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Subterranean - #5
Subterranean Press Zine  ISBN/ITEM#: SUB05
Date: December 2006 /

From release/information:

Subterranean - #5
Subterranean Press, PO Box 190106, Burton, MI 48519

Table of Contents: Mazer in Prison by Orson Scott Card * Doc Savage and the Cult of the Blue God by Philip Jose Farmer * Being Intimately Aware of the Past: An Interview With Alan Moore by Dorman T. Shindler * The Plot by Stephen Gallagher * Getting Dark by Neal Barrett, Jr. * Lucifugous by Elizabeth Bear * Some Thoughts Re: DARK DESTRUCTOR by Tad Williams * Wendy by Jim Grimsley * On Books by Dorman T. Shindler

This is the first issue of Subterranean that I've read and I hope to read more in the future. Subterranean Press is known for its great hardcover collections and this is very much up to that standard. All the stories got (at least) a Very Good rating from me and one got a Great.

The best story in the issue is "Getting Dark" by Neal Barrett, Jr. Its only character is "Betty Ann, John-William's mother", an African-American woman of some advanced age in an era that still had shows on the radio. As the story progresses, we learn more about her hard life and witness her triumphant spirit as the dark approaches. Barrett gives us something here very different from his normal work and deserves a lot of credit for it.

The rest of the stories are all worth reading. "Mazer in Prison" by Orson Scott Card is set in the world of Ender Wiggin (Card's well-known character) but you need not have read any of those other stories to enjoy this one. Mazer Rackham is a war hero who, mostly by luck, won a war for humanity against the Formics, a bug-like race. For his heroism, he must command a new attack on them, but give up his family and everything else to do so. How he ensures that his sacrifice will not be wasted by military bureaucracy and greed makes for an enthralling story. Stephen Gallagher's "The Plot" is a chilling little tale of a vicar of a parish who tries to help a young woman whose baby has died without being baptized. The longest story (novella length) in the issue is "Lucifugous" by Elizabeth Bear. It's set in a world that Bear has visited before in stories for Interzone in which people travel by dirigibles in an 1899 where there was never an American Revolution. In it, a vampire and others must find out what happened to a woman who has disappeared from the dirigible that is transporting a very interesting group of characters.

"Some Thoughts Re: Dark Destructor" by Tad Williams is a hilarious little tale that consists of a comic book fanboy e-mailing a friend about the first issue of a really bad comic that the friend has written. The next story could not be more different. "Wendy" by Jim Grimsley is told from the point of view of a man who has created an artificial little girl, just so that he can abuse her and not a real little girl. This is for people with a very strong stomach! Last, "Three Doors" by Norman Partridge is an amusing take on the three wishes theme.

So I strongly recommend this magazine and will add it to the list of those that I regularly review!

(Source: Subterranean Press)

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