Wednesday, January 29, 2003

Redsine, Number Eight

I should mention that Redsine is edited by Trent Jamieson and Garry Nurrish. Nice work, guys. This issue has an interview with Tim Powers, who is a god. The rest is stories.

"Trapdoor" by Darrell Pitt is a tale of quantum universes, death and regret. It's quite good, although I wish it had gone the extra step into the dark.

Chris McMahon's "Within Twilight" is a science fiction tale that explores conditioning, childhood and education of a sort. It's very lean and well-paced, with powerful and lasting images.

"Les Autres" by Adam Browne has a sardonic tone to it which works almost all the way through. A young woman whose time in a drug-induced coma puts her deep into debt is forced to consider a new line of work. The ending is bleak indeed, but sudden and pointless--I suspect that this is the intent, but it doesn't quite work, mostly because the future created by Browne distracts from the devaluation of human life which he seems concerned with. Interesting but flawed.

"The Wrong Stuff" by David McAlinden casts a John Glenn-like figure as American Psycho, with results that are less chilling than darkly humorous. Good stuff.

Hertzan Chimera and M.F. Korn collaborate on a story called "One Day at a Time." It's about two drunken space cowboys who accidentaly land on a planet hostile to humans, except that it's not an accident but a deliberate blunder scripted by their employers, who film their adventures and beam them across the galaxy. It gets odder. This one is fun for a while, but loses steam before the end.

"October Eyes" by Alison L.R. Davies is a dark and earthy story about a marriage. It's quite lyrical and successful.

"Mr. October" by Jack Fisher is not about Reggie Jackson but rather a short tale about the spirit of Halloween blowing through town. It's quite charming.

"Robin Hood's New Mother" by Rhys Hughes is a wonderful story about inhabitants of myth and legend trapped by the tropes of same. The Sheriff of Nottingham--"a villain, but he just follows orders, so it isn't his fault"--learns that the bored Queen of the Amazons is on her way to engage Robin Hood in single combat on the day that Robin is dying of a mortal wound. The complications that follow from this, and from Robin's last arrow (you may remember it from the stories) are as hilarious as they are appropriate. Great story.

Tuesday, January 28, 2003

Girl Crazy by Gilbert Hernandez

Gilbert Hernandez is best known for Love and Rockets, the legendary anthology comic series he publishes with his brothers Jaime and Mario. His best-known stories from that series are the convoluted but more or less linear tales of Palomar, a small South American village similar to Garcia Marquez's Macondo, and its inhabitants and expatriates. He's also done a number of short and surrealistic tales of gonzo science fiction, and Girl Crazy resembles these more than the Palomar stories. A three-issue mini done for Dark Horse several years ago and collected in trade paperback form, it's a wild ride. It's the story of three girls: one, Kitten, is a tax collector for a future IRS, who wears a cybernetic power suit to collect from aging deadbeat punks; the second, Maribel, is a muscular heroine in animal skins who lives in a savage jungle-like Los Angeles; and lastly there is Gaby, who practices law in the 1950's, although these 1950's seem perhaps a three-hour drive away rather than fifty years. I won't even attempt to explain what happens when the three get together on the cusp of their sixteenth birthdays, except that it has to do with some buried talents, Kitten's lovesick boss, and the mysterious Una. Does the story make sense? I'm not sure. But it's a lot of fun, and Beto's drawings (and his women) are as lovely as ever. Recommended.