Analog Science Fiction and Fact September 2013 Vol. CXXXIII No. 9
Edited by Trevor Quachri
Cover Artist: Bob Eggleton
Review by Sam Tomaino
Analog ISBN/ITEM#: 1059-2113
Date: 25 June 2013
Links: Analog Science Fiction & Fact / Pub Info / Table of Contents /
The September 2013 issue of Analog is here and its one of the best of the year!
The short fiction begins with "The Whale God" by Alec Nevala-Lee. The setting is South Vietnam, 1968, in a small town 1000 kilometers south of Khe Sanh, where the siege is taking place. Captain Exley is an U.S. Army doctor taking care of some villagers when a whale washes on shore. It's still alive and Exley wants to get it back into the ocean. The villagers regard the whale "as a representative of the faceless whale god that ruled the ocean and held all fishermen under its protection, accompanied by the souls of men lost at sea". Getting the whale back in the ocean will win over the village. Unfortunately, before they can get the whale back in the water, it dies. The villagers think he killed it. Then, three more whales wash up on the beach. The story is well-told and is, obviously, a metaphor for our involvement in the war and it has a killer last line.
"Full Fathom Five" by Joe Pitkin -- Maria is stranded at the bottom of an ocean on Europa. A disaster has destroyed the ship that brought her and the only companionship she has is an AI named Ariel. Well, there is also a native creature which is shaped like a human penis. It appears to be dead but Maria is having strange dreams of her father and the creature is extruding elements like ytrrium chloride and uranium oxide which she needs to survive. What is going on here? You can go one of two ways. Either Maria is dreaming all of this or she will really be rescued. Good story.
"The Oracle" by Lavie Tidhar -- Tidhar has been writing his stories for many publications, but this is the first in Analog. It is one of his Central Station stories, but in the very earliest days. Tidhar throws in references to characters he has created which might confuse new readers. The main story focuses on Matt Cohen and the creation of the artificial intelligences known as the Others and also on Ruth Cohen, who joins with the Others in a special way, becoming known as the Oracle. I'm guessing we will hear more about her in future stories. Tidher is one of the field's best new writers and the Central Station is a great creation. This story is as beautifully written as any of this others. It's getting time for a collection so we can better put it all together.
"Life of the Author Plus Seventy" by Kenneth Schneyer -- Eric Weiss is a published author and a lawyer whose one book had been read by nobody. He goes to work for a comic book company that has a curious clause in its contract dealing with copyright law. This all dovetails with one of the most absurd library fines of all time to become a pretty amusing, if unbelievable, tale.
"Creatures From a Blue Lagoon" by Liz J. Anderson -- Taje Jesmuhr is an interplanetary veterinarian with a difficult assignment. She must find out why an alien "cow" has stopped eating. She has to deal with a smart submarine, a smart suit and the "cow" which tries to eat her. Reasonably amusing, but it's been done before.
The fiction concludes with "Murder on the Aldrin Express" by Martin L. Shoemaker -- Who can resist a title like that? It is a misnomer, though, because the death being investigated did not happen on the Aldrin, but on Mars. Professor Azevedo had died from a fall when his cable broke while climbing and it's the job of the ship's captain, Nick Aames, to investigate when evidence turns up that makes it look like the line had been tampered with. Along with his second-in-command, Chief Anson Carver, he interrogates those that were on Mars with Acevedo. The solution is quite delicious!
We also have a Probability Zero called "Wreck Support" by Arlan Andrews, Sr. -- This was an amusing complaint letter from someone who lived a long time ago.