Friday, August 31, 2012

Review of "The Bookmaking Habits of Select Species" by Ken Liu

"The Bookmaking Habits of Select Species" by Ken Liu was published in the August 2012 edition of Lightspeed (issue 27).  Mr. Liu discusses the different ways that different fictional extraterrestrial sentients use to "write."

This piece, by Mr. Liu's admission, is more of a lecture than a story.  Instead of following individual characters through a conflict in a setting, Mr. Liu follows different species as they "write" in different settings.  This story, if it may be called a story, was not really my cup of tea, although I definitely appreciate what the author accomplished.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Review of "The Angel Azrael Delivers Small Mercies" by Peter Darbyshire

"The Angel Azrael Delivers Small Mercies" by Peter Darbyshire was published in Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Issue 102, August 23, 2012.  The Angel Azrael pursues another angel, once a friend/lover, who is wreaking havoc among the human population in this weird western.  A warning from the editors would have been nice:  this story contains disturbing, graphic violence and is definitely not for the faint of heart.

I'm a medical doctor.  I have always maintained that once you cut up a dead human being, nothing should really bother you.  Yet, I was bothered by the images in this story.  Whether that is a tribute to or criticism of Mr. Darbyshire's efforts I am not sure.  Regardless, readers may still take comfort in the familiar western plot, weird though it may be here.

Fans of good writing, hard core horror, westerns, and angels will enjoy this story.  Overall, I'm going to say that I did.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Review of "Cartographer's Ink" by Beth Cato

"Cartographer's Ink" by Beth Cato was published in Daily Science Fiction on August 24, 2012.  The elderly royal cartographer of the kingdom of Qen whose control of magical ink is vital to his kingdom's defense hides the fact that he is crippled by arthritis and unable to perform his vital duties.

Ms. Cato admits in the author's note that it took her years, much advice, and many revisions to get this story right.  I am glad she stuck with it.  Her system of magic, by which a cartographer uses enchanted ink upon an enchanted map to produce effects in the real world, is unique and interesting.  7 rocket-dragons.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Review of "A Wizard At War" by A. M. Roelke

"A Wizard At War" by A. M. Roelke was offered by Daily Science Fiction on August 21, 2012.  A man with magical healing powers surreptitiously does what he can for his comrades at arms during World War I.  He is faced with a terrible choice when an enemy discovers his secret.

As a doctor and a writer, I really enjoyed reading this one.  I think Erich Maria Remarque would have enjoyed it too.  7 rocket-dragons.