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Analog, May

(20 posts)
  • Started 7 years ago by JohnWThiel
  • Latest reply from JohnWThiel

  1. JohnWThiel
    Member

    Got the issue today. So ready to read Lerner's serial, to see how some of that turned out.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  2. Steve R.
    Member

    Just read the Guest Editorial; "Victory Lapse" by Edward Lerner. Sadly he points to what I have been lamenting for several years. Each "celebration" of NASA's accomplishments is really a funeral service. A Nation that "celebrates" past accomplishments to the exclusion of achieving future goals is in decline.

    I'm not going to delve too deeply into the politics, but the US is consumed with internal friction. Our extremely hyper-partisan political leaders have lost sight of making real decisions and promoting the National interest. As such, there is virtually no room for fostering a space vision.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  3. robertbrown
    Member

    In the "beginning of an era" department, I bought this issue as a nook file. No more dead tree issues. Welcome to the future, smart guy!

    I have nowhere else to voice my comments, so I'll lay them out here. (Maybe someone in authority will chance across them.) While i found the nook file to be far more readable than the print version, which I've always struggled to read, the file is nearly unnavigable. A table of contents with links would be extremely helpful. I urge whoever's in charge of formatting to check out the Arc epub.

    Anyhoo. Agree Steve R on the editorial. Lerner summarizes the issue nicely. (I haven't read the article about asteroid mining yet, but it's a nice bookend sort of set of essays.)

    I've been saying for a long time that commies make better space-farers than rugged individualist-types. I think the privateer scenario so many are pinning their hopes on is not nearly as promising as the CNSA program. TIme will tell, but I think the reds are the last best hope of Earthlings.

    The novelet, Martin L Shoemaker's "Not Close Enough" is the high tech Mars exploration version of the Star Wars trench sequence. Brisk, and pointed, a flawless mission.

    The story also reflects the themes of the essays.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  4. robertbrown
    Member

    Four short stories:

    I guessed the gist of Goldman's "Sentinel Chickens," but he still managed to sneak something past me. I would have said this subject could admit no further items of interest, but he manages to find a fresh angle (fresh to me, at least) and made me chuckle. Ah, the human mind is a marvel!

    Cuirle's "Enjoy the Fishing" didn;t quite carry off its intended effect on me. YMMV. It's pleasant enough.

    Stratmann's "Prometheus" works a different very familiar theme from the Goldman above, and also slides into a previously unsuspected approach vector on the trope with satisfying results. Another chuckle from the peanut gallery.

    Jansen's "Geospermia" is set on a Mars in the midst of Terraforming, but the meaning of the word "terraforming" get a bit of a workout. A busy story obviously part of a larger work (or suite of stories), and i look forward to other examples. Mysteries unresolved here, for sure.

    The Lovett article on asteroid mining is up-to-date and opens the floor to speculation: will we, this time?

    I sincerely hope so.

    As far as I can tell, I have just the Cramer AV left to read, but the arrangement and formatting of the nook file make it hard to discern. I reiterate, just in case someone is lurking: please overhaul the way these files are laid out and labelled. While I like the readability of the nook file, I do not like the wandering. I mean, even the page numbers don't show up on the reading screen. Come on!

    I am still hoarding the Lerner Serial.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  5. JohnWThiel
    Member

    "Sentinel Chickens" reminds me from the title of Rudy Rucker's "The F'Noor Hen" in Asimov's.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  6. JohnWThiel
    Member

    Two stories ecological in nature, back to back (still remembering Campbell's editorial on ecology and how different it was from the hard sciences)--"Sentinel Chickens" and "Enjoy the Fishing". The first I considered to contain writing extraneous to the story, careful descriptions of the procedures, were it not for the fact that the scientific methods involved were being studied, but this is not very entertaining to the reader. I'd say also that the reader does not much enjoy a story about a plague, and here no solutions to the plague that could be of value to the reader are found, except for the single statement that a plague might arise from outside the boundaries of the scientific concept of it. Otherwise the story seems something of a satire. I don't think that the concoction of a disease is very worthy for a story, other than to promote its one concept.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  7. JohnWThiel
    Member

    I see the second story is framed fore and aft by related material, the poem and the quote. This story is rather improbable and might be called what it is, a "fish story", and would be more in place in Field and Stream, if not Argosy, giving the nature mag some variety. I'm not looking out for the editor's feelings pointing this out, as I doubt that Quachri reads these comments. If, as the last line suggests, the rabbit hunting there is interesting, that's more than the story is to this reader, as much as it may interest the characters in the story. I think we have a satire as well as a jape in this story, but the satire is not very well-handled. The jape does okay. Nothing that new, though, there were some water-creature stories in Asimov's, and a few prior ones in Analog.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  8. JohnWThiel
    Member

    "Prometheus" recalls those early Campbell days, too, when Dolphins were being discussed in the magazine. I'm glad present sf is not allowing those nature discussions to lag. However, I found the story to be chiefly a satire. It seemed to dispute the scientific method and the impulse of progress. As portrayed, the early dolphins had behavioral science in a crude form. Of course they wouldn't have this human concept because they didn't have human structures which make behavior subject to scientific scrutiny. But then, that's satire. The story was out of the believability range by quite a distance, but so, I think, do the evolutionary concepts it burlesques.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  9. robertbrown
    Member

    I think "Geospermia" is my favorite story from Analog since...oh maybe "An Old-Fashioned Martian Girl."

