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Analog Science Fiction and Fact – December 2015 – Vol. CXXXV No. 12 by Trevor Quachri
Edited by Trevor Quachri
Cover Artist: Angela Harbum/Shutterstock.com
Review by Sam Tomaino
Analog Magazine / eMag  ISBN/ITEM#: 1059-2113
Date: 25 October 2015

Links: Analog SF & F / How to Subscribe / Pub Info / Table of Contents /

The December 2015 of Analog features stories by Catherine Wells, Edward M. Lerner, Bud Sparhawk, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Brendan DuBois, and Bill Johnson, a fact article by Stanley Schmidt, a poem by Ken Poyner, plus the regular features.

The December 2015 issue of Analog is here and it's a very good one to end the year.

The short fiction begins with "Builders of Leaf Horses" by Catherine Wells. -+- Marta and Shipner are humans exploring Dray's Planet when Shipner breaks his leg in a fall. Marta puts a splint on it and makes crutches but in the meantime they encounter the intelligent bipedal natives of the planet who communicate by hand signs. In addition to the human viewpoint, we also get that of the natives. They are a matriarchal society lead by an older female named Motherlove. She is concerned by the smoke coming from the mountain (a volcano). She is also concerned that her daughters, and other females in the village, have been born without the ancestral memories handed down generation and generation without teaching. The two cultures are able to communicate in this nicely-done first contact story.

"Footprints in the Snow" by Bud Sparhawk -+- Alberto is a widower, living alone, and is very angry that the federal government has placed a refugee alien family in the vacant house next door. These are extraterrestrial aliens, the Tsuanit, whose ship, fleeing a war, crashed into the Pacific Ocean. For a while, he reacts with classic xenophobic attitudes, but that changes when he sees their children. A heartwarming tale with a Christmas element. After all, this is the December issue.

"The Museum of Modern Warfare" by Kristine Kathryn Rusch -+- Our narrator is a former soldier, returning to the planet and island where she fought a great battle. She denies it, but she still has emotional scars from the experience. She comes back as an ambassador and tours the museum that the native Crank have made honoring their people and the humans. What she sees has a deep effect on her. As I always seem to say, another great story from Kristine Kathryn Rusch.

"The Master's Voice" by Brendan DuBois -+- It's Jake's seventh birthday, and after, doing his chores, his family throws him a birthday party. But this is a special birthday, one on which he can sign, or not, the compact which every citizen of the space station signs to become a citizen. Jake signs the compact and his father shows him a special sight and lets him hear words of the Master, someone who may be familiar to Analog readers. Well done!

"Paris, 1835" by Bill Johnson -+- Time travelers intervene in the Paris of 1835 so they can change history back to their own timeline and go home. But others are stranded in a splendid café. Nicely done.

The short fiction concludes with "A Case of Identity" by Edward M. Lerner. -+- The story starts out as a classic hard-boiled detective story with a beautiful dame walking into a private eye's office, but in this case the office is a virtual one and the private eye is a "q-mind...not carbon-based, (which) doesn't make (his) intelligence artificial". It develops from a quantum computer and has full human rights. The dame is Mary Michelle Millikan, heiress (nicknamed M-cube by the press). She wants our narrator, who calls himself Sherlock, to find her missing fiancée who is also a q-mind. Sherlock investigates and finds an answer and shows some of his own humanity.

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