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Fictitious Force #1
Jonathan Laden zine  ISBN/ITEM#: FicF12005
Date: December, 2005 /

From release/information:

Fictitious Force #1 - edited by Michele Barasso & Jonathan Laden $5 from: Jonathan Laden/Fictitious Force, 1024 Hollywood Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20904, $16 for a 4-issue subscription
Table of Contents The Harps of Titans by Sharon E. Woods | A Fully Intergrated Marketing Plan by Greg Beatty | Horse Years by Will McIntosh | The Writer's Orchard by Sandra McDomald | Elegy for the Square Deal Towns by Toiya Kristen Finley | A Spec(i)Fic Retrospective by Sean Melican | Dragons Just Wanna Have Fun by Paul Woodlin | Walking West by Joel Best | Paper Tigers by Melissa Mead | (Just Like) Starting Over by Stephen Couch | Like Cleveland, without the Sparkle by Jay Lake | Watercolors in the Rain by Beth Bernobich

I was sent a review copy of this magazine with an unusual size (11" high, 4 1/4" wide). The only name I recognized amongst the authors was Jay Lake, so I'd classify this as an "amateur" publication, but with some talent. All the stories are short, with some "short-short". "The Harps of Titans" by Sharon E. Woods is a very good story about a man who must clean some ancient harps in a city in which war is approaching. In cleaning them, he finds what is really important. "A Fully Intergrated Marketing Plan" by Greg Beatty is a short-short about an unusual business plan and only rates an OK from me. "Horse Years" by Will McIntosh Is another very good story about a casino where you can gamble your very life force away. "The Writer's Orchard" by Sandra McDonald is a good little story about a very unusual place for writers to get their ideas. "Elegy for the Square Deal Towns" by Toiya Kristen Finley is a depressing tale about an area that has lost the factories that built it up. I did not see much fantasy there. "A Spec(i)Fic Retrospective" by Sean Melican is a humorous tale about an magazine tha never was and the effect it had on the science ficiton we know in this world. It has lots of good in-jokes. "Dragons Just Wanna Have Fun" by Paul Woodlin is a very funny little short-short.

"Walking West" by Joel Best has an interesting idea with people suddenly walking to the west for no apparent reason. The only problem I had with it was that there was not enough of a story to go with it. "Paper Tigers" by Melissa Mead is a funy little comment about that bane of writers known as editors. (Just Like) "Starting Over" by Stephen Couch is another story that I rated as verty good about expermenting on an alien being that runs into trouble. "Like Cleveland, without the Sparkle" by Jay Lake is an amusing little tale about an unscrupous marketer who gets what he deserves. The issue ends with "Watercolors in the Rain" by Beth Bernobich, another very good story about a husband and wife who must learn to move on from past mistakes.

An unusual feature of this magazine is that most of the stories (the longer ones) have an author reflects section at the end. They vary in quality but this is a nice idea. I'd like some actual information about the authors and some words from the editors, too, but I do recommend.

(Source: Jonathan Laden)

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