by Ellen Datlow
scifi.com zine ISBN/ITEM#: 0504-06Sci
Date: May-June /
Stories reviewed: Heads Down, Thumbs Up by Gavin J. Grant - 04/27/05 / The Girl in the Fabrilon by Marly Youmans - 05/11/05 / Song of the Black Dog by Kit Reed - 05/18/05 / The Scribble Mind by Jeffrey Ford - 5/25/05 / The Being of It All by Carol Emshwiller - 06/01/05 / Diamond Girls by Louise Marley - 06/08/05 / There's a Hole in the City by Richard Bowes - 06/15/05 / The Starry Night by Barry N. Malzberg and Jack Dann - 06/22/05
Last month, I didn't review any stories from www.scifi.com>SCIFICTION, so I'll review two month's worth this time. As usual, I'll start with the best. There are four stories that are good enough for me to consider as Hugo nominatable for next year. The first is "Song of the Black Dog" by Kit Reed. Reed fashions a story about a dog that can sense when someone is about to die. The dog proves useful in triage cases when there are a lot of people who need to be treated. In normal situations, this power can be very scary. What would you think if this dog singled out you? The next story is "The Scribble Mind" by Jeffrey Ford in which a young man meets a woman who is obsessed with a very specific design of a scribble. This scribble is made by people who can remember back to when they were in their mother's womb. Ford comes up with a very different idea and gives us a nice little story about it. The third story shows that, if you write something about baseball, I'm probably going to like it. "In Diamond Girls," Louise Marley takes us to a time when woman have started playing Major League Baseball. In her story, there are just two women who have broken this barrier, one a genetically engineered pitcher and the other just a great batter. She gives us a classic epic battle in a story I just loved, even though it seems she has ended a team's at-bat after just one out. The last great story in this group is "There?s a Hole in the City" by Richard Bowes. It takes place in New York City right after 9/11. In the story, the events of that day have opened a "hole" through which the dead are passing through. Ghosts from as far back as the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire and the General Slocum disaster start making their appearance. The story took me back to that time and was chilling to boot.
Just a notch below these are two fine stories that really defy description. "The Being of it All" is one of those odd little set pieces that Carol Emshwiller is known for. "The Starry Knight" by Barry Malzberg and Jack Dann involves a famous painting by Vincent Van Gogh, a little girl's reaction to it and how that relates to something in the "real world."
"The Girl in the Fabrilon" by Marly Youmans is an okay little story of a special kind of glass viewer device and what it tells a man about his life. The other story is one that I didn't like at all. "Hands Down, Thumbs Up" by Gavin Grant is an incomprehensible tale about the effect a war has on a little boy and his classmates. I'd say just to skip that one and read the rest, especially those fabulous four!