Analog Science Fiction and Fact – September 2016 – Vol. CXXXVI No. 08
Edited by Trevor Quachri
Cover Artist: NASA
Review by Sam Tomaino
Analog ISBN/ITEM#: 1059-2113
Date: 27 July 2016
Links: Analog SF & F / How to Order / Pub Info / Table of Contents /
The September 2016 issue of Analog is here and it's got Hugo-worthy novelette!
The short fiction begins with the novella "Progress Report" by Rajnar Vajra. -+- This follows the progress of a cat-like creature on an alien world. Its starts out with primitive thoughts but soon starts thinking. It then meets two larger creatures like itself who start talking to it and explaining things. It learns that it had been learning things in its sleep. As the story develops, we learn that these creatures had been enhanced by humans who had crash-landed on the world. All had actually been implanted with memories of one of the humans. We follow our viewpoint character as it goes through its development in this fascinating story. Very good!
"Detroit Hammersmith, Zero Gravity Toilet Repairman (Retired)" by Suzanne Palmer -+- Our titular hero, nicknamed Deet, is called onto Aldruna Station to find out why all the toilets in the conference section of the station have suddenly stopped working. They are deep into negotiations with a the Gaians, human environmentalists and a race called the Skirnatti over the planet Bom. The humans want it preserved, the Skirnatti to strip it. But what Deet finds is wrong has an impact on the whole affair. Fun little story with likable characters.
"Deep Waters Call Out to What is Deeper Still" by Sarah Frost -+- Pascal can invade the minds of the creatures in the aquarium where Pascal works. Pascal appears to be neither male or female and is referred to with pronouns like "zie" and "zer" yet is clearly attracted to Chiari who is female. The arrival of a giant squid causes problems until zie finally figures out what is wrong with it. Interesting.
"Silhouettes" by Dave Creek -+- This is a scientific report transmitted to Earth from 87-year-old Leo Bakri who, getting around in an exoskeleton, is observing "the mating patterns among manta gliders of the planet Keleni". It's at some risk to his health. A poignant tale.
"Adventures in Family Bonding" by W. Michael Beachy -+_ Erin Troyer is asked by her son to look after Gene while he and his wife are in Europe. She agrees but things do not go well. Couldn't quite see the point of this one.
"Dreams of the Rocket Men" by C. Stuart Hardwick -+- Our narrator tells us about his time when he was a kid called Jimmy, learning about rockets from an old man named George Coanda, whom one assumes was a retired aerospace engineer. Coanda teaches Jimmy about rockets and the idea of carrying on the flame of life and passing it on to others. James, of course, carries that flame to new heights in this beautifully told tale. Such classic science fiction that it will be on my Hugo Short List for next year.
The fiction concludes with "Nesting Dolls" by Jacob A. Boyd. -+- This is a long involved tale of two brothers, Garen and Blyte, in a ship which is a series of shells that had been added over the many years the ship has been traveling through space, seeking a new home. There is conflict with people from other shells and their lives are in danger. Written in a very dense prose style that prevented me from ever really getting into it.