thomas A. Easton OK. A man buys some stock in a weight loss company. His wife is one of the test subjects. He is not part of the program, but he too loses weight.
86 • Perspective • 9 pages by Kyle Kirkland Good+. A man has come to Kimberly asking her to work on a fix for someone, the president, who misused a stimulator in his youth. The 112 year old retired neuroengineer was on the team that invented the stimulator. They won't divulge the symptoms to her, just [eventually] show her the brain scans and ask her if she can reverse the damage.
96 • For All Mankind • 20 pages by C. Stuart Hardwick Good/vg. Astronomers detected KI '56 and originally thought it was on a collision course with Earth. It was a near miss but the charted orbit has it hitting us in eighty years. Waiting until it comes again will be too late to nudge it away from disaster, we have to send a mission now [in the late 1960s.] Katie and Tatyana are picked, saving weight, to pilot the ship in a joint US and Soviet mission. A bit of a tearjerker, because we know that it's a one way trip for the astronauts and that's without hearing their personal histories.
116 • Clarity of Signal • 8 pages by Holly Schofield Good+. A researcher gets permission to go onto a restricted planet and observe a dying inhabitant. They know the natives have some sort of communication using the electric current carrying trees. This is hard for her, going through the gates means losing the connectivity to the net that everyone takes for granted. She'll be alone and cut off from civilization.
125 • Belly Up • 15 pages by Maggie Clark OK+. Imbra was a criminal of some sort, maybe violent, definitely responsible for the death of Paloma's mother. After being declawed he can't strike back when being beaten up. Just has to take it. A trick gets him and Paloma sent up to work at the ship yards. The Allegiance is attacking Nov after negotiations broke down. A trick brings the first wave to a draw and more negotiations which Nov knows the Allegiance has no intention of keeping.
142 • Pitch • 2 pages by Bruce McAllister, Patrick Smith OK. A couple of writers are pitching a script. A nice amount of world building for two pages, but it didn't grip me.
147 • Phuquiang: a History • 5 pages by Uncle River Awful. Burnt mountain was a great place for making paper, the weather changes and not there is a lake and a stream and Phuquiang built up on the mountain, but in a different spot. There are characters mentioned and then it shoots off in a different direction.
152 • Blinking Noon and Midnight • 4 pages by Tim McDaniel OK/Ugh. An old guy can't adjust the thermostat on his house's new control system.
156 • Teamwork • 3 pages by Eve Warren Good+. Mars station commander brings in a young second generation lieutenant to ask how Zhou got hurt.
159 • Often and Silently We Come • 7 pages by Ron Collins OK+. The Carrisi are in search of the creator. They've researched hundreds of thousands of planets and the life forms seem adapted to their surroundings.
166 • Galleon • 12 pages by Brian Trent Very Good+. Galleon is a sentient trader ship, and best friend to Captain Quinlan Bard. Bard falls in love and retires. After a while Galleon is awoken and goes to the Ra system again. This time they are boarded by the Order of Stone. After a double or triple twist Galleon loses its motive power and drifts for millennia before having a new adventure. The character of Galleon is great, but having having eons pass diminishes the emotion I invested in Quinlan.
178 • Across the Teaming Sea • 21 pages by Rob Chilson VG/Good+. Luro's family rescues a man-kin. Or think they do. It's a con for them to finance Kangaran's trip to Melgol. The father sends Luro and Marace with Kangaran on the quest, but Kangaran ditches them one night. Luro has nothing to take home, he decides to forge on to a treasure that may or may not exist and a dangerous path to even make the attempt. Like a fairy tale. Really neat plot twists. It does take more concentration to read, heh, because of the way the characters speak.
