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Analog - Jan/Feb 2007 by Stan Schmidt (Ed.) (Dell Publishing December 2006 / ) - Analog Science Fiction and Fact – Vol. CxxVII, No. 1 & 2, ISSN 1059-2113

Table of Contents: Serial: Rollback (conclusion) by Robert J. Sawyer Novellas: Emerald River, Pearl Sky by Rajnar Vajra * Numerous Citations by E. Mark Mitchell Novelettes: Super Gyro by Grey Rollins * Double Helix, Downward Gyre by Carl Frederick Short Stories: The Face of Hate by Stephen L. Burns * Radical Acceptance by David w. Goldman * Exposure Therapy by R. Emrys Gordon * The Taste of Miracles by Kristine Kathryn Rusch * The Unrung Bells of the Marie Celeste by Richard A. Lovett * If Only We Knew by Jerry Oltion Science Fact: Shielding a Polar Lunar Base by Franklin Cocks * After Gas: Are We Ready for the End of Oil? by Richard A. Lovett Special Feature: How to Write Something You Don't Know Anything About by Richard A. Lovett Reader's Departments: The Editor's Page * The Alternate View by Jeffery D. Kooistra * The Reference Library by Tom Easton * Brass Tacks * The 2006 Index and Analytical Laboratory Ballot * In Times to Come * Upcoming Events by Anthony Lewis

The January/February 2007 issue is a double issue but unfortunately, it's not particularly special. Most of the stories got a Very Good from me but a couple were not good at all.

"Emerald River, Pearl Sky" by Rajnar Vajra is an interesting story about a far future where much technology has been destroyed but people still carry chips inside them that can do "magic". The story centers on a master wizard named Vincas at a gathering of his peers which shows that things are changing again. E. Mark Mitchell's "Numerous Citations" is the story of how a minor technological development leads to a huge societal change. Ex-cons are implanted with devices that are hooked up to a computer system which directs them to help out with law enforcement. This catches on and soon every event is monitored and mankind is guided by the advice of the all-knowing computers which are truly objective. I still remain skeptical that this would work but it makes for a good story. In "Super Gyro", Grey Rollins gives us a tale about a future in which many people have been genetically enhanced. Linus is an unenhanced educated man who is forced to work in a fast food place. He shows that he can still do a lot with just his wits and the title turns out to be a bit of a pun. "The Face of Hate" by Stephen L. Burns is a poignant story about a woman who so hated aliens that they thought the whole human race was evil. While this seems a bit of an over-reaction, the end of the story more than makes up for that.

R. Emrys Gordon's "Exposure Therapy" is a nice little story of a woman has been communicating with aliens without seeing them. When she sees what they look like, she must find a way to overcome her revulsion at their appearance. Kristine Kathryn Rusch tells a touching little short-short about how two people celebrate Christmas in the future. "The Unrung Bells of the Marie Celeste" by Richard A. Lovett is the story of an astronaut who is going on a hyper-space voyage that no one else has returned from. We find out why and we learn much about the astronaut and the choices he made with his life. Last, there is "If Only We Knew" by Jerry Oltion in which a man finds out that he is something other than human. How he learns to deal with it is a good little story.

There are two other stories which I did not like at all. "Double Helix, Downward Gyre" by Carl Frederick is yet another polemic masquerading as a story. Frederick tells of a future repressive society that just doesn't seem likely to happen. Editor Stanley Schmidt should recognize that these are just tiresome. David W. Goldman's "Radical Acceptance" tries to be a funny story but is another attack on how stupid religious people are. Aliens threaten to keep us from space as long as we still believe in angels. One man is willing to sell out the human race to meet their demands. How this is a happy ending escapes me.

Most of this issue is pretty good but Stanley Schmidt's politicizing of the magazine hurts it a bit. This gets a qualified recommendation.

