Sunday, October 23, 2011

Magazine Review #2 - Analog - December 2011

December 2011

Still on a short story kick; I received the latest issue of Analog in the mail just when I finished reading Amazing Stories.  And look who has a story in this issue - that's right - Kristine Kathryn Rusch!

1- Ray of Light by Brad R. Torgersen:  This was a fantastic story!  Man is trying to survive at the bottom of the ocean after an alien attack triggers a new ice age!  This was a very believable story told without any literary fluff; just a straight-ahead, nuts-and-bolts, hopeful story.  I loved it.

2- Turning it Off by Susan Forest:  An interesting little tale about teen-age suburban life in a time when computer controlled safety devices are implanted in everything; including humans.  What a fun idea!  If Steve Jobs were still alive I'm sure he'd try to implant the iPod in people.  Wait maybe he already has that on a drawing board somewhere at Apple HQ.  Hmm.

3- Freudian Slipstream by Brad Aiken:  Interstellar travel is possible by using hibernation and an AI interface to keep a person's mind active during flight.  In this story a problem is solved en route to a new planet just about perfect for human habitation.  I loved the pacing of this story; very relaxed and confident.

4- Hidden by Kyle KirklandSet in a time after a drug was developed and used on children to give them heightened intelligence it's discovered that these same children become insane in adult life.  Now one of these people has taken over a secret weapons lab and is threatening to set off the prototype bomb.  We follow Robinson as he negotiates with him.  I'd call this story more of a thriller than a Science Fiction story, sure there's some super weapon and a"brain" drug but that's as far as the SF is pushed.  Was it a good story?  You bet.

5- Art for Splendor's Sake by Dave Creek:  I don't know.  I feel that I was missing something when I read this story.  Earth Unity Ambassador Chanda Kasmira is overseeing a complex evacuation of the planet Splendor an ironically named planet who's description brings to mind the Rocky Mountains in February.  The planet is under threat from a fast-approaching nebula when along comes an artist . . .

By the end the artist reveals his work and Kasmira's reaction left me feeling like I missed the point of the story.  After finding Mr. Creek's website I discovered that this is the seventh or eighth story in a series so now I understand my feeling of disconnection.

The story was crisp and well paced.  It felt like it could have fit well in the Star Wars universe: I got the feeling of a much larger world out there from the story that I read.  I'm looking forward to reading more from him.  I also have over three years worth of back issues to read and I know that he has many stories buried in there.

The Impossibles by Kristine Kathryn Rusch:  Here she is again!  My favorite modern SF author with another fresh take on life in the future.  In this story we follow Kerrie, a new lawyer, two years on the job, working for the Earth Alliance Inter Species Court for the First District.  She's a public defender working off her student loans when the case of a lifetime comes to her.

Set in Rusch's Retrieval Artist universe the story felt like it was part of a larger world to me but it was such a satisfying read on it's own that I didn't get the same feeling of having missed something like I did reading Art for Splendor's Sake earlier in this issue.

Not for Ourselves Alone by Charles E. Gannon:  What a fantastic story!  Part alien invasion, part military SF with a nod to The Cold Equations.  A seemingly unstoppable alien invasion force is on its way to Earth; after attacking a Jupiter orbital space station the survivors find a weakness but can they get the message back to Earth in time.  A fantastic Old-Time space opera tale.

Conclusion - this is issue is well worth a read.

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