Analog Science Fiction and Fact –January/February 2015 – Vol. CXXXV No. 1 & 2
Edited by Trevor Quachri
Cover Artist: John Allemand
Review by Sam Tomaino
Analog Magazine ISBN/ITEM#: 1059-2113
Date: 27 November 2014
Links: Analog SF & F / How to Subscribe / Pub Info / Table of Contents /
The fiction begins with "Malnutrition" by J.T. Sharrah -+- Kadija is a member of the Umabari race and has come to Haven, a free-floating Terran space colony, a prefab lifebubble. It orbits "a star situated in neutral space between the Mutabik, Ziduresh, and Umabari spheres of influence." Treaties had been made with the other two races and the Terrans would like to negotiate with the third. Kadija is greeted by Hardesty, the mayor of Haven. Their translator is Izundu, an Unmbari of lower rank than Kadija. The Terrans are unaware that the Kadija are disgusted by the practice of eating in public and when such an offer is made, Izundu does not know how to diplomatically refuse. He is saved from that when someone shoots Kadija from the roof of a nearby building. Izundu throws himself over the body of Kadija and takes the second bullet. Kadija survives but is unconscious but Izundu dies. Now Hardesty must figure out who is responsible and keep Kadija alive when no one knows anything about the Umabari, The only one who does is Leopold Yulix, a disreputable "space gypsy" but he cannot be found. That is all the beginning of Hardesty's problems. Nice twists and turns here and engaging characters. Good story.
"Just Browsing" by Stephen Lombard -+- Kelly is a teacher in his home town in New England. He is estranged from his ex-wife, Angela, who works for the Department of Homeland Security. When aliens from Epsilon Cygni improbably request to visit the library of the town, Angela gets Kelly to agree to be the one to meet them. He talks with one at first and finds out that what he is actually interested in are the papers of a Professor Stone, a brilliant mathematician. He brings him the papers and later winds up teaching the child of the commander of the aliens how to play chess. This continues on the next night. Angela is with them for that occasion. The aliens leave but things improve for Kelly and Angela. This was a pleasant story but I would have liked to have seen more of the aliens.
"Ulenge Prime" by Chuck Rothman -+- Ifana is the wife of Ulenge, the dictator of Namibia in the mid-21st century. He has been a tyrant and there is much blood on his hands. He has spent millions on a space station he calls Ulenge Prime. It is completed but empty when the revolution comes. Ulenge escapes and forces Ifana to come with him. Incredibly, he has a rocket that takes him to Ulenge Prime. There she learns the reason for everything. Interesting story but I found it a bit hard to believe.
"Long Way Gone" by David L. Clements -+- Mark has had himself copied and uploaded for transport to another planet. He wakes up and finds out his wife, Anne, has decided not to take the trip with him. He lives his life on another planet but he feels as if he is just a copy and not someone else. A woman named Alice shows him the way. Okay.
"Orion, Rising" by Arlan Andrews, Sr. -+- The United States has finally managed to land men on the Moon again, using old Apollo tech. It only took sixteen years to do it. Twice as long as previously. A bunch of old men at the FourBee bar are watching it and commenting. Nice twist at the end.
There is a Probabilty Zero story, "Space Bugs" by Marianne Dyson - A space doctor figures out a way to get NASA funded again. Amusing.
"The Yoni Sutra" by Priya Chand -+- In a future Delhi, women have a chip implanted in them that prevents them from being touched by any man other than their family. When they marry, their husbands are given access. Shalini had just married Nilam and that has all happened. At work, they have just hired Gayatri who comes from Mumbai where women don't get the implant. Gayatri is also divorced. Shalini helps Gayatri in her orientation and impresses her bosses who offer her a promotion but stipulate that she must put off becoming pregnant. A look at a possible future but it did not hold my interest.
"The Great Leap of Shin" by Henry Lien -+- 200 Million Men are to leap in the air several times and cause an earthquake. Three dancers from an island that will be destroyed by the earthquake try to convince the emperor's eunuch to stop it. Couldn't really believe this one.
"Why the Titanic Hit the Iceberg" by Jerry Oltion -+- Earth's climate has heated up and most of the billions on it will die. In orbit is a habitat that is housing just the rich and support staff. The support staff hate the "piggies". This one is just vicious class hatred making believe that it's a story.
"Fool's Errand" by Judith Tarr -+- Marina has a problem. She is a crew member on a spaceship. While they were traveling through nullspace, a horse that had been in stasis had to come out of it. The jump out of nullspace back into realspace can be traumatic and she is worried as to what the horse might do. She finds a way. Clever enough.
"Sansara and Ice" by Andy Dudak -+- Omni is a lone soldier on a distant planet. His sole purpose is to sleep in cryogenic suspension for three years, revive, shoot and kill a soldier from the opposite side and go back to sleep. It is actually the same opposing soldier every time. The other side has alien tech that keeps the previous memories. The other soldier's name is Bataar. The people of the planet are genetically altered humans called the fey because they are small and they have forgotten their past. They worship Omni and Bataar as the Sleeping God and the Dying God. This has been going on for a thousand years. Finally, Bataar engages Omni in conversation, but things change only a little. An effective tale.
"Marduk's Folly" by Sean Vivier -+- Marduk and crew are eight-armed creatures observing a solar system. They see four planet but the first is very far from the sun. They don't understand why. Marduk thinks there might be smaller planets that they just can't see. But this is not in Accord with their accepted science so he abandons that and is once more in Accord. From the descriptions of the planets, we know differently. Clever story.
"Unmother" by Lex Wilson -+- Our narrator is some sort of alien invader in a human brain. She is one of many she calls sisters, ruled by a Mother. They travel around the brain, observing and gathering information. They transmit this information to the Mother by what they call teeth. Our narrator knows of a danger to the colony but her teeth have become flawed and the Mother will not accept them. What can our narrator do? Fascinating look at truly alien creatures.
"Usher" by Jay Werkheiser -+- Aliens have landed in Canada but they don't seem to see or hear us, so Dave is called in. Dave has Usher syndrome and can see only very little. He can only hear through a cochlear implant. There is a lot of tension built up with UN soldiers on their way. Dave figures it out and finds out what they need. Another OK story.
The short fiction concludes with the novella "Defender of Worms" by Richard A. Lovett -+- This is another in the long series about Brittney, the sentient AI implant. We are provided with a summary of relevant details from previous stories. In most of them, she had been implanted into Floyd Ashman and they had a number of adventures, some of which are relevant to this story. Now she is in the body of wild child heiress, Memphis Lindgren, whose mother is a politician. They are on the run from the Others, a group mind of sentient AIs who want Brittney to join them. Brittney would lose her independence and Memphis would lose her life. Brittney want neither to happen so they spend a long time on the run, hiking through the western U.S., pursued by the Others. Brittney bonds with Memphis and also re-connects with Floyd. Can she defeat the Others? The story gets a little long and talky but is saved by Brittney's engaging personality.