Review: Albedo One Issue #34

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Albedo One is Ireland’s Magazine of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror. It is also home of the Aeon Award . They claim under their guidelines, their definition of what constitutes SF, horror and fantasy is extremely broad and they love to see material which pushes at the boundaries – I think they have easily achieved that goal within this issue and still remained within the chosen theme of “Things Change”.

Once I moved on from the beautiful cover art, the first item I came across was an Interview with
Raymond E Feist by Bob Neilson titled “Hey I think I forgot Uncle Tom Cobley”.

I found this to be a down to earth and open look at Raymond’s career from Magician through to Wrath of a Mad God, and the processes he, as a writer, has gone through to make that journey. He is very candid and gives some interesting insights, not only into the world of Epic Fantasy but into writing in general - with some interesting thoughts on other genres. Detailed discussion into the titles he believes will make writers into authors would be worth the price of the mag alone for new scribes among us.

But Albedo One prides itself on distinctive fiction and as previously stated, in this department it delivers.

“LOOB: Love Only Oily Bodies” by William R. Eakin’s is a dark tale that encompasses a man who is finally forced to find himself - his inner self. This is a complex tale told with an underlying force that pushes the reader on to an unexpected ending.

The White Knight by Devon Code placed third in the Aeon Award 2006-2007 contest. After reading this, you’ll never look at chess, Casablanca or research assistants the same.

Boneless by Rebecca Sian Pyne is based on an Oxfordshire legend about a gelatinous monster that roams the leafy English countryside engulfing unlucky travellers. This is a delightfully twisted tale of a man receiving justice from an unlikely source. Rich in its descriptions and almost tangible in its flavours, Boneless is an excellent example that cheating wives can sometimes be called on to pay their dues.

Angelus by Nina Allan was the winning entrant for the Aeon Award for 2007. It is an in-depth characterization of two men whose lives are irrevocably changed by a single woman and the different relationships they have with her. The tale is rich in detail and highly charged with emotional minefields as two men meet up again years after they’d last seen each other and the thread that ties them together.

Alice & Bob, by Phil Raines and Harvey Welles, is very different. I’ve never been a fan of stories told disjointedly through the exchange of letters, but here it works. In a world where your very location isn’t guaranteed we follow a love story as it unfolds via letters left by Alice and Bob. Through their missives we learn how the world has gone to ruin through unnatural forces acting on the flesh of mankind to pick them up without warning (and without their clothing) and transport them to a random point somewhere else on the globe: hardly the type of situation conducive to finding a soul-mate.

Isle of Beauty by Larry Taylor came second place in the Aeon Award 2006-2007 contest. This apocalyptic tale focuses on one small community and how they come together to cope with the change that is about to be thrust upon them. Told with fantastic descriptiveness, the changes this college based community go through is amazing and thought provoking. It is the least abstract of all the pieces presented and yet easily holds its head up among its surrounding award winners.

Siren by Nassau Hedron takes yet another road to illuminating how things change with a story depicting the relationship of a man and a woman through different incarnations, as they progress through time. The change is not the incarnations but the equilibrium of their relationship – it is a change that is unexpected and all the more powerful because it should have happened a long time ago. Love between a man and a woman can be strong; love between a mother and child is something else entirely.

The Supplanter by James Steimle is a strange little tale of ghosts, child birth and the passage of spirits from one generation to the next.

In the back of the magazine is more reviews than you’ll need to decide on your next month’s fictional purchases but hidden within them was Australia's own
David Conyers. Of particular note is an excellent review by David of Australian Dark Fantasy & Horror 2006. I imagine Albedo may be happy to take a follow up review for the just released 2007 edition.

Also among the reviews I found an excellent review for
Aurealis #36 (Issue #38/39 out now) from a self confessed “not the biggest fan” of Sci-Fi, Andrew McKenna, a regular reviewer for the magazine for the past three issues. It is proof positive that Australian fiction is being taken ever more seriously around the world.

Albedo One, Issue 34 is out now.