Reading Around in Old SF Magazines

DeltaV

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July 1988

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One novella this month, Fatal Statistics by Pauline Ashwell. A graduating student in cultural studies is sent to the planet Figueroa to complete the field work on her thesis. The problem is that nearly everyone has left, and the students from a previous mission are missing. Discussed below.

There are also two novelettes:
The Longford Collector by Michael Flynn. An amateur detective uses a computer knowledge database to track down a killer.
And Nothing But the Truth by Joseph Delaney. A disgruntled employee buries a subliminal message in a computer program to get back on a cheating employer. And things escalate from there.

Lizzie Lee is a grad student determined to complete her field study on the planet Figueroa. Unfortunately, she missed shipping out with all of her fellow students due to a medical emergency, and finally arrives at the planet several months after everyone else. The planet appears oddly abandoned, and the ship only receives a garbled message from the surface. Lizzie is determined to land, so down she goes. Left by the shuttle, she discovers that a large part of the landing field has been converted to gardens. Lizzie is then approached by a number of people that appear to be castaways, but before she can learn who they are, an air car quickly appears. Several of her fellow students pull her into the air car, and whisk her away to a safe location, an abandoned space ship (the Hulk). Lizzie learns that nearly all the planet’s inhabitants have been evacuated due to the collapse of the planet’s economy. Only a few die-hard, and unfriendly, original colonists remain. The space port has been taken over by an eccentric character of dubious authority called the Custodian.

Lizzie learns that the people living on the former landing field have a spaceship that is stuck on the planet, with no fuel. They are the ones that have started the gardens to grow food. But the Custodian, who has fuel and the automated machinery to transport it, along with a lot of other automated equipment, refuses to help them, or anybody else. And the original colonists (the Firsters) are raiding the area around the landing field, taking whatever they can get their hands on. And shooting first and asking questions afterwards. Lizzie learns more about the crew of the ship. They are on a trading mission, going from one planet to another before finally returning to their home planet after a trip that lasts ten or twelve years.

After a dangerous encounter with a robotic machine turned into an ad-hoc sentry, Lizzie and her fellow students are then expelled from the space port by the Custodian. They soon find themselves under siege by the colonists who want the equipment in the derelict ship they are using as a base. The ship that is to pick them up has returned and is in orbit. But Lizzie and her students cannot get out of the ship safely. Fortunately, the trading ship comes to the rescue. It has just enough fuel to lift off, fly next to the Hulk and land next to it, scaring off the colonists. The shuttle can now land safely. The trading ship crew learns that the Hulk still has sufficient energy to recharge their ship’s accumulators so they too can leave the planet. And everyone heads for home.

The economic background is explained in some detail. Figueroa was called a bonanza planet. The first settlers were farmers. However they were eventually overwhelmed by “people who expected to have everything handed to them on a plate and the others who expected to make a profit doing the handling” (the setting appears to be inspired by the many gold rushes over the last 150 years in various areas here on Earth).

Then there were a series of ecological problems, several years of bad weather, and the colony could not produce enough food for everyone. Crime and social problems increased, people sold themselves into slavery to eat, and the colony became an economic drain for the nearby systems supporting it. When things really went south, everyone got out while ‘the getting was good’. Lizzie and the other students are quite sympathetic for the original colonists (even after getting shot at by them). They leave as much information in the Hulk as they can for the Firsters, even leaving legal advice so that once the planet is in running order again, they can protect themselves from the next rush of would-be colonists.

Interesting if slightly quirky story.


I also want to make a brief comment on the short story Siren:

This is probably, for me, one of the more intriguing short stories of the year so far. An away mission on a planet ends badly with two dead crewmembers. Due to a meteorite collision, the third member is trapped on a lander with one of the creatures thought responsible for killing the landing party. As the air runs out, Terry begins to play his guitar and the creature begins to sing (hence "Siren"). As Terry slips into unconsciousness, he realizes that the creature can communicate with him.

When he awakens on the ship, he learns that he was put into some sort of hibernation. But the alien is dead. Terry cannot understand what happened and neither can the crew. However a second alien has been brought aboard, and the ship has now left orbit. The second alien is going to be put unconscious and then dissected. Terry realizes something is very wrong, and tries to save the alien. Sadly he fails, and as he plays his guitar the alien sings as it dies. He learns that the aliens sing for those about to die, to ease their passing. The away team was killed by something else. The crew hears the song too, and realizes that they have made an awful mistake.

The author, A.J. Austin, only wrote a small number of SF stories in the late eighties and early nineties. One wonders what happened, as this story shows promise. There is apparently another one of his stories in Analog in 1989, but I cannot find out if it is a sequel to this story or a different one altogether.

There are four short stories: Fading into Blackness by Dr Robert Forward, A Special Offer by Bill Johnson, Siren by A.J. Austin, and Grave Reservations by "Rowland Shew". A Special Offer and Grave Reservations are lighter, comical fare, the first of this type so far this year; I enjoyed them. The protagonist in Grave Reservations (the story is about a guided tour visiting a future New York) has this reaction to a comment about sales taxes: "Tony (the tour guide) was so stunned at the thought that there was a place with no sales tax that he didn't even ask where Portland was. All he knew was it was somewhere in the vast wastelands west of the Hudson." Heh, heh. I've met a few people over the years from large cities that thought that civilization ended at their city limits....

ISFDB reveals that "Rowland Shew" is a pen name of Michael Flynn. He is one of the more prolific writers for Analog so far this year, with both factual articles and stories to his credit.... Pauline Ashwell also has a long history in SF. Although not a prolific writer, her first story in the same series as Fatal Statistics was published in Analog in 1958, and the last one was written in 1988! All four stories featuring Lizzie were published in 1993 as Unwillingly to Earth....There is an ad for the Donald A. Wollheim 1988 Annual World's Best SF <I've neither heard of the editor or this collection, yet a little research reveals this was published from 1972 to 1990. Any opinions? >...Matthew Costello lists the 1987 Science Fiction Games of the Year:

Traveller: 2300 from GDW makes the list, and I actually have this. It is the 'hard SF' version of Traveller, but was never as popular as Traveller itself and kindof withered on the vine. The others on the list are Aliens (Computer Game), Cathedral (Board Game), Defender of the Crown (CG), Dungeonquest (RPG), Maniac Mansion (CG), Solarquest (BG) and Shogun (BG)

The 1987 poll results are in. I'll attach a picture of the table and put it below....Tom Easton comments that the Dozoiscine era has begun with the publishing of a Best of Isaac Asimov' Science Fiction Magazine collection....the letters in Brass Tacks are now responding to stories published in 1988. One writer is critical of Falling Free, arguing that robots would be far better than genetically reengineering humans. And Bujold responds.

