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Analog Science Fiction and Fact - June 2016 - Vol. CXXXVI No. 06
Edited by Trevor Quachri
Cover Artist: Bob Eggleton
Review by Sam Tomaino
Analog  ISBN/ITEM#: 1059-2113
Date: 26 May 2016

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

The June 2016 of Analog features stories by Michael F. Flynn, Bill Johnson, Christopher L. Bennett, Marie Vibbert, C.S. Lane, Jay Werkheiser, and J.T. Sharraf, a fact article by Edward M. Lerner, poetry by Robert Frazier, plus the regular features.

The June 2016 issue of Analog is here and it's an excellent one.

The short fiction begins with the novella, "The Journeyman: In the Great North Wood" by Michael F. Flynn. -+- This story is part of a series of stories that consists of "The Journeyman: On the Short-Grass Prairie" (October 2012), "The Journeyman: In the Stone House" (June 2014) and "The Journeyman: Against the Green" (July/August 2014). In my review of the first of the stories I wrote that it "features a character introduced in Flynn's Up Jim River, part of his Spiral Arm Series, occurring thousands of years in a future in which humanity has spread throughout the galaxy. The character was Teddy Nagarajan in the novel, but here is Teodorq sunna Nagarjan and he is on his home world, called simply World. That story began the adventures of Teo and his friend, Sammi o' th' Eagles. They discover a crashed shuttle. In the second story, they find that the shuttle has a working A.I. they call Jamly. The A.I. sent them on a mission to find the star men. Teo settles his differences with Karakalan sunna Vikeram of clan Serpentine (whose brother Teo killed causing his exile from their tribe).

In the third story, these three have joined the Foreign Legion in the services of the kospathin of Cliffside Keep and encounter the princess Anya and her uncle, Wisdom Mikahali Fulenenbirk, a scientist. The main part of the story features the three men in a fight against "the greennies" who have guns but Teo's tactics win the day, although Karakalan dies. They return to the Keep to find that was a diversion and the Keep had been overrun. The Wisdom is dead and the princess has been taken by the Moose tribe, allies of the Greens. Teo takes a book from the hands of the dead shaman that the Wisdom thought had belonged to the star men. It has graceful and curved runes like the ones in the wrecked shuttle. Teo thinks it's somehow important. He and Sammi leave what remains of the Keep's tribe but agree to find out what they can about the greens and send word back. Teo and Sammi and Chum Varòwanop (the battle engine-maker) of the tribe head for the badlands.

In all of these stories, I looked forward to the next one and here it is. Here the three men and the princess Anya Goregovona Herpstonesdoor, under the name Anna Overcreek, are living in the city of New Cuff. She had apparently castrated her Moose captor. Teo foils an attack on a "big hat", Lar Freddy, in the marketplace. Lar Feddy is mounting an expedition into the Great North Woods to look for antiquities and wants to hire him to guard the digs and campsites. He accepts and hires Sammi as scout, the princess as hunter, and Chum as camp overseer. He also hires Furad Jonson, Shizzleback Koh, and Bigger Bull aka Tiny as muscle. An encounter with one of the other members of the expedition gives Teo and his friends the formula for gunpowder. At their camp, they are warned of an approaching party of the Raccoon Tribe. They are able to kill some of them, but not all. They come across a mountain with a cave that leads to a ruined city. But it has fresh bones in it. Something still guards this place. Teo uses what he had learned from the shuttle and Jamly to speak at the bone carpet, telling it what he had learned. A voice talks to them and Teo asks for help against the advancing Coons. They are granted access to the place called Phanklar Noi. A curtain shield goes up and comes back down when they are in, killing any advancing Coons. But Teo and crowd cannot leave either and they have only 3-4 days rations. All this leads to a rousing adventure and battle. And the last two lines of the story are a real treat. Hope it’s not too long until the next one.

"When the Stone Eagle Flies" by Bill Johnson -+- Martin and Larry and the A.I. Artie are amongst the time travelers at the Siege of Nineveh in 612 B.C.E. They cannot go home because their timelines are gone. Larry has fallen in love with the king of Nineveh and does not want to see him die. Martin is concerned, but then he meets a woman calling herself Achadina and that changes his plans. Nice little time travel story.

"Hold the Moment" by Marie Vibbert -+- Daisy is trying to invent a stasis box but winds up inventing the opposite. Time goes forward for whatever or whoever is inside the box but is frozen outside of it. But has trouble dealing with her thirteen-year-old daughter, Marta. This one has a very clever ending.

"That Which Grows on Trees" by C.S. Lane -+- Serge and our narrator figure out how to make money grow on trees. Silly.

"The Anthropic War" by Jay Werkheiser -+- When a whole section of stars changes, scientist apply the anthropic principle to conclude that another civilization observing things out there is causing sections of space to change from what our observations cause to happen. Earth itself could cease to exist. How can this be fought against? It's not easy. Clever.

"The Nult Factor" by J.T, Sharrah -+- Hiram Quigby has coined the word "nult". "It refers to an object that has no discernible purpose or that functions in a self-defeating manner." He has created useless objects, like a paper paperwieght. He makes millions producing nults. Inspired by a nult, philosophy professor Jason Dahlquist builds a philosophy around the idea that "self-contradictory paradoxes are ... the most meaningful statements possible." Like "Change is the only constant." His The Nultist Manifesto leads the Reverend Delbert J. Mayfair to condemn it and thus makes the book very popular, making Dahlquist rich. But when the philosophy is transmitted to the galaxy, something bizarre happens. A delightfully amusing story.

The short fiction concludes with "Murder in the Cislunar Railroad" by Christopher L. Bennett. -+- Why was Cybercrime Unit Investigator Jaya Ramanthan spaced and killed. Fellow agent Zachary March wants to find out. Was it connected to the Cislunar Railroad which transports artificial intelligences out of their slavery? He has the assistance of the AI Athena who rejects liberation on the Cislunar Railroad because it means copying her to somewhere else and erasing the original. She thinks that's murder. The solution is a good one but what makes this story really interesting is the ethical discussion.

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