I finally finished reading the March 2011 issue of Analog. I have to say that it was not as good as the first issue I had read, and that may account for my slow reading of this issue. There are 8 stories contained in this issue.
Contents (fiction only) and my rating:
Rule Book – 1 star
Falls the Firebrand – 2 stars
Hiding from Nature -2 stars
Julie is Three -3 stars
Timeshare – 4 stars
Astronomic Distance, Geologic Time – 3 stars
Taboo – 2 stars
Betty Knox and Dictionary Jones – 4 stars
The first story, “Rule Book,” started out interesting me, but it was very long and went absolutely nowhere. I suppose some argument could be made discussing the utility and purpose of robots in the future. However, overall, the story was just too long, too boring, and too uninteresting to be given a good rating from me. I think reading this story as the first in the issue somewhat tainted my enthusiasm for reading the rest of the issue. Overall, the story seemed to shift its focus a lot and the ending was just downright rotten.
The second story “Falls the Firebrand” had a lot of potential, but it ended up just being a dull entry. After having read the first two stories, I was somewhat disappointed.
The third and fourth stories were a bit better, though not by much. They were rather dismal in tone, though. I felt that “Julie is Three” was unique, but just not fascinating.
The next little writing piece was “Timeshare” (a one page “story”). This was one of the best pieces in the book. It was perfect for what it is – a quick one-page read that had just enough wit to it.
I really don’t know what to say about Jerry Oltion’s contribution to this issue “Taboo.” I guess I expected better from him. He’s a good writer – that much is obvious. However this story is definitely taboo. (Its not graphic or vile, don’t be misled.) But I just really didn’t like this at all. I gave it two stars because the writing is definitely among the best in the issue.
The last story is easily the prize of the issue and is fun and well worth reading. There are elements of crime, love, and time travel – which makes this story super. Reading this story and “Timeshare” are really the only worthwhile reads, but that being said, they are indeed worthwhile and probably shouldn’t be passed over.
I believe that the cover art is taken from the story “Falls the Firebrand.” I wish the story was as interesting as the cover depicts.