(I would be curious to see the poll results for 1988. I guess they would be in the July 1989 issue. If anyone has that issue, I would like to see the
table, so please post a picture!)


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DeltaV

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August 1988

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A new serial starts this month: Proteus Unbound, by Charles Sheffield. Political tensions are increasing between the Inner System and the Oort Cloud polity. Between the two lies a no-man's land: the Halo. And strange things are happening both in the Halo, and in the Outer System. An Earther, Behrooz Wolf, is summoned to investigate the mysteries.

The first novelette is Reading Lesson, by Stephen L Burns. A piece of high technology appears to give instantaneous literacy to those that take the treatment, but all is not as it seems.
The second novelette is Long Song, by J. Brian Clarke. This is a continuation of his story Dry Run that appeared in Feb 1988. The Silver People are surviving and even thriving on their new planet. But the hidden denizens of the planet are about to intervene.

In the near future, literacy is disappearing from society. Walt Tennyson, an author, is doing his part to stem the tide, helping disadvantaged people to learn to read. His pupil at the moment, Ronda, is mastering Mark Twain's The War Prayer. His wife, Anne, is the owner and president of Mindset, a company that develops products in the "cramming" industry. Cramming is a patterning process that imprints information directly into the students brain, and is a wide spread technique used for many skills and vocations. The catch is that cramming depends on literacy, and a lot of people don't read anymore. So society is splintering into two classes: those that read well (and can thus cram), and those that can't read or read very poorly (and end up on the dole).

Mindset has developed a method of cramming that allows people to quickly learn new languages. However, there is a limit to their product: the clients can only speak their new language as well as they can read English. In order to overcome this obstacle, Mindset has now developed a way of imprinting literacy directly on the brain. Not only will this procedure increase literacy, it will also allow their clients to speak a higher level of their new language. Anne invites Walt to their facility to see the process in action. Knowing her husband's hard work doing literacy volunteering, Anne is sure he will be ecstatic over their new invention. Anne is meeting next day with a representative of the education department. If her process is approved, it will be mandatory in schools within a year.

Walt chats with the various students who are in the process of "cramming" literacy, and over the course of his visit, asks several to read passages of the books that they have in front of them. All read their novels in a dry monotone, and don't react at all to the words in the stories. Walt is quite perplexed. That night he tosses and turns, thinking about the reaction of the readers...one student reading a novel while 'wearing the face of someone taking apart some small, complex machine whose function he did not understand' ... a housewife reading a passage from an erotic romance novel 'never tripping over a word, grinding the sultry phrases to a grey powder with an inflectionless monotone'.

Next day, he takes Ronda to Mindset, bursting in on Anne's meeting. He tells the rep that it would be a horrible mistake to approve this pattern. Needless to say, this does not go down well with Anne. He continues by claiming that the pattern can teach people to read, but they are still illiterate. He finishes by revealing that Anne is also illiterate and thus cannot understand what he means (for which he gets slapped). The rep is curious and wants a practical test. Walt gets Ronda and another student, Tomas, to read Mark Twain's The War Prayer. Tomas reads it in a metronomic monotone, 'turning the rolling phrases into something as flat, dry and grey as an Oklahoma road'. Ronda reads the same poem with feeling, emphasis and modulation, crying as she speaks the words. The govt rep understands. Back to the drawing board. Anne and Walt finish in a teary embrace as she asks Walt to teach her to read.

Thinking about the state of literacy in many countries today, I have the feeling that the 'splintering effect' discussed in this story is well under way (the novel takes place in 2031). And not just being able to read, but to get the sense of the words, and to feel their power. I can see the temptation to use technology as a shortcut. Good plot, setting and characters.

As I discussed the first story in this series, I have a couple of comments on the sequel:

Found this story disappointing. Too many new plot elements. The problem of the Silver People that was the theme of the previous story is overshadowed by the appearance of a new aquatic race. There is also a xenophobic plot to eliminate the Silver People using nuclear weapons, which has a slightly bizarre resolution. Little progress is made in discussing the problems raised in the first story.

Sheffield's Proteus story has got my attention. Oddly enough, I think the only Sheffield stories that I have read are his The Heritage Universe series.


There are again four short stories this month: Goin' Down Daze by W.T. Quick, Tough Customer by Laurence M. Janifer, A Man of Letters by Joseph H Delaney, and A Visitor to the Village by W.R. Thompson.

Issue Notes
Clarke, Quick and Thompson return this month having written previous stories this year in Analog....and this month's Biolog is on W.T. Quick. He wrote a number of short stories in the 1980's and has since written several novels and fiction series, including one series with William Shatner...On Gaming discusses Isaac Asimov's Presents Star Traders. Costello recounts his experience of playing this game with Asimov. I had a look at this game on BoardgameGeek. I think I'll stick with Merchants of Venus...Alternate View has an interesting take on Cities and Taxes, and the fall of civilizations...in The Reference Library Tom Easton has high praise for author Pamela Sargent...in Brass Tacks, one writer praises Bujold's serial Falling Free, and another writer discusses H. Beam Piper (there was an article on him in the January issue which I did not note down in my overview for that month: The Last Cavalier: H. Beam Piper by John F. Carr. This particular letter writer also takes a few shots at Campbell's editorship during the 1960's.
 

DeltaV

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September 1988

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Proteus Unbound, by Charles Sheffield, continues with a deepening mystery.

There is also a single novella, The Taste of Blood by Reginald Bretnor. A talented musician hires a space ship to take her and her musical partner into the depths of space, in an attempt to change her partner's personality. Discussed below.

And a single novelette Hey, Diddle, Diddler, the Cat and the Fiddlers by Gustav Stefans. Three college students develop a well-known (to SF fans) mode of transportation. Hijinks follow.

The world's finest harpist, Rebecca Whitworth (who is also a stunningly beautiful woman), buys a ship and hires a crew to take her and her musical partner and lover, Anders Jelk, into the far reaches of Gilpin's Space. Jelk, although a fantastically talented composer and musician in his own right, is a very unpleasant person. He is cruel to Whitworth, to her friends and apparently 'can't even be left alone with small animals'. The Far Reaches of Gilpin's Space, the area of space far beyond the region of Sol, is known for its effect on the human subconscious. Most travelers in these Far Reaches hear screaming voices in their minds and feel the agonies and hopelessness of strange unknown beings lost in this area of space. Whitworth hopes that exposure to these voices and feelings will cure Jelk.

