Analog Science Fiction and Fact January/February 2011

Analog Jan/Feb 2011

Analog Jan / Feb 2011

I picked up Analog in early December, I think, and I finished it last night. It was a double-issue – which was really nice. It was a huge read for me. And I have been really interested in sci-fi short stories lately.

I enjoyed reading this issue quite a bit. I think it was excellent – and I was not so sure what to expect.

Contents (fiction only) and my rating:
At Cross Purposes – 5 stars
The Unfinished Man – 3 stars
A Snitch in Time – 2 stars
Some of them Closer – 1 star
Enigma – 3 stars
The First Conquest of Earth – 3 stars
Out There – 2 stars
Stay – 4 stars
Non-Native Species – 3 stars
Multivac’s Singularity – 3 stars
The Frog Prince – 4 stars
The First Day of Eternity – 3 stars

The first story was the best in the book and it was also good enough to have me reflect on it months after having read it.  “At Cross Purposes” was written by Juliette Wade and it was easily 5 stars. Like several of the stories in this issue, this story deals with the interaction of different cultures/species, particularly with more animal characteristics.  I loved all of the concepts that Wade was using here – purpose, linguistic communication, etc.  The concept of purpose is so philosophically cool that I give the author kudos just for using it. It was a little difficult to start reading – since the writing style is so different. It grew on me, though. This would be a fantastic story to develop into a huge series of books. I would love to get to know all the species and characters a lot better. This was well done.

“The Unfinished Man” and “A Snitch in Time” were okay. They were overall typical sci-fi fare. The former was interesting because it toyed lightly with some psychology. The latter involved time travel, which is always interesting, but I didn’t really like the ending.

“Some of Them Closer” was the only loser in this issue. I really found it to be quite pointless and not very good.

“Enigma” had a lot of neat concepts especially the concept of engineered DNA to enhance species. The exploration of the unique enigma planet also was interesting and I liked it – probably because I liked the concept of history/knowledge/posterity.  The main character was also pretty cool – though when I first met her I was skeptical.

“Stay” once again utilized the mixture of animals and humans and this was an excellent stand alone short story. I really enjoyed it and found it unique and surprising. Even the title was fun and fitting.  I liked the interactions between the characters a lot.  This was a fun world to imagine – and I also wanted to imagine it with characters other than canines…..

“The Frog Prince” was also very good and probably should not be expanded – although I can see many places wherein it could become a novel or a series of novels. I think it should stay as a short story because the self-contained storyline was complex enough to make it seem like just a glimpse into this strange universe on board a ship.  The main character(s) with his MPD, of sorts, was absolutely fascinating.  I loved hearing the different personalities interacting and working on problems and ideas together. This is such a cool concept that it was fun to imagine (hence the impulse to expand the story), but I think too much could be made of it and then ruin the uniqueness of this character. Assassins and MPD and hurtling through space – all that I hope for in sci fi!

“The First Day of Eternity” was a rather long story to get through. I feel that it could have been shorter, because I read it for quite awhile, the longest read in the issue.  I did not like the ending. I would not change the substance of the ending, but I might have added a few things. Its hard to explain. I feel like a lot of time was spent telling us about the culture onboard the Diaspora ship, then we slogged through the colonization of the planet (Earth 2), and then the decision was made wherein the Diaspora IS the Promised Land (i.e. Eternity).  The interactions of the A.I. ship were okay, nothing too unique there. But the rollers (little characters native to Earth 2) were really cool – but we didn’t get to learn enough about them, which was disappointing.  And the ending just kind of happened; and I feel I spent too much effort reading the story to get a flat ending.

MEAN:  3
MODE:  3

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