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Orb Speculative Fiction #7 by Sarah Endacott
Edited by Sarah Endacott
Cover Artist: Peter Loader
Review by Sam Tomaino
Orb Speculative Fiction  ISBN/ITEM#: 14425580
Date: 25 January 2008 / Pub Info / Table of Contents /

Orb #7 arrives from Australia with stories by relatively new writers like Paul Haines, Bren MacDibble, Cat Sparks, Sue Isle, and others,

From Australia, comes Orb #7, a nice digest-sized magazine with stories by relatively new authors. He stories vary widely in setting and tone. They all got a Very Good from me.

The issue begins with "Inducing" by Paul Haines. Luke is convinced his new flatmate, Bortho, is crazy. Bortho introduces him to a powerful liquid something-or-other called Seraphim. But this is more than just a strange alcohol and Luke undergoes some big changes. In "A Complete Refabrication" by Bren MacDibble, Ella is killed in a freak accident and her personality is uploaded to a kind of virtual community called Sunny Shores. She wants out and gets some help from her son. Cat Sparks's "A Lady of Adestan" takes place in a fantasy world. Dena is a poor woman of the plains who visits her sister, Nadira, who has married a rich man. The visit is highly formal and Nadira cannot speak directly to her sister but must communicate with hand signals that are translated by a servant. Nadira communicates that she is pregnant. But in this world in which women are mere possessions, is that good news?

"Stranger and Sojourner" by Sue Isle takes place in London in 1889. Jedediah Cross, a doctor, and his wife, Constance, have been living in Edinburgh but she is depressed over their child who was stillborn. On an invitation from a fellow doctor, Peter Bennett, they go to London. There, they all come in contact with a young Frenchmen who has seemingly lost his mind. He apparently was studying to be a Catholic priest in Haiti and had run afoul of practitioners of voudoun. Unfortunately, he carries a curse with him. The chief character in "Marisha's Sari" by Karen Maric is a rich, spoiled American girl named Chloe who is visiting India. On an impulse, she purchases a beautiful, turquoise sari. When she puts it on, things change for her. Adam Browne's "An Account of an Experiment" takes place in medieval times. A cruel man, Emperor Fridericus, wants to see what happens if children are brought up from infancy without anyone speaking to them. Would they eventually speak the language of Adam and Eve, the Divine Language? An unhappy monk is put in charge and does what he can to help the children. Eventually, three of them start talking. What language are they speaking?

"Now Cydonia" by Rick Kennett takes place on a colonized Mars. Cadet Cy De Gerch sees what looks like a red, naked man run through the camp. Her superior says that this is a harbinger of a sandstorm. One does occur but what is really going on in this strange part of Mars? Chris Cheatah's "Midnight, Growler and the Luna Rats" is set in some nameless future. Growler heads up a band called The Lunar Rats. They start doing well when they add a "synth" (artificial being) named Midnight to the group. Her sultry, sexy looks bring the crowds in. But then, Growler adds something extra to her personality. Last of all, there's "In the Arms of Medusa" by Nathan Burrage. Medusa is a machine that Rheinbeck has been using to reform criminals by giving them a chance to repent their crimes. But something has gone wrong. What can he do?

All in all, Orb is a nice little magazine. If you like to support new writers, I recommend it.

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