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

InterGalactic Medicine Show #61, February/March 2018

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InterGalactic Medicine Show #61, February/March 2018

Bare-knuckle Magic” by Michael Ezell

Six Rocketeers by Starlight” by Aimee Ogden
Tomorrow is Monday” by Jacob A. Boyd
Money in the Tortoise” by J.D. Moyer
Real Estate Listing” by Ari B. Goelman

Reviewed by Rebecca DeVendra

Michael Ezell’s “Bare-knuckle Magic” is about Eduardo, insurance customer service worker by day and boxer by night, in a world where magic is a reality. (Insurance companies don’t cover damage caused by hexes, for instance.) In the ring, fighters have “hexmen,” spell-casters providing magical enhancements to the boxers to make the match more interesting. Eduardo ends up in an ill-advised fight for his soul with a demon that claims the power of Achilles. The ending is predictable but that’s nothing against this feel-good tale which, at its heart, is about family and loyalty through adversity. It also contains some fight scenes that are great fun.

Six Rocketeers by Starlight” by Aimee Ogden is a space fantasy about a rocketeer that is all grit, called Susannah. The rocketeers are analogous to a group of cowboys, except they wander through space and zig-zag around comets, trying to find an asteroid on which they can rest for the night. The world building, while intricate and detailed, sometimes distracts from the main story and overshadows the characters. I’d have been grateful to spend a little more time getting used to the setting, but once I was immersed, the tale stopped. The ending is more of a tantalizing beginning after all, so perhaps Ogden will do more with this world with a longer narrative format in the future.

Tomorrow is Monday” by Jacob A. Boyd transports us to a post-apocalyptic world viewed through the residents and caretakers of a nursing home. Gladys is a resident with a one day reset: she always thinks it’s Monday. There’s mention of lizard people, a fun and tantalizing detail artfully dropped in at just the right spots in the narrative. This works to keep reader interest without being frustratingly mystifying, a hard balance to strike when the narrator is unreliable.

Money in the Tortoise” by J. D. Moyer is told from the point of view of a truck full of artichokes just trying to get to Chicago. It’s actually a person’s mind uploaded into a truck, which is certainly odd, but we just go with it. So what’s in the way? A rare tortoise that’s sitting in the road. It turns out to be a ruse: the truck is boarded by a girl who claims the tortoise is hers, and the story turns into a high stakes chase with military drones blowing lots of stuff up. This one is just plain fun, and made amusing by the protagonist’s absurd predicament.

Real Estate Listing” by Ari B. Goelman is a short and hard-hitting ‘don’t mention the mysterious deaths of past residents in a real estate listing.’ Seems like sound advice, but the narrator is obviously up to something. The tension builds to deliver a satisfying ending, even if it becomes a bit predictable halfway through.

Rebecca DeVendra is a figure artist and speculative fiction writer living in Boston. Her fiction can be found at Starship Sofa. She's also a mom to three cacophonous, early-rising children. She's probably in her pajamas, but she has an emergency collar shirt for video calls. Check out her blog.