Andromeda Space Ways Inflight Magazine Issue 60, eformats $4.95 , Website
Reviewed by Rick Hudson
Now here’s a magazine that has stood the test of time and made its name as a showcase for young and new writers in the genre. Although the quality of art and the layout are a little amateurish at times, this belies the quality of the content which is of a high standard. There’s something about ASIM that is reminiscent of the old print sf / fantasy fanzines: this is not a criticism, merely an observation. Like the old print zines, ASIM makes up for what it lacks in production values with its passion and commitment to genre fiction. Secondly, again like the old print zines, its not just a magazine with passive readers, but an active community involving its production staff, readers and contributors.
This issue features a broad range of science fiction, fantasy and horror, with many pieces occupying the borderland between these strict categorisations. The writing in these stories in overall strong, however there does appear to be – whether this is intentional or not – something of an ASIM ‘house-style’, which leads to the magazine feeling a bit ‘samey’ at times. Particular pieces of note are Gary Cuba’s ‘Fixing Falls’ which displays a sophisticated writing style that conveys emotion with depth and sophistication while being understated and laconic. This piece of fiction by Cuba is somewhat similar to Ray Bradbury’s October Country or Illustrated Man stories in tone and substance, yet avoids the mawkishness that many writers fall into when trying to create a story of this type. Writing collective Cerberus (Matthew Sanborn Smith, Grant Stone, and Dan Rabarts) give us ‘Dada’ which would be easy to simply describe as Dieselpunk, however further explanation is required to do this story justice. ‘Dada’ places us in a battlefield during a steam / diesel punk alternative First World War and we follow a robot who seeks to protect a young boy in his charge. At times ‘Dada’ is marked by a mournful beauty that extends this story beyond being just a dieselpunk rehash of known history. The story’s title hints at its influences: early to mid-twentieth century modernism, and the impact of Franz Kafka and Herman Hesse are evident. There’s also a childlike naivety to the narration which gives the story a flavour of Ted Hughes’s Iron Man.
Whereas to fiction in AMIS 60 is strong, the poetry included is its Achilles heel. I’m not a fan of sf or fantasy or sf poetry as a whole; much of it is quite poor, to be frank: clunky free verse and awkward rhyming doggerel that doesn’t really function as poetry. Regrettably, the poetry in this issue has done nothing to change my mind. Nevertheless, ASIM 60, on the strength of its fiction, continues to demonstrate that the magazine continues to publish quality sf / fantasy horror fiction and provide a valuable platform for fiction that is valuable for both readers and writers of science fiction and fantasy.