The stories in Analog’s June issue seem squarely aimed at readers who enjoy tales of clever engineers and scientists bravely solving engineering problems while complaining about the difficulty of doing things for public relations purposes.
The diverse history of Malaysia has given rise to a unique folklore that stems from multiple sources such as animism, tribal beliefs, shamanism and various religions such as Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism. Serious studies of the occult exist, if heavily biased by colonial views at the time of writing, such as Malay Magic: An Introduction to the Folklore and Popular Religion of the Malay Peninsular by Walter William Skeat (Frank and Cass Co.Limited 1900, reprinted 1965). To date, the best-known study is An Analysis of Malay Magic by Kirk Michael Endicott (Oxford Claredon, 1970). Widespread interest in the subject of occultism and popular national consumption of Western supernatural fiction has created a brand of distinctly Malaysian horror written in English. Continue reading
The stories in this season’s issue are extremely well-written and an absolute pleasure to read. The stories themselves, for the most part serious or even melancholy, are built on fresh ideas or at least interesting twists on established ones. Their fantastical elements range from the overt—mermaids and magic portals—to the mere shimmer of possibility hovering just beneath their surfaces. Though the quality of writing in Shimmer is of a consistently high quality, a few of the stories sacrifice substance in the interest of style, and the result is that the reader is drawn in by the writing but then left confused or dissatisfied, unsure what, precisely, just happened.
All of the six stories are reasonably well written, but overall the May issue failed to invoke much of a sense of wonder for me. Some of the stories feel dated in style and content compared to fiction being published in other genre markets.
This review is an overview of the February and March issues, picking out my favourite stories from the two. In the pieces on which I’ll be focusing here, Cat Rambo tells of siblings with an uneasy relationship, which might or might not involve supernatural forces; Nalo Hopkinson introduces to a girl with a rather extreme love of plants; and Darin Bradley puts a fantastic twist on the lives of US farming families during the Great Depression.
“Widows in the World” by Gavin J. Grant embodies the word strange in the ezine’s title. Told in two parts, published 7 February and 14 February 2011, this surreal rambling, which invokes Roald Dahl, is unintelligible. Continue reading
The thirteen stories collected here visit the past and both near and far futures, encompassing science fiction, fantasy, and horror. Climate change, music, New Orleans, and genetics all figure prominently.
Edited by Joshua Palmatier and Patricia Bray, this anthology of fantasy stories has a fun concept that acts as a connective thread: all the stories take place, at least partly, in a bar. The same bar. And not just any bar—the Ur-Bar, run by Gilgamesh himself, historical king of Uruk and hero of Mesopotamian mythology. The stories begin in ancient history, when Gilgamesh takes over management of the bar, and move through time. They’re all set on Earth, though the introduction admits it could be an “alternate Earth,” but due to the bar’s magical, time-traveling nature, the anthology becomes a trip through the world’s civilizations and mythologies.
Electric Velocipede is a print magazine that started as a ‘zine in 2001. This issue will be the last published by Night Shade Books, according to a post on EV’s site by editor John Klima, as the magazine moves online. This issue contains fiction, poetry, an interview, and a book excerpt, with a total length of 218 pages. According to the submission guidelines they don’t publish horror, though some of the stories are quite dark. The magazine’s taste seems to run in the vein of LCRW, very comfortable with weird, and strongly preferential of shorter stories. In this issue there is a mix of what I’d call “literary weird” and sf and fantasy stories.
In “Clean” by John Kessel, Elizabeth and Daniel decide, against their daughter Jinny’s insistence, that Daniel should experience mechanical memory erasure in one fell swoop to stave off the degeneration of Alzheimer’s. The process strips away Daniel’s affective memories of his wife and daughter, but leaves his intellect intact. Kessel uses plain and uninflected prose that only hits a poetic surge when describing the memories of which Daniel is stripped as he forgets them. This is a cyclical story of the old becoming young again and the child eventually parenting the parent, but not that profound beyond “we are our memories” and not that affecting except when describing Daniel actually losing his memories. Continue reading