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Analog Science Fiction and Fact – April 2009 – Vol. CXXIX No.4
Edited by Stanley Schmidt
Cover Artist: Bob Eggleton
Review by Sam Tomaino
Analog  ISBN/ITEM#: 1059-2113
Date: 24 February 2009

Links: Analog's Website / Pub Info / Table of Contents /

The April 2009 issue of Analog features stories by Adam-Troy Castro, Mary Turzillo, Mark Rich, Eric James Stone, Jerry Oltion, H.G. Stratmann, and a Probability Zero by David Bartell.

The April 2009 issue of Analog is a great one with one of the stories deemed Hugo-worthy and the rest Very Good!

The issue starts with a novella, "Gunfight on Farside" by Adam-Troy Castro. I have been a fan of Castro for a long time and it seems like a long time since I've read anything by him. This story makes the wait worth it. Set in some future after the Moon had been settled for a long time, it's narrated by a woman with the unlikely name of Jessie James. She sets out to talk to an old man named Malcolm Bell, who had been the victor of a gunfight in the early days of the lunar settlement. The man is a hermit but he is willing to answer her questions and the story really gets interesting there. This one had a fine sense of place and time and a unique science fiction idea. So it will be on my Hugo short list when I make that up a year from now.

There are three short stories in this issue, with the first "The Final Element" by Eric James Stone. In a future in which things can be duplicated using nanotechnology, it's hard to tell the difference between originals and copies but Dennis Lombardo has a machine that can measure neutrons and other things. Someone has duplicated a famous Stradivarius and he can't tell which is the duplicate. This was resolved in a clever way.

Jerry Oltion's "A Jug of Wine and Thou" features Michael and Hannah, two young people riding around in his flying car without the auto-pilot. They crash and are stranded with little hope of rescue. How can they survive? Well, they don't have much on hand but there is always a way to make do. This was a charming, fun story.

In "The Invasion" by H.G. Stratmann, Earth's scientists have built a device sent to them with specifications by aliens in the hopes of making First Contact with them. However, as soon as they make contact, some oddly familiar messages show up. The story gets even better from there with a great ending. This one was a delight from start to finish!

The novelettes in this issue begin with "Steak Tartare and the Cats of Gari Babakin" by Mary Turzillo. Gari Babakin is a space station that is part of the Mars colony. It was infected by a parasite that decreased the I.Q. of the men and made the women more lascivious. A virus to kill off the parasite is fatal to the station's beloved cats. How the residents solve this problem makes for a good story.

The other novelette is "Foe" by Mark Rich. The "Foe" of this story is Jay Wirth, who has just started the job of Chief of Efficiency on Mars. He is called the Face of Efficiency by a strange old man and thus assumes the acronym. He finds out that F.o.E.'s are unpopular and don't last long, so he finds a way to beat that in this delightful little story.

The issue also boasts a Probability Zero piece with "Armchair Scientist" by David Bartell. This one takes the form of a rejection letter from a journal called Armchair Scientist, "the revolutionary alternative to the biased, elitist, so-called "leading" scientific journals." It's a funny satire on pseudo-science.

Well, this was a great issue. You really should subscribe!

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