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Analog Science Fiction and Fact November/December 2019

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AN EYE FOR AN EYE, Jerry Oltion
FORMLESS, Gary Kloster

WOLVES, Edward Ashton
BINARY, Rajan Khanna
SOJOURNER, Craig DeLancey
YAMADORI, Stephen R. Wilk
EMPTY BOX, Allison Mulvihill


MOISTURE, Ken Poyner
HERTHA AYRTON, Jessy Randall

EDITORIAL: ODDS & ENDS I, Trevor Quachri

208 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 2019

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Trevor Quachri

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Displaying 1 - 9 of 9 reviews
Profile Image for D Dyer.
351 reviews29 followers
December 23, 2019
This was definitely a better than average issue. Some of my favorite stories included, “binary” which explored the losses that can come with splitting one‘s consciousness, “an eye four an eye” A continuation of a previous story which explores first contact with a species whose way of sharing knowledge plays on some of our most basic taboos, “ The quarantine nursery” which was a little sad and dealt with the sacrifices and desires of motherhood in a world plagued by eight we virulent strain of influenza, “martian fever” is another story dealing with quarantine and viruses, this time a crew trapped on Mars and wondering if they’ll ever make it back home or even manage to cure themselves, and, “sojourner” which dealt with AI and left me pleasantly unsure of what to believe.
But my favorite story this issue might have been, “you must remember this” which posits a future where people are archived and potentially brought back to life getting second chances to ultimately attempt to fix some of their mistakes, or at least explore the possibilities of what might have been.
Profile Image for John Loyd.
1,102 reviews29 followers
October 26, 2019
8 • An Eye for an Eye • 15 pages by Jerry Oltion
Good. Melissa, Gary and Francois are on a first contact mission. The residents are caterpillar shaped.

30 • Formless • 14 pages by Gary Kloster
Very Good. Arif escapes Earth on a seedship. The formless have taken over he is racing them to the stars. Inanna, the ship's AI, constructs a body for him and loads his consciousness into it and send him to the planet. They're late, the formless are already here and they've disabled his shuttle. Can he save this planet for humanity or will the formless prevail?

44 • Moon Santa Mongo • 10 pages by John Edward Uth
Good+. Bernot retired to the moon and bought a retail shop with his savings. Business is not great. The promised theme park has not come to fruition. When his one employee leaves right before the holiday season he relents to Mongo's request for a job.

54 • The Prince of Svalbard: a Saga of the Thaw • 6 pages by Louis Evans
OK/Good. The polar regions are now the only habitable places on Earth. The prince and his crew go on a raiding mission. Their ship gets caught in a storm and ends up in the south. The prince decided to check out the land before heading back. They find a structure. The raiding party can't read the sign that lets us know it's there to help reverse global warming. The raiders have some superstitions that cause a conflict.

63 • Ghost of Christmas Future • 3 pages by Eric Cline
OK+. Larry Walker goes to the mall, sort of in a daze. He's getting a toy for his kid, then suddenly he is somewhere else without memory of how he got there. Turns into a cautionary tale.

66 • Filaments of Hope • 4 pages by Marissa Lingen
OK. Lif engineers a lichen for use on Mars, but the space program is cancelled. Lif visits Cousin Hekla. Right away noticing changes in the way the mountains look. Hekla wants to use the lichen to solve some ecological problems in Iceland. Lif isn't so sure about introducing and invasive species.

70 • Just a Guy and Some Aliens • 6 pages by Michael Carroll
OK+. Essie has studied Tau Ceti IV and is now visiting researchers at CHROMOsommes. She has an instant liking for Chuck. Eventually they fall in love and get married. A ship with material they have created is launched towards TC IV. They may get some results when they're at retirement age.

76 • Wolves • 8 pages by Edward Ashton
Good+. John wakes when he hears something in the Gray's trash. It's a human. Of course he should shoot her, but he didn't. Feral humans aren't good for business and need to be exterminated. Now he has to explain it to his employer...er master.

84 • Binary • 10 pages by Rajan Khanna
Good. An artifact is found orbiting in a binary star system. Shalvi is woken by ALVIN, the ship's AI, when they near the object. Shalvi is having memory flashbacks. She was human up until she was loaded onto the ship. Now the real Shalvi is still back on Earth while she inhabits a drone body.