Her ship, Lyra, is captained by the valiant Bjorn Ricardi, who soon falls in love with Rebecca (of course). Jelk, instead of improving, becomes even more unpleasant as the trip progresses. He is accompanied by his henchman, Elmir Borrianu, who is as creepy as his boss. Soon the Lyra has gone as deep into the Far Reaches as any ship has ever travelled, and returned to tell about it. Each night Whitworth and Jelk perform for the crew, and their music steadily becomes darker and mournful. And the crew and passengers suffer the effects of the voices in their heads, gradually becoming more tense and despondent. One evening, Jelk reveals that he is a member of a radical political party, Man Triumphant, intent on seizing power on Earth. With the music that he is composing, he aims to support the party as Hitler used Wagner's music in the early twentieth century. Jelk now demands to be taken to a planet controlled by Man Triumphant, Lassa. His music is so powerful that captain and crew do indeed fear what it could do in the hands of these political radicals.

Surprisingly, it is the creepy assistant, Borrianu, who is changed by the night voices. He is now ashamed of what he has done over the years for Jelk, and now reveals Jelk's plans for Man Triumphant. Together with Ricardi and Whitworth, they hatch a plot to take Jelk to Lassa, but with a twist. Doubting Jelk's promise of safe passage, they plan to land in the isolated UN compound, dump Jelk, and take off quickly, returning to Earth to warn the UN. Things go to plan with one twist. Immediately after landing, the remorseful Borrianu kills Jelk, destroys Jelk´s equipment then turns his laser on himself. On his body, UN officials find a document listing his and Jelk´s crimes along with insider information on Man Triumphant. The story ends with Whitworth and Ricardi in one another's arms.


An odd story, and not one that I really cared for, but it was written by an author with quite a different background. Reginald Bretnor was a Russian writer living in Vladivostok. Born in 1911, one can only imagine the things that he saw over his lifetime (he died in 1992). He wrote a huge series called Through Time and Space with Ferdinand Feghoot, along with a lot of other stories and a large number of SF essays. Gilpin's Space, a novel written previously to this short story and which provides its background, was written in 1986. Goodreads has this overview: "The Kremlin and the conglomerates were tightening their grip. The Individualist People's Party was allowing every individual to be exactly like every other individual. Then Saul Gilpin discovered a new kind of space and disappeared into it with a stolen submarine. From the gray malevolence of Earth, he had broken through an incredible gateway: to the far, wondrous reaches of the universe--and the one last chance for humankind to forge a new beginning."

I underlined that bit about the stolen submarine....definitely different. Not sure why Schmidt picked The Taste of Blood as it does not seem to line up with Analog being a "bastion of hard SF, meaning SF that takes its science seriously." (May 1988). But then, a lot of the stories this year seem to indicate Schmidt was playing fast and loose with that premise.

There are two short stories. Elizabeth Moon makes her third appearance this year with The Generic Rejuvenation of Milo Ardry, and Paul D. d'Entremont writes the short story Endangered Species.

Issue Notes
With the exception of the intriguing Proteus Unbound series, I found this issue the weakest so far this year...Costello writes about the old computer game Starflight...Brass Tacks has a couple more fan letters for Bujold's Falling Free. Analog congratulates the 1987 Nebula winners: Best Novel: The Falling Woman by Pat Murphy; Best Novella: The Blind Geometer by Kim Stanley Robinson; Best Novelette Rachel in Love by Pat Murphy (wow, two wins in the same year); and Best Short Story Forever Yours, Anna by Kate Wilhelm.
 

DeltaV

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October 1988

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Proteus Unbound, by Charles Sheffield, continues with the third installment of four.

Michael Flynn appears again with the novella The Adventure of the Laughing Clone. A detective is trying to determine which one of five identical clones committed a murder. Discussed below.

And there is one novelette in this issue, Sunstat by Jerry Oltion and Lee Goodloe. A laboratory orbiting the sun loses its solar wind sail. Catastrophe looms.

The latest in a fair number of detective stories so far in 1988. This one takes place in New York, in the year 2026. Reverend Sawyer is president. Proctors keep an eye on the moral conduct of the citizens while police deal with the criminal side of society. Cloning, although still rare, is posing problems for solving crime. A woman, Bevery Higgins, is murdered in her apartment, but there is an eye witness and lots of DNA evidence. The only problem is that any one of five identical clones could be the culprit. How to tell them apart? Detective Brumbaugh is handed the case and given three days to solve it.

The lead detective starts interviewing the five suspects. Barry Kavin, the financial consultant, Billy who worked for an ad agency, Bobby the bartender (Higgins used to hang out at his bar), Benny the doctor (Higgins was his patient), and finally Hank who owned an art shop (Higgins was an artist and bought her suppliers there). So three of them knew the woman. And all five appear to have alibis for the time of death. Brumbaugh heads out to interview all of their witnesses. He even goes to see their old neighbors in the area where they grew up. He only learns two things: Hank is slightly different from the others, and that that they liked to play tricks on people when they were teenagers, pretending to be one another. Things are not looking good for Brumbaugh, and they get worse when the clone father, Rudolph Kavin, shows up, demanding that his 'sons' be released. Kavin is rich, thinks a lot of himself, and has disdain for the 'Men Born of Women'. The pressure on Brumbaugh increases. But then he gets a lead.

Records reveal that there was a sixth clone. Brumbaugh decides to pay a visit to Kavin in his hotel. When Brumbaugh asks about the sixth clone, Kavin gets angry and Brumbaugh realizes that the other man is concealing something. Afterwards, another tip comes in. The manager of a fleabag hotel recognized a photo in a newspaper. Turns out a Kavin rented a room then left without paying the bill. Which one? Impossible to know. But he was with Higgins in the bar, and the two were kissing. Brumbaugh checks out the room, and notes that the room clock is almost an hour slow. That evening, Brumbaugh remembers what one of their old neighbors said, that they used to imitate one another. If four of the brothers kept changing places, they could make it look like there were five of them. He notes that their alibis don't account for all five of them at the same time.

The next step is to put the witness under a truth serum, in the presence of a morals proctor. Her role is to certify the transcript and make sure the police do not abuse the truth drug. The witness, Lewis, is given the serum and reveals several details of the man he saw leaving Higgins' apartment. But nothing that appears to identify which clone killed her. Studying the timelines and locations, Brumbaugh realizes that the 'switcheroo' scheme would not work either. And as Brumbaugh sits there looking at all of the evidence, he realizes what happened. He brings in all of the clones and their 'father', and reveals that there was indeed a sixth clone. The father, Rudolph, again denies it, saying that Number Six is dead. Brumbaugh explains that this sixth clone was aborted late, illegally. This surprises the 'sons', and drives a wedge into their solidarity. They can't understand why Rudolph killed their brother. Then Brumbaugh repeats again that there is still a sixth clone .... Rudolph. Brumbaugh explains how the details remembered by Lewis match up with the evidence, and how the wrong time in the hotel room caused Rudolph to make mistakes in his explanations of his movements the day of the crime. It was him that was in the fleabag hotel, and it was him that returned with Higgins to her apartment. And killed her. Case solved.

