Talebones #38 - Summer 2009
Edited by Patrick Swenson
Cover Artist: Jeff Sturgeon
Review by Sam Tomaino
Talebones ISBN/ITEM#: 1084-7197
Date: 24 July 2009
Links: Talebones / Pub Info / Table of Contents /
The Summer 2009 issue of Talebones is here and editor Patrick Swenson continues to attract some of the top names in the business, producing a magazine with all the stories well worth reading.
The issue begins with "Ginger Stuyvesant and the Case of the Haunted Nursery" by Campbell Award winner Mary Robinette Kowal. We are told that the title character is a 1920s starlet that is a ghost hunter. Kowal introduces us to Ginger, who had psychic abilities and uses them to help people. She is invited to the home of an old friend whose son has been acting strangely. Ginger solves the mystery and I hope that Kowal gives us more of her adventures.
Patricia Russo's "Swoop" is something very different. A group of supernatural creatures have congregated near a ruined, abandoned building. They notice a woman in distress on the street below. They use their powers to give her some help in this very original story.
Scott Edelman is one of the most talented practitioners of the short story and he shows it here in "The Only Wish Ever to Come True". The story is told from the point of view of a being who grants people's wishes but finds that a very frustrating avocation. The real key to this story is who this wish-granter is but I won't spoil it. Iíll just say that Edelman shows us some interesting insights into the ethics and consequences of granting wishes. This was my favorite piece in the issue.
In "The Best Last Choice I Ever Made", Caroline Yoachim's narrator is overwhelmed by the multiplicity of consumer products from which she must choose and tries to find a way to simplify things. This was a good look at our society.
"Bird of Paradise" by Ari Goelman is set in Argentina during World War II. Tzipporah is a young Jewish girl whose parents put her is a boarding school to protect her while they must return to Warsaw. Things are not easy for her and she must find a way to survive in this every affecting tale.
David Saksmyster gives us a unique individual in "Blackout Man". Robert Samson has had a job for the past 40 years of redacting classified material from papers released through the Freedom of Information Act. He blacks certain words out with a black marker. But he has certain powers that go beyond that and the government finds him useful in this chilling story.
"Sausages" by Marshall Payne takes place in a strange world in which Lance Goodwin, who is a homicide detective, wonders why he never has murders to investigate. He has quit the force and is doing some investigating. We also get other individuals who have jobs but never seem to work. The explanation is finally revealed to him in a somewhat pedestrian way but it was a readable story, nonetheless.
Tim McDaniel gives us a look at a very different character in "Discards". Ashuís mother has died and he is cleaning out her house. He finds some artifacts of his childhood, which sounds like that of an anime character. What happens when one of these boys grows up? McDaniel writes an effective tale giving us one answer.
In "How Thunder Dog Shed His Shadow" by Brian Scott Herbert, Thunder Dog is a creature that helps his Master track down prey. Landing in Earth, Thunder Dog has lost the latest prey, just called Buffalo. His cruel Master beats him and abandons him, even taking his Shadow. Thunder Dog gets advice from archetypal characters and finds a way to go on living. This one read like myth and was quite good.
Last of all, there's "Staybehind Girl" by Edward McEneely. Our heroine is called just Staybehind Girl and when her brother abandons her to jump over the Moon, she finds herself menaced by an evil creature called Jack O'the Night. This one was brief but evoked a fairy tale, providing a nice coda to the magazine.
Talebones is a top-quality magazine and I strongly urge you to subscribe!