November 13th, 2010

Summary: Analog, 2010

Summary: Analog, 2010

Analog published 75 pieces of short fiction in 2010, but no serials -- the first time in a long time (perhaps ever) that the magazine published no serials in a year. I miss them, though I can understand why they are disappearing. There were 10 novellas, 25  novelettes, and 40 short-stories, 4 of the latter being short-shorts (Probability Zero pieces). This was about 660,000 words of fiction, more than last year but actually about normal for Analog (last year's total seemed unusually low to me).


Of the impressive total of 10 novellas this year, none were truly outstanding, but several were quite enjoyable. I liked Stephen Baxter’s "Project Hades" (July-August), which speculates on the consequences of underground nuclear tests in 1960 if they awakened powerful magma creatures in the Earth’s core; and "Phantom Sense" by Richard A. Lovett and Mark Niemann-Ross (November), about a soldier who has a hard time adjusting to the loss of his attached cloud of sensors after he's demobbed; and "The Possession of Paavo Deshin" by Kristine Kathryn Rusch (January-February), a decent SF mystery, part of her Retrieval Artist series. There was also decent work by Stephen L. Burns and John G. Hemry.


The best novelette is "Eight Miles, by Sean McMullern, from September. It's about an expert balloonist in 1840 London hired by a rich man to take him and a passenger to unusually high altitudes. The passenger is a strange foxlike woman, apparently only barely intelligent, who gains mental acuity as altitude increases. The reader will quickly know where she really hails from, and the story doesn’t surprise in getting to that reveal, but the ending slingshots nicely from there. Allen M. Steele's "The Great Galactic Ghoul" was also good, from the October issue, a tale of asteroid mining, a disaster, and a rescue effort, effectively told in a matter of fact, almost journalistic, way, with a bleakly honest resolution. Brenda Cooper's "The Robots' Girl" (April) is a quiet and moving story about an isolated girl apparently raised entirely by robots. Other nice novelettes came from Shane Tourtellotte, Scott William Carter, and Christopher L. Bennett.

Short Stories

I liked David Levine's "Teaching the Pig to Sing" (May). told from the point of view of a genetically enhanced future ruler, who has been kidnapped by revolutionaries who want a return to democracy. The story argues both sides of the question, and Levine’s resolution is a bit unexpected, and adds an edge and some poignancy. Other fine stories included "On Rickety Thistlewaite" (January-February), related to his novel The January Dancer; S. L. Nickerson's "The Planet Hunters" (April), and work by Kyle Kirkland and Allen M. Steele.

Statistics Corner

Gender Balance: 10 of 75 stories, as far as I can tell, were by women. That's 13.3%, a bit more than usual for this magazine. As usual for Analog, all the stories were SF.