February 2004
© 2004 Ernest Lilley / SFRevu
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SF Magazine/Short Fiction Review - by Steven Sawicki                  
To have your magazine or short fiction work mentioned here send a copy to Steve Sawicki, 2824 Furbeck Rd., Altamont, NY  12009.  Everything received will be considered.  Items not sent will not.                       Publications Index

In this Column: Greetings From Lake Wu / Fantasy and Science Fiction (March '04) / Challenging Destiny (Issue #17) / Nth Degree (Issue #8)

While I was at Arisia I ran into Frank Wu who thrust a copy of Greetings From Lake Wu into my hands after mumbling something about knowing I wrote reviews for someone.  Frankly, I prefer the more anonymous method of having things come to me in the plain brown mailing envelope.  Makes it easier to not review something that’s really bad or something that just doesn’t quite make it off the pile and into the hands.  That’s not the case here although I admit to starting with some trepidation.  Frank Wu is the artist who illustrated all of the stories written by Jay Lake.  There are 13 stories here, 8 of which have seen publication in previous incarnations.  My favorite story of the bunch, and this was a hard decision to make because the stories are so different in many ways, was “Eglantine’s Time.”  This is a story about a special girl who’s about to be tested.  If she’s found wanting, then death awaits her like it did all of her sisters.  If she succeeds then she will be used by those who created her.  But, as we have learned many times in the past, we do not always have total control over that which we create.  I also liked G.O.D. which is about the search for God and how that search ends up.  It’s a very short piece, made better by the length.  I also enjoyed “The Trick Of Disaster” which is a story about clowns who come to town to harvest sinners.  Lake did an good job weaving this story and keeping you guess about what was to happen next.  All of the stories in this anthology are very well done and the illustrations which accompany each piece only add to the work.  Nicely done.  Definitely worth picking up a copy.

The March issue of Fantasy and Science Fiction leads off with an amusing Matthew Hughes novelette entitled “Mastermindless.”  It’s about a detective who suddenly discovers that a certain segment of the male population, himself included, has been rendered ugly, stupid and near broke.  He still manages to figure it out but in a truly atypical way.  This is followed by Charles De Lint’s and Elizabeth Hand’s book review columns which precede Jim Young’s Novelette, “Ultraviolet Night.”  This is a rather odd story about a future where things are going to hell and where employees are given drugs that restrict what they can do or say.  It’s a weird future to say the least.  “Many Voices” by M. Rickert follows.  This horror-tinged fantasy skirts the path of mental illness and spirituality.  I’m not sure if I made all the connections in this complicated piece.  Pat Murphy and Paul Doherty provide the science column which is followed by Charles Coleman Finley’s short story, “Pervert.”  This is set in some future or alternate world where sex is, well, different.  Again, I may have missed some of the pieces as I ended the piece in a confused state.  Alex Irvine’s novelette “A Peaceable Man” finishes the issue.  This is one of those stories where the fantastic element is actually pretty minor.  Actually there are a couple of them but they are somewhat tangential to the story.  A nice read that wanders dangerously close to mainstream.  The cover, an alien sunset (sunrise?) is by Ron Miller,

[magazine cover]Issue #17 of Challenging Destiny is chock full of stuff.  The lead off piece, once you get past the editorial, is Dark Thread by Mariss K. Lingen.  This is a story about a blind performer who, in her spare time travels to another place, at least mentally.  This space contains a tapestry where she is able to discern the life paths of others.  I found the exercise a bit flat.  This is redeemed by the story that follows; “Jack Be Nimble” by Fraser Sherman.  Sherman provides us with a kind of fractured fairy tale landscape that is both amusing and poignant.  James Schellenberg and David M. Switzer have an interview with novelist Scott Mackay.  This is followed by a fascinating story written by William McIntosh.  “Faller” is about a world where communities exist on floating islands.  We don’t know this until the protagonist falls off his community only to land on another.  He soon takes to this ‘falling’ and begins to jump more often.  Good stuff.  “Frank among the Franks” however, by Brian N. Pacula reads like some frat boy’s fantasy.  This no gooder bumps into a deity who ends up giving him control over an enclave of Franks.  These enclaves are meant to preserve extinguishing cultures.  Of course the frat boy, assuming the role of god, grabs a cutie and mucks things up so quickly your head spins.  James Schellenberg follows this with a lengthy review of time travel movies.  This is followed by A. R. Morlan’s “Robin Williams, Speaking Spanish which I found to be a hodge podge of themes competing for space.  It’s about social workers and idiot savants and space ships.  I always struggle with stories where the idiots seem to know more about what’s going on than I do.  I’ve liked other issues of this magazine much better.

