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Analog Science Fiction and Fact - March 2011 - Vol. CXXXI No.3
Edited by Stanley Schmidt
Cover Artist: Dr. Mark A. Garlick
Review by Sam Tomaino
Analog Magazine  ISBN/ITEM#: 1059-2113
Date: 30 December 2010

Links: Analog Science Fiction & Fact / Pub Info / Table of Contents /

The March 2011 of Analog features stories by Paul Carlson, John G. Hemry, Sarah Frost, Brad Aiken, Craig DeLancey, Bud Sparhawk, Jerry Oltion, and a Probability Zero by Robert A. Prestridge along with the usual features.

The March 2011 issue of Analog is a good one full of well-written stories.

The fiction begins with "Rule Book" by Paul Carlson. Claude Dremmel is a truck driver in a near future in which robots have become very intelligent. He partners with Mek, a robot he has come to like quite a bit. We get a good, amusing look at a few days of his life, which include Halloween and a political rally. This was a thoroughly enjoyable story.

"Falls the Firebrand" by Sarah Frost features Youngha, the linguist-generalist of a three person crew that has landed on a planet with native life forms. The trouble is that it has been identified as a colony world of the Three Suns Technocracy that sends out seed ships full of nanotech that overwhelm a world. What will happen to the natives? This was another compactly written tale that I liked quite a bit.

In "Hiding from Nobel" by Brad Aiken, four friends from summer camp in 1985 agree to meet at a certain spot, 25 years later. Our narrator shows up first, followed by his friend, Solly. Solly tells him that one of the group, Zeke, died in 1994. What happened to Jeffrey, the fourth member of their party makes for a nice little story.

The phrase "Julie is Three" in the story by Craig DeLancey, doesn't mean she's three years old. She is actually eight years old and her parents have just been killed in a traffic accident. She was in the car but has only a broken arm. When psychiatrist Douglas Everly talks to her, he realizes she had three personalities, Julie, Juliana, and Juny. He suspects some sort of abuse and is not sure if he should release her to her aunt. When he finds out what is going on and decides what to do, it makes a difference in his own life, too. DeLancey has written an excellent story here, with well drawn characters.

The meaning of "Astronomic Distance, Geologic Time" in Bud Sparhawk's story is told in alternating parts. One starts with a two-year old boy being given a puppy. The other starts with an advanced society at the precise center of the universe sending out ships looking for the edge of the universe. We follow the story through billions of years in this nicely written piece.

Jerry Oltion's "Taboo" starts with Edward meeting a woman named McKenna in an art gallery. They strike up a conversation and establish that he is 200 years old and she's 150. This is a future in which longevity treatments have extended life indefinitely. There are drawbacks in that you can only remember back so far. There have been also many changes in society. Taboos have fallen and one particular one is the focus of this story. Oltion does a good job of positing what might happen in such a changed society.

The issue concludes with "Betty Knox and Dictionary Jones in the Mystery of the Missing Teenage Anachronisms" by John G. Hemry. This was one of the most enjoyable reads I've had in long time. Betty Knox and Jim "Dictionary" Jones are fifteen-year-old kids who go to the same high school. Actually, they are their future selves--personalities sent back from 2040. Betty Knox was sent to change a few things environmentally. Jim has been sent back to protect her because others on the same project have disappeared. They must do all these things and still seem like normal kids. It was especially clever how Hemry worked the whole story out.

This issue also has a Probability Zero in "Timeshare" by Robert A. Prestridge. This one gives us an amusing look at choices Joe Johnson has for a regular month-long vacation. One is a paradise called Elysian Fields. Theo other is something quite different.

I'll says it again, subscribe to Analog.

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