Most of the writers in this issue were completely new to me which made it a particularly interesting read….
The Art of Alchemy – Ted Kosmatka
A ‘hard science’ thriller. The style was rather derivative of William Gibson’s cyberpunk and the characters were rather underdeveloped. Still, an interesting tale about the impact of globalism.
The Salting and Canning of Benevolence – Al Michaud
This was the longest piece in the issue, a mix of humorous ‘tall tale’ and ghost story. Sentence by sentence Al Michaud writes really well but the story went on way too long and by the end I was rather bored.
Litany – Rand B. Lee
I was completely gripped by this –very creepy and set in a vividly evoked town in New Mexico. However, for its full impact the story seemed to rely on the reader understanding some Christian symbolism. Unfortunately I didn’t, which rather reduced the impact! Is that just my ignorance? How much should a writer assume that his or her readers will be familiar with a particularly religious tradition?
Fergus – Mary Patterson Thornburg
This dark fantasy keeps haunting me, a wonderful parable of loss with a core of mystery which it doesn’t reveal easily. One of the best stories in the issue.
Character Flu – Robert Reed
Robert Reed is a wonderfully prolific and inventive writer, and always thought-provoking. This is a great little story which packs in a lot of ideas in a short space.
Monkey See… – P.E. Cunningham
I really enjoyed this Swords and Sorcery story– well-written and just the right length.
I found myself indulging in my annoying habit of second-guessing what an anthologist might choose for one of those annual ‘Best of’ collections. I think Fergus could make it, and maybe Character Flu as well.