Asimov's Science Fiction - January 2007 by Sheila Williams (ed) (Penny Press December 2006 / $4.99) - Asimov's Science Fiction - Vol. 31 No. 1 (Whole Number 372) - January 2007

Table of Contents: Novelettes: Safeguard by Nancy Kress * The Hikikomori's Cartoon Kimono by A.R. Morlan * Trunk and Disorderly by Charles Stross Short Stories: Poison by Bruce McAllister * Café Culture by Jack Dann * Battlefield Games by R. Neube * Gunfight at the Sugarloaf Pet Food & Taxidermy by Jeff Carlson Poetry: The Wings of Icarus by John Morressy * Place Mat by Moebius by Greg Beatty * In the Light Room by John Garrison * Paradise by Tom Disch Departments: Editorial: Anniversaries by Sheila Williams * Reflections: Farming by Robert Silverberg * On the Net: Secrets of the Webmasters (Part Two) by James Patrick Kelly * Science Fiction Sudoku by James Goreham * On Books by Paul Di Filippo * 2006 Index * Twenty-First Annual Readers' Award * The SF Conventional Calendar by Erwin S. Strauss

The January 2007 issue of Asimov's Science Fiction starts their 30th Anniversary Year and editor Sheila Williams promises that this year's issues will be something special. She's off to a great start here. All these stories got a Very Good from me!

"Safeguard" by Nancy Kress is a touching little tale about a woman who must be the protector of a group of children genetically engineered to be disease carriers. The children are innocent and unaware of this but their protector finds a way that their problem can be dealt with. "The Hikikomori's Cartoon Kimono" by A.R. Morlan is a fascinating story about a Japanese immigrant to a near-future America and how he learns a new trade. He must also get over his own fears and learn to live in society. The story is poignant and a bit sad but Morlan gives us a wonderful central character. The third novelette is "Trunk and Disorderly" by Charles Stross. This is a funny little story of the future which reminds us of P.G. Wodehouse & Jack Vance simultaneously. Stross shows just how versatile an author he is and the story is an utter delight.

Bruce McAllister's "Poison" is the story of a boy whose family has moved to Italy and his perceptions of his new world. He is convinced a witch has killed his cat and he decides to do something about it. This is a truly lyrical tale about the boy's life. Jack Dann's "Café Culture" is a grim little near-future story about a New York City in which suicide bombers have become commonplace. "Battlefield Games" by R. Neube is a funny little tale about war on a future world where a soldier plays chess not with death but an intelligent cruise missile. Last, "Gunfight at the Sugarloaf Pet Food & Taxidermy" by Jeff Carlson is a different little story about a woman who takes direct action against poachers and other criminals.

This is a very good issue and well worth picking up.

Borderlands - #8 - October 2006 by Grant Watson (Ed.) (Borderlands Publications December 2006 / ) - Borderlands - #8 – October 2006 – ISSN 1448-224X
Subscriptions available by contacting Borderlands Publications at

Table of Contents: Fiction: Three Wishes by Shane Dix * Prescience by Shane Jiraiya Cummings * The River Prophet by Azra Alagic * God Of War by Robert Hood * Woman and the Moon by Heidi Wessman Kneale * The Gibbet Bell by Kaaron Warren * Chuman Manifest by Ion Newcombe Non-Fiction: Editorial by Grant Watson * Bad Film Diaries by Grant Watson

Borderlands comes to us from Australia by way of the World Fantasy Convention. I bought this and am very happy I did. All the stories got a Very Good from me and I hope to read more issues in the future.

"Three Wishes" by Shane Dix manages to breathe life into an old theme. We get three different stories all spotlighting a different wish. They make us wary of making any wish. Shane Jiraiya Cummings' "Prescience" is a nice little story about a woman who uses a unique gift in the most unselfish way. In "The River Prophet" by Azra Alagic we are given a tale about a man who is loved by a river and finds out that 'she' can be very jealous. In "God of War" by Robert Hood, one General Holm has been fighting an endless war for 220 years and finally decides to do something about it.

Heidi Wessman Kneale's "Woman and the Moon" posits a difficulty about settling other planets. Do woman need a moon to conceive? Kaaron Warren gives us a grim little tale about a man whose mother has died and the unique powers of a bell (taken from a hangman's gibbet) that hangs on her bed. Last, we have a deep space tale in "Chuman Manifest" by Ion Newcombe. A ship's captain tries to help another ship in distress but falls afoul because she is too literate.

This is a very small compact magazine that you can carry in your pocket but it is very much worth your time.

