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Current Issue Highlights

July/August 2024

Many people know all too well that an outbreak of pandemic proportions can leave large amounts of the population with long-lasting health issues. When one of those issues is memory loss, it may become vital for people to have a way for their past selves to tell their future selves important information. But can you ever completely trust that your past self is telling you the truth? Well, your future self will find out in our lead story for July/August, “Vouch for Me,” by Greg Egan.

Exoplanets can be classified in a variety of ways, and while much attention is paid to the search for “perfect” ones, there’s less attention paid to the broadly-habitable but significantly more common ones, at least outside of our fact article next issue, “In Praise of Third Class Worlds,” by Kevin Walsh.

And of course we’ll have a wealth of other stories, including: “The Great Martian Railways”—trains on Mars!—by Hûw Steer; “Mandarins: A New World,” the final Analog story from Michael F. Flynn; an unusual human/AI connection in Thorayia Dyer’s “The Funeral”; “The Last Days of Good People,” a long novella from A.T. Sayre, in which an alien species can only make the best of a bad situation; “Murderbirds,” a Flash piece from Harry Turtledove, and more, from Alice Towey, Arlan Andrews, and others, including all our regular columns.

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The Last Days of Good People
by A.T. Sayre

Everyone was on the operations deck while Gare was on the conference call with the Ministry back home. Retii Major had just set below the mountain range opposite, but half of Retii Minor was still above the peaks in the slowly reddening sky. It cast long shafts of light deep into the darkened room through the windows facing down into the valley. The shadows against the back wall shimmered and waved like water in the interference from the camouflage barrier covering the windows, masking their presence under the illusion of an unbroken rock face. A line of shadow cut across Gare’s closed office door diagonally. Its flutter made Warin think of a pennant. READ MORE


Great Martian Railways
by Hûw Steer

Blowing the whistle wasn’t nearly as impressive as it should have been. For one thing, there was barely any atmosphere to carry the noise; for another, the water reclamation systems meant that no steam was ejected into the air at all, so the normally satisfying plume was entirely absent, sucked back into the condensers.

But she heard it, in the sealed cab. She felt the great boiler thrum, heard the muffled shriek of released steam, and grinned as she closed the whistle and diverted more steam to the massive pistons. Ahead of her, silver rails gleamed like tear-tracks in the red soil of Mars. READ MORE


by Holly Day

Someday, all of our children will drift off across space
and it will be just like when parents said goodbye to children
who sought their fortunes across the newly-opened prairies. READ MORE


Guest Editorial: Personal Choice
by Stanley Schmidt

What do these things have in common?

The COVID pandemic. School vouchers. Very large families.

I collected clippings about all of these from the same newspaper on a single fairly recent day. At first glance they may seem unrelated, but I see them as examples of a single problem that’s larger than any of them. READ MORE

2023 Analytical Laboratory Results

Once again, we’d like to thank everyone who voted in our annual poll on the previous year’s issues. Your votes help your favorite writers and artists by rewarding them directly and concretely for outstanding work. They help you by giving us a better feel for what you like and don’t like—which helps us know what to give you in the future. READ MORE

Alternate View: Cern Seeks Magnetic Monopoles
by John G. Cramer

The magnetic monopole represents a kind of “unicorn” for the world of particle physics. It is a potentially stable and important could-be particle that, if it existed, would have an isolated magnetic charge, either a “north” source of magnetic lines of force or a “south” sink of force lines. It is the magnetic equivalent of the negative and positive electric charges carried by charged particles like electrons and protons. It fits neatly into several blank spots in an expanded version of the four Maxwell equations that describe electromagnetism. READ MORE

Reference Library
by Rosemary Claire Smith

During the pandemic, I heard reports that readers would naturally crave lighthearted comfort reads as distractions from the added stresses of daily life. Although I do not know how true this was at the time, it strikes me that perhaps now the pendulum in science fiction has swung back in the other direction. There seem to be lots of new SF novels examining the future of warfare in horrifying detail. They generally fall into two camps. The first type extols some version of space marines facing down an authoritarian or totalitarian regime. The other type consists of works siding with feisty rebels determined to do battle against oppressive empires with little more than moxie, steady aim, and a burning desire for freedom. Where in all the mayhem, I wonder, is the Catch-22 for the twenty-first century?  READ MORE

Upcoming Events
by Anthony Lewis

Check here for the latest conventions upcoming in July and August. READ MORE

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