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Reviews of Old Science Fiction Magazines: Analog 1986/01: I have a lot to say about this issue, very little of it about the stories, none of which I recommend (though nothing is truly bad, except for Ian Stewart's pun-trocious "Missing Link"). I got this issue because I wanted to read Frederik Pohl's novel The Coming of the Quantum Cats and I thought this issue had an earlier novella version of the novel. Instead, it has the first 25% of the novel. Oh well. In the years after forming a desire to read TCotQC I read a lot of Frederik Pohl and kind of got tired of his work, so 25% is plenty. I did like Pohl's alternate universe Ronald Reagan as a limousine-liberal dilettante.

This is not a recommendation, but Harry Turtledove's "And So To Bed" has Samuel Pepys coming up with the theory of evolution by natural selection. It also has Harry Turtledove coming out from behind his former pen name of Eric G. Iverson. This is the only magazine I've seen with a Harry Turtledove story where his name isn't on the cover.

One odd thing about Analog is that the story blurbs are often extremely generic. Like they came out of fortune cookies, or the writing exercise "describe the story as if pitching it to someone who hates science fiction." I wish I'd mentioned this last time because the last Analog I read (now sent to Camille in Slovenia) was full of amazingly generic blurbs. But here are some a-little-less-generic blurbs from this issue:

Dana Lombardy's gaming column reviews some expansion modules for the Dune board game. Best quote in the whole magazine: "Play becomes more complicated when a Shai'Halud (giant sandworm) appears..."

Another interesting quote, from John G. Cramer's "The Alternate View" column: "There is even speculation that Iceland, which developed from sub-ocean volcanic activity starting about 65 million years ago, may have risen from the hole punched in the Earth's crust by the cretaceous meteor."

Best story title mentioned in the book review section: Dave Eggers George Alec Effinger's "The Aliens Who Knew, I Mean, Everything." Summarized here.

In the editorial, Stan Schmidt tries his hand at social engineering. In the letters section, Ben Bova unloads on an earlier letter-writer who wrote in defense of parapsychology:

I'm prepared to be generous, but after more than thirty years of watching and waiting (and ever participating in some of the experiments, as a referee) I have yet to see any successful demonstration of any parapsychological phenomenon. The experimenters always say, "Gee, it worked fine yesterday," or "The vibrations here are negative." How long would you accept such excuses from a physics student?

Bova goes on to defend the idea of strategic missile defense.

I think there's an inverse relationship between how much I like a magazine's stories and how much I like its ads. The ads in this issue are amazing. We've got space pterodactyls, post-apocalyptic role-playing games, L5 Society and National Space Institute ads, a Star Trek text adventure, The Man Who Melted Jack Dann, the fantasy novel so bad they put the supplemental map in the ad[0], and more!

The top of this ad doesn't make sense. I didn't even know Timothy Zahn was an alien, and what kind of name is "Spinneret By Hugo Winner"?

One ad not pictured claims that the "Mid-December 1984" issue of Analog was the "Special Spoof Issue". That would be an interesting read.

Oh, I forgot to mention the review of "Lovecraft's Book" by Richard A. Lupoff, a historical novel in which "German propagandist George Sylvester Viereck asked Howard P. Lovecraft to write an American Mein Kampf." The novel vaulted into obscurity but was recently published in full as "Marblehead" ("Lovecraft's Book" is apparently a bowlderized version). Here's the thing: I saw a copy of this book in England and, based on the fairly misleading book cover, thought it was nonfiction. I'm pretty sure I told Kris about it. So, sorry, H.P. Lovecraft. You were a pretty bad person, but you didn't go so far as to write a book of out-and-out fascist propaganda. And how appropriate that I would fall for a Lovecraft-related hoax about a nonexistent book.

[0] The Internet says it's not so bad, but who are you going to believe, some lousy Internet, or an ad for the book itself?


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