Talebones Issue #25, Fall 2002
I'm quite merciless when it comes to short fiction. This is not to say that I'm a terribly harsh critic (I'm not a critic, for one thing, but more on that in a second). What I mean is that unless the story is by an author I know and trust (or if they're Nemonymous, but that's a separate entry), or the story grabs me in the first couple of paragraphs, I won't read it. I have too much stuff to read to plow through every single story. This means that I will not comment on every story. This doesn't mean that the stories I don't comment on are bad--remember, I didn't read them, so I can't speak to their quality. I just skipped 'em, possibly because I was cranky or hungry (often the one feeds into the other). Sometimes, because I am a writer myself with a meager amount of publications to my credit, I skip stories simply because I'm bitter. Hey, I'm not without pettiness. Sorry 'bout that.
So, I am not a critic. You didn't pay to come here, right? Nope. I'm putting this up here because my reading journal was starting to bore me, so I thought I'd type the entries into the black hole of the web.
By the way, if anyone is actually reading this and I don't comment on your story, and you care what I think, email me and I'll go back and read it and say something. It might not be nice, but I'll say something.
So, with the disclaimer out of the way, on to the latest issue of Talebones. This'll be short; I only read two of these stories. The first, "The Ulti Mate" by Jerry Oltion, has a vaguely interesting premise--that there is magic in the world, but the amount any individual may wield is inversely proportional to the number of people in the world--but does very little with it. I've liked some of Mr. Oltion's stories, but this is not one of them.
The second story is Jay Lake's "Tall Spirits, Blocking the Night." Full disclosure: I am aware that Mr. Lake is co-editor of the wonderful Polyphony, so it's possible that I may be kissing up to him in hopes that he will buy one of my stories, but I was impressed with this short and chilling tale of psychological horror, with a truly spooky and yet oddly uplifting ending.