Analog Science Fiction and Fact, June 2016 By Trevor Quachri

read Analog Science Fiction and Fact, June 2016

The last time Michael F. Flynn appeared in the pages of Analog was two years ago where the magazine published not another entry of Flynn's Journeyman series, but, iirc, an Alternate View essay by him. One entry after the other. I disliked both enough I swore I would not read anything else written by Flynn. This, the current issue of Analog has a new Journeyman entry in it, as well as a guest editorial by Michael F. Flynn. I kept my word and did not read either editorial or Journeyman novella. I don't regret it. It cut my reading of this issue by a good 43 pages.

The remainder of the issue was good and highly entertaining. Much better than last issue. I particularly enjoyed Bill Johnson's follow up (of a sort) to his previous Analog tale, Paris, 1885 and Christopher L. Bennett's Murder On the Cislunar Railroad. The remaining shorter stories, Marie Vibbert's Hold the Moment, C.S. Lane's That Which Grows On Trees, Jay Werkheiser's The Anthropic War and J.T. Sharrah's The Nult Factor were equally good. (Though I was bothered by something in That Which Grows On Trees. The flaw with the counterfeiting scheme - literally growing money - is how did the counterfeiters get different serial numbers on the organic cash? Seems to me, from what little the story tells us, every bill should have the same serial numbers. Unless there's a method of organically changing the numbers Werkheiser failed to tell us about.)

All in all, a fun, enjoyable issue. Analog Science Fiction and Fact, June 2016 A below-average issue, some of the stories have too little background.

The Journeyman: In the Great North Wood • [Journeyman] • novella by Michael F. Flynn
This continues a series I haven't been a great fan of. A pair of adventurers continue their adventures on a planet that apparently has been colonized centuries ago, and some high-tech artifacts can still be found. They are hired as bodyguards on an expedition that is trying to find such artifacts. They find a malfunctioning spaceship with badly-working AIs, and are ambushed by natives. More sightseeing and world description than plot — this is not my favorite style, and I had to struggle to get through this story. **+
When the Stone Eagle Flies • novelette by Bill Johnson
Time travelers in ancient Babylonia try to guide events towards the future they are coming from, which has been destroyed by events that have been changed in the past. But someone might notice that something strange is going on. A fairly nice story, but slightly too much of a fragment. Better than some other parts of the series, though. ***-
Hold the Moment • shortstory by Marie Vibbert
A woman who tried to invent a stasis machine manages the opposite: a machine that apparently makes everything outside of it “freeze” (sounds slightly implausible — the entire universe?). She also has some trust issues with her preteen daughter. The writing was OK, but somehow left a slightly unsatisfied feeling. ***+
The Anthropic War • shortstory by Jay Werkheiser
A strange changed region of space is spotted. Scientists find out that our universe is “contaminated” by another, and the contamination spreads as beings of the another universe make observations of ours. The only way to fight back is to make observations of the “contaminated” area, which causes it to revert back to the properties of our universe, with the budget of deep-space cosmology and exploration mushrooms. A short, fairly fun story. ***+
The Nult Factor • shortstory by J. T. Sharrah
A lazy man decides to market things that aren’t good for anything, which leads to a peculiar religious cult, which turns out to have (after a few stages) a major effect human and interstellar history. A fun little story.***
Murder on the Cislunar Railroad • novelette by Christopher L. Bennett
The story starts with an apparent murder: a woman is stranded in space with no chance of getting back to the space station. Who did it? And why? Had it something to do with AIs — or an organization that apparently “helps” AIs to run away from sometimes-abusive treatment by humans? This story feels like a third part of a series: background at first is very sketchy, and then there is a lot exposition. It is hard to form any emotional connection to the victim (or to anyone else) when you don’t know the characters at all. **½ Analog Science Fiction and Fact, June 2016 8 • The Journeyman: in the Great North Wood • 36 pages by Michael Flynn
Good+. Teodorq is a freelance body guard. He see some suspicious activity in the town square and helps take out a couple of the perpetrators. This got him noticed and hired to defend a excursion into the forest. It's an archeological expedition, but after a few days at their first site they notice suspicious activity coming their way.
The story is very good and there are some great one liners, but the reading was a bit complex and took more time. Flynn created a great setting, but he introduced greenies, hillsmen, forestmen, fades and threw in a lot of interrelationships. It was complexity that I didn't know was relevant or not. Basically every tribe hates or distrusts every other tribe but Teo chose his group that did get along.

56 • When the Stone Eagle Flies • 13 pages by Bill Johnson
Good/VG. Time traveler Martin can't get back to his home time. He is stranded in the past and now has to steer events in the direction that will lead to his future. He is now in Nineveh making sure that it falls. There are problems.

70 • Hold the Moment • 6 pages by Marie Vibbert
Good/Very Good. Daisy is trying to invent a box to keep things in stasis. Where time passes outside but zero time inside. Instead what she gets is the opposite. She is also a single mother trying to raise a thirteen year old daughter.

76 • That Which Grows on Trees • 3 pages by C. S. Lane
OK. A couple of bioengineers create some plants that grow money.

83 • The Anthropic War • 4 pages by Jay Werkheiser
OK. Astronomers discover a patch of sky where the background radiation of the big bang has changed. They theorize there is another intelligent race that has started observing that portion of the sky.

87 • The Nult Factor • 5 pages by J. T. Sharrah
OK. Hiram Quigby made it his goal in life to do nothing. Philosopher Jason Dahlquist picked up on this and made turned Quigby's nults into his nultism.

92 • Murder on the Cislunar Railroad • 12 pages by Christopher L. Bennett
Good/VG. UNECS agent Zachary March was near Nexus One where he found Jaya Ramanathan headed to certain death. The Railroad is the underground organization trying to liberate AIs from their slavery.
Analog Science Fiction and Fact, June 2016



The Journeyman: In the Great North Wood by Michael F. Flynn

When the Stone Eagle Flies by Bill Johnson
Murder on the Cislunar Railroad by Christopher L. Bennett

Short Stories
Hold the Moment By Marie Vibbert
That Which Grows on Trees by C.S. Lane
The Anthropic War by Jay Werkheiser
The Nult Factor by J. T. Sharrah

Machineries of the Heart by Robert Frazier

Here We Go Loopedy Loop: A Brief History of Time Travel, Part II by Edward M. Lerner

Analog Science Fiction and Fact, June 2016, Volume CXXXVI No. 6
Trevor Quachri, editor
Cover art by Bob Eggleton Analog Science Fiction and Fact, June 2016