Electric Velocipede #19 – Winter 2009
Edited by John Klima
Cover Artist: T. Davidsohn
Review by Sam Tomaino
Electric Velocipede ISBN/ITEM#: 1949-2030
Date: 28 January 2010
Links: Electric Velocipede / Pub Info / Table of Contents /
The last issue of Electric Velocipede I received was #15/16 and here is #19. There was one issue in between, another double issue. I'm sorry that I did not get an opportunity to review it. Also, since I last reviewed them, they won the Best Fanzine Hugo. Well, it got my vote! I, in fact, voted for it and only it as my number one choice! Anyway, here's my review of the latest issue.
The fiction begins with "The Lost Technique of Blackmail" by Mark Teppo. Max Semper Dimialos is the Security Theorist for InterCore Express. One day, he receives a package with material damaging to his boss, RonTom St. John's Liberty Prescott Four. This is blackmail material. Who is behind it? Max goes off on a wild chase and even a romantic liaison in this bizarre tale. You'll encounter a lot of acronyms, lingo, slang and other things that you might not understand but don't worry, just hang on and you'll get to a good end.
In "Frayed" by Jonathan Brandt, Henry Beech breaks up with his fiancée just before she's going to be inaugurated as President. The reasons are complicated and this is another bizarre story. An example, sheep are used to transport you from one place to the next.
Then things get really strange in another story well worth reading. Erin Hoffman gives us a story about love in "Darkest Amber". Kali is very attached to her old-fashioned gasoline powered vehicle that she calls JH. JH is intelligent and has a personality. One night, she runs into some trouble and things change. Hoffman creates some good characters here, including JH.
Next up is "Life at the Edge of Nowhere" by Kjell Williams. Jim Hespuro has the nasty job of going into Gallatin, Mississippi, a town whose population had been wiped out by a nano-virus called Ragnarök. Incredibly, he finds people alive. How could this be? The answers are earth-shattering, but things are complicated. Jim finds a way in this well-written tale of redemption.
Ken Sholes contributes a beautiful little gem of a story in "The Boy Who Could Bend and Fall". Focus Jones has an unusual name and an even more unusual ability. He can bend and fall down stairs like a slinky. As a kid, this amuses his classmates. But something happens to Focus when he "bends and falls" and this is his way of dealing with a hostile world.
"A Mouse Ran Up the Clock" by A.C. Wise. Takes place in the past. Simon Shulewitz has found a way to help mice move through mechanical means. They are still alive, they are just kind of bionic. This is discovered by a man named Ernst Kaltenbrunner, an officer in the state police serving the emperor. He takes Simon to Lodz, where working with Itzak Chaim Bielski, who knows magic, he is able to fashion mice that can spy on people. He and Chaim find out what this means and take action. This was a fascinating piece of historical fantasy.
"Nightlight" by Celia Martin takes place in the present day but in a world different from ours. Adrian is a Sensitive, which means he can hear the voices of ghosts. Ghosts seem to haunt just about everywhere and make even people who are not Sensitive uneasy. Adrian works in a Guild that performs "Requiems" that quiet the spirits for a while. They are quieter for longer if they are properly mourned. Out walking, Adrian hears the voice of a little girl who calls herself Puppy. She inhabits a stick and she wants her Mommy. Adrian finds out who she is and finds out something important. This was a very imaginative story and one of the best in the issue.
I don't think I can call "De Orso Meo Ad Veneficum" by L. Michael Markham a story because it just seems like an essay by someone who wants you to believe that he has the real secrets to life and you are all wrong Apparently, this somehow introduces some books by Markham published by Electric Velocipede's new publisher Night Shade Books. I don't think it's a very good introduction.
Electric Velocipede continues to publish a great mix of unique stories and other items and now, they're a Hugo Winner. Subscribe!