Reviewed By Steve Dean
As usual, for Kzine at least, we have a good variety of stories here, written by a variety of authors and to different lengths. Some of the authors are old hands, no offence, and for some this is their first published piece. Put all this together, and we have a unique product, but one that is ultimately successful. And no dumbing down here. If you’re looking for fast-moving, tyre screaming, bullet riddled action with no plot and brainless, cloned heroes, you’ve come to the wrong place.
Ironically, you may well find fast-moving, tyre screaming, bullet riddled action, but it will always be intelligent, unique and well written, and almost certainly cross-genre, slipstream or just downright odd.
The trouble with Kzine is picking a favourite. All the stories are well written, of just the right length, and entertaining as well as being something different. I think, on balance, I’ll go for the opener,Â A Bedtime ChocolateÂ by Nicole Tanquary. The unnamed heroine, a young girl, awakes one morning to find the usual chocolate, left by her dad, missing from her beside table. As it turns out, her father wasn’t a hospital porter at all, but an Anchor, a man with the ability pull people across dimensions. The opening few paragraphs set the mood, and really convey the special relationship between the two. I think this one was written from the heart, and it really shows. An excellent story with a very good ending.
Next I would go forÂ The Judgment of The PeacekeeperÂ by Diana Doherty. Verity is the aforementioned Peacekeeper, aided and abetted by her familiar, Spirit, who is a large warg. In this world, almost everyone has a familiar, which is usually the opposite sex to the person it is Familiar with (the Familiaree?) Having no familiar, or having one of the same sex, is very rare, but people in this state are often accused of being cursed. Anyway, Verity and Spirit are summoned to a distant village to deal with a ‘mad’ wyvern, but things aren’t that simple. I liked the premise of this one, the idea that everyone has a familiar, and those who don’t are ostracised, despite it not being their fault. Sound familiar? (pun intended.)
To end it all we have a vignette,Â Self-Aware And Living In BradfordÂ by J.Y. Saville. Some fledgling AI robots have been let loose in Bradford, (must be the future, otherwise they would have been nicked and sold for scrap.) and it’s Rick’s job to analyse the recordings. This one hinges around the very last line, so be sure to read it again if you don’t get it first time. I like robot stories anyway, and this one doesn’t disappoint. It certainly makes you think, which is always good.
The rest are all good, and the authors should be proud of themselves.
And please, read Mr Hurry’s editorial, and act on it, before we drown under under ghost written, sensationalised ‘autobiographies’ written by ‘celebrities’ just, or even not quite, out of school.