A pretty good issue in which most of the stories were enjoyable. However, there were some less-good ones, too. ¨
Not Far Enough • novella by Martin L. Shoemaker The second expedition to Mars arrives. As there were some problems with the first one, the current mission is controlled in part by artificial intelligence. It turns out to be extremely badly designed and is partially responsible for a catastrophe that almost destroys the party. There are deaths and one member of the expedition loses a leg. (I wonder why—the severed leg is described in detail and it seems to be perfectly fine.) The psychological profiling of the expedition is apparently of the same "high" quality as the AI design and causes some problems. A fairly good "survival" story. Andy Weir did survival on Mars so much better, though. *** The Fool's Stone • short story by Aubry Kae Andersen A magician/alchemist finds a stone that can actually transmute metals. Unfortunately it turns gold into lead and not other way around. It also apparently makes people very sick. A caliph who murdered the previous caliph believes the alchemist has valuable secrets and isn’t telling everything he knows. It's a very good story that happens in an eastern setting. The “MacGuffin” of the story is an intriguing substance that is clearly radioactive, but otherwise doesn't really seem to obey the laws of nature. ****- The First Rule Is, You Don't Eat Your Friends • short story by Robert R. Chase A monastery raises pigs and the abbot has noticed they are really intelligent. Should they be used as meat? Or should their capabilities be enhanced? A scientist also seek asylum at the monastery. Not bad, but not much backstory and then the story just ends. ***- Alouette, Gentille Alouette • short story by Andrew Barton An ancient satellite with historical value is being rescued from orbit. It has parts that don't fit into the docking bay—should they be broken? A very short story—more of a scene than a real story. It was perfectly nice, though. *** Fat Bubble • short story by Thomas A. Easton [as by Tom Easton] An overweight couple invests heavily into gut bacteria that make you thinner. A very short, but fairly good, story—and it has a beginning, a middle, and an end. *** Perspective • short story by Kyle Kirkland A retired expert of direct brain stimulation is enlisted to examine the president. He has misused brain stimulation in his youth and there is a chance of brain damage. A pretty good story with unlikely, but certainly possible, type of brain injury. ***+ For All Mankind • novelette by C. Stuart Hardwick A joint mission of Americans and Russians is sent to intercept an asteroid that will hit Earth in a few decades. To deflect it, the asteroid must be reached as soon as possible. A joint mission of two women (they weigh less than men and consume less food and oxygen) is sent to the asteroid. Their payload is enough bombs to slightly shift the asteroid's trajectory. And the mission is one-way only—there will be no return or rescue. An excellent and moving story. ****+ Clarity of Signal • short story by Holly Schofield A woman studies alien animals on an interstellar mission. She is convinced they are intelligent and intends to prove it at all costs. A fairly short story with a main protagonist who somehow manages to be very irritating. ***- Belly Up • novelette by Maggie Clark A story I didn’t really get at all. The backstory is pretty scant: there is apparently some sort of racing, space ships, a war going on, and there is some sort of revenge. The plot felt pretty confusing and I found the language hard to read and understand. Didn’t like it at all. **- Pitch • short story by Bruce McAllister and Patrick Smith A plot proposal for a movie in the future with some prophetic undertones. Short and OK—probably contained references to something I didn’t get. **½ Phuquiang: A History • short story by Uncle River A sort of folk tale of a post-apocalyptic future (or a feral colony planet). Cousins discover some sort of hot vents that can be useful and which turn out to be important. A pretty short story, but not bad.***- Blinking Noon and Midnight • short story by Tim McDaniel User interfaces tend to be hard to use, especially for elderly people. It always has been so, and it probably will always be so. A pretty fun story about an old man in a future “smart house” with a confusing UI. *** Teamwork • short story by Eve Warren The kids who live in a Martian colony have fun in dangerous ways. A very short story, but not a bad one. *** Often and Silently We Come • short story by Ron Collins Aliens with truly different physiology examine samples of beings with a more ordinary physiology. As they don’t really understand what they are doing, they first make some grave errors. Not bad, but a bit short. ***+ Galleon • novelette by Brian Trent A space ship with a very powerful AI takes an active interest in its occupants. It has some very advanced and sometimes unpleasant ways to influence its occupants. It turns out that all other ships like it have been decommissioned. A very good, well-written, and fresh story, where the main character (the AI) is very well drawn with sufficiently “alien” thought patterns. ****- Across the Steaming Sea • novelette by Rob Chilson I have loathed the previous installments in this series. The characters have extremely irritating speech patterns that make them seem like brain-damaged half-wits. Did not read. Not rated.
Hace más de seis meses que no leo la revista, más o menos desde que pasó a ser bimensual, pero lo cierto es que este número está bastante por encima de la media a la que nos tenía habituados el Schmidt o como se escriba (sí, ya sé que se retiró bastante antes, pero estas revistas se preparan con meses de antelación, y los cuentos se eligen todavía antes).
Lo dicho, un número por encima de la media con, evidentemente historias mejores e historias peores. Las que más me han gustado han sido "Not Far Enough" que digamos forma una serie de capítulos independientes respecto a otros cuentos aparecidos en la novela, aunque desde luego las tormentas marcianas suelen durar bastante más tiempo que unos días, y tiene unas reminiscencias a "The Martian" pero no las suficientes como para resultar una copia descarada.
La otra ha sido "Galleon", en el que es la propia IA de la nave la que nos cuenta su historia. Una IA peculiar que aplica soluciones peculiares a las cosas que le pasan, con un final más que aceptable.
Lo dicho, un número por encima de la media aunque sin ser para tirar cohetes.