The title refers to the first interviews, when all of the clones (except for Hank) were laughing at Brumbaugh.

Flynn did a good job with some of the characters, particularly Brumbaugh and Hank. In one scene, we get Brumbaugh's wife's viewpoint on her husband and on clones (she is sterile, and they neither adopted nor opted for a clone). I found the episode of the truth serum well done. The witness, Lewis, showed courage undergoing the procedure as it can awaken memories long buried or dulled by time. In the interview, while under the influence of the drug, he recalls a horrific car accident from decades earlier, when his ex-wife was driving. Part of the job of the proctor is to keep both the patient and the interviewer 'on track'. Afterwards, thinking of what he heard Lewis say under the drug, Brumbaugh 'felt that hell must be very much like this. Total and complete recollection, without any illusions or excuses'. Interesting. I think we all have things that have happened to us that we would not want to remember in all of their cold, painful details. In any case, I found that these little plot points added a lot to the story. I enjoyed reading it.

There could almost be a sub-genre of SF detective fiction. I wonder if anyone has compiled an anthology.

A couple of words about...

A prime example of what I think is a classic Analog hard SF story. Hard SF setting...a serious problem...perky scientists and technicians attempt a repair but ... sabotage! Danger danger! Until same perky scientists come up with a nice technological fix to save themselves and the station.

Unfortunately there is nothing here to really hold my interest.

The short stories this month are Career Decision by Linda Nagata and A Cat for Katie by Gail Schnirch (which appears to be the only work of fiction she ever wrote).

Issue Notes
This issue is a minor rebound from last month....On Gaming discusses computer card games like blackjack...The Alternate View complains about the bureaucracy in the American Federal Aviation Administration...Tom Easton's reviews this month are middle-of-the-road: nothing scorned nor praised.
 

Bick

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Excellent and welcome summary as always DeltaV - most interesting. Funny to see Jerry Oltion in these old magazines. I'm currently reviewing Mar/Apr 2021 Analog, and it contains an Oltion story - he's been submitting to the mag for 40 years now!
 

DeltaV

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Interesting, Bick, that you should pick out the name of Jerry Oltion. There is a story of his in the Sept-Oct 2017 Analog Tinkers Damnation that has stuck in my mind. I think I'll comment on it as it has a central idea that I find very interesting. Although I also think Oltion made a couple of mistakes with this story too.

BTW, on a side question, Bick, or to any of the other posters that have been on this form a lot longer than I have. Hmmm. Does the "Classic" in the Classic SF&F forum mean "typical" that is, a SF or Fantasy story that has what is generally expected to be in a SF&F story, or does it mean "Classic" in the sense of the established novels and well known stories of SF&F?

I'm just wondering where I should put my posts on what I consider typical, but recent, SF stories, like the aforementioned one on Tinkers Damnation. Don't want to put posts in the wrong place.
 

DeltaV

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November 1988

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The conclusion of Charles Sheffield's series Proteus Unbound

The first novelette is Emissary, by Stephen Kraus (his second story of the year). A man inherits an old book and an odd object, which leads him to explore around his family's ancestral home in England. He then finds ... something.

The second is Last Rights by Brad Ferguson. Should a dead man be brought back to life to solve the riddle of his own death?

There are four short stories: Wait Till Next Year by Robin Rowland, To Fan the Flame by the Analog book reviewer himself, Thomas Easton, The Healing by W.T. Quick (his third story this year) and The Square Peg by Steven Sandberg.

Up until now, I have either picked a novella or a novelette to discuss, but Last Rights is another futuristic crime story, and I've had my share of those. And I didn't really care for Emissary, even though I enjoyed Kraus's previous story Frame of Reference. So I'm going to discuss the short story The Square Peg.

Johni Alder works at the Lunar Helium Extraction Project for Global Fusion Power, launching capsules of liquid helium to the fusion plants at various sites in the inner system. Global Fusion uses a surface mass driver located at some distance from the habitat. Due to the lousy food in the cafeteria, Alder has an 'arrangement' with a shuttle pilot to get shipments of pizza from Earth. As the story begins, Alder has smuggled one into the cafeteria in the middle of the night, to avoid the attention of Hildegaard Krupp, Chief Dietician and a strict believer in the evils of fat and meat. Called away by a friend to check the next week's work schedule, he returns to find his pizza eaten by Rodger Guthrie, the man who Alder has just learned is scheduled to also work with him for the next week on Mass Driver Number 2.

Guthrie, known to everyone as Rodg, is the oddball on the crew, a man who 'has a good heart and holds malice to no one, but also exhibits certain affectations that were capable of challenging a person's sanity'. Like looking like he uses gear oil on his hair, talking in non sequiturs, whistling Christmas carols in July, and farting while cycling through the air lock. 'Competent if not brilliant in the performance of his job, yet seemingly incapable of tying his own shoes'.

Back in the cafeteria, Rodg exclams 'Boy, did you guys just miss out. I found a pizza here in the cafeteria! Too bad you didn't get here sooner or I'd have given you some.' Alder knows he is in for a long week.

It turns out though that Alder's patience with Rodg is a lot higher than that of the other workers, and knows that is why he ends up working with Rodg so often. And even though Rodg ate his precious pizza, he realizes that it is just Rodg being Rodg with no malice involved.

Next day they head out to the launcher. After another small incident where Rodg eats the protein cakes meant for both of them, and spewing out crumbs everywhere , they arrive. The day's shift includes the usual number of helium loads, with a final load of coiled titanium alloy for a new station being built at L4. Rodg, in spite of all of his idiosyncrasies, has a sixth-sense for targeting the loads. So he takes care of the algorithms and Alder loads the launcher. All goes well until the launch of coiled titanium. Then all hell breaks loose. As it speeds down the launcher, the spools of titanium break open, bursting the barrel and jamming the bucket of the launcher. The bucket smashes out of the launcher, and the recoil acts on the launch rail like flipping a garden hose. A wave speeds back down the rail, shearing all of the anchors and heading right to the control room. It smashes into the control room, sucking Rodg over a hole in the wall. Alder is still wearing his suit, but can't get Rodg to safety in time. As Rodg dies, he tells Alder that it was all an act, that he would have been proud to call Alder his friend but he couldn't allow that to happen, and asks him to look up Procedure 1431. With his last breath he apologizes for eating Alder's pizza...

