Analog Science Fiction and Fact - May 2010 - Vol. CXXX Nos.5
Edited by Stanley Schmidt
Cover Artist: Jean-Pierre Normand
Review by Sam Tomaino
Analog ISBN/ITEM#: 1059-2113
Date: 24 March 2010
Links: Analog Website / Pub Info / Table of Contents /
The May 2010 issue of Analog is here with some more great stuff.
The fiction begins with "Page Turner" by Rajnar Vajra. This one consists of a story told by a woman named Caitlin MacKenzie Shroeder, but she tells her story as if her name is Amy. She works in an independent bookstore that she calls The Page Turner, but that's not its real name either. She tells us she's in trouble but not how. Then she imagines telling a literary group a story about a live fish showing up on the doorstep of the bookstore. The story gets wilder from there and was certainly an enjoyable read.
In "Hanging by a Thread" by Lee Goodloe, Amy Radowski is a young graduate student assigned to do work on a waterworld called Theresa. Taking the Elevator down to Waterstation I, where she will live and work, she meets Matt Simkins, an engineer and the guy in charge of the station. Through him, she learns something of the perils of the world. The air is deadly, the water acidic and filled with vicious predators. She is down there for just a little more than a day when swells from a hurricane un-tether the station from the elevator. Things become more difficult in this moving story of heroism and sacrifice.
"A Talent for Vanessa" by David W. Goldman centers on Marv Pennybacker, "impresario, humanitarian and sole proprietor of the Pennybacker Special Talent Agency". He employs people who have developed talents from a kind of brain surgery that also has side effects that make it difficult for one to deal with other people. A young woman named Vanessa Kortwright Kingston has come into his office for advice on whether she should have such an operation. He tries to talk her out of it. However, there is something else going on. This was another pretty good story and an interesting character study.
In "Fishing Hole" by Rick Cook, a visiting Italian paleontologist is taken to a sushi bar in Seattle and becomes incensed over one of the new dishes. It turns out it's an extinct aquatic creature! Tim Valdez, paleontology postdoc and Sally Lund of the Department of Fish and Wildlife investigate. They find something surprising in this utterly delightful story.
"Teaching the Pig to Sing" by David D. Levine takes place in a near-future. "Edvard Roderick Zachary Sigmund von Regensburg, Defender of Humanity, Viceroy of Germany and Austria, and Royal Colonel of the European Army" has been captured by a rebel group called America Reborn. In the early 21st century a group called the Institute for Ideal World Governance had been formed and had used genetic engineering, education, and indoctrination to create a new royal class of enlightened despots to rule the world. The United States of America is now ruled by a queen, the sister of Edvard. Individual initiative has been suppressed and, supposedly, everyone was happy. The rebels have removed the conditioning from Edvard's brain and are trying to convince him of the justness of their cause, the restoration of democracy. How well do they succeed? I won't say but this made for one great story.
"The Day the Music Died" by H.G. Stratmann invokes memories of a tragedy in American music, but this tale is one of the most horrific that I've ever read in Analog. A way is found to put sounds into music that causes whoever listens to it to become so fixated on it, they can do nothing else. Only the tone-deaf and the really deaf are immune. Draconian measures are taken to stop the plague. I won't reveal the ending but I will say that this was one of the most frightening stories I've read in years.
The "Farallon Woman" in the story by Walter L. Kleine, is Tara Farallon, a woman who cannot remember anything of her previous life. She is called Farallon because she was found near the Farallon Islands. Jack is in love with her and has also worked for a long time on a project called Black Box, examining an alien spacecraft that crashed in the Pacific Ocean. After a time with her, he begins to suspect that she is connected to the spacecraft. While the story does not have any surprises, it was an enchanting read.
The issue also has one of its Probability Zero stories, "Quark Soup" by Bond Elam. A scientist tells a Senator's committee that the scientific community has accepted the idea of an Intelligent Designer. But this means they have a big problem in this amusing piece.
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