Friday, February 15, 2013

Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact, July 1971

The lead novella was pretty nice in spite of some illogical details.

Zero Sum • novella by Joseph P. Martino
A war has been going in for some time. Mankind seems to be winning, as the aliens use suboptimal tactics and always lose more men in a battle than the humans. The humans capture an alien occupied planet. Every single alien seems to have committed a suicide. Is there a rationale behind the actions of the aliens? A fairly good story with some problems. The tactics of the space battles seem pretty strange, and the weaponry doesn't behave like they would in space - for example there is definite range for the missiles which can't be surpassed. Also, the way the military considers battles being won solely in bases of the number of men who are lost seem totally lunatic. By that definition, Finland beat Russia in the 2nd World War by an extremely wide margin…Wouldn’t the actual objectives which are achieved by the battle be far more important? ***½
The Man with the Anteater • [LaNague Federation] • shortstory by F. Paul Wilson
A man who has an anteater as a pet gets drafted to evaluate and eventually popularize a government project where a large group of children has been raised to have the occupation which is completely suitable for each person. After he has visited there the experiment collapses. Apparently after seeing so eccentric a person all people having careers which suit them perfectly decided to switch to those careers they actually wanted. Apparently most of the people didn’t want the jobs they were perfectly suitable for. **½
A Little Edge • novelette by William E. Cochrane [as by S. Kye Boult ]
There is a battle between two races, both apparently sentient. The avian Draks use the Riverpeople as a food source. Little background is given, and the story consists mainly from a detailed description of a battle. As it isn’t even entirely clear who are the “bad guys” in the story, and there is so little background of the Riverpeople and of the characters we should apparently be rooting for that I could not care less for them. Also, the ending where one lone glider pilot just manages to save himself feels somewhat separated from the main story. **
Poltergeist • [Telzey Amberdon] • shortstory by James H. Schmitz
Another story in a series starring Telzey, a young woman with extremely strong psi-powers. She is just learning to use her power and is on a vacationing on a resort when she encounters a man who seems to be haunted by a strange power. The shortest and perhaps the best story in this series I have read. It is very positive that this time Telzey isn’t kidnapped by anyone.***+

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