Challenging Destiny #23: November 2006 by Dave Switzer (Editor) (Crystalline Sphere Publishing November 2006 / $4.98) - Challenging Destiny 23: November 2006 - $4.98

Table of Contents: Article: There's Nothing More Important Than the Environment by David M. Switzer * Interview with Edward Willett by James Schellenberg & David M. Switzer * James Tiptree, Jr. & the Tiptree Awards by James Schellenberg Stories: Her Watcher by J.R. Campbell * The Vampire Who Doted on His Chicken by Ken Rand ) * Bread by Jennifer Bosworth * The Message by Richard R. Harris * Service With a Smile by Craig Q. Rose * Sunset Manor by Monte Davis * Suck of Clay, Whirl of Wheel by Pat Esden

Published by Crystalline Sphere Publishing – Editor: David M. Switzer – ISSN 1719-9727) All Correspondence: Challenging Destiny, R.R #6 St. Mary’s, Ontario, Canada N4X 1C8 E-mail, website:

This is the second issue of this PDF magazine that I've received and I liked it very much. We again get a mixture of stories and articles for a truly unique magazine.

"Her Watcher" by J.R. Campbell is set in a space ship and is the story of a man who is assigned to be the watcher of a woman who has just come aboard the craft. Apparently, when people are not on solid ground for a while, they are inclined to attempt suicide. How the man handles this problem makes for a nice little story. Ken Rand's "The Vampire Who Doted on His Chicken" is a hilarious little tale about a vampire in the Old West and how he is accepted in the town. In "Bread". Jennifer Bosworth gives us a poignant little story about a young girl who is part of a Master Baker family and her first experience at love. "The Message" by Richard R. Harris is a strange little tale about a phenomenon in which spaceships from alternate universes appear in the asteroid belt.

"Service With a Smile" by Craig Q. Rose is a grim little story about a time after an economic collapse and what a well-educated young man must do to survive. Monte Davis's "Sunset Manor" is a truly touching tale of a old man descending into senility in a retirement home in space. With the help of a friend, he brings back part of his youth. Last, "Suck of Clay, Whirl of Wheel" by Pat Esden tells us of Meg, who works making pots and how she learns to combine the elements of air, fire, water and earth to find true happiness.

So check this one out. It's well worth it!

Dracula's Lawyer by Julia Mandala (Yard Dog Press 15 April, 2005 / $6.00) - Dracula's Lawyer and other stories by Julia Mandala – ISBN: 1-893687-56-2 - $6.00
Yard Dog Press, 710 W. Redbud Lane, Alma, AR 72921-7247

Table of Contents: Redneck Wizard * Worse * Dracula's Lawyer

I picked up this little chapbook at the World Fantasy Convention. It was just about my last purchase in the dealer’s room and I’m glad I found it.

This slim volume consists of three stories by Julia Mandala, all of a very humorous sort. "Redneck Wizard" gives us Billy John, a young lad from Georgia who finds himself in a fantasy world of dragons and wizards and how he adjusts to his new life. "Worse" is the story of an elf named Eregath who must marry a human princess to make peace between elves and humans. But the princess is a spoiled brat and when he marries her she will become as immortal as he is. How can he spend eternity with her? Last, there is "Dracula's Lawyer" in which a young lawyer must help Dracula sue a city for refusing to hire him as a computer programmer because he can only work nights.

The book also contains a list of other chapbooks from Yard Dog Press. I am going to make it a point of going to their website and finding out what else they have to offer. I recommend that you do the same.

Electric Velocipede - #11 - Fall 2006 by John Klima (Ed.) (Spilt Milk Press December 2006 / $15.00) - Electric Velocipede - #11 – Fall 2006
Single Issue $4 , 4 issue subscription $15
Electric Velocipede, PO Box 5014, Somerset, NJ 08873

Table of Contents: Fiction: Tiger, Tiger by Liz Williams * Milk and Apples by Catherynne M. Valente * Moon Does Run by Edd Vick * The Duel by Tobias Buckell * How to Get Rid of Your Monster: A Series of Usenet Postings by Scott William Carter * Quitting Dreams by Matthew Cheney & Jeffrey Ford * A Punctuated Romance by Mary Turzillo * Last Bus by Jennifer Pelland * Sometimes I Get Lost by Steve Rasnic Tem * Nine Billion and Counting by John B. Rosenman * Bar Golem by Sonya Taaffe * The Geode by Marly Youmans * Sweetness and Light by Nicole Kimberling Poetry: The World's Edge by Christina Sng * Miss Cossie’s Pies by Christina Sng * The Inkmaker's Wife by Catherynne M. Valente * Anatomy of a Yes by Catherynne M. Valente Nonfiction Contributors

The latest issue of Electric Velocipede is up to their usual standards. All but one story got a Very Good from me and only one story was a little disappointing.

