Analog Science Fiction and Fact – January/February 2014 – Vol. CXXXIV No. 1&2
Edited by Trevor Quachri
Cover Artist: David A. Hardy
Review by Sam Tomaino
Analog Magazine ISBN/ITEM#: 1059-2113
Date: 24 November 2013
Links: Analog Science Fiction & Fact / How to Subscribe / Pub Info / Table of Contents /
The January/February 2014 issue of Analog is here and it's pretty good.
The short fiction begins with the novella, "Music to Me" by Richard A. Lovett -+- Brittney is a sentient AI who has been in other stories in Analog, most recently in "Neptune's Treasure" in the Jan/Feb 2010 issue. At the end of that she was separated from being an implant in Floyd, her partner in those other stories. Here she has been implanted into the brain of the wild heiress Memphis Lindgren, by Memphis' mother. Her instructions are to keep her out of trouble. Brittney has been contacted by a sentient AI like herself who wants Brittney to join up with it. This would result in Memphis' death and Brittney does not want that. She also does not trust this other being. Brittney must find a way to help Memphis and herself in this nicely-done story.
"Mousunderstanding" by Carl Frederick -+- Roger is a junior Cultural Liaison Officer, accompanying Duncan a trade negotiator to the plant Madhya Loka for the Angloterrans. Madhya Loka, a planet settled by humans, seems to have an abundant supply of gold and Duncan wants to make a deal, if only to suppress an oversupply of the metal. They arrive in the city of Girikanauraksanasthana, which translates as "mouse haven". They have competition with Jacques Bouchard of Club Francophone. Jacques seems to be winning when Roger finds out some important information about the planet's culture and economy. Pretty amusing, but just that.
"Wine, Women and Stars" by Thoraiya Dyer -+- Felicia de Martino wants to go to Mars, but someone stands in her way, her best friend's daughter, Bridget. When they took the extensive tests for the mission, Bridget came out number one. Now, through a convenient quirk of fate, Felicia is the one operating on her, removing her internal organs to be replaced by nanobots, required for the mission. Just one mistake would disqualify Bridget for the mission. Felicia reflects on her past and Bridget's as she removes organs one after the other. Good story, but how else could it end other than the way it did?
"This is as I Wish to Be Restored" by Christie Yant -+- Our narrator works in a failed cryogenics lab that has had to eliminate most of its patients. He (or she) has become obsessed with a beautiful woman who "died" young and has stolen her unit and file. Otherwise, she would have been one of those eliminated. Can this action insure her resurrection? Our narrator hopes so. Good look at obsession.
"The Tansy Tree" by Rob Chilson -+- In a future society with a very rigid aristocratic structure, Darioch, who is high in the government gives up all duties to attend to his ailing wife, Ziana. Their child had been stillborn and she has not recovered from it. He receives numerous entreaties to return to the Capitol to avert a crisis, but he refuses. he even turns down a woman he loves even more than his wife. Interesting look at a man truly devoted but it gets bogged down a bit in the stilted language of the future.
"The Problem With Reproducible Bugs" by Marie DesJardin -+- Vincent Barnaby is a neuroscientist working against time. He has a terminal medical condition and now he has been found twice unconscious in his lab with his memory of the precious two days wiped out. When we find out what he is doing, we find out what is causing the blackouts. Fairly good story with some speculation as to what will happen next.
"Just Like Grandma Used to Make" by Brenta Blevins -+- Jackie wants to reproduce an old-fashioned holiday meal for her son, Benny. Does she succeed? Brief dystopian tale.
"Racing Prejudice" by John Frye III -+- Our narrator is an AI that has built himself a human body to run the four-hundred-meter sprint in the 2092 Olympics. Many want him to fail. An okay story.
"Technological Plateau" by Michael Turton -+- Balan and Jensen are exploring Sulla IV which seems to be an ecological paradise with no predators and an ample supply of food that humans can eat. Suddenly all the native animal life stops moving. Shortly after that, they are knocked out and all their technological equipment is rendered useless. What happened? Is this what happened to the ship they found crashed from years ago. We learn everything in the last paragraphs via an info dump from one of the scientists. Okay, but a bit anticlimactic.
"This Quiet Dust" by Karl Bunker -+- Henrick Tarkowski is a renowned botanist and part of the crew of the spaceship Kabutara exploring a new planet as they fly by. They only have a few days to explore as their ship cannot actually stop. Henrick is elderly and frequently waxes poetic to the annoyance of Emilie. He has also been observing these unusual dust structures that are everywhere and fly apart when touched. The question about the planet is why is there no nonaquatic animal life on it. Henrick observes the dust and the patterns of plant life and makes some observations. Very interesting story with a good character in Henrick.
The short fiction concludes with "Determined Spirits" by Grey Rollins -+- Adrian Cunningham is awakened from cryogenic sleep on the spaceship Gandhi on route to a planet called Anish. It takes a while to wake up and get moving but, eventually, he does. He finds out that he had been awakened because the ship had been holed by a tiny meteor and he fixes that problem. Then, he finds out there's another problem. The ship's computer had spaced many of the sleeping colonists. Why? The reason is a big disappointment and is all about simplistic political reasons spouted by a cliché villain. A good problem-solving story ruined by politics.
A pretty good issue. Analog is still worth subscribing to.