Sybil's Garage #6, May 2009
Edited by Matthew Kressel
Review by Sam Tomaino
Five Senses Press ISBN/ITEM#: 1557-9725
Date: 23 June 2009
Links: Magazine Website / Pub Info / Table of Contents /
Sybilís Garage #6 has arrived in my mailbox. The stories were varied and all worth reading. Itís moved its home from Hoboken to Brooklyn but is still a unique mix of unusual stories, poems and articles, all with suggestions on the appropriate music to play while reading.
The fiction gets off to a fine start with "Come the Cold" by Eric Del Carlo. This is set in a future in which the only children being born are cold, emotionless types called "colds". The narrator shows us how the old world reacts to this new species that will replace them. The best descriptor of this story is chilling and I donít mean it as a pun.
Set on some unnamed world, "Downdraft" by Simon Petrie features two lovers, Yarran and Fulven. Yarren wants to have a future with Fulven but he must help defend their people against a race called the zeps. Petrie gives us an effective story from both sides.
K. Tempest Bradford gives us what, I think, is the best story in the issue with "Elan Vital". Set in a future in which one can bring back a dead loved one for a limited time, the story deals with some interesting issues. The revival costs the living person some part of his or her life. Also, is it right to keep the dead from an afterlife? This is one you wonít forget soon.
That is followed up by "Machine Washable" by Keffy R.M. Kehrli, an amusing, epistolary tale about a woman explaining to her mother about the zombie in her washing machine.
Things get serious again in "Heavenís Fire" by Paul Jessup. A band of revolutionaries fight against killers that they just call "the molts". Some fight and some escape to havens that the molts do not attack. Are those havens left alone because of the rebellion elsewhere? The value of fighting for freedom is well-illumined here.
Next up is the strangest story in the issue, "I Am Enkidu, His Wild Brother" by James B. Pepe. Steven is opposed to dueling but is summoned by a good friend for help in a duel. This is normally a peaceful man and he travels to find out what has happened to his friend. The rest of the story is a pretty wild ride.
A woman who has been abused by her husband discovers "The Drink of Fine Gentlemen Everywhere" in the next piece by Genevieve Valentine. She discovers more than that in another good story.
In "Fulgurite" by Vylar Kaftan, a woman is not ready to make love to her boyfriend until a certain natural event occurs. This was, also, a well-written piece.
Autumn Canter shows us another culture in "Day of the Mayfly". Emma Lu Brantnellís brother Conner was found hanging from a tree, a year before. It was tied in with an annual event involving a mayfly girl. Emma wants to take action and prevent further loss of life. All comes together for another well-told story.
Yet another different way of life is shown in "Eating Ritual" by Toiya Kristen Finley. Deidra lives with the father and whatever woman he is "engaged" to. Her father must compete in a game so that their people will survive in this effective piece.
Cheena and Oso are a couple on the run in "The Raincaller" by Jason Heller. How they survive will surprise you in another story worth reading.
"An Old Man Went Fishing on a Sea of Red" in the next piece by Don Norum. He finds some redemption in this nice little story.
Another father must make great sacrifices for his daughter in "Waiting for the Green Woman" by Sean Markey. To tell you more would spoil it but I will say that Markey accomplishes much in just three pages.
In "Not the West Wind" by Bocca de La Rosa, Aoife and Timothy find a little girl, take her home and name her Sarah May. They are musicians and she joins them in this touching, but sad, story.
Rumjhum Biswas is next with "Motherís Garden". When a family falls sick, their mother must make a sacrifice to get them through it. This was beautifully told.
Last of all thereís "Drinking Black Coffee at the Jasper Grey Cafť" by Stephanie Campisi is a brief but enjoyable description of a place to get a drink and a bite.
Sybilís Garage is still a strange little magazine with old-fashioned illustrations accompanying the text. For those that want their fiction to be truly different, this is for you.