Analog Science Fiction and Fact - April 2016 - Vol. CXXXVI No. 04
Edited by Trevor Quachri
Cover Artist: Bob Eggleton
Review by Sam Tomaino
Analog ISBN/ITEM#: 1059-2113
Date: 25 February 2016
Links: Analog SF & F / How to Subscribe / Pub Info / Table of Contents /
The April 2016 issue of Analog is here and it's a good, solid issue.
The short fiction begins with "Seven Ways of Looking at the Sun-Worshippers of Yul-Katan" by Maggie Clark. -+- Our narrator escaped her native world of Yul-Katan where the people worship their sun so fanatically that they burn their skins, their eyes and, at the highest level, burn themselves by falling into their sun. She's part of the crew of the Petrin, a science vessel. They respond to an odd distress call and find a pod with one survivor who is dying. To our narrator's surprise, he is a cleric of the seventh plateau of her home world's religion, one who should have plunged into its sun. What was he doing where they found him. Next, they find themselves under attack from someone who initially looks like they are from Yul-Katan, but our narrator doesn't believe they are. They kill one of her shipmates, demanding the return of the body. Most of the rest of her shipmates also die. The solution as to why is not that satisfying in this story that goes way too long.
"Soap Opera" by Edward M. Lerner -+- In 1930s New York City, William Findley works as an engineer for a radio station that broadcasts a soap opera called Family First. The sponsor makes a odd request that recorded organ music would be used instead of the live organist. The sponsor provides the discs used and sales of their product soar. Findlay wonders about this. Also, Clara Chase, the beautiful actress he is in love with, asks his help because the sponsor is pressuring her to sleep with him. He finds a way to kill two birds with one stone. Nicely done with likable characters.
"Alloprene" by Stephen R. Wilk -+- Jason comes home and tells his wife, Audrey, about an experiment he took part in at work. They gave him some basic medical tests and took a blood sample. Then, he was led into a room with a strange device on a table. It was actually a one-armed robot that said its name was Alloprene. They did three activities and another sample of his blood was taken each time. He never found out why. Audrey figures something out and its a pretty good solution. Another good story.
"Early Warning" by Martin L. Shoemaker -+- Our narrator is visited by his own self from twenty years in the future. Future self tells him that he must make up with his girlfriend, Gwen, after their fight last night or his life will be ruined. Present self thinks future self is a hallucination until future self explains the time travel process to him. Nice twist at the end.
"Lonely Hearts of the Spinward Ring" by Paddy Kelly -+- Personal columns of the future, most involve aliens meeting aliens, but there are two humans which may not work out. Amusing.
"Sleep Factory" by Rich Larson -+- Abdoulaye and Safi work in a "sleep factory" where shaved head are attached to devices so they can control drones doing certain jobs. Safi wants to quit because the devices are faulty and people have died. Abdoulaye wants to keep at it until they have enough money to emigrate to London. A poignant tale.
"Most Valuable Player" by Eric Choi -+- Terry Jospin is an ex-baseball player who has lost his arm and has a prosthetic one. He is bitter that he will never beat Ty Cobb's lifetime batting record. It causes the break-up of his marriage. But his ex-brother-in-law finds another way to look at statistics. Nicely done!
"Diamond Jim and the Dinosaurs" by Rosemary Claire Smith -+- Marty and Julianna are sent back to the Mesozoic Era, supposedly to keep their eyes on another crew they suspect want to loot the Antarctica of the Mesozoic of diamonds. But they find out that the company sending them has other designs. Fun, Amusing story.
The short fiction concludes with "Playthings" by Stephen L. Burns. -+- John Blank, our narrator, a "police operative/investigator", is dispatched to check a report of a dead body. In an alley, he finds the body of a man who had been severely electrocuted and who had emptied his pistol low to the ground and in all directions. Three weeks later, he checks out another body whose face had been held down in water, drowning her. He thinks both victims were swarmed. They were also both "regulators". He finds out other regulators had been killed violently. He starts investigating secretly, He finds out regulators are criminals involved in recruiting for prostitution, trading in guns and drugs, and stealing children. They perform these services for upper-class individuals in this formally stratified society. His informant, Jomo, tells him that the police actually cover up for these activities and don't want these killings to continue. His superiors give him extra access to things to investigate more thoroughly. He finds abandoned toys at each crime scene. This all ends up as one very good story.