Nth Degree - HomeI picked up the 8th issue of Nth Degree at Arisia.  This free, convention issues zine has been pretty consistent in quality.  This is great if the contents are high quality and bad if the contents are of the other variety.  This issue contains an editors rant by Michael D. Pederson, convention reviews, book reviews, an interview with the editors of Mimosa, short stories by Matt McIrvin (Demons), Claudio Salvucci and Paolo Belzoni (The Annals Of Volusius, Part VI), Michail Belichansky (The Touch Of Hands Beyond The Maze) and James R. Stratton (Meat Bag).  I have to admit to hoping that Salvucci and Belzoni are pseudonyms and that their work will be over soon as I really dislike it.  There’s also poetry by Rochelle Mitchell, Monique Moate and Talisman.  Finally, there are comics.


  • Absolute Magnitude, DNA Publications, P. O. Box 13511, Roanoke, VA, 24034-3511, $4.95, 4/$16 ($6, 4/$22 Canada, $9, 4/$35 Elsewhere), Full sized, Color Cover, 66 pgs. www.dnapublications.com/absmag/index.htm
  • Analog Science Fiction and Fact, Stanley Schmidt, ed., Box 54625, Boulder, CO, 80323-4625, $3.50/$4.95 single issue US/Canada, $39.97,$47.97 one year (12 issues), Digest, Color Cover, 144 pgs.  www.analogsf.com.
  • Artemis, Ian Randal Strock Ed., 4/$15, 8/$24 ($20/$32 Canada; $32/$45 Elsewhere), 1380 East 17th St., Suite 201, Brooklyn, NY 11230-6011, Quarterly, Full Sized, 50 pgs., http://www.lrcpublications.com
  • Asimov’s Science Fiction, Gardner Dozois, ed., Box 50433, Boulder, CO 80322-4033, $3.50/$4.95 single issue US/Canada, $39.97,$47.97 one year (12 issues), Digest, Color Cover, 144 pgs. www.asimovs.com
  • Black Satellite, Brian Lingard, Ed., Dark Tree Press, P. O. Box 748, Boylston, MA 01505, $4, 3/$10 ($5, 3/$13 Canada, $6, 3/$15 Elsewhere), Digest, Black and White Cover, 52 pgs., Web site: www.darktreepress.com
    The Bachelor Machine, M. Christian, Green Candy Press, 601 Van Ness Ave., E3-918, San Francisco, CA 94102, $14.95, 210 pgs., http://www.greencandypress.com
  • Challenging Destiny, Crystalline Sphere Publishing,  R. R. #6, St. Marys, Ontario, Canada N4X 1C8, Digest Sized, Color Cover, 126 pgs., $6.50 US, $7.50 Canadian, $7.00 elsewhere.  http://www.challengingdestiny.com
  • Dark Animus #4, P. O. Box 750, Katoomba, NSW 2780, Australia, $7.70 Australian, $5 US plus $2.50 shipping and fondling, 4/$25 AU or US, Digest Sized, 80 pgs., www.darkanimus.com.
  • Dream People Publications, 5103, 72nd place, Hyattsville, MD, 20784, Digest Sized Chapbook, $5, 44 pgs. www.dreampeople.com
  • Electric Velocipide #5, John Klima, Ed., P. O. Box 421, South Bound Brook, NJ 08880, $3, 3/$5.75, 32 pgs., Black and White Cover, Digest Sized, http://www.electricvelocipede.com
