Shimmer – Number 13
Edited by Beth Wodzinski
Cover Artist: Nico Photos
Review by Sam Tomaino
Date: 28 April 2011
Links: Shimmer / Pub Info / Table of Contents /
Shimmer Number 13 is here and, once more, is delightful. In a previous review, I said that the stories in Shimmer were like piece of fudge. Well, I read this issue in the week after Easter and it seemed like a Whitman Sampler. I never knew what I was going to get, but none of them were coconut. I never liked coconut. These stories were all caramel, nougat, toffee, cherries and other delightful stuff.
The stories began with "Bullet Oracle Instinct" by K.M. Ferebee. Martin is a reporter, stuck in a war-torn country. With others, he is stuck in a hotel, with snipers in a building across the street. His one friend is a photographer named Wednesday, who seems like something more. This was a subtly, unsettling story and a good start to the issue.
Erik T. Johnson's "Labrusca Cognatus" is a brief story consisting of a man telling his son about his grandfather. Grandpa has strange ideas about the universe and his death was equally strange. I could tell you more but that might ruin the beautiful way the story was told.
"Gutted" by L.L. Hannett is the story of a man whose wife has left him. He has told his children that she was a selkie and had reclaimed her coast and gone back to the sea. He goes out every day with a group of the townsmen on a boat to search for her. This one had a really great twist at the end.
"Frosty's Lament" by Richard Larson is told by a snowman. Frosty loves the man who created him and despises his cheating wife. Alas, for Frosty, this is not a love that can survive into spring. This was, yet another, of the strange but wonderful stories that Shimmer specializes in.
In "All the Lonely People" by E.C. Myers, Sophie is a woman with special powers. She can tell when people are going to fade away and be forgotten. She tries to help them achieve a solidity of their own. But that's not easy on this sad, bittersweet tale.
A "Haniver" in the story by J.J. Irwin is a specially created being, replicating something that had never lived. Vic has created many of them and Melusine is a special one. When Vic disappears and other hanivers wind up dead, Mel investigates. This leads to a very nourish conclusion, an a perfect one.
"Dogs" by Georgina Bruce is told from the point of view of a woman who seems to have deep psychological problems. She likes to wear a papier-mâché dog's head and that's the least of her problems. As the story goes one, we get a better understanding of her and get a nicely-done little psychological tale.
Stephen Case's "Barstone" may be the strangest story in this issue. A man starts having conversations with a hill in a park. In it, is a man named Barstone, who is actually of gigantic proportions. This all has an effect on our narrator's life, very much for the better. He winds up doing well and we get a very different, but very good story.
In "A Window, Clears as a Mirror" by Ferrett Steinmetz, Malcolm's wife leaves him when she finds a magic portal to faerie. His friends are sympathetic, but that does not help Malcolm. He does find a way to deal with the situation and this story gets more and more magical. This was another enjoyable read.
Lastly, there is "Four Household Tales" by Poor Mojo's Giant Squid. This one is four, very brief, but funny tales, all of which involve a Giant Squid. The stories are about a president of the United States, a famous ship that sinks and two urban legends. You'll like all of them.
Shimmer is my favorite of the small-press magazines. It should be yours, too. Subscribe!