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Current Issue Highlights



May/June 2020

The celebration continues! Our cover story is one where alien physiology also leads to alien philosophy: it’s “Moral Biology,” by Neal Asher.

Then we have arguably the most famous piece in our retrospective series: Anne McCaffrey’s “Weyr Search,” with a poignant introduction from Analog’s majordomo, managing (and poetry) editor, the superlative Emily Hockaday.

Our fact article is the rather self-explanatorily titled “Space Dust: How an Asteroid Altered Life on Earth . . . Millions of Years Before the Dinosaurs,” by one of our most popular nonfiction authors, Richard A. Lovett.

Of course we also have part two of Derek Künsken’s serial, The House of Styx—no spoilers, but readers who enjoyed the nuanced characters, hard science, and imaginative world-building in The Quantum Magician and especially “Persephone Descending” will find much to love here.

We’ll also have scores of other stories, about dirty deeds in a mining colony in “A Breath of Air,” from Tom Jolly; an alien getting a wider look at its own culture in Ramona Louise Wheeler’s “The Calm Face of the Storm”; a father try to bond with his daughter in spite of changing technology in Eric Cline’s “It Was Tradition When You Turned 16.”

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Moral Biology

by Neal Asher

As Perrault entered the room he quickly closed the anosmic receptors running in lines across his face like tribal markings, retaining the use only of those within his nose. The air was laden with pheromones, and he really had no need for further input on Gleeson’s readiness for sex with Arbeck. Just walking through the door had been enough. Gleeson sat with her rump against her desk while Arbeck, his camo shirt hanging open to reveal the tight musculature of his chest, sat in one of the chairs facing her, his legs akimbo. Their conversation ceased and she looked up at Perrault, quickly snatching her hand away from fondling with her hair, doubtless aware of everything he could read. He glanced at them, taking in their dynamic and almost breaking into laughter at Arbeck’s pose, then focused on other aspects of the room as he headed for the other chair. He blinked through the spectrum, seeing the so recognizable heat patterns on Gleeson’s skin, listened in on the EMR chatter of the ship, then shut it out as irrelevant, measured shapes in conjunction throughout the space that hinted at shadow languages and esoteric meaning, and then shut that down too.

“Do we have further data?” he asked mildly.

Gleeson reluctantly pushed herself away from the desk and walked round it to pause with her hand on the back of her seat. She then showed a flash of irritation and sat down. Perrault read into the actions her hormonal wish to bring the chair round to sit nearer to Arbeck, overcome by her need to maintain her illusory power dynamic, being as they were meeting in her rooms, all in turn influenced by her awareness of his own abilities. He studied the surface of her desk as she sat down. Very little lay there beyond a paper notepad and pen. These were a hobby related to her interest in history and one of her specialisms in human archaeology. This display told him she used the items as a gambit to switch conversation to her interest, which also told him a little bit more about her self-absorption.  READ MORE


Calm Face of the Storm

by Ramona Louise Wheeler

The biggest bug Bret had ever seen flew past with a flash and a scintillating scent, and it was in his nature to snatch bugs in flight, an instinct to fling himself after in pursuit. The air smelled of evening, with a chill wind blowing in from sunset, and he only saw the bug thing clearly once it flew out of the shadows into the light of the upper air. It was small enough to be confused with some delectable beetle or moth. Bret was a flying bug-eater, but he was a civilized man from a civilized world; he was capable of reactions beyond instinct. He was still too angry to be hungry, otherwise he might have had it half swallowed before he knew what he was eating, but now he forgot the argument that had driven him so far from familiar skies and concentrated instead on flying closer to the thing.

It was not a bug. It was not edible either, but it was worth a fortune, worth more than any other wild creature on his planet. It was a lizard of some new kind, impossibly winged, shimmering, gray-scaled like old silver, with black spikes at forehead, knuckles, and knees. The like of it had been seen before only in tantalizing fossil shapes in the oldest rock layers uncovered, a previously unknown type of prehistoric creature. This one was not a prehistoric fossil. This one was alive. It beat its wings with deliberate, reptilian calm, flying steadily into the horizon of brilliant colors where the second sun was setting.  READ MORE


The New Planet

by Sarah Gallien

The tundra looks like the pictures,
burnished red and blue-gray.
“It’s too acidic, yes? We can change,”  ... 


Reader's Departments

Guest Editorial: Here There Be Women

by Emily Hockaday

In the summer of 1996, the South Windsor, Connecticut library was renovated. Members volunteered to house boxes of books at their homes while the construction was completed. That summer my basement became an impromptu storage facility, full of must, paper, and waxed canvas. While the volumes lived in our home, my parents offered to pay us children one dollar for each book we read. I was gleeful, of course. Get paid to read? Just open that wallet now, folks. I spent hours laying on the ratty downstairs couch, AC blasting, consuming stories.

To my disappointment, I no longer remember exactly how much money I hauled in. What I do remember, though, was that this is the summer I first went to Pern. Somewhere in those crates and boxes were new, glossy paperback editions of Dragon Song, Dragon Singer, and Dragon Drums. Because my mother had chosen selections from the children’s and young adult sections, these were the only Anne McCaffrey titles in our temporary archives.



The Alternate View: Is the Universe a Hypershere?

by John G. Cramer 

If you could halt the expansion of the Universe and then travel outward in a straight line, would you eventually come back to the place where you started? In other words, are all straight-line paths in the Universe closed circles? Or as Euclid would have put it, if you project two precisely parallel light beams out into empty space, do they ever cross? A recent analysis of the angular structure and lensing of the cosmic microwave background radiation, as measured by the European Space Agency’s Planck Mission, suggests that the answer to these questions is “Yes.” We will start by considering the curvature of space as represented in general relativity (GR). READ MORE


The Reference Library

by Don Sakers

We have a mental model of evolution, be it biological or linguistic, that’s hierarchical: species and words “progress” from simpler to more complex, from primitive to modern, from worse to better.

That model is misleading.

A better model, it’s been suggested, is the old lava lamp: a blob of melted wax suspended in water, its shape changing as it responds to heat, gravity, and currents in the water.

So it is with the shape of science fiction and its audiences.

Last issue we talked about how the history of science fiction was marked by the accretion of various distinct audiences, making it impossible to speak of a singular “audience” for SF. Now, I’d like to turn my attention to how those various audiences affected the field (especially the text form of SF). READ MORE


Upcoming Events

by Anthony Lewis

Check here for the latest conventions upcoming in May and June. READ MORE

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