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Analog Science Fiction and Fact, December, 2016

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Novellettes PRODIGAL - Gord Sellar BLACK ORBIT - Martin L. Shoemaker Short Stories LIKE THE DEADLY HANDS - Nisi Shawl FERMI MEETS SAGAN - Robert Scherrer JEWELS FROM THE SKY - Brenda DuBois IN BOONKER'S ROOM - Eliot Fintushel EVOLUTION - James C. Glass SISTER: LOKI - Arlan Andrews, Sr. CROWDFINDING - Eric James Stone THE CONTINUING SAGA OF TOM CORBETT: SPACE CADET - James Van Pelt Sci Novellettes PRODIGAL - Gord Sellar BLACK ORBIT - Martin L. Shoemaker Short Stories LIKE THE DEADLY HANDS - Nisi Shawl FERMI MEETS SAGAN - Robert Scherrer JEWELS FROM THE SKY - Brenda DuBois IN BOONKER'S ROOM - Eliot Fintushel EVOLUTION - James C. Glass SISTER: LOKI - Arlan Andrews, Sr. CROWDFINDING - Eric James Stone THE CONTINUING SAGA OF TOM CORBETT: SPACE CADET - James Van Pelt Science Fact THE NEW SPACE RACE - Christopher MacLeod, PhD. Poem WHAT FOSSILS DON'T TELL US - Manny Frishberg


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Novellettes PRODIGAL - Gord Sellar BLACK ORBIT - Martin L. Shoemaker Short Stories LIKE THE DEADLY HANDS - Nisi Shawl FERMI MEETS SAGAN - Robert Scherrer JEWELS FROM THE SKY - Brenda DuBois IN BOONKER'S ROOM - Eliot Fintushel EVOLUTION - James C. Glass SISTER: LOKI - Arlan Andrews, Sr. CROWDFINDING - Eric James Stone THE CONTINUING SAGA OF TOM CORBETT: SPACE CADET - James Van Pelt Sci Novellettes PRODIGAL - Gord Sellar BLACK ORBIT - Martin L. Shoemaker Short Stories LIKE THE DEADLY HANDS - Nisi Shawl FERMI MEETS SAGAN - Robert Scherrer JEWELS FROM THE SKY - Brenda DuBois IN BOONKER'S ROOM - Eliot Fintushel EVOLUTION - James C. Glass SISTER: LOKI - Arlan Andrews, Sr. CROWDFINDING - Eric James Stone THE CONTINUING SAGA OF TOM CORBETT: SPACE CADET - James Van Pelt Science Fact THE NEW SPACE RACE - Christopher MacLeod, PhD. Poem WHAT FOSSILS DON'T TELL US - Manny Frishberg

