The Third Alternative #5

Review by Jenny Barber

The current issue of The Third Alternative is the most powerful yet. For instance, The Ties that Blind by Mike O'Driscoll is a double-whammy. As it tells the story of a set of 'related' murders, it suckers you into feeling for the murderer. Especially when you hear the grisly motive behind the killings.

The Guinea Worm by Julie Travers leaves you hanging by your toenails with its excellent ending. A woman finds a roll of disturbing photos by the side of the road and after a strange chain of events, she finds herself in the house of the photographer. This is an awesome story that hooks you almost immediately.

Unfortunately, there are a couple of dum-dums. A Siren’s Kiss by Wayne Edwards is a good example. I found it to be a very strange story that didn’t seem to lead anywhere in particular. We are presented with two tramps who go about murdering people and then loot the corpses. This much I could cope with but then the story sort of fades off into confusion. Another tale that is afflicted with this is Daybillion by P.J.L. Hinder which, at its best, is distinctly disjointed. It seems to be two completely different stories at the same time – one about a house taking a car as its husband and the other concerning itself with two characters, named X and Y, playing chess on a balcony. A very bizarre little tale this which was obviously trying to reach some point that I was unable to see.

Neal Asher’s Cavefish crawls along for the first few paras but suddenly it pounces on you with startling speed and you’re dragged into the world of dingy caravans and strange creatures in which it is set. I especially liked the abrupt turn-around at the end.

Edited by Andy Cox.

This review was originally published in 1995, in the March/April issue of the BFS Newsletter (#19.2).

About Stephen Theaker (306 Articles)
Stephen Theaker's reviews, interviews and articles have appeared in Interzone, Black Static, Prism and the BFS Journal. Among other work for the BFS, he has been awards administrator, short story competition administrator, Dark Horizons editor, FantasyCon secretary and treasurer, and (briefly) chair.