The lead story is "Tiger, Tiger" by Liz Williams and it's the best one in the issue. Vivienne is a vain aging actress in the 19th century who decides she must have a tiger tail grafted to her posterior. She is, of course, told this is impossible by medical authorities but that doesn't stop her. How she achieves her goal makes for a fun time. Next, comes "Milk and Apples" in which Catherynne M. Valente tells us of a young woman who must be a wet nurse to an orphaned princess. The story takes a surprising turn that will delight you. "Moon Does Run" by Edd Vick is the only story that I did not work for me. This tale of a robot's changing ownership just doesn't come together. Things turn around for the next tale. Tobias Buckell's "The Duel" concerns a "living history" of Aaron Burr, specializing in the famous duel with Alexander Hamilton. By getting involved with the character recreations, a man learns to live his own life. In "How to Get Rid of Your Monster: A Series of Usenet Postings" by Scott William Carter, a man makes use of a monster doppelganger to take care of a problem he has.

Matthew Cheney & Jeffrey Ford collaborate in "Quitting Dreams" in which a man's dreams are manipulated by another while he tries to understand what has really happened to him. Mary A Turzillo's "A Punctuated Romance" is a hilarious short-short that fits its title in a most peculiar way. "Last Bus" by Jennifer Pelland starts with a woman waiting for a bus in a small walkway between a house and a garage. This makes for a wonderfully surreal love story. "Sometimes I Get Lost" is another little gem from Steve Rasnic Tem about a man who begins to get lost with heartbreaking frequency.

In "Nine Billion and Counting" by John B. Rosenman, a woman discovers that her husband has been counting from 1 to 100 his whole life, over and over again. She is offended that his attention is not on her and takes drastic action. "Bar Golem" by Sonya Taaffe puts the two words of its title in a most interesting way. Marly Youman's "The Geode" is another odd little tale about a woman whose daughter becomes interested in a small silver dog that came out of a geode. Last, "Sweetness and Light" by Nicole Kimberling is told from the point of view of a little girl who wonders what happens when God leaves a place.

The stories in this issue are something quite different. If you like truly unique stories, than you should subscribe.

H.P. Lovecraft's Magazine of Horror - #3 by (Wildside Press Fall 2006 / $7.95) - H.P. Lovecraft’s Magazine of Horror - #3 – Fall 2006
Single Copies $7.95 in USA (add $2 elsewhere) , 4 issues $19.95 (US), $29.95 (Canada), $39.95 (elsewhere)
Wildside Press, 9710 Traville Gateway Dr. #234, Rockville, MD 20850-7408

Table of Contents: Spotlight on Brian Lumley: On Lovecraft and Legacies by Darrell Schweitzer * A Life in Letters (Bibliographic History) by Stephen Jones * The Man Who Killed Kew Gardens by Brian Lumley * The Hymn by Brian Lumley Non-Fiction: The Outsider's Desk by Marvin Kaye * Eldritch Lore by Craig Shaw Gardner * Unspeakable Occurances: Lovecraft in Culture by Peter Cannon * Visions of Darkness by Ian McDowell Fiction: Strange Wisdoms of the Dead by Mike Allen and Charles M. Saplak * Daddy by Earl Godwin * Exeunt Demon King by Jonathan L. Howard * The Paramount Importance of Pictures by Lynne Jamneck * The Class of 666 by Andrew Wilson * Sugar Skulls by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro

It has taken me a while to catch up with H.P. Lovecraft's Magazine of Horror but I intend to put it on my regular list from now on. All the stories in the Fall 2006 issue got a Very Good from me and I think H.P. Lovecraft would have liked all of them.

This issue has a special "Spotlight on Brian Lumley" with an interview, biography and two stories. "The Man Who Killed Kew Gardens" has been published before but I'm glad I read it now. Earth has been invaded not by little green men but spores that have mutated plant life in a very deadly way. This is a grim tale that will chill your bones. Lumley contributes a new story with "The Hymn". A group calling itself The Mythos Investigation is studying a strange artifact found in the Iraqi desert. They are using two men with special psychic powers to see how this artifact affects them with deadly results.

