This issue, we close out the year . . . and Kepler’s Laws, Jay Werkheiser’s serial begun in this very issue. You’ve read the beginning: now find out how it ends, when tensions come to a head and the quiet conflict explodes into the open. Stands are taken, mysteries are solved, and not everybody makes it out alive. Don’t miss the exciting conclusion!
Then Christina De la Rocha continues her informal series of fact articles on global warming, with “Will Nuclear Power Save Us From Global Warming?” The answer is, like many things, not entirely straightforward, but that’s what makes it interesting.
And of course we’ll have a myriad of shorter stories, including the return of a long-absent fan-favorite author, with “Malady,” by Shane Tourtellotte, as well as pieces from Dan Reade, Brenda Kalt, Barry Malzberg & Bill Pronzini, Robert Reed, Bill Frank, and more.
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by Shane Tourtellotte
The alarm clock rang on a far bench. “Shut that off, Minchita,” said Tehl-Voyf Krinn Hfue Chuul. He never took his eyes off the separation boiler and the wump wine bubbling behind the glassed viewline.
Minchita Prupo silenced the clatter and came back to the workbench. “You’re supposed to see off Simi Chuul,” he said, softly insistent.
“I will, in just a moment.” Tehl-Voyf glanced at his notes, then back to the boiler—to find something staring back. A glehk stood atop a coil, its shiny skin glinting black and gold. “Minchita!”
Minchita saw the glehk and grabbed it before it could harm anything or skitter away. “Sorry, Se Chuul. I’ll spread some more komitehf powder around.”
Tehl-Voyf piped a high note of affirmation. The storage space he’d converted to a laboratory had its faults. It was too cold in winter, too hot in summer, and too easy for pests to infiltrate. But it was his, for a little while longer anyway.
Minchita came back from getting rid of their visitor and slipped close to his ear. “Se Chuul, your wife.” He pinched Tehl-Voyf’s notepad between his left thumbs. “I can handle the separation. Please, go now.”
Tehl-Voyf hesitated, then handed over the pad. “Thank you,” he said abstractedly and made for the door.
He weaved out of the storage spaces and cut through the kitchen, heading toward the reception area at the front of the house, where she met her clients and merchant colleagues. There was Meil-Kahd Hfue Chuul, flanked by three assistants. Her traveling robe ballooned out at her very gravid belly, and a fetching checked veil fell from her chin, decorously covering the feeding pouches now fully distended on her neck. READ MORE
by Brenda Kait
A cold wind blew across Linsnrt’s back as he walked down the ramp from Treasury Court. Across the stone plaza, a vid wall replayed the final snrlgar match of the United Championship. Linsnrt watched his old team until the lead charger made a stupid move. Before captivity, Linsnrt had charged professional snrlgar with ferocity and reveled in the fans’ homage. But during his wartime captivity in human space, human audiences had responded almost as loudly to what they called “a tentacled, trunkless elephant” juggling trinkets. The similarity was disconcerting.
Best to get home. The new, live moss installed in his nest the day before would soothe his frustrations.
At the edge of the plaza a call came from behind Linsnrt. “Ho! Charger!”
Linsnrt turned. A Hrakt his size, but muscled and shiny, approached.
“Linsnrt! It is you!”
“Anggrot. You’re bigger now.”
They twined tentacles briefly, looking each other up and down.
“You’re slim these days,” Anggrot said.
“Yeah, my digestion is all messed up. The food in human space, even their so-called universal alien food, barely works.”
“I didn’t know you were back yet. Did you see the championship?” Anggrot pointed a tentacle at the vid wall.
Linsnrt forced the tentacles on his cheeks to hang limp. Anggrot had made the stupid move. “Congratulations to everybody on Hrogt. I’ve been in Treasury Court—getting myself declared undead, reclaiming my house, all that stuff. My bonded mate even signed a contract with somebody else, so I have to replace her. I haven’t had time to watch much video.”
