Analog Science Fiction and Fact - January/February 2011 - Vol. CXXXI Nos.1&2
Edited by Stanley Schmidt
Cover Artist: Bob Eggleton
Review by Sam Tomaino
Analog ISBN/ITEM#: 1059-2113
Date: 25 November 2010
Links: Analog Science Fiction & Fact / Pub Info / Table of Contents /
The January/February 2011 issue of Analog is another one of their double issues, chock full of good stuff.
The fiction begins with "At Cross Purposes" by Juliette Wade. The story is told from two viewpoints, humans terraforming a planet and an alien race who happens upon them. Misunderstandings cause the deaths of most of the humans and it falls on Lynn, an engineer to find a way to make peace. Wade does a good job with the alien point of view but you have to pay close attention. It's worth the extra effort.
In "The Unfinished Man" by Dave Creek, Mike Christopher is visiting the planet Keleni to check up on 85 year old Leo Bakri. His friends are worried about him. Leo is quite happy being alone. He shows Mike around and we get a nice tour of the planet. We also find some interesting things about Mike. This was another good tale.
Lieutenant Francis Patrick Delahanty needs "A Snitch in Time" in the next entry by Donald Moffitt. He is nearing retirement and an unsolved murder of an assistant district attorney, thirty years ago, still galls him. He decides to use time travel to catch the culprit, even though that would not be easy. Not to spoil things too much, but he gets his man, in an unexpected way in this good solid story.
"Some of Them Closer" by Marissa Lingen features terraformer Mireille Ayotte, returning to Earth. She has aged 20 years, but 100 years has passed on Earth. She finds her hometown, Montreal, a different place. The floors are squishy and everyone eats pears a lot. She meets an old friend and fellow terraformer, Stephane, and they both find their way in this nice little tale.
The "Enigma", in the story by Sean McMullen, is a planet that people from Earth are exploring. It is truly mysterious. The planet is all city, not oceans, mountains, or polar ice caps. There is oxygen in the atmosphere, but no water or carbon dioxide. All surfaces are curved so that no one could walk on them. Those from Earth are strange, too: people with DNA from a wolf, a rat and dogs. The story gets a little bogged down in explanation, but the solution to the mystery is quite good.
"The First Conquest of Earth" by David M. Goldman is not what you think. In 2013, ships from the Orelop Hegemony arrive in Earth orbit and immediately demand the surrender of the planet, the plundering of its resources and the enslavement of its people. The civilized countries of the world are frightened, but when a nuclear missile from North Korea destroys an Orelop ship, they surrender and Earth has its first conquest. That is not as great as it appears in this witty, little tale.
Veteran writer, Norman Spinrad, gives us the brief "Out There". After the launch of a "biosphere probe... the Project Director, the Old Astronaut, and the Star Science Fiction Writer" gather in a bar to discuss the impossibilities of space travel and why we'd do it anyway. We get some interesting observations from an old pro.
Stephen L. Burns gives us a brave new world in "Stay". Canine-like aliens came to Earth, five years in the past. They were outraged that primate-like humans had come out on top and made pets of dogs. They wipe out the humans and elevate the dogs. They have been over-written with human brains and made to walk upright. Their paws were changed to hands and they have been put in charge. The President of the United States is a border collie named Bill. He has sent his assistant Merlin to deal with a rebel named General Wolf who has taken over part of Colorado and rules it with an iron paw. The General has something very dangerous and Merlin must do something about it. The premise may be unlikely, but this was a very good story.
The "Non-Native Species" that Janet Freeman tells us about is a predator named Ki, deposited in Australia by aliens from a planet that was wiped out by Ki. Gen is one of those aliens, inhabiting a human body. Monitoring Ki's progress, he befriends an aborigine woman named Barina and finds something deadly to both him and Ki, in this well-told tale.
"The Frog Prince" by Michael F. Flynn begins with a scarred man awakening in a strange place. His name is Donovan and he has multiple personalities that can run simultaneously. They can all help him in some way. He has been kidnapped by Rayn Olafsdottr, a Shadow for the Confederation of Central Worlds. She had also stolen the ship they were traveling in. Such begins an entertaining game of cat and mouse between Donovan and all his personalities and Rayn. There is even another participant that joins the fray. Add a mysterious artifact called The Frog Prince and you have one supremely entertaining story.
The novella, "The First Day of Eternity" by Domingo Santos (as translated by Stanley Schmidt) concludes this issue. This is the grand story of Diaspora 32, one of many ships sent out from Earth, 721 years in the past to disperse humanity, and specifically, the Jewish faith, throughout the Universe. Many generations had passed for the some 25 to 30 thousand on board at any one time. A new religion of the ship had taken the place of the old faith, overseen by the robotic Caretaker of the ship. The story tells of what happens in the first year of the colony called New Earth: their adaption to their new world and their discovery of an indigenous intelligent species they call 'rollers'. This was beautifully told and a perfect centerpiece for the issue.
This issue also has a Probability Zero in "Multivacís Singularity" by Richard A. Lovett. When a computer achieves the Singularity, it runs out of things to do. Then it gets a big surprise in this hilarious tale.
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