Mike Allen & Charles M. Saplak collaborate with "Strange Wisdoms of the Dead". John Sharkey must tow dead bodies away to be burned but things do not go easy. The issue features another reprint in "Daddy" by the late Earl Godwin. I'm sure I read this more than 20 years ago when it was first published but enjoyed reading it again. A man picks up a woman in a bar and takes her home. Needless to say, this is not your typical one-night stand. Jonathan L. Howard's "Exeunt Demon King" features necromancer John Cabal investigating a series of strange deaths in a theater. Cabal is not your typical altruistic hero but I hope to read more stories featuring him. "The Paramount Importance of Pictures" by Lynne Jamneck is a funny tale about a movie that is having some troubles in its production. Andrew Wilson's "Class of 666" is a delightful spoof of the adventures of a famous boy wizard. Last, the wonderful Chelsea Quinn Yarbro gives us a nice little story about the custom of making "Sugar Skulls" for Mexico's Day of the Dead.

This magazine is a delight from start to finish and I absolutely recommend it.

Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction - February 2007 by Gordon Van Gelder (Ed.) (Spilogale, Inc. February 2007 / ) - The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction – February 2007

Table of Contents: Novella: The Helper and His Hero, Part 1 by Matthew Hughes Novelets: Brain Raid by Alexander Jablokov * Fool by John Morressy Short Stories: Stone and the Librarian by William Browning Spencer * Red Card by S. L. Gilbow Departments: Books To Look For by Charles de Lint * Musing on Books by Michelle West * Plumage from Pegasus: Our Feynman Who Art In Heaven by Paul Di Filippo * Films: In a Dark and Rainy City of Lights by Kathi Maio * Coming Attractions * Curiosities by F. Gwynplaine MacIntyre * Cartoons: Cartoons: Arthur Masear, Tom Cheney Cover: Cory and Catska Ench for "The Helper And His Hero"

The February 2007 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction is another great one. We get the first part of a serial, an author's first story, a great story by the late John Morressy and two more very good ones.

"The Helper and His Hero" by Matthew Hughes is part one of a two part serialized story featuring Guth Bandar, traveler in the noosphere, but I'll wait until next month to review the whole thing. The best story in the rest of the issue is "Fool" by John Morressy. Gordon Van Gelder tells us that this is the last story he has in inventory but holds out hope that more may be found in Morressy's papers. This one is not a Kedrigern & Princess story but something very different. Niccolo is a deformed, ugly man who serves as a fool for a count. Told entirely though the fool's viewpoint, Morressy shows us that he can right a serious story, too. This one gets a Great from me and makes me miss the author even more.

The issue is rounded out by stories that all get a Very Good. "Brain Raid" by Alexander Jablokov tells us of a crew that hunts low-level AI's and how they handle a situation that's a little over their heads. Jablokov creates some good characters here and gives them an exciting story. William Browning Spencer's "Stone and the Librarian" is called a combination of Robert E. Howard & Marcel Proust. I confess to not having read the latter but I liked the story and especially liked the ending. Last, we have a first publication, "Red Card" by S. L. Gilbow. In some different version of our world, people who are given one of a limited number of "red cards" can kill anyone they want to. Linda uses it to kill her husband and we are allowed a look into her mind. I am going to remember Gilbow's name when it comes time to nominate for the John W. Campbell Award.

I say this all the time, but F&SF is the best monthly magazine in the genre. You should subscribe!

New Genre - Winter 2006 by (New Genre December 2006 / $8.00) - New Genre – Winter 2006 – Volume i Number iv - $8.00
Write New Genre, PO Box 270092, West Hartford, CT 06127

Table of Contents: Essays: Suffer Horror by Adam Golaski * Named But Not Defined by Jeff Paris Fiction: Bink is Luv by Jan Wildt * Three Views from Deir el-Medina by Paul A. Gilster * The Last to be Found by Christopher Harman * Thrown by Don Tumasonis Contributor's Notes: Winner of the Second Annual Louise Laffin Competition * Third Annual Louise Laffin Competition

This is the first issue of New Genre that I've read and I did not know what to expect. This is a very slickly produced small press magazine which has two science fiction stories & two horror stories written in a variety of styles. I found all the stories Very Good and was very pleased with reading it.

