Analog Science Fiction and Fact - uly/August 2010 - Vol. CXXX Nos.7&8
Edited by Stanley Schmidt
Cover Artist: Bob Eggleton
Review by Sam Tomaino
Analog Magazine ISBN/ITEM#: 1059-2113
Date: 26 May 2010
Links: Analog Website / Pub Info / Table of Contents /
The July/August 2010 issue of Analog is here and the stories are all well worth reading.
The fiction begins with "Doctor Alien's Five Empty Boxes" by Rajnar Vajra. This is a sequel to "Dr. Alien" in the Jan/Feb 2009 issue and again features Dr. Alanso J. Morganson, a psychiatrist who deals with extraterrestrials. When I reviewed that story, I favorably compared it to James White's Sector General series and hoped to see more about the characters and the Trader aliens known as the Tsf. Here we have the answer to both my requests. Dr. Alien as Al has become known has been set up in practice by the Tsf in an office near his home. His treatment of aliens does not sit well with his neighbors and things are not improved when his car explodes. Only the quick intervention of Tadehtraulaging, his security officer of the race known as the Vapapond, saves his life. He has other problems, a Vapapond patient who is totally unresponsive, a mysterious gift robot from the Hoouk (the race of one of the aliens he treated in the first story, and the odd behavior of his physical therapist, Gara of the Vithy, towards the visiting Tlf, Deal-often-lifetimes. All this comes together for another delightful story that again, I hope, is part of a series.
Carl Frederick's "The Long Way Around" is set on the Moon, sometime in the future when we have the First Lunar Outpost and a Silent Earth Radio Telescope there. Dr. Adrian Clarke, an Australian, arrives there with a new lunar vehicle, the Lunaroo, which actually leaps like a kangaroo. He and another get into some trouble but use a little ingenuity to survive in a nicely done little story.
"Questioning the Tree" by Brad Aiken is set in a 2055 when health care is strictly controlled by the government. All diagnosing is done by machines and doctors are not even allowed to touch patients. Jenkins remembers what it used to be like but is frightened into submission when doctor friends of his are arrested for violating the rules. Can he find a way? Aiken gives us a nice little cautionary tale of a possible future.
Marianne J. Dyson gives us a beautiful story in "Fly Me to the Moon". George is a high school student who regularly visits an old man, known only as Bob Smith, in a nursing home. Smith has Alzheimer's and can remember only certain things, like that he was a pilot and 'Bob Smith' is not his real name. George has had some success getting him to respond to a flight simulation game. When a real emergency develops on the Moon with a recreated Apollo flight, he learns who Smith really is.
The lead character in "Bug Trap" by Stephen L. Burns is Glyph, Giorgio Lennon Phale. He's a "posto" who creates street art and graffiti to indulge in sloganeering, muckraking, etc. to generally make a pest of himself. He finds himself caught between the police and a street gang and escapes through what is commonly called a "bug trap". These had been set up by an alien race known as the B’hlug (known as Bugs) to transport humanity to a nice place they had set up for them on Venus. Governments don't like them but people have entered them and Glyph does to save his life. He winds up in some interesting places and I won't go into more detail. I'll just say that the story draws you right in and gives you some interesting characters.
The first of the stories with a long title is "The Single Larry Ti, or Fear of Black Holes and Ken" by Brenda Cooper. It's actually singularity and Ken is the ex-husband of our narrator. She has to face a "Court of All Worlds" that will rule on whether a Lunar Ring super-collider should be shut down because it might create a black hole. In this brief story, we get a good character study and look at the future.
Scott William Carter contributes another long-titled story year with "The Android Who Became a Human Who Became an Android". Dexter Duff is a private eye in some future society and one day finds his old girlfriend, Ginger, in his hotel room. She wants to hire him and, since she is now rich, she can pay him a lot. She had broken his heart and his bank account years before but he reluctantly accepts. Her husband is Vergon Daughn, millionaire owner of a massive "stepdock company", an android who had his memories implanted into a biological sentient body and became human. Unfortunately, he wasn't happy that way and became an android again. He went though all of this just to make Ginger happy. Then, he disappeared. With his business in jeopardy, the only one Ginger can trust to find Vergon is Dexter. Thus starts a nice little detective story with a good conclusion. All in all, this was a very good read.
"Project Hades" by Stephen Baxter is like one of the old Dr. Quatermass movies with a bit of Dr. Strangelove mixed in and a dash of that good old British fighting spirit. It's just about Halloween 1960 in Great Britain. The Allies are going to test an underground nuclear bomb in an old mine shaft. A local amateur geologist has some concerns and two representatives of a special branch of the British Ministry of Defense are looking into their own concerns. All this make for a rip-snorting great story!
While I usually just review the short fiction, I will say that Richard A. Lovett contributes a thoroughly enjoyable essay "The Serious Business of Writing Humor" and that Geoffrey A. Landis contributes a beautiful little poem with "Rondel for Apollo 11: Here Men from Planet Earth."
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