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Analog Science Fiction and Fact - April 2011 - Vol. CXXXI No.4
Edited by Stanley Schmidt
Cover Artist: Jean-Pierre Normand
Review by Sam Tomaino
Analog Magazine  ISBN/ITEM#: 1059-2113
Date: 21 February 2011

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

The April 2011 of Analog features stories Adam-Troy Castro, Paul Levinson, Thomas R. Dulski, Larry Niven, Paula S. Jordan, Edward M. Lerner, Dave Creek, Jerry Oltion, and a Probability Zero by Alastair Meyer along with the usual features.

The April 2011 issue of Analog is a real good one, with a Hugo-worthy story.

The fiction begins with the novella, "Hiding Place" by Adam-Troy Castro. Told from the point of view of Andrea Cort, a character introduced in a 2002 Analog story and further developed in three novels, the story centers in a murder committed by a man named Harriman. Cort is called in by Lyra Bengid, an old acquaintance with whom Cort has had a tendentious relationship. The problem with prosecuting Harriman is he has linked with two others, Mi and Zi Diyamen, and they are now one personality. They are not guilty of murder, how can you prosecute one without committing an injustice to the other two? Complicating this is the presence of a linked pair, Oscin and Skye Porrinyard, who Cort is planning on linking to herself. This all comes together for a great story, like Iíve become accustomed to from Adam-Troy Castro. So much so, I will be adding it to my Hugo nominations shortlist for next year.

In "Ian's Ions and Eons" by Paul Levinson books a time travel service to go back to the year 2000 on what he says is personal business. Actually, he means to change an historical event. You can probably think of objections to the plausibility of this, but don't let that worry you. Levinson overcomes the problems with a pretty good conclusion.

Larry Niven contributes another witty, two-page Draco's Tavern story in "The Flare Weed". An alien from the race called the Quarasht tells of an intelligent weed they discovered when a planet's sun flared out. It's what they want to do with the weed that concerns our narrator.

Paula S. Jordanís "Two Look at Two" is inspired by a poem of the same title by Robert Frost. It tells of an elderly couple, Jason and Sara, who live with their dog Shep, in a cabin in the woods. They can sense there is something out there. Is it friendly or not? This was a nice, little first contact story.

In "Blessed Are the Bleak" by Edward M. Lerner, Malcolm Jenkins works for Universal Care, nationalized health care. There are many issues he has to deal with. One is: are people who have become Virts, personalities downloaded into cyberspace, due the same rights as those that are flesh and blood? The story comes up with some conclusion, but not a particularly interesting one.

"Remembering Rachel" by Dave Creek is a murder mystery, set on the Moon. Evidence in the habitat of a woman named Rachel Cantara suggests she has been disintegrated. Who did it? Her fiancť is Lunar Secretary Grayson Whitford, currently deep in negotiations to achieve freedom for the Moon from Earth's domination. They interrogate him and, while he convincingly denies he killed the woman, there is evidence that his memory was snipped. I won't reveal the end but just say that it came to a good solution and an enjoyable read.

Modern medicine is the question in "Quack" by Jerry Oltion. Doctor Dustin Wegner, a traditional doctor, goes on television to dispute Doctor Nathan LeTourneau about the efficacy of homeopathic medicine. This kind of medicine says that even when a patient is given an incredibly diluted form of medicine, it will still work. Le Tourneau challenges Wegner to participate in a double-blind study that he could design to prove one way or the other if homeopathic medicine works. The results are surprising and make for another good story.

The issue concludes with "Balm of Hurt Minds" by Thomas R. Dulski. It has been twenty years since aliens parked their ship in orbit around the Earth. They are called "the Neighbors" and have been reasonably friendly, giving Earth some of their knowledge. Tomma Lee is a reporter assigned to do a story and finds some interesting things connected to a sleeping drug that the Neighbors developed. All in all, this was a well-told story and a nice end for the issue.

This issue also has a Probability Zero in "Small Penalties" by Alastair Meyer has a hilarious punishment for someone caught sending 30 million spam e-mails.

This was an exceptional issue of Analog. Subscribe and don't miss the next one!

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