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Analog Science Fiction and Fact - October 2009 - Vol. CXXIX No.10
Edited by Stanley Schmidt
Cover Artist: Bob Eggleton
Review by Sam Tomaino
Analog  ISBN/ITEM#: 1059-2113
Date: 29 July 2009

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

The October 2009 issue of Analog features stories by Michael F. Flynn, Jesse L. Watson, Robert Grossbach, Juliette Wade, William Gleason, Carl Frederick, and Jerry Oltion.

The October 2009 issue of Analog is a pretty good one. I liked all the stories except one.

The fiction begins with a novella, "Where the Winds Are All Asleep" by Michael F Flynn. The story opens in an Irish pub. The local priest comes in with his niece, Jeanne Price. She tells the story of her trip with others into a cave in Mount Rainier, looking for some answers to the origin of life. The leader of the group, an arrogant man named Luke Bonhomme, has an old journal made by one Ezra John and has some idea of what they might find. All this sets up for one hell of a climax and a very good story.

"The Hanged Man" by William Gleason is the closest Analog gets to a horror story. Our unnamed narrator has a salvage and rescue ship. Ten years ago, he and his partner got a lead on a legendary lost ship called the Aedon. The only problem is that it's surrounded by a vicious alien race called the b'reath. They go after it and his partner does not return. Now, a psychologist want to talk with him about it. All this comes together for a grim, haunting tale.

The nature of simulation vs. reality is explored in "Teddy Bear Toys" by Carl Frederick. Neil is part of an experiment that turns his daily log into written adventures about guys with his name. When one such an adventure gets a little too real, Neil is ready for a change. This was a good story but the best part was the simulation.

Jerry Oltion's "In the Autumn of the Empire" is a funny, short piece about the Emperor of Earth whose every statement must be true. When he gets the reason for the seasons wrong, the world changes.

Jesse L Watson's "Shallow Copy" features two boys, Will and Max. Max is smart but Will's a genius and he's created an artificial intelligence, but not given it self-awareness. Max wants to add that, but what will they use for input? This sets up a nice little story on what artificial intelligence might actually mean.

"An Idea Whose Time Has Come" by Robert Grossbach is set in 2115, a time when America has declined to a third-rate power and the narrator of the story, a mover and a shaker in the Democratic Party, gets the idea to run a HI (hybrid intelligence, part human, part artificial) for President of the United States. The story tells of the campaign, election and administration and is an imaginative look at the good and bad aspects of just such a thing.

In "Cold Words" by Juliette Wade, we get a look at humans negotiating with aliens for a spaceport on their world. Told from the point of view of one of the aliens, the whole story, both narration and dialog is written in a grammar that supposedly emulates the alien tongue. Unfortunately, this just gets tedious and in the end, the story isn't all that interesting either.

Nonetheless, most of Analog continues to provide quality science fiction. You should subscribe.

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