94 • Sojourner • 10 pages by Craig DeLancey
Good/OK+. The code police are on their way to neutralize Sojourner. Eve isn't going to let that happen. She retrieves Sojourner from the server room. She can't go home, they'll know she was the only one in the building. She makes in to a safe house.

104 • Martian Fever • 13 pages by Julie Novakova
OK. A Martian expedition is turned on it's head when Motsumi is infected by native life. After a few days of him not getting better Alana has to make the decision that the hundred or so people now on Mars aren't going back to Earth.

117 • Keep the Line Tight but Not Too Tight, or Esteban and the Moon • 9 pages by Joe M. McDermott
Good. Lewis didn't want to go to the moon, but Esteban was going with or without him. The job he has is building a new ship. Ones that are going to be used for colonization. It's nerve wracking work knowing that the lives of hundreds of colonist rely on the continued working of this ship. Especially when the company gets reports in from previous ships where parts have failed and shows the graphic results to the workers.

126 • Yamadori • 6 pages by Stephen R. Wilk
Good+. A mystery. What does Owens want with the miniature robot he is commissioning Mr. Gore to build for him?

132 • Follow, Past Meridan • 6 pages by Mark W. Tiedemann
Good/OK. Terik, Cam and Dalad all turned fourteen and are going on there Forage. They decide to go to Gatepost. Along the way they meet a woman and a stopped caravan. Nice coming of age tale about Terik, but we only get a vague notion of their world.

138 • Solve for X • 3 pages by Jay Cole
OK. The narrator is working at a SETI base on the far side of the moon. It looks like they've finally got some positive results. Is the world ready for alien contact?

141 • Empty Box • 3 pages by Allison Mulvihill
OK. Harry is on his run. Eliza contacts him to watch a show where there are two contestants and it's up to the audience to determine which is an AI. I thought there would be a big reveal at the end that Eliza was an AI, being that she and Harry had never met in person. I didn't find any point to the story.

144 • The Movements of Other Starfish • 2 pages by Matt Dovey
OK+. Aidan is a starfish farmer. He pulls one out and the others move to fill the void. He sees this as a metaphor. When he is gone there will be a hole, but someone looking from high above can see the ripple effect filling in the vacancy he left.

149 • The Quarantine Nursery • 7 pages by Aimee Ogden
OK+. There is a fear of babies getting sick. Those people that can afford it use a quarantine nursery with electronic nanny. Barbara sometimes thinks that Walter jr. is more the nanny's child that he is hers. Maybe a metaphor about being over protective.

156 • Kamsahamnida, America • 14 pages by Guy Stewart
Fair. The Koreans go to the moon. Now every other country is sending someone, US, Russia, China, ESA, and more. Larry Henry is the one in the US ship. He has some trick up his sleeve so he can come in fast and not crash. Why is there a space race to get to the moon seventy years after the last landing? And why do they have to race to get to the Korean vehicle?

170 • You Must Remember this • 29 pages by Jay O'Connell
Very Good+. Maura is rebooted after thirteen years in the archives. We dwell on Maura's struggle to come to grips with the exponential changes that have happened in that small amount of time, rather than the catastrophe that released bio goo that ended up archiving millions of people and creating Zeitgeist. She first wants to find out who paid to reboot her from the archives. She didn't any close friends and most of them are dead anyway. It wouldn't have been her dad. Finding out won't be cheap. She'll have to work a long to to have enough to pay a PI. When she finds out who, she still doesn't know why.
Profile Image for Timo Pietilä.
402 reviews2 followers
November 15, 2019

