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Kaleidotrope - Issue 6 - April 2009
Edited by Fred Coppersmith
Cover Artist: Creighton Matthews
Review by Sam Tomaino
Date: 21 May 2009

Links: Kaleidotrope / Pub Info / Table of Contents /

Kaleidotrope #6 is here with stories by Mark Rich, Ward Crockett, Eric Stever, Heather Clitheroe, Joshua Landers, Beth Hudson, Simon Petrie, Casey Fiesler, Shannon Anthony, Carolyn Watson, Rachel Swirsky, Katy Wimhurst, Carol K. Howell and Kurt Kirchmeier.

Kaleidotrope is one of those magazines with a style all its own and #6 is here with new, very different stories.

The issue begins with "The Tenant" which, in Mark Rich's story, is something called a Molluscan God and needs a couple of weeks of uninterrupted sleep. If things worked out, the area would experience a Change, hopefully for the better. Can the landlord arrange this with the Powers That Be? He gives it his best shot in this wildly, bizarre tale.

Ward Crockett's "Louis Jazz, Son of God" features Tim on a strange quest. Accompanied by a cat called Salm, he is seeking to find the source of a radio broadcast and shut it down. The cat is of a race called The Silencers. But things are not what they seem in this effective piece from Crockett.

Vera is the cook in "Malkazaar's Food & Beverage Department" by Eric Stever. Malkazaar is a wizard-king that has been reanimating the dead to repel an invasion. She hears from a page named Went that the invaders will soon triumph. Went thinks things will improve, but Vera know better in this grim, but well-written story.

"Replicate Fade" by Heather Clitheroe takes place in a grim future of disease and poverty. Jackson Bonaparte is a down-on-his-luck war veteran who is hired by a judge to find a young girl. What does he want her for? Not what you think in the best story, so far.

In "To the Body" by Joshua Landers, a man helps his live-in girlfriend find her runaway daughter. To earn the money, he participates in an Ultimate Fighting events. Will they ever find the missing girl? Landers contributes a heart-wrenching tale here.

"House Call" by Beth Hudson is a nice classic supernatural tale that I thoroughly enjoyed. Ash is called up by ex-boyfriend Bob because things are going bump in the night in his apartment. Ash can actually see supernatural creatures and spots something. She calls in Paul, a new friend who knows a bit about this sort of thing. As I said, I liked this one a lot.

We go from a nice little ghost story to a nice little murder mystery in "Single Handed" by Simon Petrie. Gordon Mamon is called on to solve a murder aboard a spaceship called the Dart of Harkness. The ship's captain, Kurtz, has been found stabbed and covered in blood by the ship's chief engineer, Rusty Flange. Only two other people were awake on the ship, the others all in cryogenic sleep. They are members of the Church of the Blessed Echidna, getting ready for a long trip to a distant planet they are colonizing. The other two suspects are the medical officer, Sister Edie McPhalia and the communications officer "Skip" Gramacek. The ship's computer is named Cassandra but won't help Gordon much because of an odd interpretation of Asimov's First Law. Petrie has a lot of fun with names and puts together a pretty good story.

Casey Fiesler follows this with "Evil Sleeps in Pink Pajamas", our narrator's evil twin shows up one day and starts annoying her. She finds a way to get even in this humorous little piece.

In "The Eye of the Beheader" by Shannon Anthony, we get another brief, amusing piece. This one is about a Princess named Cindy who learns a bit more about "happily ever after".

The "Little Precious" in the story by Carolyn Watson is a beast-like child, adopted in a foreign country by a vain actress named Fritzi Fayre. She calls the boy Tigger and wants to make something out of him in the nicely written little satire.

"The Art of Biting" by Rachel Swirsky (reprinted from Cthulhu Sex Magazine 2006) starts as a tour of a taxidermist's establishment, but things begin to take a very kinky turn in another little gem.

"The Almost-Adventures of Immaculada Footstool" by Katy Wimhurst features a "storrry in search of an author". In just a couple of paragraphs, we get a lot of detail, but there are problems with finding a publisher in this amusing piece. On the same page are the hilarious little "horoscopes" that are a feature of every issue.

Carol K.Howell gives us a brilliant short-short in "Passion Play". What if one of the worst people of all-time was constantly being reincarnated? The narrator of this story tells us what would need to be done.

The issue concludes with "Dust to Dust" by Kurt Kirchmeier. D.U.S.T is and acronym for "Direct Unification Sybilline Technology: a means by which to fuse psychic vibrations and nano-robotics, thereby creating detailed images of the future". It is used by our narrator, a remote viewer, to create a small replica of the domes that are appearing everywhere, part of an alien invasion. He further uses his powers to learn something about the invaders. What he finds out does not help him in this chilling tale.

One thing about Kaleidotrope is that no two stories are alike. There is no typical Kaleidotrope story. The variety here is not really found elsewhere. I recommend that you subscribe.

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