Reading Analog, May/June 2024 Issue

Which would be this one:

If you’ve seen Analog covers from 1960-65, you understand why this hurts to look at.

So far, it’s reminded me very clearly why I cancelled my subscription in 2008 (and stopped actually reading the issues I received sometime around 2002).

  • Uncle Roy’S Computer Repairs and Used Robot Parts – I skimmed through this one once it started getting cringey, so I may have missed the good parts. The programmer author has an unrealistic view (to this mechanical engineer) of how easy it is to build extremely advanced machines…solo…in a small-town storefront. The writing was annoyingly bad.
  • “Salvage Operation” – a halfway-interesting idea about a misbehaving time-travel device, halfway-fleshed out into a story. Seemed slapdash.
  • “The Dark at the End of the Tunnel” – hard SF at last, at least in the astronomy-based premise. Drab and dismal, nothing really happens except the (apparent) destruction of the universe and the narrator glumly narrating the gradually unfolding event. There’s no happy ending, unless you count it ending.
  • “Making Gnocchi at the End of the World” – another hopeless situation at the end of the world (biological, in this case – Annihilation, but at Loch Ness). Blatant author insert. A dozen pages of angsty learned helplessness, relationship talk-talk, and cooking. On the sorta-plus side, it’s rare to see such a light touch taken when shoehorning anti-gun sentiment into a story (bravo for small things, I suppose).
  • “Float Where We Will” – a confusing mess of unlikely machinery (a rusty sub under the ice on Europa), with characters who are poorly defined and whose actions make no sense half the time, who seem just as unlikely as their rusty sub to be in that setting. Much the story is one of the four characters dragging dragging dragging a knocked-out character to the bridge, and then prying open the pod of another character who’s, you know, a deep sleeper, so deep he’s managed to sleep through the klaxons, the flooding compartments, the yelling, the knocks on his door, the crowbar breaking open his door, more yelling, the OKAY OKAY WE GET IT ALREADY, HE’S A REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY DEEP SLEEPER, get on with the excruciating dragging of him to the bridge, too! Read like it was maybe a quarter of a rough draft for a much longer story, one in which it’s explained how these people and that vessel got there, and in which the characters and the setting are actually developed, and in which we learn that Garth in fact OD’ed on melatonin or something. Or maybe the rough draft of what should have been a much shorter story than it was.

On the bright side, unlike the last issue I read in January 2018, this one seems free of contributions by That Guy Who’s Had A Story In Every Issue For Years, That Guy Who’s Dined Out On That One TV Episode For Years, and That Guy Who’s Written Stories Featuring The Same Cringe-Inducing Character For Years. You know the ones.

We’ll see this week how the rest of the issue goes.

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