Analog Science Fiction and Fact, July/August 2010

Reviewed date: 2010 Aug 9
192 pages
cover art

Doctor Alien's Five Empty Boxes was interesting, but I didn't think the payoff matched the rest of the story. I expected something more than just a runaway Terminator-style robot. Also, the word is mnemonic, not pneumonic. They aren't the same thing.

Overall this is a weak issue. I didn't enjoy The Hades Project much, and Bug Trap demonstrates a common weakness in today's short fiction: it's an introduction to a story, but it's not really a satisfying story in itself.

  • Novella: Doctor Alien's Five Empty Boxes, by Rajnar Vajra - Doctor Al Morganson treats ETs, and his latest patient is a real puzzler: it's a robot shipped in pieces in five separate boxes.
  • Novella: The Hades Project, by Stephen Baxter - Underground nuclear testing raises the ire of the Magmoids.
  • Novella: Bug Trap, by Stephen L. Burns - Glyph, a punk with an overdeveloped sense of morality, escapes from the cops by jumping through a Bug Trap--an alien gate to a terraformed Venus.
  • Novelette: Fly Me to the Moon, by Marianne J. Dyson - The last living Apollo astronaut volunteers his services when an accident strands a woman on the moon; her only hope to escape is a fully functional and fueled replica of the Apollo lunar module left on the moon as a museum exhibit, but nobody knows how to fly it.
  • Novelette: The Android Who Became a Human Who Became an Android, by Scott William Carter - A detective's old flame hires him to find her husband--and android who disappeared without a trace.
  • Short story: The Long Way Around, by Carl Frederick - The Australians deliver a Lunaroo to the moon base. It's a jumping lunar vehicle modeled after a kangaroo. Pretty silly, but not so funny when it crashes and strands a couple of astronauts out by the SETI telescope.
  • Short story: Questioning the Tree, by Brad Aiken - A doctor chafes at the restrictions imposed by the insurance companies and the government; all diagnoses are performed by machine, and the doctor is not even permitted to deviate from a pre-approved script.
  • Short story: The Single Larry Ti, or Fear of Black Holes and Ken, by Brenda Cooper - A public trial before the supreme world court determines whether the particle accelerator on the far side of the moon is too dangerous to use.
  • Science fact: Artificial Volcanoes: Can We Cool the Earth by Imitating Mt. Pinatubo?, by Richard A. Lovett - Yes, but it's trickier than you think. The cooling effect wouldn't be uniform; there would be winners and losers.
  • Special Feature: The Serious Business of Writing Humor, by Richard A. Lovett - Humor is hard. Timing is everything. Remember the rule of threes. Don't add a laugh track.

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