As I write this entry to the new edition, I sit listening to the beautiful sounds of White Vinyl Design’s music of the solar system. It’s so fitting to the time of year in Canada, where I am currently, full of soft and lullaby-like tunes. You can find the link on any of our social media sites, posted on the 30th of August. Astounding the way the creativity the galaxy inspires.
We’re gathering our energies together again after the publication of Star Quake 2, our Best of 2013 edition. There’s been so much wonderful feedback from our contributors who have received the books, and for a limited time, you can get Star Quake 1 and 2 in a special two-for-one deal. Awesome! Please help support us by getting the word out.
It’s that time of year where we also start talking about our special edition for May 2015. This year we’re looking for new spins on fables and fairytales; legends of a new age. What will catch our eye are stories that haven’t been told, or fables that aren’t Eurocentric, like Grimm or Christian-Anderson. Details will be forthcoming soon after the publication of this issue.
What if your worst memory or your most regretted action was replayed for you over and over again. Welcome to corrective therapy, the capital punishment under the current planetary government. Jim Lee’s science fiction world shows us that it is our ideas which can be dangerous to the powers-that-be. SY
They roused Sidi Mohamed Daoud from a very old nightmare—one he once dared imagine he’d left behind with his troubled and far-distant adolescence. Ironically enough, it was the one that had driven him into social activism in the first place. And now, with a secret and shameful certitude, he knew it would be used against him.
And the ones who were about to do this unspeakable thing to him had no idea, no conception what he faced. If they did, perhaps they would understand his attempted suicide. But would they care—even if they knew?
He looked at the Senior Attending Physician’s impassive face and doubted it.
Two brawny orderlies, one of either gender, deactivated the restraints. They slipped his naked form into one of the new ‘smart’ hospital gowns—one that would detach itself and slither away upon the Senior Attending Physician’s order.
With the SAP, the orderlies escorted Daoud from the temporary holding cell. They ushered him down one final hallway to Corrective Therapy Room D427.
“That many?” Daoud blinked, turned to the SAP. “Doctor Sayem? Each inmate does require a separate room?”
Reviewed by Mysti Parker
After a nearly two-year wait, fans of Deborah Harkness’s All Souls Trilogy will be thrilled to know that the third book has finally arrived. You may remember my reviews of the first (A Discovery of Witches) and second book (Shadow of Night) in 2012. Having enjoyed the previous stories so much, I had very little trouble remembering the plot details that were left unfinished. This final installment wraps all the loose threads into a mostly-satisfying ending.
Giang works in a sweatshop in Vietnam, making running shoes on a production line. When the unthinkable happens, Giang goes on to see a different world to the one she’s known. This magical realism story by Ken Liu is one to make you stop and think about our consumeristic society and what exploitation is worth. SY
“You’re under quota again!” Foreman Vuong shouted. “Why are you so slow?”
Fourteen-year old Giang’s face flushed with shame. She stared at the angry veins on the foreman’s sweaty neck, pulsing like fat slugs on a ripe tomato. She hated Vuong even more than she hated the shoe factory’s Taiwanese owners and managers. One expected the foreigners to treat the Vietnamese badly, but Vuong was from right here in Yên Châu District.
“Sixteen hours is a long shift,” Giang mumbled. She lowered her eyes. “I get tired.”
“You’re lazy!” Vuong went on to spew a stream of curses.
Giang flinched, anticipating a flurry of strikes and blows. She tried desperately to look contrite.
Vuong considered her, his lips curling up in a cruel smile. “I’ll have to make you stronger through punishment. Run five laps around the factory, right now, and you’ll stay as long as you have to tonight to make up your quota.”
Ackerley Brumlow is dead, and the jokester’s long-time friend Ezra still doesn’t know if Ackerley managed to dispose of the sensitive material he’d given him. Other unlikely happenings open Ezra’s eyes to more sinister signs that all is not right in Tendry Spire. Travis Burnham’s supernatural horror is a question of who is strong enough… SY
The evening they buried Ackerley Brumlow the sky was a bloody bruise. Steely storm clouds menaced the north and the air was charged and heavy; the threat of lightning making every breath laborious and wheezy for those attending the funeral.
Though Ackerley had no family to speak of, many of the residents of Tendry Spire were arranged about the coffin, some to pay their respects, some to truly mourn, and some simply at a loss for activity after a Monday’s work.
Many were children, with which Ackerley had an affinity; no surprise as they comprised a majority of his clientele.
At the presiding priest’s last words, Ezra Calogero stepped forward and, scratching his short, shaggy beard, hesitated at the edge of the grave, “Somber words for our resident trickster, wouldn’t you say, Father Robert?”
A cold stare was Father Robert’s reply.
Logan Drewry flees deeper into the Morland Basking Plain followed by the irascible Marcos Xzen, leader of the deep desert command. But the desert will present its own challenges to the invading force… SY
Reviewed by Damien Smith
“In 1961, two interplanetary refugees crash landed on a remote beach on the Greek island of Kea. This is not their story but of what happened much, much later.” With that, the briefest of introductions, we fast forward to the future world of Cory Wilson, Nations of Earth Ambassador to the mighty gamra-a collective of worlds and civilisations overseen by the strict Coldi people who control the Exchange.
When anyone can create any technology they require with just a schematic, the threat to civilisation sky-rockets. With security strategies in place, people can rest easy, until those protections are undone. David Conyers’ science fiction follows governmental agent Brian Arctor as he tries to stop a threat from spiralling out of control. SY
Despite his fluency in Mandarin, Brian Arctor couldn’t read the Chinese menu, hacked as it was by a nanovirus.
The spammer was a competing restaurant from across the road. Between roaming lines of white noise, the menu flickered from one dish list to the next, never static long enough to digest either offering.
‘Why eat quality poor establishment you now?’ asked the intruding menu in staccato Engrish. ‘We cook superior noodles. Go ready Ghan Train!’
What the spam could never appreciate was that Arctor had a comfortable seat in this restaurant, the aromas of spices and cigarette smoke weren’t as pungent or offensive as in the Ghan and most important of all, this establishment was discrete. He would remain where he was, thank you very much.
Recognising that he was indeed hungry, Arctor offloaded an anti-spam from his skin screen and watched it crawl onto the menu. It quickly blended with the spam only to have a local brothel exploit a gap in the coding. It offered, instead of food, ‘tasty women’.
Arctor signed as he threw the corrupted sheet onto the pirated IKEA table. Nanotech was everywhere here, and any of it could be spyware. Any item could be bugged, or worse, a chameleon weapon.
Reviewed by Sophie Yorkston
William Horwood returns after a decade break from original fantasy, and Winter is the culmination of his four seasonally-associated Hyddenworld books. It was his earlier writings in his Duncton Wood universe that meant these books went to the top of my reading list. I have reviewed the others in the series on my personal blog.