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REVIEW: Analog Science Fiction & Fact – December 2000

REVIEW SUMMARY: Three or four worthwhile stories.


PROS: Two standout stories.
CONS: Too many mediocre longer tales.
BOTTOM LINE: A few good finds.

Following are the individual reviewlettes for each story in this issue.

  1. It’s the Thought That Counts by Jerry Oltion [2000 short story] (Rating:4/5) [Read 04/27/04]
    • Synopsis: A spaceship convinces an alien he just met into exchanging Christmas gifts as a gesture of good will. His attempt to get the better end of the bargain by way of advanced alien technology is thwarted by the alien’s prowess at negotiation.
    • Review: A short tale that’s played for laughs and mostly succeeds because it doesn’t overstay it’s welcome.
  2. The Ultimate Earth by Jack Williamson [2000 novella] (Rating:2/5) [Read 05/12/04]
    • Synopsis & Review: See my review for Terraforming Earth.
  3. Snowball in Hell by Brian Stableford [2000 novelette] (Rating:3.5/5) [Read 05/26/04]
    • Synopsis: A geneticist assists the Genetic Engineering Crime Unit in infiltrating a secret lab where scientists are alleged to have created humans from pig embryos.
    • Review: Kind of a cerebral tale with lots of discussion on what it really means to be human. Genetically engineered supermen also come into play. Short on action and high on philosophy (not necessarily a bad thing). Still, a fairly good read.
  4. The Missing Mass by Larry Niven [2000 short story] (Rating:3/5) [Read 05/14/04]
    • Synopsis: A bartender at a space port facilitates the meeting of a human diplomat and an Alien (named Terminator Beaver) astrophysicist to discuss an infinite supply of energy.
    • Review: Fun story. It’s been a while since I read a book with aliens in it, so it was nice to read about things unknown and new again.
    • Note: Winner of 2001 Locus award for Short Story.
  5. Among the Wild Cybers of Cybele by Christopher L. Bennett [2000 novelette] (Rating:2/5) [Read 05/27/04]
    • Synopsis: Humans take sides in the fight of survival between evolving cybernetic organisms and the native life on planet of Cybele.
    • Review: Some interesting ides (evolving AI machines) and plot devices (the old student returns to the teacher with a hidden agenda) but I still couldn’t get into this story all that much.
  6. Eden Tag by Stephen L. Burns [2000 novelette] (Rating:3/5) [Read 05/29/04]
    • Synopsis:A cop in a lunar settlement must overcome women-hating terrorists with the help of a mysterious deputy (Gennie) and a wayward teen (Tim).
    • Review: Good and fun story. Humorous without being over the top about it. A good adventure that holds your interest.
About John DeNardo (13012 Articles)
John DeNardo is the Managing Editor at SF Signal and a columnist at Kirkus Reviews. He also likes bagels. So there.
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