Friday, 15 June 2012
Five short stories in the May/June issue this time:
Beasts by Elizabeth Bourne, illustrated by Martin Hanford. A fantasy set in France during the Revolution, in which a young mother finds herself trapped in a chateau with a decidedly beastly inhabitant and a garden of roses which bleed when cut. A strange but rich tale, one likely to stick in the memory.
The Indignity of Rain by Lavie Tidhar, illustrated by Richard Wagner. A grubby future spaceport in what was once Tel Aviv, from which spacecraft travel through the solar system. A grandmother looks after her curiously gifted grandchild who awaits the return of his father from space, a man she once knew. More like an excerpt than a complete story.
Seeking Captain Random by Vylar Kaftan, illustrated by Kurt Huggins and Zelda Devon. The intense dreams of a comic-book designer keep being interrupted by an anomalous figure who has no place in the story arc. Who is he, and what does his appearance portend? His friend discovers that these questions gather a greater urgency after an unexpected turn of events. Mysterious to the end.
Bloodcloth by Ray Cluley, illustrated by Jim Burns. A child's view of a dystopian world which is dominated by the demands of a very strange bloodsucking creature. More horror than SF.
A Body Without Fur by Tracie Welser. An expedition to a new planet discovers a humanoid race with some strange customs and attitudes, but the humans' main problem is the emotional baggage they bring with them. The nearest of this group to a traditional SF story, albeit a rather downbeat one.
I'm not sure about picking a favourite from this group - none of them really struck me as one I'd want to read again, although perhaps Kaftan's tale appealed the most.
The reviews section includes an interview with Nancy Kress along with a review of her novel After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall. Her name is very familiar to me but, on checking, I have nothing of hers on my shelves and don't seem to have read anything by her. Judging by the review, her new novel may not be the most cheerful story but sounds very intriguing - the plot reminded me of Varley's Millennium, in which people from a future in which humanity is threatened with dying out, travel into the past to kidnap people who were due to die soon anyway. One to put on my ever-lengthening list. Other reviews include new books from Alastair Reynolds and John Meaney, which have to be worth a look, and yet another variation on the Carter on Mars stories: Jane Carver of Waar, by Nathan Long, which sounds like fun. Which reminds me: I have been re-reading more of the Garrett/Heydron Gandalara Cycle, and must post those reviews.
The film reviews section includes several talked-about movies including Avengers Assemble, The Hunger Games, John Carter and Battleship. The Carter review is kinder than the usual scathing dismisssal of this film, reinforcing my view that it's something I want to watch anyway. The DVD section contains a remarkable feat of endurance - a review of the complete Six Million Dollar Man collection: three TV movies plus 100 episodes!