30 review for Analog Science Fiction and Fact, December, 2016

  1. 4 out of 5

    G33z3r

    "Prodigal" by Gord Sellar — In the future, dogs can be genetically engineered for enhanced intelligence, and through some minor surgical enhancements enabled to develop something close to human speech. Benji, one such sentientized dog, chafes at being trapped between his animal kin and personhood, eventually becoming an animal rights radical. I thought this story was really interesting, though the storytelling seemed rather bland. The author may have intended it as a animal rights story, but I "Prodigal" by Gord Sellar — In the future, dogs can be genetically engineered for enhanced intelligence, and through some minor surgical enhancements enabled to develop something close to human speech. Benji, one such sentientized dog, chafes at being trapped between his animal kin and personhood, eventually becoming an animal rights radical. I thought this story was really interesting, though the storytelling seemed rather bland. The author may have intended it as a animal rights story, but I found more interest in the idea of creating synthetic intelligences that we then expect to serve our human needs. Interesting ethical questions, at least. ***1/2* "Black Orbit" by Martin Shoemaker — Space opera story involving an undercover agent and her boss investigating corruption out by Jupiter. Decent sci-fi that seemed more interested in talking about a "trust economy". As a sci-fi adventure, it seemed a little uninvolving, as a trust economy précis, it seemed unconvincing. *** "Like the Deadly Hands" by Nisi Shawl — Damn frustrating story. Sets up a future involving interstellar travel, mind upload/download and a planet designated as a penal colony. One convict wants to be with another, for reasons unknown, and so decides to become a trustee so she can choose her settlement. Meanwhile, the inmates apparently have some secret plot going on which involves slowly killing the trustees. Then the "story" just ends, half a dozen loose ends just dangling out there, as if it were the first chapter/exposition of a novel instead of a short story. Nisi Shawl did exactly the same thing in a previous story, "Deep End", back in Lightspeed. If this is some sort of new style, it's damn irritating. * "Fermi meets Sagan" by Robert Scherrer — A very short story with aggressive alien race PoV. They encounter the Voyager probe with its plaque depicting humans and directions to Sol. Short, concise, amusing. ***1/2* "Jewels from the Sky" by Brendan Dubois — Mostly space-based story in Earth orbit, a young woman has been training at salvaging defunct satellites for a despotic, dystopian corporatocracy. Nicely told if a bit of a familiar story. ***1/2* "In Boonker's Room" by Eliot Fintushel — Boonker is an alien of some sort, a god-like "Power" who (like star-trek's Q), can do almost anything. On assignment to Earth, he befriends a suicidal teen, and shows him an amazing view of the universe and the games (simulations?) he can play with it. ***1/2* "Evolution" by James C. Class — A story told in multiple generations of commercial robots, from automated carpet vacuums to teaching assistance for children, eventually drifting into the world of robots left behind after humans moved on. The robots decide to clean up the planet, and then... A little like Stross's Saturn's Children, without all the violence and politics. *** "Sister: Loki" by Arlan Andrews sr. — Future sharply divides the haves from have-nots. Loki, one of the haves, lives in automated luxury, but occasionally goes to "work" piloting a combat drone. Very interesting world building, not much plot. *** "Crowdfinding" by Eric James Stone — Imagining a future where a lot of police work is crowd sourced to civilians on the network running drones and scanning surveillance footage, told from the PoV of multiple such crowdies. Interesting near future sci-fi merged with a crime mystery. (On the other hand, I wonder if the author has considered how effectively Reddit found the Boston Marathon bomber. Not.) **** "The Continuing Saga Of Tom Corbett: Space Cadet" — James Van Pelt Young girl grows up with the name Tom (short for Tomika) Corbett. Unfortunately for her, in the author's imagination a lot more people remember the Tom Corbett novels than in the real world, but Tom gamely embraces the label and dreams of going to outer space. Cute, sentimental story. (Would've been better if male author hadn't digressed to lecture of why girls shouldn't care whether heroes in novels are "he" or "she".) ****

  2. 4 out of 5

    Tom LA

    I thought this was a great issue. Favorite stories: Gord Sellar's "Prodigal", "Jewells from the sky", "Crowdfinding". I also loved "Black orbit" for the structure and inventiveness. I thought this was a great issue. Favorite stories: Gord Sellar's "Prodigal", "Jewells from the sky", "Crowdfinding". I also loved "Black orbit" for the structure and inventiveness.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Benn Allen

    This is the final issue of "Analog" - As a monthly title. Starting next month, with the January/February 2017 issue, "Analog", like "The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction", becomes a bi-monthly title. And rather than go out with a bang, the final monthly issue is a mixed bag of stories, but overall, a fairly decent edition. Story highlights are the cover novella, "Prodigal" by Gord Sellar, "Crowdfinding" by Eric James Stone (which isn't too far-fetched technologically. Really, that story coul This is the final issue of "Analog" - As a monthly title. Starting next month, with the January/February 2017 issue, "Analog", like "The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction", becomes a bi-monthly title. And rather than go out with a bang, the final monthly issue is a mixed bag of stories, but overall, a fairly decent edition. Story highlights are the cover novella, "Prodigal" by Gord Sellar, "Crowdfinding" by Eric James Stone (which isn't too far-fetched technologically. Really, that story could almost happen today.) and "Black Orbit" by Martin L. Shoemaker. Robert Scherrer's "Fermi Meets Sagan" was a cute little tale. I liked it well enough, while Brendan DuBois' "Jewels From the Sky" was fine, but I'm not sure I buy the ending of it. That seems to involve too many skill sets for Amy to have. I wanted to like Nisi Shawl's "Like the Deadly Hands" more than I did, but it felt a bit disjointed to me. I also wanted to like "In Boonker's Room" (Eliot Fintushel's entry) more. Both stories seemed to be aiming for deeper meanings and I'm not sure I got what the authors were aiming for. James C. Glass' "Evolution" was also a bit on the philosophical side, but it worked better I thought. "Sister: Loki" by Arlan Andrews, Sr. was good, but nothing special to me and I generally do like his work in the pages of "Analog". As for James Van Pelt's "The Continuing Saga of Tom Corbett: Space Cadet"? I'm not sure it really qualifies as science fiction. Maybe sf of "The Twilight Zone" type. It's well told and all, but it could easily be published in a non-genre book or magazine and fit there just as well in "Analog". Really, this wasn't a terrible issue. But not necessarily a great one either.