Much later, after some difficulty, Alder finds the secret Procedure 1431: Long term studies have shown that carefully screened and matched populations, while initially efficient and competent, can degenerate, often over trivial matters an minor personal idiosyncrasies. The introduction of "foil" personalities can stabilize group personal interactions and serve as a reference for normal behavioral patterns.

Suspecting that Krupp is also one of the 'foils', he takes her half a pizza one night, plants a kiss on her forehead and tells her to live dangerously once. He won't tell if she won't. Later finds a note under his door with a single word "Deal".

A few weeks later, he spots a new face coming out of the bathroom...with three feet of toilet paper trailing from his trousers. Chuck has arrived. And Alder knows he's going to like working with the new "Rodg".

I liked this story. According to the ISFDB, this is the only story Sandberg ever wrote (and there he is listed as Steven A Sandberg). Strange. I wonder why Sandberg didn't continue.

Issue Notes
'Buy six alien invaders and get a mad scientist Free!' goes the Outer Limits video ad. Who can resist a deal like that?...There is an obituary for Clifford Simak who died April 25 1988 at the age of 83...another ad for the Analog Anthologies; the Readers' Choice one could be interesting. Anyone got this?...On Gaming looks at the world of Renegade Legion (which I have only heard of but never seen or played)...The Reference Library highlights the Stinker of the Month: Spacer: Window of the Mind by Jon Maddox Roberts. Easton also reviews the latest Man-Kzin Wars anthology. (I've seen these books around for ages and never understood the attraction. Didn't the Kzin first show up in the old Star Trek animated series?)...speaking of Trek, there is an opinion article called Star Trek Revisited. Hmmm. Guess the first year of ST:NG had just come out. Wow. So long ago... in Brass Tacks, a writer complains that Ben Bova's story Water Rite (March 1988) was not SF. (And I agree!! ). But Stan basically replies that, yeah, it was on the edge of SF but he'll print whatever he wants to print. Several other letters discuss Flynn's Psychohistory series.
 

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BTW, on a side question, Bick, or to any of the other posters that have been on this form a lot longer than I have. Hmmm. Does the "Classic" in the Classic SF&F forum mean "typical" that is, a SF or Fantasy story that has what is generally expected to be in a SF&F story, or does it mean "Classic" in the sense of the established novels and well known stories of SF&F?
The latter. And to meet the criteria or me, this means they have to be reasonably old. Anything this century would not belong in the classic forum for instance. 1980’s are looking increasingly distant in the past however... I see the short story ‘Blood Music’ as meeting ‘classic’ criteria now for instance.
 

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Thanks Bick. Appreciate the guidance. I realize that I've put a few threads in the wrong forum thinking 'Classic' meant one thing and not another.... Ooops!
 

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December 1988

IMG_5573.JPG



Four novelettes this month:

Sanctuary by James White. Nuns provide a refuge to an alien surveyor marooned on Earth when its ship sinks.

Shortage in Time by Pauline Ashwell. Following up on Thingummy Hall (June 1988), the protagonist gets drawn deeper into the problems of the multiverse.

Sense of Direction by Lyn Murray. On a water world, a medieval kingdom seeks an advantage in ocean navigation thanks to the discovery of a heretical scientist. Discussed below.

Remember'd Kisses by Michael Flynn. After the death of his wife, a genetic engineer seeks to create her replacement.


Navigator Rantor has been summoned by his duke, Lord Kyper, to a meeting with a mysterious outsider from a far off island. This man, Hawk, has a plan to sail to the edge of the world, far beyond the island archipelago. A madman perhaps? All know that the world beyond the archipelago was infinite and unchanging, a flat ocean in all directions. A heretic then. But one who has the ear of the Lord Kyper.

The problem is that the 'science' of navigation is extremely limited. No one, not even the reputable Navigator Rantor, risks sailing far out of sight of land. Hawk, though, has developed a device that he believes will allow ships to sail fair out in the ocean, without getting lost. Such a device, in the hands of Lord Kyper, would change the power structure in the archipelago ... to the duke's advantage. He orders Rantor to work with Hawk and to test the device.

That night, Rantor visits Hawk in his laboratory. At one end of the room there is a bank of large glass jars, some elemental circuitry and a capstan. This part of the device is to generate a large electrical arc. At the other end of the room is a much smaller apparatus, made of two very small spheres almost touching. When the large electrical arc is created, sparks (caused by 'resonance') jump between the two spheres (the 'resonator'), as long as there is no shield of metal between the 'lightning' generator and the resonator. Hawk demonstrates the device and indeed it does work as foretold. Hawk then explains that the 'resonator' can be placed on a ship and at precise times (when the 'lightning' generator is activated) the navigator can move a metal screen around the resonator to find out which side of the sensor blocks the spark. And that direction would be where the resonance is coming from, the way home.

Suddenly masked men break into the laboratory, seize Hawk and disable Rantor. They carry Hawk and his device off into the darkness, but not before Rantor manages to tell Hawk, 'for him to do as he is told or he will never see another dawn.'

Rantor is sure that another duke, Lord Ballestre, has kidnapped Hawk. He patrols the waters near Ballestre's island. After six days, he launches his own midnight raid on an isolated tower, rescuing Hawk and retaking his device. Unfortunately, Ballestre's ships are nearby and form a quick blockade. How to break through? They steer straight towards the three enemy ships and, when near, threaten them with a new weapon. Yield or else. The enemy chooses the 'else' so Hawk uses his lightning apparatus to generate a bolt of lightning. This frightens the enemy crews enough that a gap is made in the line, and Rantor's ship slips through to safety. Afterwards Hawk rues the destruction of his equipment but Rantor assures him that Lord Kyper will fit out the ship with all that he needs. Because his device works. Rantor used a 'resonator' at every dawn on patrol to find Hawk, who was also generating a lightning arc at the same time....



I imagine that the bank of large glass jars in Hawk's apparatus are Leyden jars. This reminds me of Hertz's experiments that proved Maxwell's theories of electromagnetic waves. Now, checking the ISFDB, I was surprised to learn that Lyn Murray is a pen name of John R Gribbin. I did not know that he wrote fiction (I have his book Science: A History 1543-2001 which I quite enjoyed). This explains the technical nature of Sense of Direction. However, I do wonder about something. Although I sure hate to contradict someone with Gribbin's knowledge, I am pretty sure the device would not work on a ship (as portrayed in the story) due to the inverse square law of propagation. Perhaps someone can correct me.

