Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Analog January-February 2005

Posted by frankh at 7:21 PM

This is based on the fictionwise etext which was released at the end of November.

1) Serial (1 of 3): "The Stonehenge Gate" by Jack Williamson [Cover Story] -- potentially mundane but too long to bother checking out without more information--the title and cover are not at all promising
2) Novella: "Uncreated Night and Strange Shadows" by James Gunn -- interstellar space story
3) Novella: "A Few Good Men" by Richard A. Lovett -- time travel
4) Novelette: "The Supersonic Zeppelin" by Ben Bova -- humorous story about corporate engineering and D.C. politics; mundane
5) Novella: "Mars Opposition" by David Brin -- aliens
6) Short Story: "Seventy-Five Years" by Michael A. Burstein -- 21st century politics in D.C. intersects with science; mundane
7) Short Story: "Rough Draft" by Kevin J. Anderson & Rebecca Moesta -- about sf writing and alternate timelines or something like that; presumed fantastic
8) Short Story: "Nova Terra" by Jeffery D. Kooistra -- conventional sociological engineering story with mild intrigue; mundane

I read the three stories highlighted, and consider them all mundane. The dropoff in literary quality from Asimov's is rather painful, but the "down to earth" quality is also refreshing. For a double issue it's not much to get excited about, and I don't really recommend any of the stories. However, if I picked one it would probably be the Bova because it's the best writing and since I'm generally intolerant of written humor it probably wasn't all that bad (though the story eventually falls flat).



Blogger goatchurch said...

1) "The Stonehenge Gate" -- teleportation to other worlds. Clearly not mundane.

4) "The Supersonic Zeppelin" is based around self-proclaimed ludicrous idea of making a future biplane out of a hydrogen balloon. I can go over the physics with anyone, but in a nutshell it's roughly equivalent to the idea of making a helicopter out of concrete. The compromise between weight and stiffness can never be satisfied. Fictional engineering -- not mundane.

8) "Nova Terra" can be quoted. "[The motor] was a permanent magnet design, with brushless commutation. But the magnets were oriented in a useless way on the rotot, and the stator didn't have any poles".

The protagonist is an expert engineer who thinks this design is fictional, and it is fair that we should take his word for it. Maybe it's marginal, but since the story here is so non-existent and is about an exception to known science, it might as well be not mundane.

12/07/2004 11:17:00 PM  
Blogger frankh said...

Sure, the science seems pretty phony in those two stories, but I'm pretty tolerant about that. (If I was a more experienced Analog reader then maybe it would cause an immediate groan like the appearance of a time travel story.) The "actual" engineering in those cases is just a plot device to tell stories about engineers. It's not really serious stuff, but "dull engineer escapism" stories at least attempt to have recognizably human characters with recognizably human emotions in a clearly mundane world.

12/08/2004 10:01:00 AM  
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