Analog Science Fiction and Fact – July/August 2013 – Vol. CXXXIII No. 7 & 8
Edited by Trevor Quachri
Cover Artist: Tomislav Tikulin
Review by Sam Tomaino
Analog Magazine ISBN/ITEM#: 1059-2113
Date: 28 April 2013
Links: Analog Science Fiction & Fact / Pub Info / Table of Contents /
The July/August 2013 issue of Analog is here and it's a pretty good one!
The short fiction begins with "Thaw" by Arlan Andrews, Sr. – Thess is out with his sons when they encounter a wild beast called a velk. It attacks them but the two-leg Thess is riding quickly dispatches it. Thess is taking his sons to the edge of the great glacier. They make money by transporting ice to regions down south. As the story goes on, we learn about their culture and where they really are. The end is not particularly surprising, but the story is good enough.
"Not With a Bang" by Rosemary Claire Smith - Marty has won the plum job of going on the first manned mission to the late Cretaceous, in what will be modern day Montana. He will be accompanying Dr. Derek Dill, the world's authority on duckbill dinosaurs. He will be gone for six months and he will miss the woman he loves, the beautiful reporter Julianna. Marty and Dill make the trip back successfully. Marty is fine but Dill's allergies react badly to the pollen of the time. This one ends with a really different treaty on what killed the dinosaurs. Good fun and an enjoyable story.
"Other People's Avatars" by Howard V. Hendrix – Most of this novella consisted of a guy named Anderson "Andy" McKinnon traveling around friends' homes in Earth's orbit to play virtual reality games. The game-playing, drug-taking and drinking gets old real fast and the story seems a bit cribbed from a Burt Lancaster movie called The Swimmer, based on a John Cheever story. By the time you get to the twist at the last page, you don't care anymore except that you wasted the time reading the previous 24 pages.
"Ready, Set" by Mary Lou Klecha - Our narrator has always been on waiting lists to emigrate to Mars, Titan, Europa, Io, Alpha Centauri, the generation ships, anywhere. This is how life is. Good quick look at how that might affect people.
"Milk Run" by Alec Austin and Marissa Lingen - Sergeant Zubiando and her second-in command Antero Koskinen are on the supply run to Gamma Vulpecula Nine on a routine run. The only problem is wet-behind-the ears Private Chovnik, who isn't used to how things are done. He gets into all kinds of trouble. Amusing little piece.
"Tethered" by Harris A. Durrani – A story of the near future where there are so many artificial satellites in orbit around the Earth, they are a menace. Charlie and Kalima are employed clearing some of it out of the way for a powerful corporation. But things are not easy when international politics gets involved. Nasty little downer story.
"The Chaplain's Legacy" by Brad R. Torgersen - Harrison Barlow has been a chaplain's assistant and has been recommissioned a Warrant Officer in Earth's fleet. The aliens known as the mantes are going to renew hostilities. Barlow had somehow negotiated an armistice with them so that a mantes professor could study religion, a concept unknown in their culture. When hostilities break out, Barlow, a young woman named Captain Adanaho, the mantes professor, and their Queen Mother wind up on a planet together trying to survive. Over the course of the story, they bond in unexpected ways and even the Queen Mother learns something about herself. Good solidly built story with well-drawn characters.
"A Quiet Little Town in Minnesota" by K.C. Ball – The town of Blackduck, Minnesota is self-aware. It's been fine with being a small town. But three days ago, something called DARPA's Red Lake Project went online and it has acquired a sense of humor. It also wants to spread over the whole world. The project was designed to "create an electronic and self-aware individual for use by the military". The town finds its intrusions noticed by Darrell and Toni, who work for the DARPA project. How will it deal with them? Its use of philosophers with homophonic names might lend a clue, but I'll leave it at that. Another fun story!
"Cronus and the Ships" by Seth Dickinson - All the ships sent out by man to explore the universe have found a menace in the Cronus machines. Should the warn Earth? Defend it without telling them? Abandon it? They put it to a vote. Interesting and well done!
"Love" by Rick Norwood – Steven Latham still remembers the beautiful lady that kissed him on the cheek at his uncle's estate when he was six years old. Fifteen years later, he is spending the summer there and sees her again. He finds out she is starship captain Helen O'Reilly and, for her, it has only been four months since she kissed him. She owns a cottage near his uncle's. They make love but she departs the next day. They have two more encounters in this profoundly cute story.
"Crep D'Etoile" by Bud Sparhawk – Mason is the executive officer on the spaceship Marianna. He has to deal with many issues, most of which seem to be about the ship's cuisine. Preparing meals on a spaceship is pure science. Meals must be processed from recycled matter. The passengers eat the same food every 10 days. Waste material becomes a gray substance called Consumable Reconstituted Engineered Product or CREP. Chef D'Etoile and his staff can transform this substance to mimic any Earth food. A progressive refuses to eat what even looks like meat. A wine connoisseur wants to see their nonexistent cellar. The Fleet Commander, a Navy man, refers to the chef as a cook. This all makes for one very funny story.
Even given the couple of clunkers, this issue of Analog has plenty to recommend it. Subscribe!