There is also an oddity in this story. There is an introductory paragraph describing a strange sphere way out in space, with only machines active on it. Then there is a concluding paragraph relating the effect of this experiment on an inorganic intelligence that is monitoring the planet. Did 'Murray' ever write another story about this world? Curious...


There are also two short stories: If You Wish Upon a Star by Jerry Oltion, and Hardball by W.T. Quick.


And for the first, and I guess, last time, I have a couple of comments on this issue with some minor spoilers:

I had a real hard time with this issue of Analog, and struggled to finish several of the stories. The plot in Shortage of Time was not at all clear to me (and I'm not a fan of 'multiverse' stories to begin with). If You Wish Upon a Star features a couple that can 'wish' things into being. Again, a story that IMO has no place in Analog. Remember'd Kisses1 was downright creepy; the protagonist befriends a homeless woman and surreptitiously injects her with nanoprobes and genetic material to change her into his wife. And the setting of the feature novelette Sanctuary is a television broadcast by a shock journalist live from the convent where the nuns are protecting the alien.
I know that all SF is fiction, but in my mind there is believable unbelievable and unbelievable unbelievable. What's that? Have I worked for Donald Rumsfeld? Well, no, at least not directly. Why do you ask?


1 A line from Tennyson's poem "Tears, Idle Tears". The full line is "Dear as remembered kisses after death, and sweet as those by hopeless fancy feigned". The poem is partially quoted in the story.


In a few days, I´ll post my reflections on Analog 1988.

Issue Notes
On Gaming reviews the development of the board game Willow, based on the Ron Howard film of 1988...Tom Easton likes Cherryh´s novel Paladin. This novel apparently takes place in something very similar to the Warring States period of Chinese history. He also gives positive reviews to Stephen Hawkings´ book A Brief History of Time.
 

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Nice review, thanks Delta, I've enjoyed your journey through 1988 Analog.

When you read the Pauline Ashwell, did you realise she was a venerable Campbell discovery who'd been publishing in Astounding since 1958?

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When you read the Pauline Ashwell, did you realise she was a venerable Campbell discovery who'd been publishing in Astounding since 1958?

I learned that when I looked her up after reading her story Fatal Statistics in the July issue (a story that is a little on the quirky side, but is a nice read). I've been looking up the bibliographies of many of the writers in this year's Analog. Some of them had been writing for Analog for a very long time. And like you noted on Jerry Oltion, a few that wrote in 1988 are still active today. Pretty impressive.
 

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Analog 1988: Year End Observations

<Warning: a few subjective comments below! >


The last six months simply confirmed my impressions of the first six...I liked the additional illustrations in the magazine...I think a gaming column was, and still would be, a good idea. A lot of SF fans also like SF gaming, either on computers or board games... A huge difference that I see between then and now is the number of ads in the magazine for novels. Grabbing a random issue from 2020, I see one ad, for an anthology. That's it. Even the Science Fiction Book Club ad is long gone... I think I only read one or two editorials (if I want political or economic opinions I go elsewhere) but most of the letters in Brass Tacks were about them, with the odd one on an Alternate View column. Surprisingly, not that many on the actual stories. So that has not really changed either...I would be curious to see the circulation numbers, but I did not come across them in any of the issues...I found Tom Easton's reviews interesting and often entertaining. Somewhat surprised that he occasionally reviewed books that strayed away from the Analog "vision".

Ah, yes, the Analog "vision". As Tom Easton himself put it in his May column "Astounding/Analog has long been renowned as the bastion of "hard" SF, meaning SF that takes its science seriously."

Well. I'm not sure I know what to say about that, as a sizable number of stories this year don't fall under that definition. Stan Schmidt sure didn't seem to follow it when selecting stories, and he admitted as much in a response to a letter writer challenging him on one story, Water Rites.

And I'll repeat a comment that I made after reading the first six issues: "The biggest surprise for me personally is the relative paucity of stories that involve space ships, aliens and/ or life on another planet (what some might consider 'foundational' stores of SF)". Looking at the last six months, there were 34 stories (I counted the serial as one) with only 13 meeting the above criteria.

Now, that doesn't meant that (most of) them weren't well written. For example, W.T. Quick wrote four stories this year that I thought were good, just not what I'm personally looking for when I think of SF.


Over the last few years I have come across the odd comment from a SF fan lamenting how bad Analog has become, that it's nothing compared to the good old days. Well, gosh. Having read the 1988 Analog, I wouldn't have subscribed to it. Most of the stories simply didn't line up with what I'm looking for in SF. The only real highlight in the last six months was Charles Sheffield's story Proteus Unbound. Everything else was pretty much forgettable.

I am also wondering if the lack of stories 'out there in space' was a general tendency in 1980's SF, or if it was just a 1988 Analog thing.

Finally, I am quite curious about the 1970's...to see what Ben Bova did as editor. Bick has done some good reviews on 1973, 1976 and 1979. Hmmm. Not as easy to find on eBay though. I also might jump ahead to the 1990's..still well before my time as an Analog subscriber...and see how (if) Analog evolved under Schmidt's editorship.
 

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(I would be curious to see the poll results for 1988. I guess they would be in the July 1989 issue. If anyone has that issue, I would like to see the
table, so please post a picture!)

View attachment 76054
I don't have the issue, but I found the results (without scores, unfortunately):

Best Novella/Novelette
1 Sanctuary James White
2 Peaches for Mad Molly Steven Gould
3 Guz's Place Martha Cornog and Timothy Perper
4 Remember'd Kisses Michael F. Flynn
5 The Reading Lesson Stephen L. Burns

Best Short Story
1 The Circus Horse Amy Bechtel
2 Frame of Reference Stephen Kraus
3 Siren A. J. Austin
4 If You Wish Upon a Star... Jerry Oltion
5 User Friendly Alice Laurance

Best Fact Article
1 An Introduction to Psychohistory (Part 1 of 2) (variant of An Introduction to Psychohistory) Michael F. Flynn
1 An Introduction to Psychohistory (Part 2 of 2) (variant of An Introduction to Psychohistory) Michael F. Flynn
2 Extraterrestrial Intelligence and The Interdict Hypothesis Martyn J. Fogg
3 24th Century Medicine Thomas Donaldson
4 Building a Better Biosphere Greg Stec
5 Laughing All the Way to Orbit Wilfred C. Smith and G. Harry Stine

Best Cover
1 Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact, February 1988 Vincent Di Fate
2 Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact, December 1988 Ron Lindahn and Val Lindahn
3 Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact, Mid-December 1988 Alan Gutierrez
4 Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact, May 1988 Janet Aulisio
5 Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact, August 1988 (variant of The Other Side of the Sky) Vincent Di Fate
 

DeltaV

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Thank you, Bick, for posting this. Interesting....

