Premonitions #4

Reviewed by Jenny Barber

Out of everything reviewed this time, one zine tends to stick out above the others. Premonitions. Hurrah, I thought, looking at the cover, a sci-fi zine at last. But everyone knows what you shouldn't judge a book by, so after discovering that Premonitions is in fact a multi-genre thang, I plunged on into the extremely varied selection of tales and poems.

There were so many excellent pieces that I found it difficult to find one particular favourite, so eventually I managed to whittle it down to seven – Beast Within the Breast by Ed Blundell is excruciatingly funny. Funny, that is, for the ship full of gorgeous but helpless women who have their own unique way of thanking their rescuers. Chris Fretwell’s Lost starts off in the dead-letter room of your average post office and as it pulls you along you find that a weird sort of justice is served on certain characters. This one is very clever and I wholeheartedly love it.

A Mind Full of Scorpions by S. Darnbrook Colson & Deidra Cox is extremely impressive. We follow the misadventures of a brother and sister who develop special skills after being orphaned by a bomb hit. This one is a weird justice type story as the pair soon get their own back on a perverted gang who were unlucky enough to capture them. Support Billy Brainwave-Pattern by Dominic Dulley is very sneaky. It lulls you into thinking that it is your average ‘fight for freedom against the system’ story but suddenly you get smacked in the mouth by the last few, wonderful lines. I love the irony in this one. Test of Age by Tom Baldwin is smooth. It takes the concept of child-testing into a whole new dimension. If you thought seven year olds had it hard, try being the six month old kid in this one who has to take part in a test that gives a very unusual qualification.

Think Tank by Charles M. Saplak is funny, funny, funny. Picture your average Mr Perfect; a smarmy guy who always gets what he wants (think back a few years to your torturous schooldays and I think you’ll have an idea of the kind of person I mean). Then imagine him going after something that he thinks would make him very successful. Ha ha! Guess what he really gets? Yup! You’re completely right, he gets exactly what he deserves. Nice one. Finally, The Vulnerable Years by J. P.V. Stewart is a fantastic poem which, when you get down to it, is basically telling all ‘children of the Earth’ to get off their backsides and start bringing their books to life. In fact, it is so powerful that it really hits hard at your conscience.

Edited by Tony Lee.

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