Analog Science Fiction and Fact, June 2014
I liked this issue. My favorite story was Homecoming. I like how it is a serious story, but the main character Baldwin keeps injecting puns into everything.
The Journeyman: In the Stonehouse
by Michael F. Flynn
The adventures of Teodorq sunna Nagarajan the Ironhand and Sammi o' th' Eagles. We find out, in bits and pieces, that this is an alien planet populated by descendents of crash survivors. Numerous clans fight over territory in this pre-industrial world, and Teodorq and Sammi are fellow travelers who happen to get caught up and drafted into a foreign army. The questions about the origins of their world and its culture are intensified by the fact that, in a previous story, Teodorq and Sammi had stumbled upon a crashed spaceship and talked to its AI, which swore them in as "Authorized Personnel" and sent them off on a quest to find help. Weird, but I enjoyed it.
by J.T. Sharrah
Baldwin works for a newspaper on the alien planet Bukkara. When a Bukkaran friend is killed while on vacation, Baldwin investigates. He uncovers a bizarre plot revolving around a war criminal from a recent Bukkaran conflict. Tajok is basically an alien Dr. Mengele, except Tajok actually discovered something as a result of his atrocities: a serum to extend life. Tajok is the most wanted man (alien) in Dokhara, which is why he's currently hiding out in the neighboring nation of Izmir, which refuses to turn him over on account of not having an extradition treaty. (These Bukkaran nations seem even more petty and insane than those of Earth.)
Tajok dies, and his will states that he should be buried in his family estate in Dokhara. Well, not buried. Actually, his body should be fed to a large carnivorous plant, that being the traditional Dokharan method of burial. That kind of honorable burial doesn't sit well with the Dokharan public, but the legal system is quite clear: it's Tajok's family plot, and being a war criminal doesn't change that. Tajok's only friend travels from Izmir to Dokhara to advocate on his behalf. But it's Baldwin who untangles the real secret: Tajok isn't dead! His friend is dead, Tajok is masquerading as his friend, and he's back in Dokhara attempting to retrieve the serum of life that he stashed in the family burial plot.
Forgive and forget was not a Dokharan motto. The atrocities Tajok committed hadn't been forgotten by his countrymen—definitely not. As for forgiving him . . . The Dokharans were very forgiving. They were for giving him a death sentence, and they were furious with the Izmirites for granting him asylum.
Field of Gravity
by Jay Werkheiser
Professional football played with variable gravity fields. The coaches get to dial up a gravity settings for each play. Our hero Markus Greene is a defensive back who is just sure that the Giants' star receiver is cheating. Using some kind of portable gravitoelectromagnetic (GEM) generator, probably.
The Region of Jennifer
by Tony Ballantyne
Jennifer is a perfect human being, accorded status and riches and (apparently) the ability to make everyone and everything fall in love with her. The only price is she must bear children for the alien Slavemakers. And our hero, whose name I forget (it's Randy, I looked it up) is genetically engineered to survive: he can eat garbage, sleep outside, endure vacuum, whatever. He cares that humanity is being taken over by the aliens, even if Jennifer doesn't.
by Ron Collins
Eons ago, an alien survivor crashlanded on Earth. He's survived thousands of years, taking various humans as hosts, being forever alone. Until one day, he spots another survivor: the tell-tale red entry mark on the neck gives her away. He pursues her, but she runs away.
A Star to Steer By
by Jennifer R. Povey
The AI spaceship Ai Weiwei is suffering PTSD after losing her entire crew, but the humans don't care: they order her back into the war. On a training cruise before being sent to the front lines, Ai Weiwei stumbles upon an alien vessel, and in an act of supreme sacrifice, destroys herself to prevent the enemy from escaping with vital information.
by Bud Sparhawk
An interesting spin on war crimes: everyone involved in the war has their specific memories wiped. But some survivors figure that even if you can't remember, some crimes must still be punished.
The Last Time My Computer Went Down
by Kate Gladstone
If a quantum computer crashes, it might actually sink through the table, might it not?
Alternate Possibilities: the Paranormal
by Edward M. Lerner
Lerner spends way too many pages offering up some kind of plausible (if highly unlikely) scientific rationale for certain kinds of paranormal phenomena.