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Phantom Sense and Other Stories
edited by Richard A. Lovett and Mark Niemann-Ross
Strange Wolf Press, 166 pages

Richard A. Lovett
Richard A. Lovett is considered to be one of the most prolific writers in the history of Analog magazine. A writer of both fact and fiction (plus a popular series of how-to articles about short-story writing) he's won eight of the magazine's AnLab (reader's choice) awards. His short fiction has also appeared in Nature, Cosmos, and Marathon & Beyond and been translated into Polish, Portuguese, Finnish, and Russian. He is also a sports writer and coach of Portland, Oregon's 300-member Team Red Lizard running club, and of individual athletes, including two women who competed in the U.S. Olympic Team Marathon Trials. A former law professor, he also holds a degree in astrophysics and a Ph.D. in economics.

Richard A. Lovett Website
ISFDB Bibliography: Richard A. Lovett

Mark Niemann-Ross
Mark Niemann-Ross shares two Analog awards with Richard A. Lovett. His first solo story appeared in Analog, January 2012 and he is actively polishing several more. His next project is a murder mystery -- solved by a refrigerator. Currently employed as a Computer Curriculum Manager at lynda.com, he is also a jazz bassist, programmer, and once canoed sixty days in the Canadian Arctic.

Mark Niemann-Ross Website
ISFDB Bibliography: Mark Niemann-Ross

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Sandra Scholes

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Phantom Sense and Other Stories Writers who have already written for Analog Science Fiction and Fact Magazine have collaborated to create this series of tales that concentrate on science and humanity. It is interesting when one writer releases a series of short stories, but when two notable ones join together, anything can happen, and it has with this award-winning team. These have the advantage of being both science and fiction and the two aspects are equal in these four stories which also come with an explanation for how they were conceived.

These are stories that have already been published previously in Analog and each one uses a scientific premise and enlarges on it, describing the society the characters live in, and the individuals themselves. Each story contains information on the science used, which is helpful if you did not understand it in the story. There is the comfort in the knowledge that Richard A. Lovett and Mark Niemann-Ross are up on the latest in science and technology, and, as readers will come to notice, they also give others the speculation of future science, and how realistic it could be. The reason for the background information is based on the author's thought that he wondered how plausible a sci-fi story set in the present or near future is, and this is a way of answering the reader, discovering more than they expected.

The characters in these stories are as real as they get. They have real emotions and cope with the situations they are put in. Sergeant Kip McCorbin is a busy military man who wants to be there while his daughter grows up in "Phantom Sense," but he has also lost his sixth sense; and has to deal with the after effects of that omission. Marissa is lucky to be still alive when her associate leaves only to find a rather cold Courtney Brandt lying in the snow on a glacier in "A Deadly Intent." Finding her this way leads to a murder investigation as it is suspected there is a murderer still on the loose around where they are and he or she might be looking for another victim. In "New Wineskins," Valerie Akwasi considers whether it is a good or bad thing to tell a human work force to leave in place of a robot workforce at a vineyard. "Net Puppets," has Dennis Brophy and Linda set up a psych program where they create two characters, give them profiles and then let the computer fill in the other information. At first it's a bit of fun, a sort of "see what happens" to some random characters, but it intrigues them the more they think about it. The further they go to creating their characters, the more the computer decides to change the specifics, and even include a few new things. This is the best story in the entire book, and the most surprising for drama and intrigue.

Copyright © 2013 Sandra Scholes

Sandra Scholes has a vague recollection of being on Twitter and Goodreads, but still thinks she aught to really remember what she did on there…other than that, she writes regularly for The British Fantasy Society, Fantasy Book Review and Love Romance Passion.


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