Best Novella/Novelette
1 Sanctuary James White
2 Peaches for Mad Molly Steven Gould
3 Guz's Place Martha Cornog and Timothy Perper
4 Remember'd Kisses Michael F. Flynn
5 The Reading Lesson Stephen L. Burns

Found out from looking at these lists that there was a mid-December issue, which was not included in the 1988 set that I got. So I can't comment on Guz's Place. And I guess the serials are not included in the voting, correct?

Somewhat surprised that Sanctuary placed first in the Best Novella/Novelette category. I'm ok with Peaches for Mad Molly and The Reading Lesson. I would have voted for Second Contact and Fradero Goes Home... and maybe Hunting Rights.

Remember'd Kisses is an interesting one. Could I vote for a story if I didn't like the plot or the characters, but it was technically well written? Not sure.

Best Short Story
1 The Circus Horse Amy Bechtel
2 Frame of Reference Stephen Kraus
3 Siren A. J. Austin
4 If You Wish Upon a Star... Jerry Oltion
5 User Friendly Alice Laurance

I'm ok with three out of five of these. Impressed that Amy Bechtel's first story made it to the top. Bit of a tearjerker but ok. I'm not so sure about User Friendly ... couldn't even remember it. And I'm shocked that If You Wish Upon a Star made the top five. Shocked I tell you. I didn't even think this story should even be published in Analog " the bastion of "hard" SF, meaning SF that takes its science seriously".

(I'm gonna use that quote a lot...).

Gosh. Instead of that one, I'd have picked Defensive Only by Zahn or Grave Reservations by Shew (Flynn) or Goin' Down Daze by Quick or ...

I'm not going to comment on the fact articles as I skimmed them. Most are out of date.

Best Cover
1 Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact, February 1988 Vincent Di Fate
2 Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact, December 1988 Ron Lindahn and Val Lindahn
3 Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact, Mid-December 1988 Alan Gutierrez
4 Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact, May 1988 Janet Aulisio
5 Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact, August 1988 (variant of The Other Side of the Sky) Vincent Di Fate

Well, at least they didn't pick the crazy looking guys dancing around the fire pit, or the harpist. I didn't really find the cover art that great. On the other hand, there were some good illustrations in the stories. Hmmm. I'd pick Janet Aulisio's cover of the alpha predator from Hunting Rights about to eat the dead dude. Different. And I liked her art for Fradero Goes Home (same issue).
 

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Amazing Stories, June 1926 - Two recommended stories, for different reasons

The June 1926 issue of Amazing Stories was only the third ever issue of Hugo Gernsback's new SF magazine, and he was at this time reprinting many SF stories by notable authors, as he got the magazine off the ground. This particular issue is of historical interest as it includes the first ever SF story by Murray Leinster: The Runaway Skyscraper. This was a reprint from Argosy & Railroad Man's Magazine first published 7 years previously on 22nd February, 1919. It also included what may just be the greatest title to a SF story of all time: An Experiment in Gyro-Hats, by a famous writer of the time, Ellis Parker Butler. I read both and review them here.

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The Runaway Skyscraper - Murray Leinster
This is a great concept, and its a cracker of a story - a SF classic I guess. Some sort of localised tectonic or volcanic activity under a skyscraper in New York sends it back in time several thousand years. The Manhattan Island the skyscraper ends up in is a lush wilderness populated by indigenous native Americans. A couple of thousand office workers make the trip back in time, and have to survive and somehow find their way back to their own time. There are several things about this I found very interesting. In 1919, when this was first published, skyscrapers were a new and exciting feature of Manhattan, and they were going up rapidly at the time. This presumably inspired Leinster to write about a skyscraper in his time-travel story.

The cause of the time-travel was intriguing. Leinster had obviously got hold of the idea that time was a 4th dimension, and so when it was affected by an earthquake or similar event, it was shifted, not up, down, left or right, but back. Simple as that! The science in such an old story is always going to be dated and off-kilter but if you accept the premise, the scientific incongruences didn't compound further, and it was internally consistent. Something else noteworthy perhaps is that Leinster didn't make his characters at all concerned about cause and effect of their time travel. They trade with the local 'indians' - giving them materials and technologies far in advance of their own development. In a sense it was an enjoyable change for a time-travel story not to worry about the 'grandfather' or 'butterfly' effect of changing the past.

Leinster was only 23 when he wrote this story, having worked in the Committee for Public Information in 1917-18 as his contribution to the US war effort. Once World War I ended, he returned to writing, and this was his first published SF story. Leinster is perhaps unique in being a SF writer who connects the time of very early (pre-Gernsback) SF, and the much later 'golden age' of Campbell and beyond. No other famous writer I can readily think of wrote within so many era's in SF's development.

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An Experiment in Gyro-Hats - Ellis Parker Butler
Butler was a famous writer in his time (notably for the short story Pigs is Pigs), and published fiction alongside such writers as Mark Twain and F. Scott Fitzgerald. I was attracted to this story for fairly obvious reasons, especially when you see the illustration for the story, shown here. This must be one of the most amusing ideas in early SF - gyro-hats, what's not to like!

The prose here matches the impression you would get from the illustration - it's very humorous and reads like a cross between Twain and Wodehouse. The daughter of a well-to-do 'hatter' has become betrothed to a man she realises too late is a 'staggerer' and is in a blue funk as a result. Her father, a manufacturer and seller of high-class hats has long held the view that the upper part of a 'topper' was wasted space and oft wondered how it could be filled in a beneficial manner. He hits upon the idea of installing a gyroscope in the hat to counter the 'staggerers' stagger. A lovely feature of this story is the engineering consideration that goes into the hats. Vacuum-suction to keep them on! Much fun and shenanigans ensue.

1615935509961.png


An Experiment in Gyro-Hats is an unqualified delight, very funny, beautifully-written, quite literary in a Wodehousian kind of way, and an unexpected find in Amazing Stories. Indeed, its the closest in style to Wodehouse I've read than wasn't actually Plum himself. The story was first published by Butler in 1912, so this was another reprint by Gernsback. The original story publication in 1912 carried some lovely illustrations that are not in the Amazing Stories publication (see two examples below).

1615935554347.png



If you wish to read these stories, or others in this old magazine, you can access them, as I did, from this archive.
 
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So I've enjoyed looking at 1988 Analog. And as I said in my concluding comments, I would be curious to go back 10 years and see what Analog was like in the Bova era. Well, a complete collection of Analog from 1978 landed on my doorstep today.

