Analog magazine has posted the works from 2016 that finished in the top five slots in each category of the Analog Analytical Laboratory. The winners will be revealed in May.
There are links to PDF files that will allow you to read all the finalists.
- The Coward’s Option — Adam-Troy Castro – March 2016
- The Soul Behind the Face — Adam-Troy Castro – October 2016
- The Journeyman: Into the Great North Wood — Michael F. Flynn – June 2016
- Wyatt Earp 2.0 — Wil McCarthy – January/February 2016
- Progress Report — Rajnar Vajra – September 2016
- Playthings — Stephen L. Burns – April 2016
- Dreams of the Rocket Men — C. Stuart Hardwick – September 2016
- Detroit Hammersmith, Zero-Gravity Toilet Repairman [Retired] — Suzanne Palmer – September 2016
- Prodigal — Gord Sellar – December 2016
- Diamond Jim and the Dinosaurs — Rosemary Claire Smith – April 2016
- The Battle of Ceres — Karl Bunker – July/August 2016
- Jewels from the Sky — Brendan DuBois – December 2016
- Rocket Surgery — Effie Seiberg – January/February 2016
- Death of a Starship Poet — James Van Pelt – July/August 2016
- The Continuing Saga of Tom Corbett, Space Cadet — James Van Pelt – December 2016
- In the Absence of Instructions to the Contrary — Frank Wu – November 2016
- A Mind of Its Own, Part 1 & Part 2 — Edward M. Lerner – September 2016 & October 2016
- Here We Go Loopedy Loop: A Brief History of Time Travel, Part 1 & Part 2 — Edward M. Lerner – May 2016 & June 2016
- Human 2.0: Being All We Can Be, Part 1 & Part 2 — Edward M. Lerner – January/February 2016 & March 2016
- Dawn Comes to the Asteroid Belt: What NASA’s 9-Year Mission is Learning About One of Science Fiction’s Favorite Realms — Richard A. Lovett – November 2016
- Energy for the Future: Solar-Derived Fuels, Artificial Leaves, and Electricity-Eating Microbes that Poop Out Gasoline — Richard A. Lovett – July/August 2016 (A later version of this article appears in Rick’s book, Here Be there Dragons, available at Amazon.com.)
- Paint It Black — Bruce Boston – September 2016
- Black Hole Blues — G.O. Clark – January/February 2016
- Final Dispatch — Robert Frazier – April 2016
- Soft Collision — Scott E. Green & Herb Kauderer – July/August 2016
- Somebody I Used to Love Asks Me Who Marie Curie Is — Carly Rubin – March 2016
- Images of the five finalists are available at the site.
In this case I have no opinions on the fiction nominees because I’m so far behind on Analog that I’ve basically written off ever catching up but it is interesting that the Locus/Analog overlap (with Analog‘s two whole appearances on the Locus list) exactly matches the tally of the Locus/Asimov’s overlap: one. So, hey, a higher percentage than Asimov’s. 🙂
And, of course, there were no Nebula noms for any Analog story.
All this is less interesting in that, unlike Asimov’s, the intelligentsia almost never acknowledges Analog‘s existence so this is completely unsurprising but, still: another example of one of SF’s many isolated enclaves.
I like the first four covers okay, with March probably being my favorite.
I liked two of the novellas well enough to remember them: “The Coward’s Option” and “Wyatt Earp 2.0”. Of the others, “Detroit Smith” and “The Battle of Ceres” were okay.
I’ve not read much Analog this year (which I guess makes me mostly intelligentsia), but of what I have read The Coward’s Option is a worthy entry in this list – a really interesting story.
A story I also liked but that didn’t make this list is Not Quite Taterona Kempi by Ryan W Norris.
For all but two of these, I either recommended them or else considered recommending them. As with the other readers polls (and the Nebulas for that matter), the longer the work, the more likely I recommended it. Or, put differently, it’s only for short stories that I see reader-recommended stories that make me scratch my head.
I was also sad not to see Not Quite Taterona Kempi, by Ryan W. Norris” in the list. I think it was the best story (at any length) that Analog published all year.
I find much more I like in the big three at longer lengths compared to shorts. In fact, looking at my longlist the only stories I have from them in short are very nearly novelettes.
I’m not sure why that is – do the editors tend to trust the better writers at longer lengths?
I think the novelette is the ideal length for SFF stories. There are enough extra words to allow for worldbuilding without clumsy infodumps. Shorter than that, it takes real skill to do decent worldbuilding, character development, and plot development. At novella length, on the other hand, it’s easy for the story to be full of distractions that never quite become subplots and which end up annoying the reader. (This is arguably editorial failure.) Also, a story that would have been mediocre at 5,000 words becomes painful drudgery at 25,000.
A really good short story is therefore to be prized. It’s not an easy thing to do.
Actually there’s only one overlap between Locus and this list as well. Of course, it’s 1 of 2 instead of the 1 of 8 that Asimov’s has.
“Prodigal”, Gord Sellar (Analog 12/16)
I see Greg really liked it. Anyone else like to share their thoughts?
Of the “big 3” magazines, I only subscribe to F&SF. The admittedly few stories I’ve read here and there from the other two have slightly enticed me to try Asimov’s but not Analog.
A big part of what I loved about “Prodigal” was that it made me sympathetic with both sides of the conflict. So few stories manage to create a conflict without a cardboard villain (often in the form of a mindlessly evil government or corporation).
I’ve gone back and tried a few more of these. Prodigal is worth your time, while I thought Wyatt Earp 2.0 was frankly a bit silly.