Kaleidotrope – Issue 7 - October 2009
Edited by Fred Coppersmith
Cover Artist: Kurt Kirchmeier
Review by Sam Tomaino
Date: 29 October 2009
The new issue of Kaleidotrope, #7, is here with its usual mix of distinctly different stories, all of them worth reading.
The issue begins with "Remember" by Lindsey Duncan. This is a beautiful soliloquy to someone who is going on a long journey. We get some hints as to what the background is but that's unimportant. Duncan is giving advice in a larger context here.
In "Albatross Ghosts", Joanne Anderton writes of an old man haunted by ghosts. A young woman treats him with kindness and we find out more about his past. This was a very touching story.
Bill Ward's "How Antkind Lost its Soul" is a satirical tale about an Ant Hill that is transformed by the advice of Back Beetle. This is a not all to the good in this nice little piece.
"The Beekeepers" by J. Alan Pierce (reprinted from Drabblecast, August 2007) is the story of a virus that quickly infects everyone on Earth. What is even more horrifying than death is the treatment, a space-wasp called the thetix. This story brilliantly amps up the horror as it progresses. This was one of the most unsettling stories I've read in a long time.
"Fortune" by Alberto Chimal (translated by Toshiya Kamei) is a well-written brief tale of a wizard named Negora who can see the future. This may not be the best of powers.
In "The Vigilant" by Jason Hinchcliffe, Jon Forrester is a man on a journey, searching to his past. When he encounters an old man named Simon, things change. This was another good story.
Jean Huets' "Please Share My Umbrella" is the story of a woman and a man, Ko and Marcus, soldiers on opposing sides of a war, who wind up sharing a tent (thanks to Marcus) for protection from an acid rain. As they share food, the barriers between them come down. This one was nicely inventive and came to a good end.
"The Clay Men" by C.L. Holland features XiaoTzu, who is one of those tasked with painting the faces of the terra cotta warriors of King Ying Zheng. He discovers that peasants are being baked into the statues. This all develops into a chilling story with a real stinger ending.
"Lock and Key" by Alyssa Fowers is a beautifully written short-short about the Selkie and its relation to humans.
In "Chamberlain McLaverty" by Sean Ruane, a tale is told with pictures about a man's contretemps with his neighbor, Chamberlain McLaverty, who wants his apples. A nice amusing tale!
The title character in "Duma of the Valley Kifaru" by A. Kiwi Courters is a young princess who is also a fierce warrior. To protect her kingdom, she makes a marriage alliance with a neighboring one. This featured quite a bit of action and excitement and was a very good read.
Next comes, "Insta-Baby" an amusing little three-page comic strip by Tom Powers and Amanda Banaszewski.
"Intuo" by Dale Carothers is the story of Lu, who has been present at the births of all the babies in Bulver for a long time. She has a special power to make a clay baby that can temporarily replace a baby who dies in childbirth. We also get the story of the one child to whom she gave birth, a boy named Intuo. This was a rich imaginative fantasy story.
"What Bear Skull Holder Taught Me" by Jeffrey Meyer is a series of glimpses at a tribe with people whose names are Great Elk, Little Fox and Bear Skull Holder with a poignant look at their lives.
In "To Put Away Childish Things", Aaron A. Polson, Santiago builds a cyborg son to replace his human one taken from him. But the child learns the wrong lessons in this tale with a nice turn at the end.
"Star Over Babylon" by John Walters features a nameless narrator who travels back in time to Persia in 323 B.C. to see Alexander the Great die. He comes 40 years too late but learns something. This was a good little story.
In "Horseshoe" by Stacy Sinclair, Cora is a gymnast who works as a genie in the Arabian Nights Funhouse, next to Niagara Falls. Bob Menkes is the owner and wants her to walk a tightrope over the falls. There is much magic done around the Funhouse but Cora surprised by the real source. This was a nicely-done little fantasy.
Kaleidotrope remains a wonderful magazine of varied and interesting stories.