And the cover art has lots of ... space ships ...
 

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So I've enjoyed looking at 1988 Analog. And as I said in my concluding comments, I would be curious to go back 10 years and see what Analog was like in the Bova era. Well, a complete collection of Analog from 1978 landed on my doorstep today.

And the cover art has lots of ... space ships ...
I have the '78's as well - was going to read through using my method of reading 1 or maybe 2 stories per issue. Will complement your more thorough reading, perhaps. But I still have to get back to '86 Asimov's at some stage; I haven't forgotten them!
 

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January 1978

IMG_5611.JPG



The last story of a serial is in this issue - The Promised Land by Stan Schmidt. Earth and an allied planet, Kyere, have had to flee the Milky Way galaxy after the galactic core explodes. The allies find a new planet in a distant galaxy as a new home for their two species. However, dissidents are causing problems.

Novelettes:
Actions Speak Louder by Sam Nicholson- a corporate trouble shooter is called in to kick start a sputtering space project. Discussed below.
Devil You Don't Know by Dean Ing - a young woman infiltrates a private care home with a bad reputation. She discovers that not only are conditions worse than imaged, but escape is almost impossible. Fortunately she finds help ... from an unlikely source.

A naval captain, Robert Schuster, is sent by his employer to jump start Space Mining Inc, a new corporate venture, that appears to be stalled. Arriving at Cape Canaveral, he soon finds out that the project leader, Dr Jardeen, is more interested in fine tuning processes than actually getting anything into space (gosh, does that sound familiar). Dr Jardeen is also planning for perfection and does not want any deviation from his carefully laid schedules. First item on the agenda: a space station in orbit.

Schuster sees the first problem right away: the corporation wants Space Mining to actually get on the moon and start ... mining ... not building a space habitat that will suck money down the drain. Schuster rolls up his sleeves, finds a few disgruntled allies amongst management, and redirects the efforts of Space Mining to getting a prefab outpost on the moon. All the material sitting in warehouses is gradually put into lunar orbit, stored in capsules and waiting for crews to take them down to the moon's surface. Two shuttles are finished and ready for lift-off.

Although he had not planned to go into space, the Alpha crew gets Schuster put on the crew manifest. This causes a problem as Jardeen had also wanted to go and Schuster had refused him. Now, feeling pressured because of the optics of him going and not Jardeen, he gives in. Jardeen and his loyal assistant Herby, get berths in the shuttle. The first launch goes well, and after a three day trip, Alpha shuttle arrives in lunar orbit. The crew, using a small craft called a dolly, start grabbing the capsules and delivering them to the site of the future moon outpost. The first phases of the habitat is completed.

Due to their lack experience, Jardeen and Herby had been asked to stay in the shuttle. Now, though, both are impatient to do something. Against his better judgment, Shuster lets them assist with unloading the shuttle cargo bay. Herby tries to shift a crate of tools and accidentally activates a laser cutter which then holes the shuttle and takes out several critical systems, jeopardizing the entire mission. With no way to fix the communication gear, Schuster and the crew finish building their small lunar outpost. Five days later, the crew of Beta shuttle knock at the door. They're saved! Canaveral correctly interpreted their radio silence as a major problem, and quickly launched the Beta shuttle. And they brought spare hull plates to fix Alpha shuttle. A week later, with work progressing well on the mining outpost and ore sampling underway, Schuster is recalled to Earth. His next assignment awaits, back out on the seas.



I enjoyed this story. A light read, with some good wordplay. Schuster responds to a pile of paper dropped on his desk with "Well, Dr Jardeen, if I knew how to read and write, I'd be applying for a better job. What's this stuff? Anyone care to verbalize?" Heh heh. I'm gonna use that myself....
And in view of the present pandemic, there is an interesting conversation between Schuster and the mission doctor who is worried about the crew falling sick. "The best way to destroy a space colony is to make it germ-free...seamen like me have every germ on the planet immunizing them. A very smart port doctor in Madras told me once 'It takes a lot to kill a seaman'. "

Yeah, some interesting views expressed in this story. The space shuttle in the story is slightly larger than the one NASA ended up building. Could they have built one that could actually have gone to the moon and back? Maybe with a fuel refill? This has got me wondering about the space shuttle program. I've heard it was full of compromises.

And, as I said in my thoughts on Big Pie in the Sky by W.T. Quick in June 1988, we should have been on the moon ages ago.

Finally, according to the ISFDB, Sam Nicholson is actually Shirley Nikolaisen. She wrote a few stories for Analog during these years...

There are three short stories: Reaction Time by L.E. Modesitt jr, The Tank and Its Wife by Arsen Darnay and The Gift of Prometheus by Kevin O'Donnell jr.

The Science Fact article, The Island of Stability, is on superheavy elements.

Issue Notes
1988 Comparisons: Analog in 1978 is slightly larger than in 1988, and cheaper: cover price is $1.25 (vs $2 in 1988)...There is no column on gaming, nor The Alternate View...Metagaming has an advert, as does the SF Book Club, but there are far fewer ads in 1978 than in 1988. Only a couple for books....the illustrations are simpler, especially the ones at the beginning of the stories. Nothing like Janet Aulisio's illustrations of 1988. However there are, in the novelettes, two or three smaller sketches....Lester Del Rey is the reviewer in The Reference Library. I wonder if he will be as caustic as Tom Easton in 1988 when a dud manuscript shows up on his desk....as in 1988, the letters in Brass Tacks seem to be mostly about the editorials and not the stories ... although one writer protests that "Analog has always been a magazine for hard realism coupled with imagination not this "if the world were only ... stuff." " Heh, heh. I guess some things don't change!

Kevin O'Donnel jr wrote Fradero Goes Home in May 1988 which I thought should have been in the top five of the year...L.E. Modesitt jr's first story was published in Analog in 1973.... in the editorial, Bova laments censorship (in this case, it was fear of offending the Teamsters Union)... Biolog is on the artist Alex Schomburg who drew this month's cover...There is an ad informing the reader that this issue is available in microfilm...Another ad is for the boardgame Cosmic Encounter. Boardgamegeek shows a couple of dozen variants and updates (never played it myself). Another gaming company advertises War of the Star Slavers which would have sunk into oblivion were it not for its bizarre cover... Del Rey writes an interesting little snapshot of the SF publishing industry at this time. He comments that a "lot of the books being published are hardly worth reading". He goes on to review novels by Gordon Dickson (good), Gregory Benford (bad) and L Sprague de Camp (good but wacky).
 

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