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Greatest Uncommon Denominator Magazine - Issue 5 - Winter 2009
Edited by Kaolin Fire
Cover Artist: MichaelO
Review by Sam Tomaino
GUD  ISBN/ITEM#: 19328222200902
Date: 23 April 2010

Links: GUD / Lovelace/Babbage stories / Pub Info / Table of Contents /

Greatest Uncommon Denominator Magazine #5 is here with its decidedly different mix of art, poetry, fiction, and nonfiction by Rose Lemberg, Tammy Ho Lai-Ming, T.F. Davenport, Steven J. Dines, Rhard Kadrey, Paul Spinrad, Isabel Cooper Kunkle, Alicia Adams, Jason Hardy, Geordie Williams Flantz, Paul J. Kocak Sydney Padua, Andrew N. Tisbert, Kevin Brown, Zac Carter, Jon Radlett, Tristan DíAgosta, Paul Hogan, Melissa Carroll, Joseph Calabrese & Harsho Mohan Chattoraj, Taras Castle, Jerry Goins, Lucy A. Snyder, Kenneth Schneyer, and Heather Lindsley.

The newest issue of Greatest Uncommon Denominator Magazine is here with #5. This magazine continues to publish the kinds of stories you won't find elsewhere. And thatís a good thing.

The fiction in the issue starts with "Imperfect Verse" by Rose Lemberg. This tells the story of the daughter of the king of the giants, named Battle-Adornment. True to her name, she wants to fight like a man, but her father forbids it and gives her the task of guarding some special mead. Battle-Adornment finds a way to fulfill a destiny she desires in this very rich fantasy.

T.F. Davenport gives us a story from two viewpoints in "Nature's Children". We start with what seems to be the natives of some alien world, aliens who dominate their world solely through their minds. Next, we see the world from the eyes of future humans. This was made for a well-told story that I found utterly fascinating.

In "Lost Lying on Your Back" by Steven J. Dines, an omniscient narrator is speaking to the lead character in the story about events that the character chose not to remember. The character is a man named Burges living alone who seems to be not quite right. A young boy who lives next door becomes fascinated with something that might be growing in his window box and wants to spend more time with him. The boy's mother is a prostitute who is not home much. This one develops into a real chiller.

"Aftermath" by Isabel Cooper Kunkle takes place in a future Tokyo in which some disaster has taken place. It was a good enough story but I would have liked a bit more detail on what the disaster actually was.

Jason Hardy's "Fletcher's Lunch" is just 100 words and deals with the trapping of some strange beast. This was very cleverly done, especially as we learn the meaning of the title.

"The Tiger Man" by Geordie Williams Flantz is a bizarre story about a man whose wife, Marie, brings home a strange man named Jack to live with them. Our narrator seems to accept the situation and what follows as he forms his own attachment for the "tiger man". This was very unsettling but not very believable.

Next up is a story done in comic book form called "Ada Lovelace: The Origin!" Ada Lovelace is, the author, Sydney Padua tells us, "the only legitimate child of mad, bad and dangerous to know poet and nut case Lord Byron". Ada's mother wants her to be very different from her father and educates her to be an expert in mathematics. As an adult, she grows up and meets up with Charles Babbage, father of the computer. We get a bit of what actually happens and then the author switches the story to be about what he would rather happen, thus kicking off adventures which she elaborates on in other stories at www.2dgoggles.com. This origin was fun and I will have to check that site out.

Andrew N. Tisbert sets "Getting Yourself On" in a future in which people need implants called Personality Safety Storage units (called Piss to do their jobs. Victor Sampers wants a better life for his son, Daniel, and uses a Piss to achieve that goal. This was an interesting look at a future society.

"Birthday Licks" by Kevin Brown is told from the point of view of an abused young man who has killed his father. A police detective understands what has happened and wants to do what's best for the boy but will she succeed? This was a poignant, touching tale.

Next up is a short play, "Sweet Melodrama" by Tristan D'Agosta. Done in a mock-Shakespearean style and featuring characters called Felix, Hornswallow, Madam Melodrama, Count Shoestring, Sir Gallantry and Princess Chicanery, this was very amusing and an utter delight.

"The Pearl Driver with the Gold Chain" by Paul Hogan is told by a man picked up on the Schuykill Expressway in Pennsylvania, when riding his bicycle becomes too dangerous. He tells the man who picked him up a strange story about a gold chain he wears and the properties it has. This was another pretty good story and very imaginative.

Joseph Calabrese and Harsho Mohan Chattoraj give us another story told in graphic format in "Gunga Din". The actual dialog on the word balloons is entirely from the famous poem by Rudyard Kipling and the pictures tell us of Din's sacrifice. This was very nicely done.

As "Liza's Home", by Kenneth Schneyer, starts we see a woman named Liza who is taking care of an elderly woman named Bess and a young girl named Ellie. Schneyer develops the story very well and tells us how this threesome came to be together, all very effectively done.

Last of all, we have "The Prettiest Crayon in the Box" by Heather Lindsley. Our narrator is sitting at a bar when a man (who our narrator decides to call Donald) sits two stools away. Donald starts a strange conversation about beets, and their color and what that color does to him. This was a perfectly strange and wonderful story and an excellent one to end the issue on..

GUD is that different kind of magazine that should be supported. Give it a try!

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