Analog Science Fiction and Fact, June 2013

Reviewed date: 2013 Sep 23
112 pages
cover art

I found "A Cup of Dirt" to be overly long and unsatisfactory. "In the Green" has no point--it's hardly even a story. "Hydroponics 101" is a bit too philosophical and metaphysical for my taste. I did enjoy "Out in the Dark", though it was predictable. "Glitch" didn't do much for me. (Didn't Star Trek already do that same premise, several times? In the various stupid holodeck episodes?) But the continuation of "Dark Secret" isn't bad, and I did enjoy parts of "Wavefronts of History and Memory".

  • Serial (3 of 4): "Dark Secret" by Edward M. Lerner - A gamma-ray burst (GRB) extinguishes all life on Earth, and mankind's last hope is the six crewmembers of Endeavor--and their cargo of frozen embryos. The crew starts a new life on Dark, but one member is scheming to shape the new society for her own purposes.
  • Novelette: "A Cup of Dirt" by Mark Niemann-Ross - This is the hoary old story of cabin-fever-suffering spacemen secretly conspiring to make illegal hooch with the captain's unofficial blessing, except instead of alcohol they're making dirt so they can grow real tomatoes.
  • Short story: "In the Green" by K.S. Patterson - A disabled boy uses Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) to communicate with his sister, and later he tries to leave the Green Zone--the area safe for humans because it's protected by an electronic field to ward off the dangerous local creatures.
  • Short story: "Wavefronts of History and Memory" by David D. Levine - Radioarchaeologists travel to distant regions of space to collect faint radio signals from Earth's history, in order to research the Late Telegraphic era, but their efforts are complicated by the radio ripples of their previous attempts to explore the same era.
  • Short story: "Hydroponics 101" by Maggie Clark - A prison system designed for rehabilitation puts each prisoner in a sealed sphere with a MudderTree. The MudderTree responds to the prisoner's emotions, thereby forcing the prisoner to change his thoughts and reshape himself into a healthy, nonviolent human being.
  • Short story: "Out in the Dark" by Linda Nagata - The rule is this: one person, one body. Extra copies are illegal and will be destroyed. When an unregistered woman arrives on Sato Station from deep space, officer Zeke Choy is sent to investigate. He suspects she is an unauthorized copy of a woman lost to deep space long ago, and as such, her existence is almost certainly illegal.
  • Short-short: "Glitch" by Jack McDevitt - If our reality is a simulation, we might notice occasional glitches.
  • Science Fact: "Waves of the Future: Where Will the Next Tsunami Strike?" by Richard A. Lovett - A brief overview of earthquake zones around the world.
  • Special Feature: "Working on the Space Shuttle" by Jeff Mitchell - An engineer's retrospective on the decades he spent as part of the shuttle project.

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