Analog Science Fiction and Fact - May/June 2017 - Vol. CXXXVII, Nos. 5 & 6
Edited by Trevor Quachri
Cover Artist: Region NGC 6357
Review by Sam Tomaino
Analog Magazine (print/digital) ISBN/ITEM#: 1059-2113
Date: 01 May 2017
Links: Analog Science Fiction and Fact / How to Subscribe / Pub Info / Table of Contents /
The May/June 2017 issue of Analog is here and it's got mostly good stories, except for the novella.
The fiction begins with that novella "The Girls with Kaleidoscope Eyes" by Howard V. Hendrix. -+- Special Agent Ciera Onilongo is investigating why teacher Phil Marston attempted to kill a group of his girl students but then stopped. She investigates many odd things connected to the event until we get an explanation from Marston in an info dump. Didn't like the end of this at all. I doubt if you will.
"To See the Elephant" by Julie Novakova -+- In a near future in which the African bush elephant population has been reduced by 90 percent after a devastating plague, the odd behavior of just one male is cause for concern. But Dr. Adina Ipolla has an approach that might get to the root of the problem. It's just that her method has some bizarre consequences. Good story.
"The Chatter of Monkeys" by Bond Elam -+- In an ongoing war in which she and her people are just potential collateral damage, Molly learns something from a strange alien robot. Another good story.
"A Grand Gesture" by Dave Creek -+- Kayonga Tedesco and Amaia Moreau have been assigned to check out the planet Lucy. Amaia does not like Kayonga because of an incident with a difficult choice where he let a friend die. But what will happen when a difficult choice leads to a grand gesture? Good solid tale.
"Decrypted" by Eric Choi -+- In a world where the development of quantum computers has led to the decryption of everything on the internet, many changes have occurred. One of them is that all internet trolls have been exposed. This has consequences for Russian immigrant Mike Petrov, whose unfamiliarity with English gets him in trouble. A little contrived.
"Seven Ways to Fall in Love With an Astronaut" by Dominica Phetteplace -+- This is just a really boring relationship between a roboticist and a botanical microbiologist who wind up on Mars.
"Focus" by Gord Sellar -+- A drug called Focus makes for better workers and students. But not everyone can take it and this leads to problems. Okay.
"Ténéré" by Manny Frishberg & Edd Vick -+- A tale in the desert. A traditional nomadic group finds an oasis destroyed by a facility working to bring about an increase in the oxygen level of the planet. Can they work together to restore the Earth? Good characterization in this story.
"The Final Nail" by Stanley Schmidt -+- Dr. Griff Strassman notices an uptick (sorry couldn't resist that) of cases of people coming down with a condition known as alpha-gal, which makes them allergic to mammalian meat. It's normally only transmitted by a certain kind of tick not native to where he lives. We, of course, figure out the transmitter before he does. We even figure out who's involved because of the introduction of a loudmouthed industrialist turned politician named Aaron Trump (get it?) who Griff knew years ago who had a daughter who turned vegetarian. So the conclusion comes as no surprise. Another problem is that the doctor can easily talk a fanatic out of something in one simple conversation.
"The Speed of Faith in Vacuum" by Igor Teper -+- The colony planet of Nadezhda has been struggling to survive. For the first time in 300 years, the ship with the people they call the Immortals has come. Are they saved? Can the Immortals help them? The reality of the situation is more complicated than they think. Very good.
"Facebook Screamed and Screamed, Then I Ate It" by Sam Schreiber -+- A self-aware program goes to war against the rest of the cloud. Not particularly interesting.
"Vulture's Nest" by Marissa Lingen -+- Our narrator and her family do scavenger work in space and some people resent it. Good story.
"In the Mists" by Bill Pronzini & Barry N. Malzberg -+- Our narrator, Flight Engineer Jovan, tells us he's been keeping logs for seventeen years after his ship crash-landed on a dwarf planet killing his crewmates Bleeker and Corelli. But is that what really happened. Great little short piece by two old pros.
"The Return" by Bud Sparhawk -+- An ancient traveler is prepared for one more trip. Pretty good.
"Lips Together" by Ken Brady -+- Emiko wants to change the world by releasing something that will change people. She picks the perfect guy to do it. Amusing.
"The Banffs" by Lavie Tidhar -+- Our narrator is an author with writer's block. His agent gets him a job house-sitting for a group of the idle rich he calls Banffs. They are collectors of the rarest of objects. But they are more than that. Just perfect and exquisite.
"Where the Flock Wanders" by Andrew Barton -+- Rho wants to open an envelope found in a safe in the rubble of Saturn's moons. Static doesn't think it should be opened. For some reason, Rho is of some indeterminate gender and is referred to as "ve". Does not seem to be any reason for this. More importantly, Static making a mountain out of a molehill over the envelope doesn’t make any sense either.
"Proteus" by Joe Pitkin -+- Epic has come to Proteus, a dirigible world floating over Venus, to spy for her bosses. But she finds something different than what she expected. What should she do? Fascinating locale that could be the setting for more stories.
The fiction concludes with the novelette "Kepler's Law" by Jay Werkheiser. -+- Colonists on the planet Kepler, fleeing a dying Earth must deal with some deadly perils. Even more difficult is dealing with human prejudices. A good well-written tale to end the issue.