Analog Science Fiction and Fact, April 2010
I really enjoyed the lunacy of Nothin' But Blue Skies. Would I swear allegiance to a galactic empire in order to buy a flying car? Maybe. The audacity and seriousness of the demand intrigues me.
I also liked When We Were Fab, a story about how nanofabrication technology changes the world. With scarcity a thing of the past, how do stores compete? Not on price, but on exclusivity. Each store jealously guards its must-have designer products. That threatens to drive our protagonist, a convenience store owner, out of business. Then he discovers his niche: he can scan and reproduce all the old, out-of-copyright pre-nanotechnology products, and sell them to old-timers who are pining for the good old days.
Unfortunately, it doesn't ring true. With nanofabrication technology, there's no reason why any product, no matter how trivial, would ever be discontinued. It wouldn't take a convenience store owner to realize that there is a market for simple non-electric plastic toothbrushes. No, Walmart would have this market sewn up before the smaller shop owners knew what hit them.
- Novella: Swords and Saddles, by John G. Hemry - In 1870 a lightning storm transports Captain Ulysses Benton and the US 5th Cavalry regiment to an alternate earth where a land bridge changed the course of history: the American continent is populated by Europeans living in medieval-style castles.
- Novelette: Snowflake Kisses, by Holly Hight & Richard A. Lovett - A young professor studying the neurochemical basis for true love concocts a love potion, and agonizes about whether to take it herself so she can have the kind of love she's always craved. Is it still love even if she knows the feelings come from a bottle?
- Novelette: The Robots' Girl, by Brenda Cooper - New neighbors notice that the girl next door is being raised by the household robots, who permit her to have no contact with other humans.
- Short story: A Sound Basis For Misunderstanding, by Carl Frederick - A cultural liaison sent to negotiate a lutetium deal averts tragedy when his impromptu bassoon jam session wins him a recording contract to produce a kids' album for the aliens.
- Short story: Nothin' But Blue Skies, by Stephen L. Burns - A used car salesman is surprised when an alien walks in and wants to trade flying cars for used SUVs--with one condition: buyers of the flying cars must swear allegiance to the Koomban Empire.
- Short story: When We Were Fab, by Jerry Oltion - Even with an expensive new nanofabrication unit, the owner of a convenience shop can't compete with Walmart or Target and their exclusive products--until he finds a niche in reproducing old, out-of-copyright products.
- Short story: The Planet Hunters, by S. L. Nickerson - When a grad student looking for hot Jupiters around other stars stumbles upon five solar systems with a planet configuration identical to ours, it defies logic until it becomes apparent that the space telescope is seeing into the past--and the future.
- Science Fact: What's In A Kiss? The Wild, Wonderful World Of Philematology, by Richard A. Lovett - All about kissing, although I wonder why Lovett felt the need to make the title big and pretentious by using a fanciful term like philematology.