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Shimmer Number 15
Edited by E. Catherine Tobler
Cover Artist: Sandro Castelli
Review by Sam Tomaino
Shimmer Magazine / eZine  
Date: 26 August 2012

Links: Shimmer / Pub Info / Table of Contents /

Shimmer, Number 15 is here with stories by Nicole M. Taylor, Dustin Monk, Oliver Buckram, Megan Arkenberg, K.M. Ferebee, Mari Ness, and Milo James Fowler.

It's been a while since I've had an issue of Shimmer to review but Number 15 arrived in the mail and its been worth the wait.

The issue begins with "The Undertaker's Son" by Nicole M. Taylor. The titular character here is Albert and, even at a young age, he has begun to learn much about his father's craft. But his talents go beyond this. He sees dead people, even touches them. They return from the grave and only he knows they are there. They ask him for help in various ways and he does what he can. They range from a slutty girl who was murdered, a classmate who bullied him, to Albert's mother. This was a beautiful, sensitive tale which will touch your heart.

"What Fireworks" by Dustin Monk is something very different. It's told from the point of view of different people who live on an island that cannot be named, because "It is one long word, the longest word in the world, and it will take all of your breaths from your very first until your last to speak it, and even then you will not be finished." Something is happening to the island. There are loud noises at night and a strange fog. People, trees, buildings, and other things are disappearing. This was a truly strange, but lyrical story.

"Signal Jamming" by Oliver Buckram is a brief piece, set on some sort of spaceship that is transporting convicts. When a wily one name M.Q. Bukka, escapes from his cell. He uses his cyber skills to wreak havoc. This one was pretty amusing.

In "Harrowing Emily" by Megan Arkenberg, our narrator, Zoe, is being haunted by her dead girlfriend, Emily, who has returned from the dead. Emily is different, distant, and Zoe does not know how to cope with it. She learns something about herself, and, more importantly, Emily, in this well-written, bittersweet story.

"The Bird Country" by K.M. Ferebee has the most unusual central character in the issue. He is Childers, who kidnaps young men, abuses them, and kills them. It is after he kills the third one that he sees a silent figure he calls an angel watching him. This was a very unsettling tale that lets us into the mind of such a monster, very effectively told.

"A Cellar of Terrible Things" by Mari Ness is a ghost story, set in a village scarred by war and atrocity. Neraka came to the town "shortly before the seventeen ghosts became ghosts". She has stayed in the town to try to earn enough money at menial jobs, so she can move on. In the cellar of the house in which she lives are the ghosts. She must go down there on a regular basis to get potatoes for her to cook and people to eat. This was another, very unsettling tale.

The issue concludes with "Soulless in His Sight" by Milo James Fowler. Set in some post-apocalyptic Earth, our narrator is an (apparently) brain-damaged young boy whose Fatha has been killing people who come to their town. Fatha tells our narrator that he is searching for a soul for the boy so that he will see his mother in Heaven when he dies. Why he is doing this and the method to his madness only becomes clear at the end and that is what really makes for a fine story.

E. Catherine Tobler has become Senior Editor of Shimmer but she continues the high quality begun by Beth Wodzinzki, who is now Publisher. Whether you go print or electronic, subscribe!

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