Analog — July/August 2011

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Analog, July/August 2011

“Energized” by Edward M. Lerner (Serial, II of IV)
“Coordinated Attacks” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
“Jak and the Beanstalk” by Richard A. Lovett
“One Out of Many” by Kyle Kirkland
“A Witness to All That Was” by Scott William Carter
“Death and Dancing in New Las Vegas” by Ernest Hogan
“…Plus C’est La Meme Chose” by Arlan Andrews, Sr.

Reviewed by Joseph Giddings

“Energized” by Edward M. Lerner is the second part of a serial that began in the previous issue of Analog.  I highly recommend starting with the first part, and try not to judge it until you’ve read it all.  So far, an intriguing story that keeps you reading.

“Coordinated Attacks” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch transports us to a future where humans live on the moon inside of protective domes.  Deep into the future, where clones are plentiful and take decades to grow properly and where terrorists seek access to chemicals that can turn a person to stone. From the start I found myself sucked into this far flung future, despite it feeling like an episode of CSI: Moon.

Once you get past that feeling, you find yourself absorbed in the story as it follows two events, one in the present day (for the story) and another from four year previous.  The same characters exist in both stories, and we see how choices made by characters in the earlier event have far reaching consequences that lead to the current catastrophe.  Additionally, we see how public servants have to deal with a delicate situation (like the assassination of a hugely popular mayor), and how said events would affect their lives.

An incredible story, one that will have you riveted until the end.

Just reading the title of Richard A. Lovett‘s story, “Jak and the Beanstalk,” worried me.  Sure, a lot of writers go to great lengths to re-imagine a classic story into something modern and different.  But a lot of them fall flat.  However, once I got started and was a page in, I realized that while this was a similar tale, the likeness vanished after realizing that Jak is just a name, the Beanstalk was a space elevator reaching thirty five thousand kilometers into space, and the Giant was the space station at the top of the elevator.

I quickly found myself engrossed in Jak’s story, as we learned of his dream to climb the elevator into space, and his meticulous preparations to make the grueling journey that would take years to complete.  Steps would make the climb easier, but he still had to climb them all.  And, along the way, deal with being alone, being far above the Earth in a vacuum, and then, watching the planet deteriorate below him into a vast war.  Being one of the last humans alive, he now has to press on, to make his goal, forgetting about the fame and fortune he originally envisioned, fame earned from being the only man to climb the entire beanstalk.

A deep and thoughtful story, well worth the telling and the reading.  I highly recommend it to everyone.

Kyle Kirkland brings us “One Out of Many,” a hard science fiction story that delves into the human brain, expanding upon a future where science can read your brain activity and with the help of a certain drug, amplify certain effects within it.  A unique look at what the future of humans may look like, and how earth-shattering discoveries may affect the very lives we have come to live.

All in all, the story was fascinating in that Kirkland worked hard to keep the reader with enough information and intrigue to keep reading without dropping the answers.  However, unless you are interested in neuroscience you may find yourself extremely bored with this tale.  My own interest in neuroscience, small as it may be, wasn’t enough to easily hold my attention.  Nevertheless, this story is worth a read for all fans of the subject matter or hard science fiction.

In “A Witness to All That Was” by Scott William Carter, we are shown the lives of two couples, one a happy couple and the other one that isn’t so much.  As we explore what makes each couple tick and how they interact, we learn some startling truths about love.  A touching story about loss, and what it means to have someone with whom you want to experience life.  I personally found the story riveting and would have happily read more about the characters after the encounter between the two couples.  Or, rather, the remnants of one of the couples.

Ernest Hogan brings us “Death and Dancing in New Las Vegas,” a sequel to his story “The Rise and Fall of Paco Cohen and the Mariachis of Mars.”  Despite not having read the original story in the April 2001 issue of Analog, I couldn’t tell it was a sequel. What I could tell, however, was that Hogan loves to make up words and create unusual people and places.  I found the story interesting only in that I wanted to know what was going on.  However, I was disappointed in that I remained just as clueless at the end of the story as I was at the beginning.  A lackluster story, so move on unless you really want to read it.

“…Plus C’est La Meme Chose” by Arlan Andrews, Sr., is a wonderfully imaginative tale about the future of matter transmission, and how we will seek to overcome the dangers of transmitting things like meat and living matter from one place on the planet to another, instantaneously. A fast read with a fun ending makes this one of the better stories offered in this issue.