Analog Science Fiction and Fact, June 2001 (Peanut Press edition)

Precipice. Ben Bova.

The second instalment of a Ben Bova novel. As I don’t review novels, I shall press on.

Sunday Night Yams at Minnie and Earl’s. Adam Troy Castro.

An elderly man returns to a tamed, tourist attraction moon, far different to the one he knew some seventy years ago when there as one of the early pioneer developers. He is wanting to revisit Minnie and Earl, who…

The early part of the story evokes the potential reality of life on the moon for the early pioneers. Although neatly structured, intertwining the current and the long past, Adam Troy Castro makes what I count as a Cardinal Sin: referring to another SF story (suspension of disbelief disappearing faster than oxygen out of punctured spacesuit helmet). It’s doubly unfortunate in that the story which is referred to has a not-dissimilar plot, and trebly unfortunate in that it is a Ray Bradbury story which led me to ponder that Bradbury would have written this story somewhat more elegantly and concisely. The ending is also cheesily Disneyesque.

The lead up to the Big Surprise does generate tension. But the Big Surprise had me puzzled

I also have trouble in recognising this story as one which, according to the promotional blurb “easily qualifies as one of the most unusual and probably controversial stories we’ve (ie Analog) ever published” OK, quite unusual for Analog, but controversial?

As a metaphor for losing our sense of adventure with the sadly lost space programme for cosy commercialism, fine, although the recent space tourist says just as much.

Or am I being obtuse and missing out on something in the story, big time?

Elsewhere. Pauline Ashwell.

Somewhat clunky mix of marine biology and time travel/terraforming. Set in the same milieu as previous stories in Analog by the author, Haru is working in a research capacity in a cod-communist type far-future society. When she appears to be being set up as a fall guy she welcomes the opportunity to jump ship for a similar task in an alternate, diametrically opposite society. A somewhat lengthy exposition of microscopic marina fauna, reproduction thereof, is then provided, with the intention of leading up to the grand finale.

A Star in the East. Laurence M. Janifer.

When writing reviews I try not to be too negative and critical. Sometimes I will simply give a plot summation. Finding something positive to say is often a good idea when a number of stories in a magazine are failing to appeal, rather than being totally negative. So here are a couple of good things to say about this story: it’s an easy read and it’s short.

Spaceships. Michael A. Burstein.

An Analog reader’s sexual fantasy : casual sex with an attractive stranger, surrounded by the hulks of Saturn, Apollo, Mercury and other rockets and spaceships

or

far future humanity has to give up its past to move forward.

Conclusion

The novel extract and lengthy Adam Troy Castro story take up a lot a space, and as I am quite happy to own up to not being an Analog fan, I believe I should in fairness, point you in the direction of other websites which review short fiction: www.locusmag.com, www.sfsite.com and www.tangentonline.com, whose reviewers might ‘get’ the content of this issue more than I.

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