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the genre's premiere review magazine for short SF & Fantasy since 1993

Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, #21, Oct/Nov 2005

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"Between a Rock and God's Place" by Lazette Gifford
"Get Pookie" by Brendan Duffy 
"Disposable Heroes" by Jason S. Ridler
"MarsSickGirl" by Jennifer Pelland
"Invictus" by Dirk Flintheart
"There" by Ben Payne
"The Clockwork Soldier" by Stuart Barrow
"Elwin's House" by John Borneman
"The Chill of Eternity" by Ian Nichols

"Between a Rock and God's Place" by Lazette Gifford had me in stitches nearly the whole story.  Jas has stolen a single copper coin from a beggar—who turns out to be Blind Baxter, the god of Beggars, in disguise.  Now he's doomed o follow the coin, in the form of a lame beggar, until someone willingly gives it back to him.  Tobuk, the King's Treasurer, had promised to give him the coin when he died.  But when the piece of copper is buried with him, the cast of characters gets more interesting as Theon, the god of Thieves, Lawris, the god of Lawyers, the two hellhounds, Ted and Mike, and even Dave, the god of the Dead, get called in to help unravel a series of surprising—and amusing—plot twists.  This story is a great read, right up to the last hilarious twist. 
 
Let's face it, the breeding of chihuahuas is not exactly the most scintillating story subject in the world.  With that said, "Get Pookie" by Brendan Duffy isn't as boring as it could have been.  As a virus renders dogs all over the world sterile, a small group of scientists-slash-dog breeders-slash-genetic terrorists work at isolating the DNA that will be immune to all five strains of the virus in order to breed a dog that can reproduce in a world where no other dogs can—a gold mine with four legs and a tail.  But in order to do that, they'll have to impregnate one chihuahua, Pookie, with sperm from Dagwood, another chihuahua.  They already have cell stocks that are resistant to strains 1, 2, and 3; Dagwood and Pookie are resistant to strains 4 and 5.  But getting the embryos may be more trouble than they expected.  They aren't the only ones hoping to get Pookie. 
 
As the author's characters battle cat burglars with tasers and guards with pizza, the author himself meditates on the nature of freedom and equality, and how much they really mean to us. 
 
Somewhere behind the foul language in Jason S. Ridler's "Disposable Heroes" is a heartwarming tale of friendship, devotion, and mankind's need to create.  Unfortunately for the story, I was too busy looking for the soap to pay it much attention.  When the characters writers create are forgotten, they end up in The Lost Metropolis.  Imagine waking up to find that your life has been nothing more than a figment of imagination that someone got bored with, and you can imagine what it's like for newcomers to the Lost Metropolis—newcomers like Pongo Gutbag.  It's the job of Jack Flashdagger, former pirate captain of the starship Longshot, to see that Pongo learns his way around without going insane—but Pongo brings up memories that Jack would rather forget. 
 
If seriously bad language turns you off at all, then this story isn't worth reading.  If not, enjoy.  And if you find the soap, let me know?  
 
For whatever reason, the last 200 or so words of "MarsSickGirl" by Jennifer Pelland are missing from the magazine version.  However, you can read the ending of "MarsSickGirl" on Jennifer's website: jenniferpelland.com/fiction/marssickgirl.html.  
 
Even with the truncated ending, this is one powerful story.  Vienna left her home planet of Mars when a university on Callisto offered her a full scholarship, but when recession struck, she was left with a useless degree and no way to buy passage back to Mars and her family.  Getting a job is nearly impossible; the megacorps are all switching over to Earth-gee gravity, and Vienna, raised in Mars' lighter gravity and now accustomed to Callisto's, lighter yet, hasn't a hope of being able to make it there.  As her unemployment benefits run out and her bank account drops, she begins having vivid dreams of destroying Earth-gee domes and other acts of subversion.  Uploading her dreams to the freenets via her braincomp gives other Marsies and Gallileans a little catharsis as well—and attracts the attention of a major dreamcorp. 
 
Perhaps the part of this story I loved the best was the reality of Vienna's homesickness.  Or maybe it was the superb characterization; I knew instinctively what Vienna's choice would be, even before I read the missing ending.  Either way, this story of home, courage, and sacrifice is one that I'll come back to time after time after time. 
 
"Invictus" by Dirk Flintheart is a beautiful story of one old woman's struggles to lead her people aright, a story as wild and lonesome and bitterly beautiful as Ireland, where the story is set.  Grainne ni Maille has come seeking the wisdom and aid of the Lady in her country's dark despair.  But first, she must set aside her temper long enough to listen. 
 
This story of desperation and hope resonates with love of country, love of people, and a courage as wild as Ireland itself. 
 
Ben Payne's "There" is a story of love and alternate realities played out.  There's not much of a plotline to give because there's not much of a plot, but it manages to be sweetly poignant, nonetheless. 
 
Stuart Barrow has woven a tale of friendship that stands the test of time in "The Clockwork Soldier."  Jack and Artie are comrades in arms in the king's army; Jack is a farmer's son and Artie is a clockwork soldier.  Together they fight and keep each other alive, and they dream of the day they'll be discharged.  Jack plans to marry the miller's daughter and keep a farm of his own; Artie dreams of working the farm with Jack and coaxing life from the soil.  When the war ends, Jack is discharged, but Artie, considered a piece of equipment, is not.  Jack promises to buy Artie's freedom, but through the long years, he despairs of ever being able to save enough. 
 
While the plot on this story was solid and the characterization decent, I didn't care much for the style.  It dragged at times, and in a story that centers mainly on long years of patient waiting, dragging is fatal like nothing else can be. 
 
"Elwin's House" by John Borneman is a memorable story, for all its short length.  The narrator comes to Elwin's house for the memories of her, his wife, Elwin's daughter.  But the memories haunt both of them. 
 
The last true human in a race of immortals, the narrator in Ian Nichols's "Chill of Eternity" is the last person in the world who can die—and therefore, the last person in the world who knows what it truly means to live.  He is their last link with the past they came from, and the immortals will do anything to keep him alive—even if it means stripping away the very humanity they want to preserve. 
 
"Chill of Eternity" sent chills down my spine.  It asks, in a fresh and frightening voice, what it really means to be human—and would humanity still be human if it stayed the same forever?