Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet - No. 25 - Spring 2010
Edited by Gavin J. Grant, Kelly Link, Jedediah Berry, Michael J. DeLuca
Review by Sam Tomaino
Small Beer Press ISBN/ITEM#: 1544-7782
Date: 24 May 2010
Links: Lady Churchill's Rosebud Writlet / Pub Info / Table of Contents /
Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet, that wonderful literary magazines gets to issue #25 with some fine fiction.
The issue begins with "A City of Museums" by Georges-Olivier Châteaureynaud (translated by Edward Gauvin, a beautifully written piece told from the point of view of a street urchin in an unnamed city. He is one of a group that takes shelter in one of the many museums when they can. Our narrator is befriended by a kindly museum curator named Kingsheart, who thinks he will be a great writer. But it is the narrator's friend Gustin who has the real talent.
Next is "Fire-Marrow" by Jennifer Linnaea, Menell is a blind old man who lives by being able to catch fish in the river. He also benefits from gifts from the sorceress Estivel. He is in exile because his giant blood makes him so large he frightens people. This was another well-told story in this issue.
In "This is Not Concrete" by Ben Francisco, Theresa and her father are trying to hunt down and kill the Concrete Man, who killed her mother and brother. She has visions of the future but they are of no help. This one was a grim, unsettling tale.
Sean Adams gives us an amusing one-pager in "The Famous Detective and his Telepathy Goggles". The Famous Detective solves crime by reading minds with his special glasses. When he is trying to solve a string of modular home thefts, he meets his match.
We get another fun story from Richard Gess in "Circumnavigation, With Dogs", a series of brief descriptions of a trip starting at Atlanta and going through Paris, Marseille, Palermo, Tunis, Istanbul, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Addis Ababa, The Moon, Novosibirsk, Beijing, Tokyo, Honolulu, and back to Atlanta. Modes of transport vary wildly but the best is the last.
"The Sleeper" by Eilis O'Neal is our narrator's brother, who shot himself in the head and is in a coma. While he sleeps, our narrator cannot and she thinks about fairy tales of brothers and sisters and long sleeps. This was another tale with a beautiful prose style that I enjoyed quite a bit.
"The Queen's Reason", in the story by Richard Parks, seems to have fled. Mei Janda II, the recently crowned Queen of Lucosa, is "barking mad". That phrase is humorously repeated throughout this fairy tale. The Head of the Privy Council and the Chief Assistant do not know what to do. Now the barking mad Queen has announced she is getting married, but she does not know to whom. The other player in this delightful tale is the Royal Magician, who seems to have a plan. This all comes together in a story that should be a classic fairy tale, except that there is no violence in it. I loved this one.
In "Music of the Spheres" by Daniel Braum, Dave is a piano player and composer in a band whose chief talent is a guitarist named jack. One day, Jack comes to a rehearsal with an African American guy named Roger. Roger has been associated with a legendary big-band leader named Noah Sol. They lay down some good music that day, but Jack becomes more interested in something Roger and his band mates are trying to produce. Even Dave joins them for a truly unusual session. This was a remarkable story of music that truly resonated with me.
Sarah Tourjee's "The Problem With Strudel" is a wild two-pager that combines a dog that grows out of a woman's hair, gravity going wild, apple strudel, favorite things and Julie Andrews. I can't say much more other than it was a pleasure to read.
In "Elephants of the Platte" by Thomas Israel Hopkins, our narrator is on a long trip with the woman he loves starting in New York City and currently in the Platte River Valley where it meets the Nebraska Sand Hills. Our narrator relates some bizarre diary entries from his great-great grandfather about elephants near the Platte. This was one of those strange but satisfying stories that this magazine publishes all the time.
Last of all, there's "Exuviation" by Haqihong Zhao. Here, we are introduced to Gong, a popular actress being warned by her agent of her relationship with Tou. But these are not humans we are talking about. They are beings called "cavers" who develop in stages called "exuviations", but at some peril. Gong is putting off her exuviations but Tou does not want to. This one was a touching story about being true to oneself.
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