Edward Lear
Greg Hullender of RocketStack left a comment a couple of blogs back where he suggests Analog’s problem is their focus on hard SF and the fact that it’s hard to be fresh and creative within the confines of real science. I suspect this is a charitable view of Analog’s showing in the annual awards. But, let’s have a look at it.

First, is Analog really focused on hard SF? If so, it seems there would have been some good hard SF submitted for the Hugo Award on the Puppies slate. As it turns out, we got:

“Flow”, Arlan Andrews, Sr. (Analog, 11-2014)
“The Journeyman: In the Stone House”, Michael F. Flynn (Analog, 06-2014)
“Championship B’tok”, Edward M. Lerner (Analog, 09-2014)
“The Triple Sun: A Golden Age Tale”, Rajnar Vajra (Analog, 07/08-2014)

I’ve already reviewed these stories back in July, so have a look if you’re interested in the details. In my opinion, none of these are really hard SF. Most of them read like adventure tales set in space. We’ve got a couple with characters in primitive environments with artifacts that look to be from space-faring humans. One with space-cadets saving the day. “Championship B’tok” features an error in physics that the editors, at least, should have caught.

Next, let’s look at creativity. Does staying within the confines of science really limit creativity? Cixin Liu has refuted this one. He’s written something very creative within the limits of current physics. So what’s the problem with Analog’s stories?

My thoughts? They’re not written by brilliant scientists any longer.