Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine #53 – review

Issue 53 of Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine (this quarter edited by Patty Jansen) hit my letterbox recently and once again I was impressed by the quality of the contents. I’ve picked out a couple of stories that particularly grabbed me, but the whole edition was well put together and I thoroughly enjoyed all of it.

The only downside to this quarter’s edition was the very few Australian stories that made it through to print. I know ASIM use a blind review process and take only the best stories, but for an Australian publication to have so few Australian authors featured was a bit disappointing (if only American publications were so accepting of stories from other countries!).

Still there were a lot of fun pieces in this issue. Ms Jansen has a good eye for humorous stories (or perhaps just finds the same things amusing as I do) and I found myself laughing out loud quite a few times.

With that in mind, On the Train to Cairo by Gary Cuba represented a perfectly whimsical opening. This very short story, while not having a plot as such, was very well written and had an amusing concept (a gazelle and a tiger meeting in the first class compartment of a train to Cairo).

The idea behind Blood Man Calls the Whale by Marissa Lingen was interesting, with traditional tribal magic adapting to modern life and even chasing the tourist dollar. Ms Lingen captured a sense of place and characters very well in such a short story.

The style of writing in Marianne and the Mushroom Man by Lee Blevins was very clever. The story was fun and moved along at a good pace. Very entertaining read.

The Riddle of Svinn by Krista Hoeppner Leahy was also very entertaining. The main character, the not-sphinx, was well drawn and the sadness of the creature captured quite acutely.

The Nine Billion Pixels of Samsara by Gary Cuba was a good story, with a “have you really thought what would happen if the world was returned to a sublime state” concept making the ending quite strong. This was Mr Cuba’s second story for this edition, so the editor must really like his work!

Gauntlet by Barton Paul Levenson was a nice little space adventure romp. The characters and the setting were very good, resulting in a story that was a lot of fun.

How to Run a Five Star Restaurant in the Capital of the Elf Kingdom by R H Culp was also a lot of fun to read. Given Australia’s seeming obsession with food celebrity, the rise and fall of a fantasy celebrity chef was particularly apt for an antipodean publication.

Riding the Eye by J F Keeping was a nice little space mystery, and while Jupiter storm jumping as an extreme sport strained credulity a little, the good writing and characters in this story soon had me saying “sure, what the hell” as the protagonist launched himself towards Jupiter with only a spacesuit between him and certain death.

The Realm of Lost Things by Murray Ewing spoke to the lazy slob that lurks at the heart of my being (although hopefully I’m not as far gone as the protagonist).

I recently reviewed Debris by Jo Anderton so I was quite looking forward to reading the final story in this edition High Density. This story was the most moving of the issue. The premise was a very literal version of urban renewal gone mad, but it is the characters and the prose that really draw the reader in. An excellent piece of fiction. The story was followed up by an interview with Ms Anderton which was very interesting – if you’ve read and enjoyed Debris you’ll want to take a look.

Also included in this edition were other excellent stories:


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Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine #52 – review

Issue #52 is the second of the quarterly editions of ASIM that I’ve received, and I found the whole edition to be engrossing and entertaining. Some highlights follow.

I really enjoyed Undine Love by Kathleen Jennings. It has a real Australian sensibility, and I had a sense of looking through a small window at a part of a larger story. I like the idea of a family protecting Australia from the supernatural – would like to see more of it.

The Unseen Truths by Liz Colter is an interesting story that makes the metaphysical isolation that is often described in science fiction when a character has telepathy and makes it physical. I liked the idea of “mood masks” and I think the background to the world was deftly sketched in an economical fashion.

A Routine Diplomatic Incident by Ray Tabler. What can I say? I very fun romp, with libido-fueled ambassadors, pragmatic assistants, highly armoured space marines and a high speed race across an alien city using rocket boots. What’s not to like? I found the writing quick paced and funny. One of my favourite of the issue.

First, Do No Harm (Unless They’re Zombies) by Rachel Kolar. I know there are a lot of zombie stories out there at the moment, but I was entertained by this story where everyone has the zombie virus and medical workers have to be careful when a patient dies to ensure they can “put down” the newly activated zombie. The idea that a nurse needs good marksmanship scores as well good medical qualifications was interesting to say the least! It felt a bit like the start of a story rather than something that was entirely self contained, but good nonetheless.

