Analog Science Fiction and Fact, January/February 2012

Reviewed date: 2012 Jan 10
192 pages
cover art

Triggers grabbed my attention. The rest of the stories are dumb. Project Herakles is far too bogged down in British politics, and anyway, the idea of breeding giant humans is preposterous. The Doctor Alien story was OK, but too long and boring. Listen Up, Nitwits is a short, clever idea for a story, but should be much, much shorter than it is. I really disliked Humanity by Proxy, and Ninety Thousand Horses is steampunk--and I hate steampunk.

Overall a weak set of stories, but Triggers makes up for it.

  • Serial: Triggers (part I of IV), by Robert J. Sawyer - An assassin shoots President Seth Jerrison during a speech, and while at the hospital, an experiment elsewhere in the building goes haywire and accidentally links the President into a telepathic mind-reading chain. With top-secret military operation mere hours away, a spy reading the President's thoughts could be catastrophic for national--and world--security.
  • Novella: Project Herakles, by Stephen Baxter - Top-secret British government project to breed giants comes in handy when the giants stroll into London to help stop an attempted coup.
  • Novella: Doctor Alien and the Spindles of Infinity, by Rajnar Vajra - A psychiatrist who specializes in treating aliens gets drafted by intergalactic aliens to help decide whether these particular aliens should commit racial suicide.
  • Novelette: Humanity by Proxy, by Mark Niemann-Ross - Engineers build the perfect robotic partner--a mule--to serve alongside soldiers; later, they help the elderly.
  • Novelette: Ninety Thousand Horses, by Sean McMullen - Disaffected playboy son of a millionaire builds a rocket engine in 1899, with disastrous results.
  • Short story: An Interstellar Incident, by Catherine Shaffer - Our bureaucratic hero must pull off a dinner party that includes alien guests who prefer to chase and kill live prey.
  • Short story: Listen Up, Nitwits, by Jack McDevitt - A voice from space tells the nations of Earth to listen up and stop the fighting.
  • Science Fact: Faster than a Speeding Photon, by Edward M. Lerner - Faster than light travel is impossible, but could there be loopholes?
  • Special Feature: What Science Means to Me, by Jerry Oltion -
  • Special Feature: Theme: The Art of Writing 'About' Something, by Richard A. Lovett -
  • Short-short: Return of the Zombie Sea Monster, by Michael F. Flynn -

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