“I’m Hrogt’s lead charger now. I grabbed the winning plume. Not as good as you were, of course, but I get the job done.”
“That’s the important thing.” The tip of one tentacle coiled, and Linsnrt shook it loose. He backed away from Anggrot to rejoin the Hrakt leaving the plaza, but Anggrot followed.
“I saw a vid of your release. You were lucky to live through all that.”
“Lucky and more.” Linsnrt’s captive life in human space as Samson the Magnificent was a memory he shoved to the back of his mind daily. “Say, do you know of a training pit that’s available soon?” READ MORE
by Bruce McAllister
What is the most haunting color
in your life? Is it the blue of
Christmas lights, your parents
placing you by the tree on your first . . .
by Howard V. Hendrix
The study of demographics is in the news again.
Lately, as a writer in a genre in which the demographic future is a recurring concern, I have been asked by a number of people if I think Covid represents an extinction-level threat to the human species. Well, no. Not in its current incarnation, at least. As I write this, in the seventeen months since SARS-CoV-2 reared its prickly spike proteins, about 3.5 million people worldwide have died of Covid-related conditions, including my mother, alas. Yet in that same period the global human population has grown by over 100 million. As pandemics go, Covid is no bubonic plague, yet—but thank heavens for vaccines anyway.
The total fertility rate for replacement (women giving birth to enough babies to sustain population levels) is about 2.1 children per woman. In response to that number, recent headlines have trumpeted the notion that a “demographic calamity” looms over China (fertility rate 1.3), USA (1.73), EU (1.6), Japan (1.42), South Korea (0.98), Spain (1.33), Russia (1.8) and Brazil (1.74), to name a few—though not India. With a total fertility rate of 2.3, that last-named nation is generally mentioned in the overpopulation flipside of such “underpopulation” numbers, and is predicted to surpass China as the most populous nation on Earth within very few years. READ MORE
by John G. Cramer
Many of the estimates of the possible existence of advanced non-human technological civilizations in our galaxy (see, for example, AV-212 in the May/June 2021 issue of Analog) conclude that there may be many of them and that our human civilization on Earth may be rather remote from the locus of earlier civilizations and a late arrival on the scene. There have been many millions of years during which other high-tech alien civilizations in the galaxy may have arisen and progressed. So how can we tell if there are actually Elder Races out there in our galaxy, masters of super-advanced technologies that may require the entire energy output of a star for their implementation?
In 1964, the prominent Russian astrophysicist Nikolai Kardashev published a paper examining the possibility of detecting radio-frequency signals from such civilizations. In the paper, he proposed a ranking of highly advanced civilizations on the basis of their energy use. This has become known as the Kardashev scale: a Type I Kardashev civilization would use all of the energy that its planet received as solar radiation from its parent star, about 1016 W (watts); a Type II Kardashev civilization would use the entire energy output of its parent star, about 4×1026 W; a Type III Kardashev civilization would use the entire energy output of its galaxy, about 4×1037 W. READ MORE
Many writers start with short stories, then move to novels. Not so Dan Reade. His first forays into science fiction were novels, which, he then discovered, took nearly as much effort to sell (unsuccessfully, he admits) as to write. Then he had an epiphany. “I looked up how to write a cover letter for a short story,” he says, “and it said all you have to do is put in the word count and the title and if you have previous publications.” Having spent untold hours studying up on how best to approach each of the agents he’d contacted about his novels, he says, “that seemed really liberating. I’ve been focusing on short stories ever since.”
Like the vast majority of Analog writers, Reade adds, he grew up on science fiction. “One of my strongest memories is that my father would read to my brother and me every night, growing up: Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, classic ’50s pulp sci-fi.” His mother was equally formative. A creative writer throughout her life, he says, she is now one of his first readers. “Almost any story I’ve gotten published, I’ve sent through her, first.” READ MORE
by Anthony Lewis
Check here for the latest conventions upcoming in Novemberand December. READ MORE