Saturday, 26 November 2016


Galaxy's Edge #18 By Mike Resnick

A review by Sandra Scholes

This issue is quite a milestone for Mike as this is the third  year Galaxy's Edge has been in publication at a time when many might have thought it had had its day. Thankfully, the magazine is still so popular due to the volume of quality stories and editorial inside. With two Hugo nominations and a Campbell nominee in 2015, there is plenty to enjoy in this issue with stories by Laurie Tom, Lou J Berger, Jennifer Campbell-Hicks, Robert T Jeshonek, Rene Sears, Dantzel Cherry and Robert J Sawyer.

In The Editor's Word, Mike Resnick continues his third of four columns he wrote for The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction as his "Forgotten Treasures," novels he thought worthy of mentioning. His reason for this is that he thought it a good idea to tell the readers of science fiction novels that had been published in paperback cheaply as they are well worth getting. His interest is for readers to "buy out the Dealer's there at the next WorldCon," and when I've been to cons before, it's been my experience that I've had to get the latest ones, hopefully at a low cost price. The books he mentions are ones written by some featured in Galaxy's Edge that I understand persuaded him to create a magazine full of captivating stories of the unusual and at times, humorous in science fiction and fantasy.

The stories are a mixed bag of long and short this issue with The Bone-Runner by Jennifer Campbell-Hicks setting us off. Hicks's story is set after a war and the Fall where all that is left is a deserted city, rubble and polluted air unfit to live in or around. A scavenger ponders his life with his lion who hunts with it bone-runner. Bone-runners look for scrap metal or old things of value left around before the Fall. These he can sell in order to keep on living. He recalls the times before he was alone, when he had Skip running with him, but after his betrayal, he has never felt more alone. Only the discovery of an old book could help him and save him from death. Hicks is great at creating atmosphere and her blast from the past memories are perfect for the chosen character.

In Full Skies, No Water by Lou J. Berger a guy sent to Persephone to get back the projectors that help rain water get to the surface of the planet after their people couldn't keep up with their payments. In one region, he does the same. One day he gathers them up, and a family ask him to have dinner with them.  This might be their last as their water source is quickly running out, but this time he could help them out. When people and planets are held to ransom by large corporations, this could well happen and Berger writes it in a believable way.

The Second Person Unmasked by Janis Ian is a story with a twist, the sort of tale that could find its way as being made into an episode of a new series of the Outer Limits. Here a guy is sent on a mission to a seedy bar to have a little fun with the girls, complete his mission, and get out, back to where he came from. Not everything works out as planned, however, but as he figures it's better than working the mines in the hope of working up the system after years of back-breaking toil. Singer Janis Ian weaves an excellent tale of what happens to one man who feels his luck might just be in.

The Little Robot's Bedtime Prayer by Robert T. Jeschonek has Occam-657 who serves his master. He believes in him like men would worship a god and the other robots also have their own gods to pray to and adore. This, of course is a lie as these gods are only men and the robots have been programmed to worship and do their chores like slaves with total obedience. It is hard not to feel for Occam-657 as he tries so hard to please his god, but strangely enough, things might be looking up for him later.

Love Your Wolpertinger by Dantzel Cherry is a diary entry style story with it being comprised of notes by a fictional creature called the Wolpertinger. He signs his name W and from being young, Andrew thought he believed in W's existence, but now that he has grown-up, and has a wife, he doesn't understand why he still gets the notes. Dantzel's simple story is a fun read, but as you will see, not so fun for Andrew.

Coward by Todd McCaffrey introduces the disgraced General Cowan, called the Coward of Corair, but is he really the coward he has been painted by others? After arriving in the dropship to be taken into custody, pending court marshal. Not everyone agrees he deserves this treatment as some think the facts are wrong. McCaffrey delivers a cautionary tale of what it's like to serve in a time of war and how bad it can get at the aftermath.

Reviews for the latest sci-fi novels are from Bill Fawcett and Jody Lyn Nye of A Crucible of Souls by Mitchell Hogan, Senior Year Bites by J A Campbell, Interstellar Net: Enigma by Edward M Lerner, Dogs and Dragons edited by Joy Ward and a reprint of Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey. The columnists are the usual with Scandals: Being True to Our Own Imaginations by Gregory Benford is of Physics by the Zonerunner of much of modern science and about how we should technically have seen the big bang coming. Barry N. Malzberg's In the Heart's Basement is Fifty Miles of Bad Road where he discusses how it is fifty years since he sold his first story, and promptly tells us all about other writers and how they sold to magazines of the day. The Galaxy's Edge Interview this time around is with Joy Ward for Joe Haldeman. This month's serialization is for The Long Tomorrow Part 1 by Leigh Brackett. Overall, Galaxy's Edge shows the versatility of the writers, reviewers and columnists working on t he managing. The writers who have impressed me the most are; Jennifer Campbell-Hicks, Lou J. Berger, Janis Ian and Dantzel Cherry. The cover art is brighter than other issues and for a look at the contrast, take a look at No. 19 as an example. Those who like reading sf and fantasy are going to enjoy this latest issue.