Journal of Unlikely Entomology Number 3 May 2012
Edited by Bernie Mojzes and A.C. Wise
Cover Artist: Svetlana Sukhorukova
Review by Sam Tomaino
Journal of Unlikely Entomology ezine
Date: 25 June 2012
Links: Journal of Unlikely Entomology / Pub Info / Table of Contents /
This is issue three of Journal of Unlikely Entomology an online magazine with an unusual focus - bugs. You can download a pdf if this issue at www.grumpsjournal.com and pay for it, or not.
The issue begins with "My Day Came" by Conor Powers-Smith. Our narrator has to "take a leak" before he goes to bed. He discovers a fly in his bathroom and swats at it. The fly actually says "Ouch! Then, it says more. It will grant him any number of wishes. The wishes--a flat-screen TV, a trillion dollars, a mansion, the girl of his dreams, immortality – are all granted. Of course, there's a catch in this very clever story.
That amusing story is followed by something very different in "War Beetles" by J.M. McDermott. Meridian Smith has been traveling over a war-ravaged landscape. He had been a soldier, but not anymore. War is conducted through human-controlled war beetles, part machine, part organic. Meridian's machine had been destroyed. He found a little girl named Desdemona and is protecting her from the destruction and acid left by the beetles. I can't really say more except this is not what you are expecting. This one is well-written and very atmospheric.
"The Performance" by Silvia Moreno-Garcia consists of two voices on tape recorder. "J" is telling "I" about a play he saw a long time ago – "The Worm That Gnaws" by Orrin Gris. It was not an exceptional play but what made it memorable was that the playwright shot and killed the leading man over jealousy for the leading lady. The playwright then shot himself. "J" was talking to the leading man just before he was shot and thought there was something very strange about him. All this leads up to a nice little chill at the end.
In "The Familiar Buzz of Gone" by Case Gardner, Emmett is alone in his kitchen. Flies buzz around outside and in. He is bothered by them. He is also haunted by the death of his childhood friend, Jimmy. Emmett had accidentally hit him in the head with a rock and had run off scared. It took Jimmy three days to die. Emmett is also haunted by his wife, Alison, who has left him for a preacher. Obviously, more is going on. This one was very unsettling with an atmosphere of dread an unease pervading it all the way though.
Steven L. Peck's "Dragonfly Miscalculations" features a team of scientists who ride into a remote village of some foreign country. Our narrator seems to work for an outfit called Dragonfly, Inc. and does not get along with the "museum guy" who accompanies her. Our narrator asks questions of the natives about the health of their cattle and sleeping sickness amongst the people. Her and her assistant gather mechanical dragonflies and some things are explained. This one got a little technical but made its point in very short order.
In "Skitterings in Corners" by Juliet Kemp, Alisha meets Rachel at a party and they begin a romantic relationship. Rachel is a tester for a science lab and becomes inordinately interested in one device they are testing. It allows humans to enter the minds of animals, like cats or dogs. When Rachel inhabits the mind of a cockroach. Alisha becomes concerned over her health, both physically and mentally. This one was very effectively told.
The issue concludes with "Drift" by Amanda C. Davis, which had first appeared in Shock Totem #3 in 2011. Caden is a five-year old who insists that snow is made of bugs. This causes trouble in school. When he comes in from the snow (which seems to be constantly falling), he even has red bites on his face. Fortunately, they disappear quickly. His parents are concerned and think they can discredit the idea by going out in the snow with him. This one had some plot and logic problems which prevented my liking it very much.
The Journal of Unlikely Entomology continues to be a very worthwhile magazine. Look them up on their website (www.grumpsjournal.com)and give them some money when you download it.