Kaleidotrope – Issue 5 – October 2008
Edited by Fred Coppersmith
Cover Artist: Jim Cleaveland
Review by Sam Tomaino
Date: 24 October 2008
Links: Kaleidotrope / Pub Info / Table of Contents /
The new issue of Kaleidotrope, #5, is here with its usual mix of distinctly different stories, all of them worth reading.
The issue begins with "The Wroeth's Grinding Bowl" by Bill Ward. This one is a fine fantasy that approaches myth. Raggio the Insistent is the Primagrach of the city of Aan. His is a prosperous city and, one day, his chief adviser, Firstmind Eal, brings him something that is a "prize unequaled by any found" in the city. This thing is an ugly bowl with a lump of stone in it, but when they are used by the Wroeth, the last survivor of an ancient race, many wonders happen. Ward weaves a fine story that indeed does, as I said, in the beginning, approach myth.
"Fortune Cookie" by Therese Arkenberg is a less serious story. Celestia Munroe meets Tesio Core in her company cafeteria. He is a "Requian, from the planet Reque" but they hit it off and go on a date in this cute little story.
Barkley Burke's "An Adventure in Foxhunting" is set in some indeterminate time in "Merrie old England" when the nobles went foxhunting. On one such hunt, Ivan Cromby, Duke of Blithechester, finds not a fox but beautiful woman and things change for him. This one was a nice fantasy.
"No Friday" by Mark Rich is set in the mind of a man who seems to be the sole survivor of a disaster in space. He is writing an imaginary letter to his mother and ruminates much on his past.
Ralph Sevush's "Emmett, Joey & the Beelz" has, we are told, been published before in the on-line magazine Abyss & Apex and had garnered quite a bit of praise. I can certainly see why. This one starts out as a contemporary tale about two down-and-out guys named Emmett and Joey. But when we learn more about someone they refer to as "Beelz", the story takes a surprising turn which I won't spoil. This was well worth reprinting.
Next, Eric Del Carlo gives us a truly unique ruined future Earth in "Long After the Scrub". In this future, Earth somehow collided with a world from another dimension which is peopled by elves and other fantastic creatures. The result was death to most of the humans and a remaking of the physical world. Our narrator is someone who remembers the world as it was and is making a special journey through many perils. It's nice to read a fantasy about something different and Del Carlo delivers well.
"Virgin Hearts" by Brendan Connell is set in a fantasy world. Robert Gevrey is a rich man whose nephew wants him gone. On such a set-up, a lyrical fantasy hangs.
Next comes three short-shorts. "The Blue Testament" by Marshall Payne. This one is a hilarious look at a miraculous event in a very modern setting. Barbara A. Barnett's "Efficiency" involves Trina and Gordon who have just moved. Trina has been very efficient in packing boxes and looks down on her husband's inefficiency. She finds out differently in this clever little story with a nice sting. Sean Ruane gives us an unusual "Intruder" in a story with that name. The narrator makes a mistake falling asleep "with my front door open and my rabbits in plain sight". He pays for this mistake in a truly unique way!
In "Tommy's Shadow", Daniel Braum is the story of teenage jealousy and envy. Marco has a rock band but is envious of a rich amd more successful rocker named Tommy. Further, the girl Marco loves, loves Tommy instead. Braum contributes a sad, but effective story here.
Last of all, there's "Into the Night" by P.D. Allen. This a group of related stories dealing with repression and what to do against it.
Kaleidotrope remains a wonderful magazine of varied and interesting stories. Don't ignore the "horoscopes", they are screamingly funny!