Monday, June 6, 2016

Analog Magazine April 2016

Seven Ways of Looking at the Sun-Worshippers of Yul-Katan by Maggie Clark - 020/150/2016 - I really don't know what to make of this opening story.  At first, I felt as if I might be missing something, as if this might be a recent installment in a series of stories.  It was very much in the Space Opera genre in that there were multiple cultures, religions and points of view.  Much like Star Wars there was one overarching governmental power, the Allegiance.

A small scientific crew hears an old distress call from the small moon they are surveying.  They discover it is coming from a pod, containing a sun-worshiping cleric, who is many star systems removed from where he should be.  Trying to solve the mystery of how he got to where he is proves dangerous and complex.

My Star Wars reference was intentional; just like that movie, the reader is given a bit of background and then dropped in the middle of a story.  It's a small story that takes place in a large universe filled with societies, religions, politics and danger.

After chasing the author down to her website I discovered this was her intention from the start, to make the reader feel that the story takes place in a vast and complicated world.  The only only aspect of the story that I struggled with is that I am attracted to science rather than theology.  Although there was a lot in the story that I did like; small exploration ships, a space-based military establishment, large space cruise ships, long-duration stasis pods, large economies and rules of law.  The religious framing of the story made me impatient.

In my case, the story may benefit from being reread.

Maggie Clark -

Soap Opera by Edward M. Lerner - 021/150/2016 - Set in a Manhattan radio station in the 1920's the engineer is asked to help a lovely young actress stop the unwanted advances of a sponsor.  It was a charming story and I loved the nostalgia of the period.  It came complete with a high-tech solution too.

Edward M. Lerner -

Alloprene by Stephen R. Wilk - 022/150/2016 - Hmm.  It's an interesting story about a man who is recounting his experience in a lab experiment which included social interaction with a robot.

I'm not sure I really get this one, other than what is presented. Perhaps it's trying to answer the question of how to best integrate machines into our lives.  I liked it.

Stephen R. Wilk -

Early Warning by Martin L. Shoemaker - 023/150/2016 - A man goes back in time where he feels his life pivoted by making the wrong decision.  He warns himself to change his decision.  I loved how the advice was followed.  Wonderful and unexpected.

Martin L. Shoemaker -

Sleep Factory by Rich Larson - 024/150/2016 - A beautiful, dark and sad story.  Two co-workers are in love and planning for the future.  This was a fully-realized world that grabbed me in seconds, was over in just a few minutes and stayed in my mind for days. The best one so far.

Rich Larson -

Most Valuable Player by Eric Choi - 025/150/2016 - This was another heart-warming, human story.  Being a baseball fan, I enjoyed it very much.  I am not entirely sure it's science fiction but I am happy it has seen print.  It can easily be submitted to other fiction publications.  

Choi has a gentle way of telling this story. Well done.

 Eric Choi -

Diamond Jim and the Dinosaurs by Rosemary Claire Smith - 026/150/2016 - With a title like that I was expecting an irreverent action story, why I got was Jurassic Park coupled with time travel.  For some reason this story simply did not work for me.

Rosemary Claire Smith -

Playthings by Stephen L. Burns - 027/150/2016 - This is my favourite genere: SF Detective fiction.  In a rigid, class-based society we follow Officer Blank as he is assigned to uncover the recent murders of local "regulators" those individuals who offer services from lower classes to upper classes.

The mystery Blank is assigned to solve is intersting in and of itself, but it is the uncovering of the world Officer Blank lives in.  Navigating this strict society was fasinating to me.

I would love to think that this short story will serve as an introduction to a novel.  I woukd love to dig into that.  I envisioned the Los Angeles of the movie Blade Runner for the look and feel in this story.

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