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Greatest Uncommon Denominator Magazine - Issue 6 - Summer 2010
Edited by Debbie Moorhouse
Cover Artist: Dave Migman
Review by Sam Tomaino
GUD Magazine  ISBN/ITEM#: 1932-8222
Date: 24 January 2011

Links: G.U.D. / Pub Info / Table of Contents /

Greatest Uncommon Denominator Magazine #6 is here with its decidedly different mix of art, poetry, and fiction by Aliette de Bodard, E.H. Lupton, Andy B. Clarkson, Jennifer Jerome, Margaret Bashaar, Catherine Zickgraf, Brett Elizabeth Jenkins, Sue Williams, Bob Evans, Molly Horan, Shweta Narayan, Jim Pascual Agustin, Rose Lemburg, Aunia Kahn, Lou Antonelli, Lindsey Duncan, Elizabeth Kate Switaj, Ferrett Steinmetz, Ian McHugh, Bob Tippee, Bryan C. Murray, Marina Richards, Lavie Tidhar, Caroline M. Yoachim, Lydia Ondrusek, Arthur Wang, Tara Deal, Teresa Houle, Richard Spuler, Matthew Sanborn Smith, Rajan Khanna and Jonathan Emerson Hobrasch.

The newest issue of Greatest Uncommon Denominator Magazine is here with #6 and it has its usual list of “uncommon” stories.

The fiction in the issue starts with a story from one of the most talented newcomers to the field, Aliette de Bodard. Here she gives a beautiful fairy tale in "As the Wheel Turns". Dai-Yu is a young woman living in the 316th year after the founding of the Wen-Min Empire. An old beggar says she has a birthmark that indicates she is the Choice-maker, who must choose between Tiger and Crane, the founders of the Empire. She doesn't believe him until, years later she is confronted by Tiger and Crane who say she has to choose between them on what is needed (Tiger is Fear, Crane is Duty) to keep the Empire together. She refuses the choice, but that is only the start of an imaginative story told over centuries.

In "Salad Days", E.H. Lupton tells us of Melissa, a young woman taking care of her mother, who is slowly deteriorating from Fatal Familial Insomnia, a genetic disease which Melissa may have. This one was effectively told and quite haunting.

Next up is "How to Recover From a Hundred-Year Sleep" by Sue Williams, a short. Nicely-told piece with a very different look at a classic fairy tale.

Lou Antonelli's "Dispatches From the Troubles" is a nicely spun alternate history in which parts of southern Texas and northern Mexico became an American Irish Republic (AIR). First settled by Irish Catholics, it then attracted a lot of Irish Protestants when they were forced to leave Northern Ireland, or live under Irish rule. Many familiar names are part of AIR, including John F. Kennedy. Many of the same problems that plague Northern Ireland, exist in AIR and we get a good story about them.

Very different is "The Naming Braid" by Lindsey Duncan, another fairy story or actually several. In Brethland, women rarely receive names but when her brothers are lost, Foresight receives her name and becomes a historian, telling stories about some men and women who come to serve her. They were all very nicely done, individually, and come together nicely.

"In the Garden of Rust and Salt" by Ferrett Steinmetz is the story of Evelyn, who travels with her drunken, gambling father from planet to planet. She finally finds a job she likes, helping out in a junkyard run by a genderless alien named Hir Becken. Will she find happiness there? Steinmetz has written a nice story that will touch your heart.

"Annica" in the story by Ian McHugh is a word meaning "everything ends". Our narrator is spending the last days of his imprisonment in a place where he is not allowed any real human contact. All this is regulated by implants. This one was a downer and didn't really go anywhere for me.

"Who You Talking To, Zone?" By Bob Tippee features a homeless man named Zone and his interactions with other homeless. We get some idea of his life through the distortions of his perception and it makes for an interesting read.

I always know that Lavie Tidhar is going to give me something different, but also something good and "The Last Butterfly" certainly fills that bill. Here, we get a brief look at a woman named Alena, who has been caught up in the Holocaust. She encounters a painter who wants to paint the perfect butterfly, but they seem in short supply.

The setting of "What Happens in Vegas" by Caroline M. Yoachim is not Las Vegas but some future in which society has collapsed. One woman, named Danielle, is suffering from something called Post-Collapse Neurodegenerative Disorder and her body is breaking down. Her husband, Alejandro, is not very supportive and takes her to a resort called Vegas where they can take a drug that will make them forget what they do there. That way Alejandro can have sex with his mistress Katya, who is the girlfriend of Matt, Danielle's friend. This was an effective, grim look at a future society that we would not really want to be a part of.

In "Hateful" by Lydia Ondrusek, a woman has a dream that tells her that no one she hates will die. She tries to hate the people she loves to keep them alive but that doesn't work out well. The story, though, is a very touching one.

"Maisy's Many Souls" by Matthew Sanborn Smith, stars Antonio and Desmond who live in a world in which people's personalities are captured on disks. Antonio rescues some from an abusive woman named Maisy and wants to put them out of their misery, but Desmond considers them living people. They find a way to help them in this very imaginative piece.

Last of all, there is "Doors" by Rajan Khanna. Our narrator describes a way to travel around the world using mystic doorways. He finds a way to help his dying friend in another very different tale.

Is you like a very eclectic mix of stories than GUD is for you!

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