  4. 5 out of 5

    John Loyd

    8 • Prodigal • 14 pages by Gord Sellar Good+. A childless couple have Benji sentientized (increased mental capacity and vocal changes so they can talk). They love their dog and we follow them along. They miraculously have a baby and start explaining things to Benji. Then there are external influences--TV shows for dogs, other sentietized dogs. I tried to read this vicariously and was a bit put off because it wasn't what I'd do. When I put more distance between me and the characters then enjoy th 8 • Prodigal • 14 pages by Gord Sellar Good+. A childless couple have Benji sentientized (increased mental capacity and vocal changes so they can talk). They love their dog and we follow them along. They miraculously have a baby and start explaining things to Benji. Then there are external influences--TV shows for dogs, other sentietized dogs. I tried to read this vicariously and was a bit put off because it wasn't what I'd do. When I put more distance between me and the characters then enjoy the story more. 30 • Like the Deadly Hands • 12 pages by Nisi Shawl OK/meh. Carpenter Marie has been a prisoner aboard a ship. She is now going to be downloaded into the body of a trustee and sent to the settlement of Jubilee. Wayna is a prisoner already in Jubilee. We hear and then find out that life on planet is dangerous, but the plans and motives of Wayna and Carpenter Marie are never given. We have no background on these people. 42 • Fermi Meets Sagan • 2 pages by Robert Scherrer OK/good. A race of genocidal aliens picks up communications from Earth. 44 • Jewels from the Sky • 9 pages by Brendan DuBois Good+. Amy is working for a salvage company that brings down satallites and retrieves them when they come to earth. We find she was originally with a group that got to the downed satallites first. On their last raid the company caught them and kidnapped her into working for them in space. 54 • In Boonker's Room • 8 pages by Eliot Fintushel OK. E.W. Boonker shows Saul a game. A box that can show the universe anywhere from the big bang onward with a zoom level from quarks to everything. A lot of talk of cosmological constants and forces. 62 • Evolution • 5 pages by James C. Glass Good/OK. Tobi starts out as a household cleaning controller, on to a math tutor program, and over hundreds of years evolves. 70 • Sister: Loki • 5 pages by Arlan Andrews Fair/poor. Loki lives in a war torn society. She is a mercOp linking remotely to her skel. A decent job of world building, but we only follow Loki through one day. 75 • Crowdfinding • 7 pages by Eric James Stone Very Good+. A drone operator catches a kidnapping as it's taking place. Many other citizens get involved in finding the boy. Then there is a second crime for which the first may have been a diversion. Good mystery element set in a not too distant future that is slightly more connected. 82 • The Continuing Saga of Tom Corbett: Space Cadet • 8 pages by James Van Pelt Excellent. Tomika is teased by her grandfather because she has the same name as a fictional hero. When she is old enough she reads some of these stories and takes the nickname to heart. She applies herself dreaming of the time when she can join the Space Academy. 90 • Black Orbit • 14 pages by Martin L. Shoemaker Very Good/Excellent. An undercover agent in the Jupiter system has the incriminating evidence but her cover is blown and it is going to be a struggle to get the data back to her supervisor.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Timo