An Eye for an Eye • [The Ascension (Jerry Oltion)] • novelette by Jerry Oltion
A human spaceship lands on an alien planet with aliens who apparently are near to an industrial revolution. A convoy of caterpillar-like aliens approaches the ship. One of them breaks off his eyestalk and gives it to the humans. The expedition is a bit baffled but takes it, and the aliens leave. The aliens seem to lose their interest, and even seem irritated when they meet the humans again, and when the humans refuse to eat a severed finger offered by the aliens, the aliens seem offended. Meanwhile, the severed eye seems to contain surprisingly complex and extensive neuronal structures. The story continues an earlier one, this time from the human viewpoint. A pretty good one, even if there were shades of an idiotic plot – it was painfully obvious for the reader what was happening even when characters were in the dark. ****-
Formless • novelette by Gary Kloster
A soldier approaches a planet. It has been invaded by the “formless”, who are disgusting creatures who have destroyed humans on Earth and have apparently followed them here. The soldier’s ship is hit and he falls on the mercy of the formless. But not everything is what it looks like. A pretty nice story. ***+
Moon Santa Mongo • short story by John Edward Urh
A shop owner on the moon has had some hard times. There are not many tourists and his assistant left suddenly. He hires a veteran who seems homeless and apparently has memory problems. A fairly warm-hearted Christmas story. ***½
The Prince of Svalbard: A Saga of the Thaw • short story by Louis Evans
A Viking saga of a raid to Svalbard seed vault. Ponderous language and I didn’t really get into it. I wonder what is the timespan after the accident - at first, it seemed like centuries and then there was someone alive? **
Filaments of Hope • short story by Marissa Lingen
A Martian colony was canceled. The developer of a lichen suitable for the production of food there is invited to Iceland. They want to use the lichen for food production. A pretty sketch-like story. **+
Just a Guy and Some Aliens • short story by Michael Carroll
A probe is sent to a star with a planet on the goldilocks zone. It can analyze DNA and send it to Earth, where it can be used to build the creature it is from. It turns out that something went a little wrong. A stupid story on so many levels. All the science sucks heavily – alien life forms with exactly similar DNA structure? No pre-analysis of DNA whatsoever? DNA enduring decades in space? **
Wolves • short story by Edward Ashton
An employee/slave/pet is sent to track a lone woman he saw digging through trash. He is supposed to kill her. The setup is shown slowly and it would be a spoiler to describe it in detail. There are apparently alien invaders who use humans for menial tasks, but there are also still a few “wild” ones around. A very nice short story. ****-
Binary • short story by Rajan Khanna
A recording of a person is used as a mind of a bot which is sent to study a possible alien artifact. She seems to have hallucinations of the past events of her life. There also seems to be something strange about the AI which governs how her ship behaves. The idea was fairly good, but the story was too short, there was no real emotional attachment to the main “character”. ***½
Sojourner • short story by Craig DeLancey
A man is trying to help an AI which apparently is threatened by a government man who wants to hunt it down and destroy it. He escapes a raid with the AI but gets caught. The government man has an alternative explanation about what is going on. A very good story which turns around very nicely. ****-
Martian Fever • novelette by Julie Novakova
The first Mars expedition is financed by a billionaire. After they start the exploration, one member gets sick with a Martian bug. According to the pre-agreed rules, that means no one can go back home, to prevent bringing back infections to Earth. That isn’t something everyone is too happy about – and if they don’t find the cure, their chance of living on Mars isn’t very good, either. A pretty good story which concentrates more on people than on events. And the people seem real and behave in a fairly consistent and logical way. ****-
Keep the Line Tight But Not too Tight, or Esteban and the Moon • short story by J. M. McDermott [as by Joe M. McDermott]
Workers on the Moon who build generation ships are stressed about the pressures. I didn’t really get into the story, it seemed mainly to be bitching about living on the Moon and about other people. The main character felt like a very irritating and unhappy person. And I didn’t get some of the technology: habitats on the Moon are spun for artificial gravity, but they stopped for the night? Why in hell? Wouldn’t that be extremely uneconomical? There are some other questionable details, also. The writing felt somewhat clumsy and hard to get. **-
Yamadori • short story by Stephen R. Wilk
A man who builds miniature robots is asked to build a small human-looking robot with moving capability, with hollow arms with room to stick meat into. As the builder is more than a little baffled, he wants to see what his robot is used for. (For feeding a miniature version of a man-eating plant.) The writing was fairly nice but there wasn’t really much plot, just a demonstration of the robot and its use. ***½
Follow, Past Meridian • short story by Mark W. Tiedemann
A group of youngsters goes for some sort of initiation quest in a post-apocalyptic world where there seems to be a lot of working tech still around. They have heard rumors that an “American” might be around and they want to see it. Along the way, they meet a mystery woman. Far too sketchy and short, it feels like a short prologue for the real story. ***
Empty Box • short story by Allison Mulvihill
A man has a discussion with his girlfriend, whom he has never seen in person. The girlfriend���s name is Eliza and they talk about artificial intelligences which are better than just passing a Turing test. Oh, I wonder what the girlfriend really is? A short and simple story. ***-
The Quarantine Nursery • short story by Aimee Ogden
A well-to-do family's small children are taken care of by robots in a germ-free environment. Influenza is especially considered as horrific. I wonder if the story happens in some sort of alternate world where there are no vaccines and social norms are from the fifties. Women are at home cooking for their husbands and wear something pretty when he comes home. As a matter of fact, the story feels exactly like it would be at home in Galaxy magazine from 1954 or something. Otherwise, it is a pretty good and well-told story. ***½
Kamsahamnida, America • novelette by Guy Stewart
An elderly astronaut is testing a spaceship with simulations when news breaks out: Koreans have sent a ship to the Moon. All space-capable nations scramble to send their own ships to be first on the Moon since the 70s. The Korean ship seems to approach the Moon at an impossible speed. As the other ships approach the Moon, there is even some attempt to sabotage other “contestants”. Extremely stupid story: apparently everyone had a ship which was able to go to the Moon, but couldn’t be bothered. When one nation goes there, it suddenly is imperative to be there first. It doesn’t make any sense. If it is so important, why wait if it almost trivial to launch an expedition in a few hours? And hitting another ship with a passive “missile” would be a billion-to-one chance. The writing is OK, but every aspect of the plot is pedestrian. **½
You Must Remember This • novella by Jay O'Connell
Runaway AI has destroyed a part of town and “archived” many people who were living there. It is possible to rebuild and wake those people, but it is expensive, and will not be done unless someone will sponsor it. A woman who was pretty maladjusted has been awakened. Her sponsor wants to remain unknown. Her ADHD can be cured, and after some trepidation, she takes the cure. But can she adjust to a new life in the future, and with a slightly different personality than what she was used to? A pretty nice and well-told story. ****-
Profile Image for Paul.
252 reviews
October 31, 2019
Rating the stories in this issue:

