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Fantasy Magazine #55 - October 2011
Edited by John Joseph Adams
Cover Artist: Bram Leech
Review by Sam Tomaino
Fantasy Magazine Magazine  
Date: 27 October 2011

Links: Fantasy Magazine / Pub Info / Table of Contents /

Fantasy Magazine #55, has stories by Tim Pratt, Nadia Bulkin, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, and Author Spotlights on all of them (and an Artist Spotlight of cover artist Bram Leech), and non-fiction articles by Genevieve Valentine, Jeremiah Tolbert, and Christopher Priest, along with a Feature Interview with Richard K. Morgan by Andrew Liptak.

Fantasy Magazine #55, is an online magazine. It works just like Lightspeed. You can find the issue and how to pay (or not) for it at www.fantasy-magazine.com. Beginning with the August issue, I instituted a policy of only reviewing original stories. As usual, this magazine has two, but since one of the reprints is from a 2011 anthology, I'll treat it as new and review it.

"The Secret Beach" in the story by Tim Pratt is something our narrator finds one day. He is walking around in the middle of Berkley on his way to buy a bottle of club soda so he doesn't have to drink his booze straight. He sees two teenagers walking with wet bathing suits and sand on their legs. He asks where they've been and they just say, "The beach." There is no beach anywhere nearby but our narrator follows the wet footprints and makes his way through a hole in a fence and finds a beach that could not possibly be anywhere near Berkley. Has he entered some fantasy world? Well, this one has a real surprise at the end and it all comes together for a great story.

The reprinted story that is still a 2011 story is "Absolute Zero" by Nadia Bulkin (Originally published in Creatures: Thirty Years of Monsters edited by John Langan and Paul Tremblay, 2011). It begins with Max Beecham's mother Deena showing him a photograph when he was eight years old, saying "That's your father." The only problem is 'that' is a naked man with the head of a stag. Max starts to call it the Stag-Man and he begins to see it following him. Years later, after his mother his dead, a man named Tom Lowell captures something he calls the Creeker and exhibits it in a cage. Max goes to look at it and, it's dear old dad. The creature has an effect on the people that see it and certainly has an effect on Max. This develops into quite a good fantasy from a talented writer.

In "Unnatural Disaster" by Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Jaclyn Tadero is the police chief in the Oregon coastal town of Whale Rock. She's not a native, having come from Chicago after a shooting incident that shook her up. The locals haven't exactly made her feel welcome. As the story opens she is patrolling the beach to keep it clear of gawkers because of a possible coming tsunami. She finds what she thinks is a body on the beach and calls the coroner. Before he arrives the body moves and a tentacle lunges for her. She has more to worry about than a tsunami. One thing I like about Rusch's writing is her ability to create interesting characters while telling a great story. She does that here.

The fifty-fifth issue of Fantasy Magazine is a fine issue of the magazine. Check it out at their web site and support them in some way.

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