Challenging Destiny #24: August 2007
by David M. Switzer
Edited by David M. Switzer
Cover Artist: Jim Warren
Review by Sam Tomaino
Date: 28 August 2007
Challenging Destiny is a PDF format magazine that I get in my e-mail. Issue 24 is a good one and I liked all the stories, except for the last one.
The first story is "The Dao of Stones" by Ian McHugh. A Daoist teacher named Yin Xi is asked by a member of an alien race called shi-ren to be instructed in The Way. Yin Xi has doubts this can even be done but the shi-ren perseveres. In a story drenched in mysticism and imagery, a first step is made. "The Little Cat in the Attic Window, the Blue House on the Corner" by Jennifer Rachel Baumer is a very short story with a long title, but it's the best one in the issue. Jess lives a lonely existence. She has no friends and cannot communicate with anyone. Her only connection is to a cat in the window of a house she passes on the way home. One day, because the cat is beckoning to her, she enters the house. I will not spoil the haunting conclusion. "The Chermasu" by Brian Patrick McKinley and Mark Jenkins is a beautiful story about Alia, a young woman of the Hopi tribe who likes a traditional life-style. Then, a man comes to her to tell her about another part of her heritage. What will she choose to do?
Corey Brown's "Camoflauge" is set on what we eventually find out is Mars. They receive radio signals from Earth in the early part of the 20th century and become frightened of us. They cover up the canals that had already been observed and hide from unmanned probes. What will they do when a manned probe shows up? Brown crafts a nice little story here. "Abigail & Chang" by Harvey Welles and Philip Raines takes place in a world where some years before, select people suddenly acquired the power to transport to anywhere they could think of. Abigail lost her son that way. Civilization has collapsed. A young "visitor" (what they call groups of people who constantly travel around) named Chang winds up in Abigail's house and things change for her. The next to last tale is the first published work of Andrea McDowell. "Freya Flight" is the story of a young girl who has chosen to become a priestess of a goddess. To prove her worth she must leap from a tall height to see if she can fly. Some years before, she knew another girl who had fallen, not flown. In a well-written debut, McDowell, gives us Freya's thoughts as she approaches her destiny. The last story, "Like Water in the Desert" by Hayden Trenholm takes place in 1933. Max, down on his luck, is riding the rails and meets George who has a job for him. He leads Max to New Mexico and a meeting with Robert Goddard who is (of course) doing rocket research. The story had a feel for the time period but I did not care much for the way the story continued on from there. I also did not care for the morality of what seems to happen.
Nonetheless, I think this is worth getting. Visit them on their website at www.challengingdestiny.com