Fantasy & Science Fiction

June 2005

Cover image

Editor: Gordon van Gelder
Issue: Volume 108, No. 6
ISSN: 1095-8258
Pages: 162

An average sort of issue, with a variety of averagely poor to averagely good stories, some mostly uninspiring book reviews, and nothing to make it stand out from the crowd.

"Of Silence and the Man at Arms" by Charles Coleman Finlay: A rather pointless sword and sorcery tale featuring a trick solution to a pursuing imp and not much else. Fluff at best. (5)

"Poet Snow" by Robert Reed: I liked the basic idea, of writing poetry with weather control, and wish that it had been explored further. Instead, the point of the story turned out to be a twist of expectations that was all too predictable in advance. Still, some interesting ideas. (6)

"Eating Hearts" by Yoon Ha Lee: This nice bit of Asian mythology would have been the best story of this issue if there had been just a little more explanation for the ignorant westerner. Alas, the story left me feeling like I almost but not quite understood the meanings behind the simple and obvious moral of the ending. (6)

"Chester" by David Gerrold: The best story of the issue, about nightmares, dream watchdogs, and accepting the unbelievable. I laughed out-loud at the ending. It's just the sort of innocuous, matter-of-fact, excessively practical, and yet completely strange thing that children say. The rest of the story kept me emotionally hooked, even if I didn't completely buy the father's dithering of belief. (7)

"Bedfellows" by Harry Turtledove: Bush and Bin Laden realize they need each other for political support and have a gay marriage. Six pages of elaboration don't make the joke any funnier, even if it hadn't already been told a thousand times. A waste of space. (3)

"Sweetmeats" by Marc Laidlaw: A very disturbing and atmospheric dark fairy tale that had me hooked most of the way and then lost me completely at the end. It felt like most of the ideas introduced over the course of the story were never followed up, and Laidlaw feels like he's forcibly introducing mystery by alluding to things rather than explaining them. Frustrating. I wanted more world-building, and a twisted circular ending didn't satisfy. (4)

"The Legend of the Whiney Man" by John Morressy: There's a great joke buried in the middle of this story, but Morressy takes rather a long time to get to it and then keeps telling the story for rather too long afterwards. The generic fantasy world mixed in around the joke wasn't interesting and could have easily been glossed over. (6)

"The Gist Hunter" by Matthew Hughes: I like the Henghis Hapthorn stories. They're not great works of literature, nor do they have a solid point, twist endings, or incredible ideas, but they're fun and have a wonderful sense of atmosphere. The cross between an early detective and an implied decadant far future really works for me, and I love the extra-dimensional demon. The twist put in the world at the end of this story is a bit overused and this story dragged in places, but this was still a fun read. (6)

Rating: 6 out of 10

Reviewed: 2005-10-01

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