Analog Science Fiction and Fact - November/December 2017 - Vol. CXXXVII, Nos. 11 & 12
Edited by Trevor Quachri
Cover Artist: Marianne Plumridge Eggleton
Review by Sam Tomaino
Analog Magazine (print/digital) ISBN/ITEM#: 1059-2113
Date: 30 October 2017
Links: Analog Science Fiction and Fact / How to Purchase / Pub Info / Table of Contents /
The November/December 2017 issue of Analog is here and it sure has a lot of short stories.
The short fiction begins with the novelette, "Hybrid, Blue, By Firelight" by Bill Johnson. -+- Martin and his A.I. Artie are in negotiations with representatives from other species: Neanderthals, Denisovans, and Red Deer Cave people to provide them with needed genetic material. Only two can get the material, so, one will be disappointed. But what Martin gets turns out to be more important. Interesting.
"Keepsakes" by Kenneth Schneyer -+- Keepsakes are recordings of people at certain ages. Not just audio and video but personality and memory. Three characters have conversations with previous selves with one of them learning something shocking that ruins her life. The other two have different experiences. Interesting idea. Well handled.
"Laminated Moose Zombies and Other Road Maintenance Road Problems" by Dennis M. Flynn & Michael M. Flynn -+- Our narrator has a public works job stopping zombies. Actually, they are dead bodies animated by a mutant fungus that's harmless to the living. But could it mutate into something else? Affecting people who do everything on autopilot without thinking? Amusing.
"Downsized" by Bud Sparhawk -+- Matthew's wife Susan has died and the Resource Allocation department for the habitat at the L-15 point in space, where she had lived with him has told him he must move to a smaller apartment. He is upset at first but comes to realize that others have things worse than him. What can he do for them? Another good solid story from Sparhawk.
"New Teeth" by James Sallis -+- Walsh has a nasty job dealing with "jumpers" that slowly take people over. Another chiller.
"Luscinia" by Robert Reed -+- A rich widow has curious ideas about what to do with her money. Bizarre.
"Fermi's Slime" by Tom Jolly -+- Men from Earth have been landing on planets and discovering slime creatures. Some have been menacing but the one on this planet has been able to communicate. What does it want? Nice ending.
"Quirks" by Marie Vibbert -+- Stosh is a carpenter in a near-future in which skills can be passed or transferred as an implant. But that has its drawbacks. Interesting.
"Time Travel is Only for the Poor" by S.L. Huang -+- Orson Jefferson is an indigent veteran living on the streets. Picked up for panhandling, the judge orders him to be part of a new program that takes the homeless, invests money for them and puts them in cryogenic sleep. They wake up rich due to compound interest. But he doesn't want to do that and a lawyer agrees to represent him pro bono starting a national court case. Good story. Good resolution.
"Papoose Lake" by Richard A. Lovett -+- Our narrator's fiancée has an old friend named Tom who spouts conspiracy theories. He is starting to become a problem. But is the solution to the problem something worse? Chilling.
"Hot Air" by Igor Teper -+- Lorinne, an American, and Jin, a Chinese, are graduate students that will wind up doing weapons research for their respective governments. But they actually have something else in mind. Clever.
"Kindle No Flame" by Stephen R. Loftus-Mercer -+- A plague destroys most of the world's books. Pointless horror.
"Two Hours at Frontier" by Sean McMullen -+- Life experience recordings of four scientists are suddenly awakened as part of a deep space probe. They find out that their real selves are dead. It gets worse. Five and a half thousand years have passed and Earth has sent bombs to blow up the alien artifact they were supposed to explore and their ship, too. What should they do now? Another good story from Sean McMullen.
"Reentry" by Brendan DuBois -+- Nelson Cruz is in the hospital having been stranded in space for 1119 days. Being in free fall has left him in bad physical shape. But his problems are just beginning. The Corporation he had contracted with wants to see him dead. What can he do? A good little tale from a talented author.
"Weaponized" by Jay O'Connell -+- A man falls in love but is she hiding something? Okay.
"Housekeeping, 100 XP" by Brenta Blevins -+- Our narrator goes to people's smart houses to fix them when there's a problem. But this time, he has to bring her annoying grandmother along. How do you think this one turns out? Amusing.
"And Then They Were Gone" by Ian Creasey -+- Samanda Linnell has famous parents, a soccer player and a singer/actress who neglected her. Now, instead of getting old, they are having their personalities uploaded and their bodies stuffed, leaving her again. She has abused her body, cutting scars in her arms. What will she do now? Poignant, touching story with a good ending.
"How Val Finally Escaped from the Basement" by Scott Edelman -+- Val has been in hiding for what his Uncle Tommy did. He had held an alien captive for three years and that was only discovered by Val when his uncle died. When the alien was freed, he revealed many gifts to the human race: answers, technologies, cures. People blamed Val for not knowing what his uncle was doing and for the deaths of those that died because they didn't have the cures. One man has kidnapped him and imprisoned him in his basement. But there's a twist to the whole story of his uncle and that makes for a good story for us.
The fiction concludes with the novella, "Native Seeds" by Catherine Wells. -+- Earth had been through an environmental disaster and had been largely abandoned by people going to colonies in space. But, there are two small groups of survivors in an area of Arizona who had parted some thirty years ago. One had gone up to Kitts Peak and had survived using the technology they had. The other has settled near Montezuma's Castle and had lived revering Mother Earth. They had not known the other still existed. The Kitt's Peak group discovered the Mother Earth people but the two groups are suspicious of each other. Ruben from Kitt's Peak, though is willing to share seeds with the others, in more ways than one. Good story!
There is also a Probability Zero piece called "The Pilgrimage" by Edward M. Lerner. -+- Our narrator is sorry to see his friend Mike make a trip to the place he came from even if he promises to be back. But what Mike is is the kicker! Funny.