  • Fantastic, Edward J. McFadden, ed.,, DNA Publications, P. O. Box 2988, Radford, VA  24143-2988, $4.95, 4/$16 ($5.95, 4/$22 Canada, $9, 4/$35 Elsewhere), Full sized, Color Cover, 48 pgs.
  • Fantastic Metropolis, http://www.fantasticmetropolis.com/index.html
  • F&SF, Gordon Van Gelder, Ed., P. O. Box 3447,  Hoboken, NJ, 07030, $3.99 US/$4.99 Can. for one, $44.89/11, ($54.89 outside US), Digest, Color Cover, 162 pgs.  www.fsfmag.com
  • Flesh & Blood (Tales Of Fantasy And Dark Horror, Jack Fisher, Ed., 121 Joseph St., Bayville, NJ 08721.  $5 for one, $13 for 3 (make checks payable to Jack Fisher), Digest, Color Cover, 52 pgs.  
  • HolQed, Lawrence M. Schoen, Ed., P. O. Box 634, Flourtown, PA, 19031-0634, $5, 4/$16 ($20 Canada, $25 Overseas), (Make checks payable to KLI), Quarterly, Digest, Black and White cover, 16 pgs.
  • Infinity Plus, http://www.infinityplus.co.uk/
  • Mythic Delirium, Mike Allen Ed., DNA Publications, P. O. Box 13511, Roanoke, VA, 24034-3511, $5, 2/$10, 4/$16, Digest, color cover, 28 pgs.
  • New Genre, Jeff Paris and Adam Golaski, Eds., 25 Cutter Ave., Somerville, MA 02144, $8 for one, $16 for a two issue subscription, 102 pgs.
  • The Nth Degree, Michael D. Pederson Ed., 77 Algrace Blvd., Stafford, VA  22556, Free at conventions or 6/$15, Full sized, color cover, 32 pgs.
  • Oceans Of The Mind, Richard Freeborn, Ed., Trantor Publications, 9838 Old Baymeadows Rd. #283, Jacksonville, FL, 32256, www.trantorpublications.com, 4/$9.95, 8/$$16.95, Electronic only distributed in pdf format via email
  • Path of the Just, James Lower, ed., Guardians of Order, 176 Speedvale Ave., West, Unit #2, Guelph, Ontario, Canada, N1H 1C3, $14.95, trade paperback, 207 pgs.
  • Polyphony, Wheatland Press, Deborah Lane & Jay Lake, Eds., P. O. Box 1818, Wilsonville, Or, 97070, $17.95, Trade Paperback, 386 pgs., http://www.wheatlandpress.com
  • Space And Time, Gordon Linzner, Ed., 138 W. 70th St. [4B],, New York, NY  10023-4468, Full Size, Color Cover, $6.50 for single, 2/$10, 4/$20 (outside US 2/$12, 4/$24), full sized, color cover,  48 pgs.

  • The Spiderweb Tree, by Mark McLaughlin, Yellow Bat Press, 1338 West Maumee, Idlewilde Manor #136, Adrian , MI  49221, $3, 34 pgs.  (Make checks payable to Richard Geyer)
  • The Third Alternative, TTA Press, 5 Martins Lane, Witcham, Ely, Cambs CB6 2LB, England, 3 pounds 95 (about $7 US), Oversized, Color Cover, 66 pgs., (http://www.ttapress.com)
  • Trunk Stories, William Smith, Ed., 470 Prospect Ave., Apt 3D, Brooklyn, NY 11215, $4 (plus $1 shipping), Digest, Black and White cover, 44 pgs.

  • Weird Tales,  DNA Publications, P. O. Box 2988, Radford, VA  24143-2988, $4.95, 4/$16 ($6, 4/$22 Canada, $9, 4/$35 Elsewhere), Full sized, Color Cover, 66 pgs.

© 2003 Ernest Lilley / SFRevu
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