"The Fates Take a Holiday" by Sarah Prineas
"Acquired Tastes" by Stephen Dedman
"Howler" by Robert Hood
"The Words" by Renee Dillon
"Bovine Intervention" by G. Scott Huggins
"Rambling with Rose" by Robert Cox
"Things to Do While Waiting for an Elevator" by William I. Lengeman III
"The Sibylline Books" by Howard Andrew Jones
"Shady Places" by Jaleigh Johnson
"Parity Check" by Dirk Flinthart
Edwina Harvey opens this issue of Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine with the story "Following a Haunch," about a starving tourist who gets roped into working as a tour guide for an agency which is responsible for scamming clients into indentured servitude for the duration of their interstellar flight. While the situational humor of the piece (which is hardly a story) could have been funny, Harvey is not completely successful in that she fails to build up the necessary tension between the tourists and their erstwhile guides.
Sarah Prineas take the mythological fates and follows them to London in "The Fates Take a Holiday." Her characters are cleverly written and her take on the mythology is interesting. While the idea of the three women sitting in Erebus cutting threads may seem boring, as it does to both Clotho and Atropos, Prineas indicates that she could write a very interesting story about the three of them, and Lachesis' thoughts as she watches people on the streets of London could set Prineas up for several stories using the characters, a turn of events which could lead to many intriguing tales.
Stephen Dedman postulates an intricate time travel venture in "Acquired Tastes." His protagonist, Mr. Isa, is an analyst who finds himself tied to Richard Reynolds, one of the most powerful men of his time. For a few favors, Reynolds is willing to offer Isa just about anything, and Isa questions the reasons. While the story is interesting, Reynolds seems to decide to take Isa into his confidence a little too quickly. Nevertheless, Dedman has created a very interesting world and the reader can only hope he will continue to explore it.
In a magazine filled with much light and humorous fiction, Robert Hood's "Howler" stands out for its portrayal of a world into which the forces of evil are trying to enter to destroy it. The relationship between Liz and Ian is real, as is Ian's conversion to belief in the strange story Liz tells him about the howlers. Hood does include a smidgeon of humor in the story, but it seems forced and unnecessary.
"The Words" is Renee Dillon's story of a magic spell gone awry. This short story is telegraphed, but still works reasonably well as the mage offers his warnings to the prince, who nevertheless convinces the wizard to cast a love spell.
G. Scott Huggins has written a clever fantasy tale with "Bovine Intervention," which plays against expectations. Although at first it appears a straight fantasy quest out of any role-playing game, Huggins takes the common tropes and twists them with a delightfully perverse sense of humor. Although the ending is apparent before Huggins actually reaches the end, the reader's realization of what has occurred carries the right amount of impact.
Robert Cox has written the most sentimental story in this issue of Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine. "Rambling with Rose" is the story of twin siblings on a jaunt through Europe. What makes it so sentimental is that Rose, the older sibling, is dead and her ashes are being carried by her brother because she had always wanted to visit Europe. While the story could have been mawkish, Cox avoids that trap and has written a story which shows the brother's love for his sister as well as his ability to put his past behind him and get on with a life of his own.
William I. Lengeman III provides a vaguely humorous list of "Things to Do While Waiting for an Elevator." Although the list starts out reasonably well, he is not able to successfully carry the humor to the levels of reductio ad absurdum he attempts as the piece continues.
Howard Andrew Jones has set his story, "The Sibylline Books," in the immediate aftermath of the Roman-Carthaginain Battle of Cannae in 216 BC. The story focuses on Hanno, a Carthaginian whose quest is to find the Sibylline Books which contain the future history of Rome in the hopes of being able to ensure a Carthaginian victory. While the story is well paced and well written, the hazards of the quest seem to be more tame than Jones probably desired.
Jaleigh Johnson portrays a husband and wife who discover the fact of her pregnancy in "Shady Places." At the same time, she reveals to her husband that she is, in fact, a unicorn. The two banter back and forth, ignoring both the implications of pregnancy and unicornity. While the words seem right, the tone beneath them does not appear to be on the mark.
"Parity Check" has a strange "Sleeper"-esque feel to it despite Dirk Flinthart not incorporating anything like Woody Allen's humor in the short piece. Nevertheless, the character, who is about to undergo a duplicative regeneration process, bears a strong resemblance to Allen's Miles Monroe character. The story of a man trying to preserve both his life and his memories is a strong and poignant story and serves as a good end to the fiction portion of this issue of Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine.
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