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Analog Science Fiction and Fact - January/February 2018 - Vol. CXXXVIII, Nos. 1 & 2
Edited by Trevor Quachri
Cover Artist: Josh Meeghan for The Quantum Magician
Review by Sam Tomaino
Analog Magazine (print/digital)  ISBN/ITEM#: 1059-2113
Date: 30 December 2017

Links: Analog Science Fiction and Fact / How to Purchase / Pub Info / Table of Contents /

The January/February 2018 issue of Analog features Part 1 of a serial by Derek Künsken, stories by Adam-Troy Castro, Michael F. Flynn, David Gerrold, Mary A. Turzillo, Alan Dean Foster, Andrew Barton, Holly Schofield, Ian Watson, Marissa Lingen, Eric Cline, and Jeremiah Tolbert, a fact article by Julie Novakova, a Probability Zero by Paul Carlson, poems by D.A. Xiaolin Spires and Bruce Boston, plus the regular features.

The January/February 2018 issue of Analog is here and it's got a Hugo-worthy novella!

The short fiction begins with the novelette, "The Journeyman: Through Madness Gap" by Michael F. Flynn. -+- This story is part of a series of stories that consists of "The Journeyman: On the Short-Grass Prairie" (October 2012), "The Journeyman: In the Stone House" (June 2014), "The Journeyman: Against the Green" (July/August 2014), and "The Journeyman: In the Great North Wood" (June 2016) and features Teodorq sunna Nagarjan and his friend, Sammi o' th' Eagles on the planet they call World. Our heroes are looking to fulfill the request of the projected-image AI, Jamly, for help fixing the shuttle that would lead them to the star men. They get involved in a local war and wind up making another discovery about the history of the planet. Another very entertaining story in this series.

"Hobson's Choices" by Mary A. Turzillo -+- Jerry, Charlize, and their daughter, Lorilee, move to the gated community Goodenough Estates where the limited bland choices are the standard. Things get more and more absurd. Funny satire

"Ten and Ten" by Alan Dean Foster -+- Claire is coming to the end of her project to try to teach a cuttlefish she has named Vegas to communicate using American Sign Language. She is limited by the short lifespan of the cuttlefish and her funding running out. Will she succeed? A sad, poignant story.

"One to Watch" by Andrew Barton -+- Our narrator and his partner are monitoring a probe on Mimas, a moon of Saturn which has a crater that makes it look like the Death Star from Star Wars. They find some formation that has right angles and can't be natural. This small thing looks like something big. Good little one-pager.

"Home on the Free Range" by Holly Schofield -+- Jadey works for Helma, herding "scratchers" on the planet Skale. They suddenly notice more than half the herd is missing. Turns out the mole-like talpids have been dragging them underground. What can they do? Good solid story with some nice invention of the native fauna.

"Endless City" by David Gerrold -+- Who killed Cobie Ferguson? That's what our narrator-private eye has to find out because Cobie hired him while he was being murdered. But this is a bit different from your typical hard-boiled detective story. It starts out in the cyberspace Endless City. There is a lot of invention here of both Endless City and the real-life meatspace. The end might not be entirely surprising but the story is very entertaining. What you'd expect from Gerrold.

"When the Aliens Stop to Bottle" by Ian Watson -+- Aliens invade and Earth surrenders. The aliens start to put people in bottles for some reason. Not clear what the future will bring. The story is a little too vague.

"Two Point Three Children" by Marissa Lingen -+- The Honorable Judge Diane Bui needs to judge a custody dispute between divorced parents. But this is not about their children, it's about an AI named Jody. Interesting story.

"Air Gap" by Eric Cline -+- A hovercraft lands on an old-fashioned concrete landing strip and steps into a world called the Air Gap in which all machines are dumb, not connected to anything that can be hacked. That's to prevent a super-computer named Kurzweil from getting access to outside modern technology and taking over the world like a predecessor did. Our narrator is that computer which schemes to eventually do what its predecessor did. But the story has a nice twist. Well-written tale.

"A Dissonant Note" by Jeremiah Tolbert -+- On the survey ship Angela Bhatti, Cee in the Fifth Octave doesn't get along with her sister Dee and want to put her in her place. In this musical culture, that means sounding a discordant note. On the advice of her sister-aunt, Eee, she looks for a way to do that. A look at a very strange culture.

The fiction concludes with the novella, "Blurred Lives" by Adam-Troy Castro. -+- This is a continuation of the story begun in "Sleeping Dogs" in the July/August 2015 issue featuring Draiken, the former spy who wants to bring justice upon his former masters for what they have done to humanity with his help. That story had been continued in the October 2016 issue with "The Soul Behind the Face". That story introduced Thorne, a woman who had been on the "other side". Here, they have become something like allies for the past four years, even though she has tried to kill him. She would just as soon leave their former masters alone but he is still determined to do something about them. They have found Silver, a former spymaster, who has agreed to give Draiken the name of someone who can lead them to the people he seeks. But first, he must submit himself to a nasty inescapable prison that Silver created. I won't say more about this because there are some surprises. I will say that this was a remarkable story and one of Castro's best. That's what I said about "Sleeping Dogs". It will be on my short list for Best Novella Hugo for the stories of 2018. I am looking forward to where this all leads. The last line is very intriguing!

There is also a Probability Zero piece called "Margin of Error" by Paul Carlson. In a future presidential election, advisers James and Dick are working to get every vote they can for Senator Everyman. They use all the technology they can. This ends on a funny note.

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