    There were a lot of short stories in this issue, which is a pretty average one. Prodigal • novelette by Gord Sellar Dogs are being augmented for sentience and greater intelligence. A childless family gets a smart dog, but the wife gets pregnant soon after. The dog and the child first live as “siblings”, but then the dog starts to question certain things – like killing of the dogs in shelters. A fairly good story – the writing was okay. The radicalization of the dog was not portrayed well enough. There were a lot of short stories in this issue, which is a pretty average one. Prodigal • novelette by Gord Sellar Dogs are being augmented for sentience and greater intelligence. A childless family gets a smart dog, but the wife gets pregnant soon after. The dog and the child first live as “siblings”, but then the dog starts to question certain things – like killing of the dogs in shelters. A fairly good story – the writing was okay. The radicalization of the dog was not portrayed well enough. The story happens to have some similarities to a Rick & Morty episode I just chanced to watch. ***+ Like the Deadly Hands • shortstory by Nisi Shawl A woman is apparently uploaded to some sort of host body in a struggling colony or something. There is a shortage of food, stampedes of wild animals, and so on. A very fragmented and hard to follow story – I didn’t get it at all. **½ Fermi Meets Sagan • shortstory by Robert Scherrer A short short about an alien invasion which was narrowly avoided. *** Jewels From the Sky • shortstory by Brendan DuBois A Company (which apparently is practically all-powerful) rescues derelict satellites and sends them to Earth for recycling. (A practice which doesn’t really make any sense – the amount of valuables certainly wouldn’t cover the costs. And as the company has a space station, it would make vastly more sense to recycle satellites in orbit. The cost of sending things into orbit is vastly more than the actual cost of the raw materials itself). The woman who is preparing the satellites is finishing her training. She used to live on Earth, but then something happened. A fairly good story, but the corporation was unreasonably and unnecessarily evil. ****- In Boonker's Room • shortstory by Eliot Fintushel An alien – or a god (?) plays a game with a high school kid. It is a simulation (?) where you can see everything anywhere in the universe and fiddle with all constants of the nature and see if life will exist. More of a treaties of things which have different sorts of effects on the universe. ***- Evolution • shortstory by James C. Glass A story of how robotic helpers slowly evolve to be more and more helpful for humanity, which is ultimately extremely helpful. Another very short story which is pretty good, but it might have been slightly more detailed and longer. ***+ Sister Loki • shortstory by Arlan Andrews, Sr. Some sort of virtual reality battle is apparently going on. A lot of sketchy backstory in a pretty confusing and hard to follow story – I didn’t really get into it. ***- Crowdfinding • shortstory by Eric James Stone A new technology with cameras everywhere is used to solve a kidnapping (and another crime) by crowd sourcing. A very short story, but not bad at all. ***+ The Continuing Saga of Tom Corbett: Space Cadet • shortstory by James Van Pelt When Tomika Corbet turned ten, she learned who Tom Corbet was. She became a fan, which wasn’t always easy: it isn’t common that preteen girls are interested in ancient TV-shows. She is neglected by her parents and she hopes she could join the Space Cadets. And then the story turns to a wish fulfillment fantasy, a pretty good one, though. ***½ Black Orbit • novelette by Martin L. Shoemaker An undercover agent gets vital information from a space station at a high cost. However, her handler must get her hands on the information for it to be of any use. And that isn't too easy, as the information is on an ore ingot floating in space. More of a scene than as a story - as there was little background, it wasn't easy to really care about the characters. The story starts in the middle of the story and ends in the middle of the story. The writing as such was totally adequate. ***

  6. 4 out of 5

    John Oswalt

  7. 4 out of 5

    Shady

  8. 4 out of 5

    Steven

  9. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Nelson

  10. 4 out of 5

    Rafael Ontivero

  11. 4 out of 5

    Luke Van Santen

  12. 5 out of 5

    Neil Brown

  13. 5 out of 5

    Nicholas

  14. 5 out of 5

    Harvey Josephson

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan

  16. 5 out of 5

    Neil Hogan

  17. 4 out of 5

    David

  18. 4 out of 5

    jennet wheatstonelllsl

  19. 4 out of 5

    L.Jayde

  20. 5 out of 5

    Odo

  21. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

  22. 4 out of 5

    Ryan

  23. 4 out of 5

    Megan Bailey

  24. 4 out of 5

    Kayla

  25. 4 out of 5

    Luc Bouchard

  26. 5 out of 5

    Bob

  27. 4 out of 5

    Casey

  28. 5 out of 5

    OTIS

  29. 4 out of 5

    Marcin

  30. 5 out of 5

    Alex Sheldon

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