Review: Fantasy & Science Fiction April 2007
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Firstly I’d like to apologise. Back on April 11 2008, I posted the review for the Fantasy and Science Fiction May 2007 issue. I mistakenly thought I had the June issue to do next. On opening this issue I find that it is the April 2007 issue and should have been posted first. Without further delay, here is the review for the April 2007 issue of Fantasy and Science Fiction Magazine.

Again I’m unable to comment on any additional content or layout as I’ve only been sent the four pieces of fiction, and one poem included in the issue. All the works are very much targeted at an American audience.

Through further investigation, the stories offered all have roots in American legend and folklore, and therefore would intrinsically mean more to an American reader. Without that hindsight, they come across as a little lacking in substance. This cannot be a good thing. A story should be able to stand on its own -- add local flavour if you must, but a reader shouldn’t have to be aware of American history to appreciate or gain entertainment from a short story.

Titanium Mike Saves the Day
By David D. Levine

A comical story, that starts out very sci-fi and works backward in time. The myths and legends of Titanium Mike are traced back from 2144 to 2023, being compacted down from complete fantasy, to the real man, but always with the moral of getting things done. The real man was a friend who helped another fulfil her dreams of space-travel. The legends grew from how Mike created the space in Saturn’s rings to how he saved a space station with nothing but spit. It’s a good read, with a nice moral backdrop. It’s simply fun to rewind the legend that is Titanium Mike. In the end, isn’t story-telling supposed to be entertaining – this one was.

A Thing Forbidden
By Donald Mead

A Christian western, with a wicked twist. As I read through this piece, I was trying to decide how I could write a review that wasn’t too damning. I don’t like western stories and I’m not a big fan of Christian tales but add a bit of cannibalism and twisted type of Holy vampirism, and I’m all ears.

The Equally Strange Reappearance of David Gerrold
By David Gerrold

This is a letter. In it are the lines:
“His stories have a beginning, a middle, and an end.” He gave me a dirty look when he said this; I deliberately chose not to respond. Until my dramatic license is revoked, I’ll write any damn thing you pay me for.
Obviously his dramatic license hasn’t yet been revoked, and obviously he was paid for this – God and the editor only know why.
Apparently this is the follow-on from a story that began back in the January 2007 issue. It is also apparently the case that this story is better if the first half is read before this one. I doubt it.

By Gene Wolfe

This is quite a compelling 28,000 word sci-fi novella. In the vastness of space, March Wildspring creates a vid, a television show, detailing the mausoleums of individuals that have been built on asteroids. Some of them are quaint little memorials while some are vast and complex.
Occasionally, like Number Nineteen, they are extremely dangerous.
Wolfe does an amazing job of creating an intimate stage with one main character, his love interest and two supporting characters in the vastness of space. The reader accepts the hugeness of the setting but is kept drawn in to a very limited environment. It is excellently done.
Unfortunately the plot doesn’t quite reach great heights. It wrangles around March’s love for Kit, with the interruption of his ex-wife Sue. She is running from her second husband Jim, who physically abuses her. March is out in the asteroid belt filming his new project and asks Kit (who already works for the networks) to come do some voice-overs and documentary hosting for him. She gladly agrees but arrives with Sue in-tow. They agree to a strained truce while on shoot. Then Jim arrives. Sue runs and hides in Memorial Number Nineteen, as March has christened it. March has already figured out that this memorial is extremely dangerous so they all chase after her to attempt a rescue.
The memorial throws up some unique challenges that are easily overcome and in the end, March barely escapes with his life, but loses his companions in extremely quick succession. In the end he muses over whether his ex-wife actually survived because hers is the only death he didn’t get on screen. The twist is contained in the credits depicted at the end.

This is a very well crafted story, but with a very thin plot. It touches on a lot of different themes with love being foremost. All the different types of love a person can encounter, but these are all subtly woven into a story line, full of detail, which tracks along a very sedate path.

By Sophie M. White

The last offering is a short poem. I’m not a poet and I have rarely read one that I like or, if it is cryptic in nature, have understood the imagery of. Sadly this little attempt falls into both of these categories. About a centaur with the body of a mule rather than a horse, who the owner can’t rid herself of – it makes little sense to me. I could hazard a guess but fear that I could either give the author too much credit, or show myself to be the philistine I already know I am when it comes to poetic offerings.