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Analog Science Fiction and Fact, March 1999

Analog Science Fiction and Fact, March 1999
The pages of Astounding/Analog have been home to many of science fiction's foremost writers and stories. Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, Poul Anderson, Spider Robinson, Lois McMaster Bujold, and Michael F. Flynn are just a few of the prominent names which have often appeared there. Their stories have also won many Hugo and Nebula Awards, and such classics as Frank Herbert's Dune and Anne McCaffrey's Dragonflight first appeared in Analog.

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Past Feature Reviews
A review by Steve Lazarowitz

Another month and another set of fine "hard" SF stories in Analog. If anything, the March issue was even better than February's!

My favorite story was "Upgrade" by Ramona Louise Wheeler. This was a chilling tale, àla The Twilight Zone, about what happens when technology gets too far ahead of itself. Nano-technology has received a lot of play in the last year, but of all the tales I've read, "Upgrade" is my absolute favorite.

The other six stories in the issue, are all tied for my second favorite. It would be hard for me to pick one that stands out significantly above the others.

"Elephant's Graveyard" by David Alexander and Hayford Peirce is an excellent hard SF piece. I like stories that keep you guessing to the end, though I have to confess, I figured out a good portion of this one early. Which didn't diminish my enjoyment of watching it unfold.

"Flowers and the Last Hurrah" by Kristine Kathryn Rusch is near-future cross genre piece. It's almost equal parts SF and mystery. Ms. Rusch has written an intriguing future and given us an inside look at what a Net tabloid might really be like in twenty years. Throw in a murdered clone, a suspicious cop and some really high stakes and you'll have some idea of what to expect.

"The Host of Air" by Rick Cook is a more personal story than most. I found myself most sympathetic to the characters in this near-future SF piece. I've always considered flying to be the ultimate freedom. Mr. Cook has shown me the error of my ways.

"Flame of Iron" by Michael F. Flynn was the best mood piece in the issue and the only one that I would not consider SF, though what else it might be, I won't venture to say. Certainly, it was bereft of any science, unless you wish to count archeology. Yet there I was, right in the middle of the action, which says a lot considering there was no action. The entire tale recounts a conversation between a group of people in a pub in Ireland. In spite of that, "Flame of Iron" gave me a lot to think about.

"Image of an Imperfect God" by Shane Tourtellotte is yet another near future cloning story that also kept me interested. It was the characters that stole this story, rather than the plot, something you don't find often in hard SF.

Finally, Sarah Zettel's "Means of Survival" creates a rather horrible future that is entirely too plausible. I love it when a near future story completely changes the way lives are lived and this is among the best I've encountered. It's the end of the world as we know it... or is it? This is a must read story.

The issue is rounded out by the usual fine editorial by Dr. Stanley Schmidt, a rather technical science column on fiber optics, book reviews, letters and a convention calendar.

In my mind, Analog remains the absolute champion for fans of hard science fiction.

Copyright © 1999 Steve Lazarowitz

Steve Lazarowitz reads and writes fantasy and SF. His work has been published in a number of online 'zines and he is the editor of the Dragonclaw Showcase. His short story anthology A Creative Edge: Tales of Speculation is due out from Domhan books in 1999.

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