    Granted, I only dip in Analog occasionally, so perhaps I'm missing stories not set on Mars I'd really like if I'd read them, but I guess I have a soft spot for Mars.

    Which is true.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  10. JohnWThiel
    Member

    Yeh, I read "Geospermia" too. Commented on it in the wrong issue topic, as you noted. One of the few close looks at terraforming I've seen taken. It portrays life as being practically snuffed out by the size of the enterprise involved, like, man can't handle what man is handling, and a fellow who travels planets ends up potato farming and failing at that, going on to trading in panda hides...that's my take on the story, anyway; it seems rather morbid about the future of human endeavor, with mortality rather vivid in the lives described. Not very optimistic, but it shows some real thought about how life might get to be, regardless of achievement.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  11. JohnWThiel
    Member

    Add "Not Close Enough" to my reading experiences this month. The story had a Mars mission making so great a use of computers and computer lingo that I got the impression that the whole thing might be taking place on a computer, but then it got gutty real and except for the speed of some of their transactions no longer sounded like computer simulation. It had an argument I was always sure had existed at NASA, how careful to be; the space program was kept awfully square, much of it due to safety precautions. Lives were still lost. That showed the need for tighter safety precautions, so there was not much derring-do about the program, except for taking on what was involved overall.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  12. JohnWThiel
    Member

    The story was also reminiscent of Captain Video and all the problems they had about the safe piloting of a spaceship itself. I would say a sequel is necessary as their mission was so dangerous that one never found out whether they would all be killed or not. The luck had changed, that's all, and with it some of the spirit, but the disaster possibilities were still present. The optimistic reader may assume that those killed survived as there was some upgrade, but he still needs the author's assurance. Meanwhile there's the main purport of the story, the presence of the spirit of adventure and exploration which NASA merely has alluded to but not expressed very much.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  13. JohnWThiel
    Member

    Finished part two of DARK SECRET. Almost halfway through the story the opening with the avalanche was returned to, and I was pleased that both people survived; one has cause to wonder if they will. After the big wait, the survival was rather rapidly shown, in fact, in one part Blake seems to teleport to where Rikki is buried, the denouement of the incident is flashed so quickly. Onward to what we want, how they did at getting things together on a new world. Here the character interaction, which has been resembling THE DEER PARK (Norman Mailer), becomes somewhat sinister due to the revealing of the secret thoughts of Li, a psychiatrist who is apparently being gradually revealed by the author to be insane. At first she seems in a state of autonomy, but then it starts to look like schizophrenia, as she surveys everyone else from an altitude and the author psyches her from her past. What kind of secrets can this handful of survivors have?

    Posted 7 years ago #
  14. JohnWThiel
    Member

    John Cramer has been doing the Alternate View for a long time. I sometimes wonder why it's called an "alternate view". I think it must be an alternate to hard science, somewhat verified by the latest column, which starts out "physics is an experimental science." This could alternate with the policy of the magazine, which seems to be that science is hard and fast. With that general policy, they probably softened and decided upon an alternate view column. At least that's my take on the meaning of the title--it was probably explained at the first, but I didn't see the column from the first. Anyway, the column this month is very readable and amusing, and, like I say, tends to be definatory of the title of the column.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  15. Marian
    Member

    Very interesting issue so far. Starting with the non-fiction:
    Victory Lapse, the guest editorial, already commented on. Sadly true.
    Book reviews: This time it's on books into movies and especially interesting on books into movies into books.
    Alternate View: Over my head as it's all very hard science. But it's about how science works and how what becomes accepted dogma can be suddenly overturned.
    Asteroid Mining by Lovett - explains which group of elements are worth mining. I hadn't realized how rare certain ones are on earth.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  16. Marian
    Member

    Fiction: Dark Secret, Part II. I'm disappointed in that it falls back on the cliche of one member of the small group has a hidden agenda to make a power grab. And John, you revealed so much in your comments, next time put Spoiler Alert at the top if you're going to give so many details. Anyway, the story is frankly powerful enough it doesn't need a subplot. And the whole thing raises a question in my mind. The planet they found is barely habitable. Why not return to earth? More than a century would have elapsed by the time they arrived so earth would have settled down. It couldn't be worse than the planet they're trying to colonize and it frankly makes more sense to me to recolonize the earth. So unless Lerner has something up his sleeve for the next two episodes, I'm going to be disappointed in it.
    Short Stories:
    Prometheus - Sad story of the price to be paid for trying to make a leap forward. The title Prometheus makes perfect sense when you remember the price he paid for bringing fire to man.
    Sentinel Chickens - supposed to be ominous but for me it misfired.
    Enjoy the Fishing - A bit too heavy handed in the message which is a shame as it's otherwise a fine story.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  17. JohnWThiel
    Member

    That's something that occurred to me also; just dodging it would be the best expedient. Perhaps the Earth has a curse on it after something that bad.

    Marian, I've been trying to see if I could get you to do a column on generalized things of sf interest for SURPRISING. You do so much research of that kind, it would make an interesting column.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  18. Marian
    Member

    Well, John, I need a way to contact you. I went over to Surprising and did not see any contact listed. May I seriously suggest putting something in just on general principles or if you already have it, make it visible.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  19. JohnWThiel
    Member

    Nor do I find another way to contact you, save on this Forum. My email address is

    Posted 7 years ago #
  20. JohnWThiel
    Member

    I heard from Marian and now have her e-mail address, so I'm going to ask the sitemaster to remove my email address from the above posting.

    Posted 7 years ago #

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