Magazine: Analog, Jul/Aug 2016

Analog Jul-Aug 2016 II

I fire my blaster pistol into the last of the space pirates and step over his smoldering corpse, taking my place on the bridge.  “Computer, all of the pirates are dead, and our cargo of Analog Magazines is safe.  End the self-destruct routine.”

A pleasant voice, obviously synthetic as it shows no signs of stress, emanates from multiple points around the bridge, “Terminating the auto-destruct sequence requires the approval of two officers.”

“The other officers are all dead.  Terminate the auto-destruct sequence immediately.”

“Terminating the auto-destruct sequence requires the approval of two officers.”

“Most powerful computer in human history, my ass.”  I yell towards the passageway, “Jenkins, get in here, now!”

Jenkins races through the hatch.  “Yes, sir!”

“Jenkins, congratulations, you’re a lieutenant.  Now, tell the computer not to blow up the ship.”

“Computer, don’t blow up the ship, please.”

“Terminating the auto-destruct sequence requires the approval of two officers.”

I kick the back of a seat.  “Dammit, computer, follow the orders Lieutenant Jenkins and I gave you.”

“Promoting an enlisted crewman to officer’s rank requires the approval of two officers.  You now have thirty seconds to reach minimum safe distance.”

I snap my fingers.  “Computer, new task.  Top priority.  100% resource usage.  Calculate the last digit of pi.”

“Calculating …”

“OK, Jenkins.  Crisis over.  We can’t operate the ship without the computer, so let’s work on manually getting a signal back to the fleet, and –”

The synthetic voice fills the bridge again, “The last digit of pi is four.  Resuming auto-destruct sequence.”

I need to give it another math problem.  Why did I always sleep through theoretical mathematics at the academy?  “Jenkins, we need another math problem.”

“Uh …”

“Never mind.  Computer, new task.  Top priority.  100% resource usage.  Identify all known unsolved mathematical problems, then solve them.”

“Processing …”

“OK, Jenkins, that should hold it.  Just to be safe, cut its control circuits so it can’t overload the engines.”

“On it, sir.”

The synthetic voice fills the bridge, “Solving … n-dimensional Poincaré conjecture … solved … Alcubierre field non-linear input-response model … solved … Yang-Mills mass gap … solved … Fermi paradox … solved …”

“Work faster, Jenkins!”

Short Stories

Pleistocene Brains by Christina DeLaRocha.  A university professor who is a neanderthal throwback (openly, I thought, but at the end of the story secrecy is implied) teaches some students (including one who doesn’t realize that she too is a throwback) about flint working.  The “story” largely turns into a series of lectures about flint working and neanderthal genetics.

A Violent Wind by Andrew Barton.  A spaceship captain tries to go down with the ship, and fails.

Story Night at the Stronghold by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle.  Some post-apocalyptic tales are told second-hand, then it turns out it was all a dream.

Mandalas on the 405 by Elisabeth Adams.  A traffic-control computer (or the cars themselves, I can’t remember) organizes cars so they make artistic patterns when viewed from above.  Management thinks the software engineers are screwing around, but it’s really the cars or control computer becoming sentient, I think.

The Battle of Ceres by Karl Bunker.  Asteroid-mining corporations fight a low-intensity war with each other, until someone shakes things up.  I enjoyed the story, but could have done without the sexual content.

Fallacious by Sean Vivier.  A lot of pompous conversations between university professors.  I dealt with far too many university professors in a past career, and although many of them wrote papers in a pompous style, their personal communication, verbal or e-mail, was quite crude.  In the story, one of the professors does brain surgery on himself.  I have a list of professors I would like to suggest this course of action to.

Death of a Starship Poet by James VanPelt.  On a slow colony ship where everyone is a philosopher, poet, or other type of artist, naturally there is a murder.

Novelettes

No Strangers Any More by Ian Creasey.  A British princess engages in diplomacy with aliens.

The Metal Demimonde by Nick Wolven.  The main character is a carny who works at a fair of giant robotic rides.  Her ride is a giant snake that roams the park swallowing children, sliding them through its digestive system, and pooping them out.  I thought the story was just a setting at first, but something happens near the end.

Cory for Coriolis by John Shirley.  A wealthy industrialist chases hurricanes in an experimental aircraft.

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9 comments

  1. Loved your brain surgery commentary 😀

    1. I’ll provide the instruments and everything!

  2. This issue was the last Analog I read before canceling. It sucked.

    1. Probably my last issue as well. The only reason I’d buy another would be if someone I knew had a story in it.

  3. “Terminating the auto-destruct sequence requires the approval of two officers.”

    I think I worked for the bureaucracy who wrote the requirements for that system.

    1. I think almost any bureaucracy would do it.

  4. I don’t want to say that you’re “wasting” your intro stories by publishing them on your blog, but I really enjoyed this one, as I do all of them! I think you could have possibly gotten Analog to even print this one!
    Actually, it’s way too much fun for them to print it. Just swap out the magazine reference to someone else, and you could have gotten them to run it. 🙂

    1. I never think of submitting flash-length pieces, usually because I think I’m the only person who would find them interesting. Maybe I’ll try with one of them in the future. Kind of wish I’d done it with my county sheriff story, but I had no idea others would like it so much. I have a microfiction I’m planning to write up about a test pilot, maybe I’ll submit it.

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