by David A. Truesdale
Dave Truesdale has been reading science fiction and fantasy
for forty years. For the past four years he has edited
The Only Science Fiction & Fantasy Short Fiction Review
Magazine. It was runner-up for the 1997 Hugo Award.
The intent of this column is to present reviews of selected short fiction that
strike Dave's interest as his reading for
If you would like to read more short fiction reviews,
try Tangent as it reviews every
original story in all American, Canadian, British,
and Australian professional SF & F magazines (as well as many others).
For more of David's opinions, we've put together a table of contents for other Editor's Choice columns.
For information on the contents of an issue or for subscription details, you can try the following sites:
Asimov's Science Fiction
Analog Science Fiction and Fact
The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction
|Analog Science Fiction and Fact, April 1998|
|The Children Star (Part One of Four)||Joan Slonczewski|
|"The Coverture Incident"||Stephen L. Burns|
|"The Vigilant Ones"||Alexis Glynn Latner|
|"Shrink Wrapped"||David Alexander|
|Analog Science Fiction and Fact, May 1998|
|The Children Star (Part Two of Four)||Joan Slonczewski|
|"The Sword Unswayed"||Stephen Goldin|
|"Yellow and Orange Blues"||Amy Bechtel|
|"The Human Touch"||H.G. Stratmann|
A quick look at the contents of the above issues and you will see there are only six stories between
them, about that of any regular issue of most magazines. This is because, as you will also note, there
happens to be a novel serialization in progress, something the original Astounding (retitled Analog in 1960)
has been doing for almost all of its sixty-eight year existence. Astounding/Analog has serialized
more novels -- and more award-winning novels -- than any other magazine in science fiction history.
So while I regret to report that while I enjoyed the pair of satires, meeting strange and lovable aquatic aliens, and learning one more time the difficulties to be overcome when dealing with another species, I found no stand-out short fiction in either the April or May issues of Analog, the sort to make recommended reading or award lists come the end of the year.
Nevertheless, not to give the possible new reader to Analog a false impression of its quality, and bending my Editor's Choice mandate to point out short fiction this time to include a novel in progress, I offer the following as my...
I'll get to this particular story in a bit, but first I'd like to mention that in the time before
original SF novels were even published as books by major publishing houses (the very early 50s,
not to be too precise about it, and not counting the first of the small press reprint book publishers
like Gnome and Fantasy Press), the only place an SF novel could be published first was as a serial in
the magazines. That Analog continues to do so with regularity when there is no publishing necessity
to do so is something many of us cherish.
In the last four years alone, editor Stanley Schmidt has serialized seven full length novels!
But lest we forget that this assortment of recent novels is but the tip of a huge iceberg, I can't help but recall just a few of the many other classic novels that Astounding/Analog has published over the years. Just a few that come to mind are:
But enough. You get the point. It would take a week to list all of the popular or award-winning novels to have appeared in Astounding/Analog over its life-span (its first issue saw print in January 1930).
Instead I leave you with excerpts from the synopses of two of the serials to have appeared in Astounding/Analog. Both are from their second installments. One is from the current, May 1998 issue of Analog, and one is from the February 1957 issue of Astounding. A forty-one year gap! See if you can tell which is which:
1. "On the planet Prokaryon, all living organisms grow in rings. Tire-shaped zooids graze over fields of loopleaves, and flyers with hellicoid propellers fill the forests of arch-trunked singing-trees. As yet, none of these life forms appear intelligent; but the forests and fields are spaced in orderly arrays that imply the existence of 'hidden masters.' "
2. "The twin planets of Home and Rathe, both about the size of Earth, circle a common center in Trojan relationship with a red dwarf star; all three, in turn, revolve around a white star somewhat smaller than Earth's sun, dominated by the brilliant mass of the Canes Venatici star cluster, on whose periphery this solar system is located. Both Home and Rathe are inhabited, and the Rathe-men, whose world is largely desert, have been aware of the existence of Home since prehistoric times."
I won't hold you in suspense. The second quote is from the synopsis of James Blish's novel Get Out of My Sky, from the February 1957 Astounding. The first is from Joan Slonczewski's currently serialized novel The Children Star. It's a captivating read so far, and if it ends up half as good as her marvelous second novel A Door into Ocean (1986), you won't want to miss a single installment of it in Analog. The Children Star's concluding parts are in the June and July issues, so if you haven't already bought them there's always hope they can be found in the dealers room at a science fiction convention. Good luck!
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