Current Issue Highlights



September/October 2018

Our lead story for September/October is “Go Random, My Love” by Bill Johnson. Greenberg is trying to enjoy life tucked away from his past, when an encrypted message arrives, blowing all that up. It’s hard to stay hidden when you’re embarking on a dangerous rescue mission, journeying through the laws of physics themselves….

Then our fact article examines the nitty-gritty realities of non-carbon-based life, in “Alien Biochemistry: Embracing the Carbon Chauvinist,” by Jay Werkheiser.

 We follow that with a historical romp in “Harry and the Lewises,” from Edward M. Lerner; a comedy of tesseract errors in “And He Built a Crooked Hub,” from Christopher L. Bennett; some suitable bits of Halloween feeling in “The Unimportant Parts of the Story” from Adam-Troy Castro, “Black Shores” by Darren Speegle, and “It Came From the Coffeemaker,” by Martin L. Shoemaker; a look at the ways an AI’s programming might lead it down unexpected paths in “Optimizing the Unverified Good,” by Effie Sieberg; and many more, from the likes of Greg Benford, Sean McMullen, Ron Collins, Tony Ballantyne, and others.

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Harry and the Lewises

by Edward M. Lerner

The most I’d hoped for out of that day was a bracing morning stroll. It’s a two-mile hike to the office across the Brooklyn Bridge into Manhattan. On a clear morning, the walk is pleasant. On the sort of stormy evening in the day’s forecast, it would pretty much have sucked. I planned to walk home anyway. Rent was coming due, and I begrudged even the subway fare.

Good weather or ill, I seldom took that walk. I am—no, make that was, although I’m getting ahead of myself—a superstringer. In the news biz, that’s like a freelancer on steroids. Only news was a stretch; The National Truth was as fact-free as you would imagine  READ MORE


Go Random, My Love

by Bill Johnson

“Walk, Walk, Tan—Go—Close!”

Roy Greenberg tripped over his own damned feet and stumbled again. This time he lay on the floor of the small gym and looked up at the ceiling. The practice ’bot stepped back and out of the way.

“You have a serious problem with the tango.”

“If I remember correctly, when the walking tango became popular I was in Vietnam, in Recondo school, on Hon Tre island.”

“Fighting to save democracy from the Red Menace.” READ MORE



by Josh Pearce

the heart is a sputnik
the size of your fist
once caught in the influences... 


Reader's Departments

Guest Editorial: Colliding Icebergs 

by Richard A. Lovett

Several years ago, I had the honor of being invited to spend a few days as a civilian guest in what for the army officers involved was a two-year program at the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. I found myself as the sole civilian in one of several dozen seminar groups, each composed of eighteen senior colonels (on the cusp of promotion to general), one instructor, and a civilian. Me, in this case. Two or three times a day, we attended high-powered lectures, then retired to our seminar groups to discuss them.

I went expecting to learn about the military, which I did. I learned that these officers were incredibly bright, intellectually diverse, and very open-minded. I encountered the army shout of “hooah,” which I heard in enough different contexts that I’m still not sure what it means. I heard some really, really good lectures.  READ MORE


The Alternate View: Vacuum Birefringence and Neutron Stars

by John G. Cramer

Polarization and birefringence are two of those quasi-obscure technical words derived from physical optics. Quantum physics tells us that a beam of light is a stream of photons, but at the same time it is a travelling wave made of oscillating electric and magnetic fields vibrating at right angles to the direction of wave motion and to each other. The light is said to be linearly polarized if the electric field always vibrates in the same plane, and we call that its plane of polarization. (Light can also be circularly polarized, elliptically polarized, or unpolarized, but we will ignore those complications for the present discussion.) READ MORE


Biolog: Tony Ballantyne

by Richard A. Lovett

Tony Ballantyne is the latest in a series of established pros who’ve recently found their way into Analog’s pages. He sold his first story in 1998, then penned eight novels and innumerable other short stories before introducing himself to Analog readers in 2014 with “The Region of Jennifer.” But he didn’t grow up intending to be a science fiction writer. Yes, his childhood was full of Golden Age classics and more recent grandmasters like Larry Niven, but when he started writing seriously at age 18, traditional science fiction wasn’t his focus. “I started with comics,” he says. READ MORE


The Reference Library

by Don Sakers

Historians of science fiction generally date the emergence of SF as a commercial genre to the debut of Amazing Stories in 1926. In the 90+ years since then, the field has undergone a series of widespread changes (sometimes called revolutions or fashions). These seem to happen roughly every dozen years or so.

Thus, we had the Golden Age/Campbell era, the postwar boom, the New Wave, the Cyberpunk movement, and so forth. READ MORE


Upcoming Events

by Anthony Lewis

Check here for the latest conventions upcoming in September and October. READ MORE