"Bink is Luv" by Jan Wildt is the most experimental of the stories and Wildt really makes it work. Binky is a artificially created pop star that connects herself with real girls. We get a story of her and her current flesh form that is truly interesting. This takes a lot of chances and definitely pays off. Paul A. Gilster's "Three Views from Deir el-Medina" refers to a town near the Valley of Kings in Egypt. The lead character is a man supervising a deep space probe and his wife who is apparently recovering from ALS. Again, we get a nice little character study well worth reading.

"The Last To Be Found" by Christopher Hauman starts as a cozy little ghost story involving a child hiding in a wardrobe and his encounter with a ghost. But things take a much scarier turn in a truly chilling tale. Last, "Thrown" by Don Tumasonis is the story of a couple on a trip to Crete and a very unusual discovery that they make about the real world.

The three novelettes and one short story in this magazine are all worth reading and I heartily recommend ordering it.

Shimmer - Vol. 2 No. 1 - Autumn 2006 by Beth Wodzinski (Ed.) (Beth Wodinski December 2006 / $5.00) - Shimmer – Volume 2. Issue 1 – Autumn 2006 - $5.00
Distributed 4 times yearly by Beth Wodzinski, PO Box 58951, Salt Lake City, UT 84158-0591 – Single issue: $5 or $20/4

Table of Contents: Halloween Night by John Parke Davis * Skeletonbaby Magic by Kathy Watts * Pray for Us, St. Dymphna by Bryan Lindsey * The Angel Wood by Angela Slatter * Interview with John Scalzi * Melancholix: Affinity by Joseph Remy * Through the Obsidian Gates by Aliette de Bodard * A Wizard on the Road by Nir Yaniv, translated by Lavie Tidhar * Voices of the Gods by Monica Eiland * King of Sand and Stormy Seas by Silvia Moreno-Garcia * Contributors Artists and Illustrations * Shimmery Staff * Cover Art: God's Project by David Ho

This issue of Shimmer came to me on the mail just under the wire and I'm glad I was able to read it now. It was a totally enjoyable experience and all the stories got a Very Good from me.

First was "Halloween Night" by John Parke Davis. It describes a very different family tradition for Halloween. In just two pages, Davis gives us a corker of a story! Next up is "Skeletonbaby Magic" by Kathy Watts. A woman carries around a "skeleton baby", conceived from a night with a dead husband. What's different is that Watts does not make this as grim as it sounds. Bryan Lindsey's "Pray For Us, St. Dymphna" is the tale of a man who has psychic powers but has problems which prevent him from using this to his advantage (or anyone else's). In Angela Slater's "The Angel Wood", a young girl travels to her ancestral home and discovers a new destiny for herself. Slater gives us a beautiful, lyrical story. Next comes an interesting interview with John Scalzi and then a funny one-page cartoon, "Melancholix: Affinity" by Joseph Remy.

"Through the Obsidian Gates" by Aliette de Bodard is a classic story about a woman who must journey to the underworld to retrieve her dead husband. This has been done many times before but Aliette de Bodard gives us a new take on it. Nir Yaniv's brief tale "A Wizard on the Road" is translated from the Hebrew but is a very contemporary tale of a man who refuses a wizard's request. "Voices of the Gods" by Monica Eiland is a fascinating tale of a woman who must choose a normal life or the option to have wings to fly. Last, "King of Sand and Stormy Seas" by Silvia Moreno-Garcia tells us of a man who finds out a magic sword may not be as desirable as one might think.

Shimmer is one of the best small press magazines out there and you should all be subscribing to it!

Subterranean - #5 by (Subterranean Press December 2006 / ) - Subterranean - #5
Subterranean Press, PO Box 190106, Burton, MI 48519

Table of Contents: Mazer in Prison by Orson Scott Card * Doc Savage and the Cult of the Blue God by Philip Jose Farmer * Being Intimately Aware of the Past: An Interview With Alan Moore by Dorman T. Shindler * The Plot by Stephen Gallagher * Getting Dark by Neal Barrett, Jr. * Lucifugous by Elizabeth Bear * Some Thoughts Re: DARK DESTRUCTOR by Tad Williams * Wendy by Jim Grimsley * On Books by Dorman T. Shindler

This is the first issue of Subterranean that I've read and I hope to read more in the future. Subterranean Press is known for its great hardcover collections and this is very much up to that standard. All the stories got (at least) a Very Good rating from me and one got a Great.

