Analog Science Fiction and Fact - April 2010 - Vol. CXXX Nos.4
Edited by Stanley Schmidt
Cover Artist: David Hardy
Review by Sam Tomaino
Analog ISBN/ITEM#: 1059-2113
Date: 27 January 2010
Links: Analog Website / Pub Info / Table of Contents /
The April 2010 issue of Analog is here with a bunch of great stories.
The fiction begins with "Swords and Saddles" by John G. Hemry. The story opens in what is obviously not the future as a company of the U.S. Cavalry is heading across the Kansas plains toward Fort Harker. They are about two days out when a thunderstorm hits. After one particular lightning strike, all of the company feel as if the ground has shifted under them. They continue riding as the storm clears and encounter some structures that they have never seen before. One looks to be thousand-year old ruins. When they arrive at where the fort should be, it's not there. They do see what looks like a strange city in the distance and it is being besieged by an army. They decide to help the city and ride towards it. The besiegers turn to attack the cavalry, armed only with swords. The guns make short work of them and they scatter. Welcomed as heroes into the city, they eventually figure out that while they are still in Kansas, it's not their Kansas. I won't go in to any more detail, but just say this was a great story with characters that you can admire. It's a great way to start the issue.
"Snowflake Kisses" by Holly Hight and Richard A. Lovett is told to us by Julie Rasmussen, a thirty-seven year old scientist studying the chemistry of love. Her own experience has been less than rewarding. Her father left her mother when she was seven and she never saw him again. She had an unsuccessful marriage. A lot of her research has come to a halt when her grant was canceled. She still has chemicals and brain scans but she will learn something more important. This was a very well-written and touching story.
Carl Frederick has used the lead character in this story, Roger, in previous stories. In "A Sound Basis for Misunderstanding", Roger is the Anglo-Terran cultural liaison to Choff, a planet rich in a highly desired element called lucetium. At the start, Roger has problems figuring out anything about the native Chuff, but, fortunately, he brought his bassoon. This was a pretty amusing tale.
"Nothin' But Blue Skies" by Stephen L. Burns features Kent, the owner of a used car lot called Blue Sky Motors. It's late on a rainy night and Kent is getting ready to close when someone entirely covered in what looks like a monk's robe comes in and wants to trade his car for one of Kent's. It's when he takes the monk's car for a test drive that he discovers what a great deal he can make. I won’t spoil anything more and just recommend this a lot of fun.
"When We Were Fab" by Jerry Oltion has nothing to do with the Beatles, but it's a clever story anyway. Rick runs a convenience store and has just bought a nanofabricator which can produce any product. This works fine for a while, until new versions of products are made and he must pay extra to get the rights to produce them. He finds out how new and improved" might not be what he actually needs.
In "The Planet Hunters" by S.L. Nickerson, Mei and Shakir are doctoral students who want a chance to use the new Behemoth Space Telescope to see other solar systems. Mei is interested in "Hot Jupiters" and Shakir in "Extra-Solar Earths". When they team up, they discover something unexpected and that's what makes this story a good one.
The fiction concludes with another fine story, "The Robots' Girl" by Brenda Cooper. Aliss Johnson and Paul Dina move into a new house. They notice that the house across the way seems to have a number of robots in it. They finally notice what seems to be a twelve-year old girl living alone with the robots. Aliss, especially, is concerned about her but when they manage to finally meet the girl, whose name is Caroline, she is cold to them and asks them to stop watching her. Aliss and Dan do not give up and this makes for a touching beautiful story.
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