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Bull Spec #1 - Spring 2010
Edited by Samuel Montgomery-Blinn
Cover Artist: Mike Gallegher
Review by Sam Tomaino
Bull Spec  ISBN/ITEM#: 2152-5234
Date: 26 April 2010

Links: Bull Spec / Pub Info / Table of Contents /

Bull Spec.#1 is here with stories by C.S. Fuqua, Peter Wood, and Natania Barron, along with some nice interviews &, reviews, the first part of a graphic story, a novel excerpt, two poems and some other stuff.

The other day, I received a new magazine in the mail. It's called Bull Spec because the editor/publisher hopes "that stories that are 'bullish' at some level as to the answers to those questions... about our world and human nature...are stories that can bring people together in a shared conversation about our shared future". The issue is very nicely produced and, in addition to three short stories, includes a novel excerpt, part one of a graphic story, interviews, book reviews, poems, and some artwork. Since I review short stories, I'll focus on them. The other features are interesting, though, and make this magazine worth picking up. I will probably review that graphic story when it is finished.

The fiction begins with "Rise Up" by C.S. Fuqua. We are told that this is the second story to feature a special music store called Sharps and Flats. The proprietess of this establishment is an old woman who is not named but seems to be wise in the ways of magic. When she meets Bobby, the leader of a new local band, she recognizes a special power in him that goes beyond his music. In her shop, Bobby meets Wynne and they fall in love. She starts working with the band and helps it to succeed. Most of that is back story to the opening paragraphs in which Wynne is killed in a car crash. This was a very good story and reminded me a bit of Manly Wade Wellman's Silver John stories. I can think of no better praise than that.

The second story is by a first time author and he shows some promise. "Almost a Good Day to Go Outside" by Peter Wood is set on a planet recently colonized by humans. Outside conditions are not friendly to humans and they are living inside while the planet is being terraformed. This keeps Ricardo busy, but his wife is not happy with her job and only sits home watching old black and white television shows that have made their way there from Earth after travelling in space for a long time. Ricardo must find a way to make things better for his family. Like I said, Wood shows some talent here and I hope he continues to hone his craft.

The last story in the issue is "Doctor Adderson’s Lens" by Natania Barron, which was previously published in a magazine called Gatehouse Gazette, a "wonderful magazine of steampunk fiction and more". Dellacarta is an assistant to Dr. Henrick Adderson and, one day, when she is doing some minor task for the Doctor. She receives a summons to seek him out. That summons comes from her dead brother, Anton, who has been, somehow, revivified. When they find the Doctor, he shows her a special lens. When she looks at it she sees horrible bird-like creatures that feed on humans. This was another well-told story.

All in all, I liked this new magazine quite a lot. I have one quibble. It does not have what I would call a proper table of contents, with the titles and authors of each piece spelled out. For the stories, for instance, just the authors are listed. To compile the "table of contents" for this review, I had to page through the whole issue.

That is a very MINOR quibble. Check these people out at their website, www.bullspec.com, and give them your support.

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