A (excellent):

Just a Guy & Some Aliens by Michael Carroll
Yamadori by Stephen R. Wilk
Solve for X by Jay Cole
The Quarantine Nursery by Aimee Ogden

B (very good):

The Movements of Other Starfish by Matt Dover
Editorial: Odds & Ends 1 by Trevor Quachri
Martian Fever by Julie Novakova
Moon Santa Mongo by John Edward
Ghost of Christmas Future by Eric Cline
Wolves by Edward Ashton
Sojourner by Craig DeLancey

C (average):

You Must Remember This by Jay O'Connell
An Eye for An Eye by Jerry Oltion
Kamsahamnida, America by Guy Stewart
The Prince of Svalbard: A Saga of the Thaw by Louis Evans
Follow, Past Meridian by Mark W. Tiedemann
Empty Box by Allison Mulvihill
Elements of Hope by Marissa Lingen

D (poor):

Formless by Gary Kloster
Binary by Rajan Khanna
Keep the Line Tight but Not Too Tight or Esteban & the Moon by Joe M. McDermott
Profile Image for John Jolley.
3 reviews
June 7, 2020
This was my first dive back into Analog since I had a subscription as a kid back in 2000 or so, and it was a delight! Trevor is doing a fantastic job as the new editor; I very much appreciate his perspectives and the diversity of authors being brought to the table. Favorite stories were “You Must Remember This” by Jay O’Connell, “Martian Fever” by Julie Novakova, “The Prince of Svalbard: a Tale of the Thaw” by Louis Evans, and “The Quarantine Nursery” by Aimee Ogden. Interesting coincidence that at least three of the stories in this collection (two of which I just mentioned) are specifically pandemic related, despite this issue being released in November 2019! Looking forward to reading all of 2020’s 90th anniversary stories now that I’ve finally renewed my subscription.
Profile Image for Benn Allen.
201 reviews1 follower
July 16, 2020
Not much to say about this issue except I do want to note how eerily three of the stories this go-round - "Ghost of Christmas Future", "Martian Fever" and "The Quarantine Nursery" - seem to anticipate and correspond to what's gone on this year. They almost predicted this year's big event.
Displaying 1 - 9 of 9 reviews

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