Analog Science Fiction and Fact - November 2011 - Vol. CXXXI No.11
Edited by Stanley Schmidt
Cover Artist: Shutterstock
Review by Sam Tomaino
Analog ISBN/ITEM#: 1059-2113
Date: 28 August 2011
Links: Analog Science Fiction & Fact / Pub Info / Table of Contents /
The November 2011 issue of Analog has some great stories, mostly by their regulars.
The short fiction begins the issue's novella, "With Unclean Hands" by Adam-Troy Castro. It feature Andrea Cort who was previously seen in other Analog novellas: "Unseen Demons", "Hiding Place", and three novels. This story actually takes place before all the others with Cort at the beginning of her diplomatic and legal career. She is an advocate for an evil man named Simon Farr, murderer and rapist. A race called the Zinn want him so they can better understand why anyone would be so evil. They will treat him like a king and, in return, give humanity their greatly advanced knowledge. But there is more going on and that makes for a fantastic story of the kind that I have been accustomed to getting from Adam-Troy Castro. Whoa! Wait a second. I just checked. That's what I said about "Hiding Place" in the April issue! I should check out those novels. So should the rest of you.
"Ian, Isaac and John" by Paul Levinson is follow-up to another story that appeared in the April issue, "Ian's Ions and Eons". This one involves a guy who travels back to 1975 to improve the track of a David Bowie song to make it a bigger hit. He's a descendant of Bowie and would benefit from it. But the story also involves warning John Lennon about December 8, 1980. Once again, Levinson put some nice twists into a time-travel story.
In "The Boneless One" by Alec Nevala-Lee, Trip is a journalist on the Lancet, a yacht engaged in scientific research. The owner is Ray, a scientist-millionaire who dreams of Nobel Prize glory and making a profit out of it. Others include Ellis and Gary who also scientists, Meg (Ray's girlfriend) and the ship's captain and crew. They come across a new species of luminous octopus, a large number of them gathered in a school. They capture one of them and things start to go wrong, beginning with a murder. This all develops into a pretty good story with an interesting solution.
In "Dig Site" by Jack McDevitt, Aaron Korvus is the head of the Phoros Archeological Museum and Magda Savvas is his assistant. When a company excavating a parking lot discovers a marble object shaped like a leg, they are called in. They eventually find pieces of two statues and an altar, 3000 years old. But things look odd. The armor on one of the statues is smooth. What is going on? They figure something out and it makes for a good ending to the story.
Don D'Ammassa provides a nice little cautionary tale in "The Buddy System". Our narrator has known Arthur Buddy for thirty years when they were kids together. Buddy is a genius and developed a computer that was very good at extrapolating world events. It came to be called Little Buddy. Against his better judgment, Buddy allows them to build another machine that uses more speculative input. It is called Big Buddy. The machines are not aware of themselves or each other, at first. When they do figure out their existences, there are problems. I was skeptical about how well such computers would work but this was made up for by the appropriate end to the story.
Brandon knows his "Rocket Science" in Jerry Oltion's tale. He's used it to build his own rocket and launch himself into space. He finds he's not the only guy up there and realizes something about himself. This was another nice little story from Oltion.
The fiction concludes with "Chumbolone" by Bill Johnson. Our narrator is the campaign manager for the president of the United States, locked in a tight re-election battle. A man who works for the mayor of Chicago offers him the graveyard vote but at an unacceptable price. Our narrator knows a man named Broca (first introduced in story called "Evelyn's Children" in the December 1991 issue) who is, essentially a vampire. Another vampire named Georgianna has some people that can help our narrator out. What might the price be there? I won't spoil it but to say that this one ends with one of the most fantastic things ever in a science fiction story, all very cleverly done.
Again, I say, subscribe to Analog.