Theaker’s Quarterly Fiction #49. Zine review

THEAKER’S QUARTERLY FICTION #49 by Stephen Theaker and John Greenwood, Theaker’s Paperback Library, p/b, $7.63,

Reviewed by Sandra Scholes

As part of co-editor Stephen Theaker’s ever expanding reviews section, he has decided on shortening the reviews he does and has chosen to end each one with a star rating of 1 to 5. This way he can get across to the reader how much he likes or doesn’t like the book, movie or TV series. It is fair enough. We’ve all been there, inundated with review material nearly blocking the entrance to our houses. This change doesn’t stop the review being informative enough or honest enough. We are versatile, and to be honest, some people prefer shorter, star rated reviews to much longer, laborious ones.

In this, the 49th issue there is a nice balance of short stories and editorial, with an interview thrown in. This time it’s with Kathryn Allan and Djibril al-Ayad discussing with Stephen about their latest Crowdfunded anthology on disability – themed speculative fiction, Accessing the Future.

The reviews section is as impressive and random as usual, and the short fiction starts with a comical look at life on other worlds. The stories are just as random and interesting in their own way. Ut In Fumum! by Ross Gresham has a solitary guy and his best friend known as Marmite on an adventure, fleeing the Fox Ladies who, if they are unlucky enough to be caught, will most likely be dinner. The story is part chase with the added humour of wondering whether Marmite had once been a major or Sergeant Major and part history lesson about the term Ut In Fumum. Nebuchadnezzar by Michael B. Tager is where Joseph is part of an army who are the new colonists of what they have termed New Jerusalem, one of two places where a world’s worth of people live among small, scavenging aliens. And while others see his feeding them as strange, he sees the aliens as survivors and that the planet is really theirs and the humans are really the aliens.

Other than these two stories, and the long-running Beatrice et Veronique: Tunnel Panic by Antonella Coriander, there is the interview. Accessing the Future by Kathryn Allan and Djibril al-Ayad gives interviewer Stephen Theaker an idea of what being disabled in the future would be like. As disabled people feature very little in sf they think that by introducing their books of short stories on people with disabilities will do well in the mainstream. Outlaw Bodies, and We See A Different Frontier are the first in a series with Accessing the Future being the third with hopefully more in the series later.

The Quarterly Review has contributors such as Stephen Theaker, Jacob Edwards, Rafe McGregor, Tim Atkinson and Douglas J. Ogurek and starts with Stephen Theaker’s review of Neil Perryman’s Adventures with the Wife in Space where a husband recounts tales of what he thinks of the Dr. Who phenomenon, fandom and episodes that he rated. A more than epic review of Guardians of the Galaxy will never go unnoticed, while the Buffy the Vampire Slayer Omnibus Volume 6 is set where Buffy is dating Xander and the rest of the characters are going through bad periods of their own. However, in the comic books, one of seven volumes, they seem to be doing well. Theaker’s Quarterly Fiction #49 has enough stories, editorial and reviews. The only difference is that the two stories are longer and share the space maybe three or four short stories could have. As ever, the stories are exciting as well as entertaining and the reviews honest.