Analog Science Fiction and Fact - May 2011 - Vol. CXXXI No.5
Edited by Stanley Schmidt
Cover Artist: John Allemand
Review by Sam Tomaino
Analog ISBN/ITEM#: 1059-2113
Date: 26 April 2011
Links: Analog Science Fiction & Fact / Pub Info / Table of Contents /
The May 2011 issue of Analog is a pretty good one.
The fiction begins with the novella, "Tower of Worlds" by Rajnar Vajra. Erik lives in some sort of habitat called the Tower, of which there are many levels. There is not travel between levels and they are, apparently different. Erik's level has been ruled by an imperious royal family for a long time. A while back, there was a plague which threatened to wipe out the Queen and her family. Erik and a girl named Liana were picked to be experimented on for a cure. When Erik and Liana find themselves transformed into alien creatures, they find out something else is going on. This was a nice little adventure story that featured interesting aliens, a daring rescue and a lot more. All in all, it was a pretty interesting read.
Next is "Boumee and the Apes" by Ian McHugh. Boumee appears to be an intelligent elephant whose people are a matrilineal society. One day he hears the cry of one of his people and finds him dying, surrounded by apes with weapons. He fights them off, killing most of them, but one survives. He takes the ape back to his tribe and realizes he is intelligent and, therefore, people. His people argue that even though they might be intelligent, they are carnivores, like lions, and cannot be allowed to live. This did a pretty good job of explaining the issues between two cultures for whom peaceful co-existence might not be an option.
You can tell from the title, "The Wolf and the Panther Were Lovers", that the story by Walter L. Kleine will be something different and it is. Ace Craddock is a conman and card shark back in a little western town called Wiggin's Creek in 1883. He intends to fleece the locals at cards before leaving town. His plans change when a wolf and a panther stroll in for some good times. The locals call them Lupe and Kitty and don't seem bothered by the fact that they appear to talk. Craddock learns something of the situation, but isn't happy in this amusing tale.
"The Old Man's Best" in the story by Bud Sparhawk is home-brewed beer that Angus and Allen are trying to make on a space station near Jupiter. The administrators of the station have banned alcohol and this makes life hell for the Scotsman and Canadian Irishman. What follows are some hilarious escapades in their quest for the proper brew. All together, a pretty amusing story.
In "Ellipses" by Ron Collins, Laughlin West is a freelance writer living with his wife and their adopted daughter in Martinsville, Indiana. He notices that three mounds have appeared in his neighbor's back yard. The names of his neighbors are Tomas and Willie Ferguson who look "Scandinavian and spoke with a deep Minnesotan accent that marked them as Not From Here." Actually, Ferguson is a Scottish name and Tomas doesn't generally go with either culture so I think that's a bit sloppy. Anyway, West decides to check out the mounds and gets caught. Since this is a science fiction story, you might guess what the Fergusons are. The story tries to be a cautionary tale about prejudice. West's adopted daughter is from Mexico and experiences discrimination. However, it doesn't really work that way.
The issue concludes with "Blind Spot" by Bond Elam. Harry Carver is a near-future private eye with an A.I. assistant named Effie. He is hired by Lucas Van Buren, CEO of a pharmaceutical company that specializes in memory drugs. Lucas has a very human executive assistant named Virginia Radcliff and they explain their problem. One of their drugs, that they had not released, called Oblivion because it can make you forget things, has been stolen. Thieves are asking for a Botticelli painting for its return. This sets up quite an interesting caper story, but you might see the end coming.
I'd like to review the Probability Zero story, "What I Did on My Summer Vacation" by Jerry Oltion, but they didn't send it to me.
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