Wednesday, January 22, 2003

Redsine, Number Seven

Redsine is a quarterly speculative fiction magazine out of Australia, and it's quite good. This issue has thirteen stories, an interview with Elizabeth Hand and some book reviews. There is some art, but unfortunately this particular copy appears to have had some printing problems and some of the drawings are very murky and difficult to decipher. If that is the intention, then I must apologize for being obtuse.

Thirteen stories, nearly all worth reading. So, my impressions:

"Detectives and Cadavers" is a Jeff Vandermeer story about a city of humans besieged by mutants. It's not clear how the mutations came about, but it's not important. What's important is that this story drips with dread and menace, and that it will haunt you. Strong stuff.

"Louisa" by Kirstyn McDermott is a story more grounded in the world we know, which is what makes it so damned creepy. It starts out as a tale about child abuse and becomes something even more terrible. Very effective.

"What She Wanted" by Keith Brooke recounts a beach vacation which proves to be a turning point for both halves of the couple taking it. It might be a better story were certain things left murkier, but the ending is particularly unsettling.

"Bride Sniping" by Paul Hassing postulates a future Australia where a collapsing economy where guerilla photographers take unauthorized wedding pictures and then try to sell them. In the context of this dystopian tale, it makes perfect sense. What happens to the protagonist after his first attempt at this illegal activity gets him thrown into prison makes sense too, in a strange way. Very dark and entertaining.

Cat Sparks's "Fuchsia Spins by Moonlight" is a hypnotic story about a dance teacher who's reminiscent of Isadora Duncan, but who seems much older and is trying to get much further on. A young girl name Freya is among those ensnared by Miss Fuchsia's incantations of the archetypal and divine feminine, seeming to grasp at it as an antidote against her adolescence. What happens is far too interesting for me to spoil here, but it has to do with the strange dreams Freya's sister Tahlie has been having. Again, good stuff.

"Mesh of Veins" by Brendan Connell starts with a tattoo and goes to a place you'd never expect. Wild and chilling and surprising.

"The Silent People" by Stepan Chapman is a story about telepathy and child-rearing; how to encourage the one and how to not do the other. I'll say no more, but it's a worthwhile story.

"A Message to Medicare" by Nathan Burrage is about the power of the spoken word, but not like you think. Again, I hesitate to say more lest I destroy the fun.

Scott Thomas's "The Tale of Wolf Storm Hill" is a lovely story about men and wolves, with a languid, mythic feel. Beautiful.

Finally, Brian Stableford's "Nobody Else to Blame" is a satirical look at "nice" neighborhoods and "respectable" people, and it's probably the funniest story about suicide I've ever read, while still being sad.


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