Mike and Linna, from three previous Analog stories, are witness to two star systems colliding.
The story gets off to a cumbersome start, with the introductory paras reeling off the names of planets, other alien races nearby, and their space ships all thrown into the mix.
As an example of the stylistic problems with which I have very little patience : in the opening paragraph we are told that the main character is on a ship in orbit around Heuri, a gas giant, and subsequently more detail of the planet is provided. So, why, a few paragraphs later, when the planets in ‘that system’ are described, does that list include ‘Heuri, a gas giant’. Well, we know that already! Surely ‘the other planets in the system…’ is the right way to handle this?
There’s an awful lot of to-ing and fro-ing, and interspecies chat and politicking, and if you do persevere what you get feels rather like an episode of the original series of Star Trek, with any manner of aliens communicating freely with each other, and one character with a Spock-like ability to use her empath powers not only on her fellow humans, but on alien beings as well.
Anyhoo, there’s a dramatic denouement.
E. Mark Mitchell. Stranger Things.
‘Improbable Times’ appeared in June 2005, and here we have more lightly humorous adventures befalling the same characters and their multiple quantum doppelgangers.
Richard A. Lovett. A Plutoid By Any Other Name.
Short piece in which the decision to de-classify Pluto as a planet is taken to the nth degree.
Howard V. Hendrix. Palimpsest.
A solution to the problem of email spam leads to an updated version of Nine Billion Names of God.
Uncle River. Ginger Ear and Elephant Hair.
Sit down young people and listen to the tale of the wise elder, who will tell you of days in the past, days when there were many more people, and big cities, and technology to do wonderful, but also appalling things. Listen hard little ones, and try not to fall asleep, as this one did, for doubtless he has a tale to tell. But my, how the old man does drone so!
C.Sanford Lowe & G. David Nordley. Vertex.
The concluding installment of the The Black Hole Project, set in the future but with good old-fashioned characters and values. The last paragaphs detail issues surrounding some missing Kgs and a discussion around mass/energy density, event horizons and what might be the other side of a Kerr-Neumann geometry, so perhaps the story will continue?
Still the top-selling SF magazine in the world, so clearly doing something right for a lot of SF readers!