Love As You Find It by Margaret Karmazin. Physically morphing, love slave for hire robots transcending their programming and attempting to take down an interstellar gangster. If that doesn’t make you want to have a read, I don’t know what will.

Taking Care by Pam L Wallace gives us an inkling of what might happen when a 12 year old becomes the man of the town when all the adults are dying out. I found the concept quite moving for such a short piece and well articulated.

The Masked Messenger by David Conyers and John Goodrich is one of the longer stories in this issue. Ancient gods, international terrorism, an Australian national security consultant on all things weird and a temple. Well written and executed with a good ending.

Zombie Dreams by Peter Cooper. Well, zombies should have dreams as well. A fun, short story well worth a read.

Also in this edition was:

  • I Am Nano by Sean Monaghan
  • Ronnie Linton, High School Flame by Dominik J Parisien
  • The Undying Fans of an Unknown Cover Band by Nicky Drayden
  • Midnight Rhino by Brenda Anderson
  • Taking Over by Felicity Pulman
  • Eternal Youth by Melanie Typaldos
  • Wonder in Alice Land by Linda Jenner
  • Speed of Darkness by G R McLeod
  • The Last Resort by L K Pinaire
  • Vivienne by Natalie Nikolovski
  • Golden Years in the Paleozoic by Ken Liu

There was also poetry:

  • City of Clay by Alexandra Seidel
  • Broken Towers by Alexandra Seidel
  • The Loneliness of the Long Distance Singer by Jack Horne

Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine #51 – review

This is the first issue of Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine (ASIM) that I’ve read, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I think I’m going to have to stop saying things like “it was a bit of a mixed bag” in these discussions on magazines – that is true of every one of them.

In this particular issue, I quite liked Basil Hawthorne and the Cliff Tomb by E Catherine Tobler, which describes an old fashioned adventurer and his brush with the spirit of Hatshepsut in one of her tombs. I liked the style of the writing it was a short piece but well rendered. I liked that almost Indiana Jones feel to a bit of swashbuckling adventure.

A Mirror, Darkly by Keith Stevenson struck a chord for different reasons. It is set around where I live, so the references to places I’m familiar with was both cool and a bit distracting. It is a horror story and well written. This kind of story isn’t my usual cup of tea, but I found myself intrigued right through to the (somewhat grisly) end.

I also enjoyed Children of War by Rachel Zakuta. This story, describing some of the aftermath of humanities rebellion against alien overlords, was interesting. I didn’t feel a strong connection with any of the characters, but I thought it described the detail of the universe well in a very short period of time. The end was a little unsatisfying, but did fit in with the rest of the story.

Now you won’t hear me say this often about poetry, but I actually liked Lacking an Adequate Metaphor for the Human Brain by Darrell Schweitzer. The layout of the poem was cool, the content was witty and the subject matter interesting. I like the thought of hyper intelligent but zen like goldfish.

Merchant’s Run by Calie Voorhis was a fun story to read, describing the adventures of Merchant and her ship Old Maid’s Mercy in the far future, and in particular the perils of dealing with bubbles in the pirate trade economy. I liked the style of the writing and it was consistently amusing all the way through.

Nessa 1944 by Ellen C Glass was an enjoyable tale about the evolution of an AI told from the point of view of a high tech cleaner she befriends. The character of Robbie was well realised.

This is a quarterly magazine and there were a boatload of other stories/poems/articles, including:

  • Bonsai by Robin Shortt
  • Aberrant Artifacts Found in Two Owl Indian Mound by Lee Clark Zumpe
  • The Household Debt by Chris Miles
  • The Story of the Ship that Brought Us Here by Stephan Case
  • The Birds, the Bees, and Thylacine by Thoraiya Dyer
  • Following in Harlan’s Footsteps by Sandra M Odell
  • A Cup of Smoke by Rachel Manija Brown
  • The Tectonics of the Misty Mountains by Chris Large
  • Review of the film Limitless by Jacob Edwards

I believe issue # 52 has just come out, looking forward to getting my copy.