Analog Science Fiction and Fact - December 2011 - Vol. CXXXI No.12
Edited by Stanley Schmidt
Cover Artist: Bob Eggleton
Review by Sam Tomaino
Analog ISBN/ITEM#: 1059-2113
Date: 25 October 2011
Links: Analog Science Fiction & Fact / Pub Info / Table of Contents /
The December 2011 issue of Analog has some very good stories, one of which is Hugo worthy.
The short fiction begins with "Ray of Light" by Brad R. Torgersen, Thomas Leighton lives on an Earth where mankind has retreated to living at the bottom of the sea. Aliens, for no known reason, have blocked the Sun's rays and Earth has frozen over. Thomas' wife has committed suicide. His daughter, Jenna, has become obsessed with a Sun she has never seen. For no particular good reason, no one has gone up towards the surface to see if the ice pack has melted. Jenna and her friends decide to do that. This was a nice enough story but the end was just a little to pat.
Two teenagers in the future try "Turning It Off" in the story by Susan Forest. The 'It' is what is called a safety which not only protects them from harm but any kind of sensation. As teenagers might do, they turn off each of their safeties and get into trouble. They don't learn from this trouble in this amusing tale.
"Freudian Slipstream" by Brad Aiken starts out with Jackson Carr at an open-air bar on a beach. He's drinking a beer when a beautiful woman rides up on a horse, drinks a glass of ale and rides off. We find out that there is something else going on. Carr is doing important work and to say more would spoil things. It seems the author had to go pretty far to make a story but it was enjoyable.
Next up is "Hidden" by Kyle Kirkland. Martin Robinson is an expert on super-geniuses who were made that way through a drug that Robinson helped make illegal. One of them, Bernard Flik, has taken over a weapons lab and Robinson has been called in by a military that he despises. It goes without saying that things are not what they seem. Even Robinson is forced to face his own prejudices. All in all, this was pretty good story.
In "Art for Splendor's Sake" by Dave Creek, Chanda Kasmira has the job of evacuating the native species of the planet Splendor to other planets. Splendor will be unlivable for a while because of a gas nebula from a star that has gone supernova. There are three intelligent species, one aquatic and two land based. The two land based species have lived a cooperatively, with the highlanders trading furs for the valley dwellers' tools and weapons. The relocation means they will be going to different planets. The valley dwellers regard the highlanders as gods. This disruption of their culture is becoming a problem. An artist from Earth does something surprising and seems to resolve things, but I can't say why. This was an unsatisfactory story.
Kristine Kathryn Rusch's "The Impossibles" features Kerrie Steinmetz, a lawyer with the Multicultural Tribunal system, specifically serving on a base mostly dedicated to InterSpecies Court for the First District, known as the Impossibles. It is the court that different species go to when their laws are in conflict. After almost two years in the system, she finally wins her first case. I won't say more but that the victory is bittersweet. As is the norm for Kristine Kathryn Rusch, this was a well-crafted tale.
The issue concludes on a strong note with the novelette "Not For Ourselves Alone" by Charles E. Gannon. Earth is about to be attacked by a race called the Arat Kur. They had been badly defeated in an engagement at Barnard's Star. Now the Arat Kur were headed for the Hephaestus, a space station near Jupiter. An international force has been deployed there not to actually engage the enemy in battle, but to figure out what kind of powerful weapon they had. Sergei Andreyev is a Russian who distrusts Americans but he thinks that their initial determination that it had been a particle beam weapon is wrong. He is joined in this by one of the Americans, John Costa. The story is mostly about Sergei learning to overcome his prejudices but it also features some great space battles. This was a great way to end the issue and earns the story entry on my Hugo short list for next year.
Definitely an issue of Analog worth picking up. Better yet, subscribe!