Sunday, September 1, 2013

Analog Science Fiction and Fact - September 2013

After a rocky start to the issue I came enjoy it every time I picked it up.

The Whale God by Alec Nevala-Lee -

Golly, what a bad start to the issue.  Set in Vietnam during the American involvement, a US military doctor gets involved in a local village's event when a whale is found beached.  After an attempt to rescue it fails three more whales are found and the "mystery" of why this is occurring is pursued.

Honestly this was a weak story with only a hint of technology and zero sense of wonder.  As a matter of fact it felt like this event could already have occurred. I really don't know what it was trying to be but science fiction it was not.

Full Fathom Five by Joe Pitkin -

Marooned under the ice sheet of Europa?  Now that is science fiction.

Maria is a scientist living in a submarine together with the AI that controls the ship. In flashbacks we learn that Maria made it to Europa as part of a crew of ten. Once in orbit a tragic accident occured. 

In an effort to survive the tragedy she pursues the science mission under the ice. 

This was a very interesting story.

The Oracle by Lavie Tidhar -

Three pages in and I gave up. Tidhar was so intent on world building that the STORY was lost. 

Perhaps the author is trying to condense a novel into a short story but by introducing concepts with strange names and not having the space to explore them only makes the story confusing. 

Next!

Life of the Author Plus Seventy by Kenneth Schneyer -

What a fun story!  An author takes out his own book from the public library. And forgets to return it. 

What follows is comedy of trying to avoid an overdue fine for decades. 

A very well told story that had me chuckling out loud a few times. 

Creatures from a Blue Lagoon by Liz J. Andersen -  

This was a cute an funny story about a reluctant "space" veterinarian who must treat a large and grumpy farm animal on an other planet.  There are some good bits when the vet argues with her various AIs.

Murder on the Aldrin Express by Martin L. Shoemaker -

This was the last and best story in the issue.  It hit all the marks for me; it was set on a ship in space, it involved exploration, it dealt with humans with all their faults and it had a mystery.

I love it when authors bled two genres; Mysteries and Science Fiction work very well together.  In what I felt was a tip-of-the-hat to Rex Stout and his Nero Wolfe stories the captain of the ship takes on the Nero Wolfe role while his second in command takes on the Archie Goodwin role.

The story was well told and I look forward to reading more from Shoemaker.

1 comment:

Martin L. Shoemaker said...

FYI: "Murder on the Aldrin Express" has been selected for Year's Best Science Fiction Volume 31. I am still stunned at that. Thank you for your support and encouragement! A Nick Aames novel is in the works.