Monday, May 6, 2013

29. Analog Science Fiction and Fact, March 2013

This issue was the end of an era.  I remember when I received the December 1978 issue of Analog in the mail.  At first, I did not notice that Ben Bova was not listed as editor.  At that time, Stanley Schmidt was only known to me as a writer.  I recalled his serial "Sins of the Father" that appeared in late 1973 and early 1974.  I no longer have those magazines but I do have the paperback edition sitting on my shelf.  Little did I know that Schmidt would have such a long tenure on the title.  December 1978 through March of 2013.  Whether or not you like his work on the title, Schmidt deserves credit for editing a major science fiction magazine for almost 35 years.

Schmidt's first issue contained a mix of classic and new (at that time) writers.  Among the ones who appeared in that issue were Jack Williamson, Frank Herbert, F. M. Busby, Joan Vinge, and Orson Scott Card. 

Although this is a solid issue, I was hoping to see some big name authors return for Schmidt's final effort.

Schmidt kicks it off with his final editorial.  At least he is leaving by choice.  He wants to return to writing and knows that he needs to make the switch now.  I an anxious to read his new works.

The fiction line up for this issue is:

"Instinctive Response" by Bond Elam
"Its the End of the World..." by Harry Turtledove
"The Paragon of Animals" by Andrew Barton
"The Radioactive Etiquette Book" by Marissa Lingen
"Pre-Pirates" by Don D'Ammassa
"High Concept" by Barry Malzberg & Bill Prozini
"The Snack" by Bud Sparhawk
"The Firewall and the Door" by Sean McMullen

The short stories by D'Ammassa, Malzberg & Prozini, and Sparhawk were fun, inventive tales.  Sparhawk's tale of the proliferation of apps and mobile devices is believable.

My favorite this time was "Instinctive Response" by Bond Elam.  Elam reaches back and crafts a modern take on the classic first contact story.  Two people from the crew of a ship stumble on to an alien civilization.  The aliens are suffering from an unknown disease.  They put every effort into finding a cure.  It also ties in to the mysterious Progenitors who are shown on the local cave walls.  This was a fun flashback to old style science fiction.

Another high point for Analog in recent years is Don Saker's review column.  He is one of the best reviewers in the field today.  

So congratulations to Stanley Schmidt for many years of good reading.  I plan on following you into your second stint as a writer.

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