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Analog Science Fiction and Fact – January/February 2009 – Vol. CXXIX No.1
Edited by Stanley Schmidt
Cover Artist: John Allomand
Review by Sam Tomaino
Analog  ISBN/ITEM#: 1059-2113
Date: 24 November 2008 / Pub Info / Table of Contents /

The January/February 2009 issue of Analog features stories by Rajnar Vajna, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Dave Creek, Richard Foss, Edward M. Lerner, John G. Hemry and Richard A. Lovett, along with the third part of a serial by Robert J. Sawyer.

The January/February 2009 issue of Analog. is a pretty good one most of the stories got a Very Good from me, but two were minor disappointments.

The fiction begins with "Doctor Alien" by Rajnar Vajra. Dr Alanso J. Morganson is a psychiatrist, sent to the trading post of an alien race called the Tsf. The group of Tsf that he is dealing with are a mercenary bunch called Traders and they have contracted his services from Earth officials. It seems that they have found representatives of three other alien races and cannot communicate with or help them. Under some dangerous conditions, Al figures things out in classic Analog style and this sets up what I hope is the first in a series of stories featuring him, the Tsf (I bet) and a series of aliens rivaling James White's Sector General series. Translation: I liked this one and want more!

"Zheng He and the Dragon" by Dave Creek features the Admiral of a Chinese fleet in 1407. They see what they think is a dragon in the sky that plunges into the sea. An "egg" surfaces and they bring it on board. It opens, dispensing what the admiral, Zheng He, thinks is a baby dragon. He learns differently in this well-written tale.

We get an alternate history in "To Leap the Highest Wall" by Richard Foss. It is April 1970 and due to a disaster with Apollo 8, the Soviets are going to land on the Moon first. But they radio NASA, requesting assistance for landing back on Earth. The American response and the people involved make for a very good story.

"Rocks" by John G. Hemry starts with the meteor hit on Earth that wiped out the dinosaurs and continues on as rocks are used in more sophisticated ways (always as weapons), until they reach the peak of their use. Hemry does a nice job here.

The "Excellence" referred to in Richard A. Lovett's story is in running a 10,000 meter race. Our narrator takes a special enhancement that helps him excel, but at a terrible price. I just couldn't muster up any sympathy for a cheater and this story really did nothing for me.

In "Small Business", Edward M. Lerner gives us a tale of Jason, Sherry and Bill, who are trying to stop a space-going Syndicates monopoly on space commerce. They use some ingenious techniques but I found the story uninteresting.

The issue concludes with "The Recovery Man's Bargain" by Kristine Kathryn Rusch. Hadad Yu is a Recovery Man who runs afoul of a powerful woman and a pirate fleet to make up for his misfortunes, he takes on a job for aliens called the Gyonnese. They want the return of a human named Rhonda Flint who killed 60,000 of their children. He catches up with her and things prove difficult. Rusch does her usually good job of creating an interesting character and giving him a good story.

Even with a few minor disappointments, this issue of Analog is well worth reading. You should give it a try.

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