The best story in the issue is "Getting Dark" by Neal Barrett, Jr. Its only character is "Betty Ann, John-William's mother", an African-American woman of some advanced age in an era that still had shows on the radio. As the story progresses, we learn more about her hard life and witness her triumphant spirit as the dark approaches. Barrett gives us something here very different from his normal work and deserves a lot of credit for it.

The rest of the stories are all worth reading. "Mazer in Prison" by Orson Scott Card is set in the world of Ender Wiggin (Card's well-known character) but you need not have read any of those other stories to enjoy this one. Mazer Rackham is a war hero who, mostly by luck, won a war for humanity against the Formics, a bug-like race. For his heroism, he must command a new attack on them, but give up his family and everything else to do so. How he ensures that his sacrifice will not be wasted by military bureaucracy and greed makes for an enthralling story. Stephen Gallagher's "The Plot" is a chilling little tale of a vicar of a parish who tries to help a young woman whose baby has died without being baptized. The longest story (novella length) in the issue is "Lucifugous" by Elizabeth Bear. It's set in a world that Bear has visited before in stories for Interzone in which people travel by dirigibles in an 1899 where there was never an American Revolution. In it, a vampire and others must find out what happened to a woman who has disappeared from the dirigible that is transporting a very interesting group of characters.

"Some Thoughts Re: Dark Destructor" by Tad Williams is a hilarious little tale that consists of a comic book fanboy e-mailing a friend about the first issue of a really bad comic that the friend has written. The next story could not be more different. "Wendy" by Jim Grimsley is told from the point of view of a man who has created an artificial little girl, just so that he can abuse her and not a real little girl. This is for people with a very strong stomach! Last, "Three Doors" by Norman Partridge is an amusing take on the three wishes theme.

So I strongly recommend this magazine and will add it to the list of those that I regularly review!

Weird Tales - #342 - Oct/Nov 2006 by Darrell Schweitzer (Ed.) (Wildside Press December 2006 / $5.95) - Weird Tales - #342 Oct/Nov 2006
Single Copies $5.95 in USA, $7 in Canada, $10 elsewhere, 6 issues $24 (US), $33 (Canada)
Wildside Press, 9710 Traville Gateway Dr. #234, Rockville, MD 20850-7408

Table of Contents: Special Author Feature: John Shirley The Claw Spurs by John Shirley * Inteview: Cyberpunk & Just Plain Punk * Buried in the Sky by John Shirley Fiction: For Fear of Dragons by Carrie Vaughn * With the Good Samaritan by William F. Nolan * Space & Time Books by Melissa Yuan-Innes * Three Impossible Things by Lisa Smedman * Dying Season by Kelly McCullough * The Evil Sorceress by Jennifer Savage Columns: The Eyrie (commentary by the Editorial Horde) * The Den (book reviews by Scott Connors)

The October/November issue of Weird Tales is another good one with all the stories getting a Very Good from me.

This issue has a "Special Author Feature" on John Shirley with an interview and two stories. "The Claw Spurs" is set in the Old West where a boy seeks out a mysterious gunman to avenge his father's death. Thus, his life is set on a different course and the end turns out surprising. The other story by Shirley is "Buried in the Sky" set in the current day. After the murder of her mother, a young girl and her family move to a brand new apartment building with its own mall. Strange things start to happen and the girl and a new-found friend find a very bizarre world in the basement. Thus we have another fascinating tale from a great author.

Carrie Vaughn's "For Fear of Dragons" is a very different take on the 'sacrificing virgins to a dragon' theme. Jeanette is just such a virgin but the way she encounters the dragon is decidedly different. William F. Nolan tells us of a very different meeting "With a Good Samaritan" when a man is given a lift by another man who does not have the best of intentions. Anyone who loves bookstores will enjoy "Space and Time Books" by Melissa Yuan-Innes, a lyrical tale with a very different central character. "Three Impossible Things" by Lisa Smedman involves impossible feats to save a damsel in distress with an end that might surprise you unless you read the story very carefully. Kelly McCullough tells a unique tale with "Dying Season". A homeless man finds a sick young woman with very strange powers and learns quite a bit from her. Last, we have a short-short from Jennifer Savage entitled "The Evil Sorceress". The titular character is bored from easy victories and wishes for a real foe. Whoops!

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