< Maggie Melodrama
Ghostbusters >

Reviews of Old Science Fiction Magazines: Analog 1989/01: The best thing here is Marc Stiegler's essay "Hypermedia and the Singularity". I've put off reviewing this issue for a long time because I wanted to do this essay justice, but I give up. I'll discuss it later. It's a prediction-filled essay from a dude who would shortly go on to take over development of Xanadu, and it's got lots of Mac Classic illustrations. It's like reading some contemporaneous Analog science article about how space colonies will work, in a future where there are actual space colonies all over the place.

What else we got? Rick Shelley's "To Give Them The Moon" is really fun, action-packed, and fulfills every nerd's fantasy of advancing a primitive society without having to know everything on Ryan's time travel poster. Just general "uh, somehow light is both a particle and a wave" type knowledge is good enough. It's a sequel to January 1988's "The Worlds I Used To Know", so keep a look out for that. Bonus: story includes an ominous alternate-world "Department of Security", the "equivalent of the Defense and Justice departments combined."

What is it with the 1980s and dull medical SF? After reading Timothy Zahn's "I Pray The Lord My Soul To Keep", I'm convinced that Zahn should stick to space opera. A.J. Austin's "The Promise" is another "inequitable social access to advanced medical technology" story--that makes at least four just in this random sampling of magazines I picked up way back when. They're all the same story!

L.A. Taylor's "Testing, 1, 2, 3..." is so 1980s I have no idea what the point of the story is. I've read it three times and it's got something to do with typewriters, but I don't get the joke. I've used a typewriter, folks. (Though, admittedly, only the display typewriter at Office Max back when I was a kid.)

J. Brian Clarke's "The Last Defender" reads disturbingly like a boring story written by me. I won't mention the rest of the fiction, except to express my amazement that Analog published a story (Arlan Andrews's "Indian Summa") in which the final revelation is literally "oh, yes, we did that with magic."

Stan Schmidt has a good editorial casting a Mars mission as a proving ground for techniques of international cooperation. Book reviewer Tom Easton points out that strict scientific accuracy is not Rudy Rucker's strong suit (Wetware). Letters column has some fun nitpicking-rebuttal involving big-O notation.

This is the issue where the unhelpful Analog story blurbs descend into nonsense: "What do you do when you know achieved something you could have that you haven't?" ([sic] throughout) I dunno, maybe Miss Manners would know what to do? If you're curious, here's the blurb for "Testing, 1, 2, 3...": "An important part of research and development is testing--and when the systems being tested get sophisticated enough, the methods may become a bit strange!" No kidding!!

Here's the photo gallery, featuring many crazy ads and one awesome piece of spot art. I could commission an entire anthology themed around that drawing and every piece would be awesome.

I just had brunch with Evan and his dad; the elder Baer has somehow acquired a double subscription to Analog, and gave me some of his extras. I've now got the June 2010 and the July/August 2010 issues to review. Yes, that's how cutting-edge is the science fiction in Analog. They're publishing two months into the future, not just one month like other magazines.

BTW, here's a story blurb from the July/August issue: "The ways a tool was designed to be used are not the only ways it can be used...." This sort of thing has been going on for over twenty years! (I'm apparently determined to reduce the already infinitesimal probability that I'll ever be published in Analog.)

Filed under:

[Main] [Edit]

Unless otherwise noted, all content licensed by Leonard Richardson
under a Creative Commons License.