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

Flash Fiction Online #51, December 2017

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Flash Fiction Online #51, December 2017

"Excerpt from the Diagnostic and Necromantic Manual, 5th edition Regarding the Departed" by Stewart C Baker

"The First Stop Is Always the Last" by John Wiswell
 
Reviewed by Chuck Rothman

Flash Fiction Online’s December issue has two fantasy stories where the structure is an important part of the tale.

"Excerpt from the Diagnostic and Necromantic Manual, 5th edition Regarding the Departed" by Stewart C Baker tries for something difficult: creating a story from a series of instructions. It primarily lists ways to bring back loved ones from the dead. There are some amusing comments in it, but they don't really cohere into a narrative, and the lack of any sort of characterization makes is difficult to connect with.

When I first started "The First Stop Is Always the Last," I thought there was some sort of glitch on the web page. But I quickly caught on to what John Wiswell was doing. Selma is a bus driver who picks up a passenger, leading to a conversation that keeps resetting. The passenger is Miri, and we discover she has a very different sort of job. I like the execution of the idea and the portrayal of the two characters as they start to form a relationship.


Chuck Rothman's novels Staroamer's Fate and Syron's Fate are available from Fantastic Books.