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:
- Or Bind his Tongue with a Cord by B G Hilton
- House of Cards by R P L Johnson
- Flyby by Clare M Clerkin-Russell
- Welcome to New London, Population: 1 by Matthew Fryer
- How the Moon Got Its Cousin by Lee Hallison
- Snow Cat by Debbie Moorhouse
- The Djinn’s Wife and Her Mosaic of Wishes by Alexandra Seidel
This work by Mark Webb is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Australia License.