Monday, August 22, 2011

August Christian Science Fiction & Fantasy Blog Tour

Here we go again.  Our tour this month features the e-zine Residential Aliens, which I have read so you don't have to.  Er . . . well, you know what I mean.  This e-zine features non-fictional essays on the controversial subject of immigration reform.

No, I'm kidding.  It's a sci-fi e-zine.  And here comes a review of Issue 4.11.  They told me it was supposed to be Issue 5.5, but that's not what I got when I clicked the link. Now here come my comments on the five stories contained therein:

"Petition" by L. S. King

All you need to know about this can be found in the first four sentences:
The soft crunch of boots through the snowdrifts signaled intruders behind Alcandhor. His spine stiffened. Could he not have a few moments alone at his father’s crypt to grieve the fresh loss?  He turned to face a group of Rangers.

And behind the Rangers were a Paladin, a Thief, and a Half-Elf.  No, not really.  Alcandhor, he of the unpronounceable name, is, due to the death of his father, the new Thane (yes, capitalized even when not in front of or in place of his name) of the Rangers.  Besides being the guy in charge, he can read emotions because of some extraterrestrials who interbred with his family in the distant past, and he wants to find a way to open the ancient wormhole portals left behind by the extraterrestrials so he can travel to other worlds . . . but that has nothing to do with the plot, which is about Alcandhor making a mildly clever judgment in a criminal case.  The story is clunky, and it kept distracting me with randomly capitalized words.  It lacks polish, has little plot, and it's bad in a classic sword-and-sorcery kind of way, though not really bad.  The central conflict is too simple, the intended message laid on too thick.  Also, I don't know why these people are called Rangers when they are never depicted Ranging.

"The Fluttering Flies" by Gary Raven

This story is much better, but kind of depressing; its hero is an Irish lorry driver who sees weird shapes no one else can see.  His condition is dismissed by his opthomologist, but soon he can smell, feel, and hear the weird images.  Raven uses a flurry of playful, unexpected metaphors to describe the protagonist's bizarre sensations.  It's fun, but the story offers little explanation and ultimately reads like little more than a description of an acid trip.

"Plague Ship" by Kurt Heinrich Hyatt

It's a breezy little thing about a fast-talking spaceship mechanic who gets a full-body prosthesis after he's blown up real good, and then gets stuck on a planet full of supercomputer-worshipping religious crazies who are all dying from a plague, to which his all-mechanical body is of course immune. Intentionally gruesome with lots of snappy dialogue and a few words blown about that might be futuristic slang terms, it's a lot of fun. A very quick read, very enjoyable.

"Full Moon Gala" by Lachlan David

Not a lot happens, but it's pleasant enough--a ghost story that's not the least bit scary, but instead bubbling with joy, it might lighten your mood.

"Tarzan at the Earth's Corps" by Walt Staples

I was pleasantly surprised to encounter this story by a friend of mine, who not only puts an sf pun in the title but starts off by quoting H. P. Lovecraft, and that can't be bad. The story involves a soldier in what appears to be either the future or an alternate universe, having a very, very bad day. Also, there's a zombie invasion, sort of. The aim is humor, and the story succeeds, though only with a lot of implausibility on the part of its plot and incompetence on the part of its characters. Very entertaining.

You can see the ResAliens blog here.

Now here comes your blog tour:

Noah Arsenault, Brandon Barr, Thomas Clayton Booher, Grace Bridges, Beckie Burnham, Jeff Chapman, CSFF Blog Tour, Carol Bruce Collett , D. G. D. Davidson, Dean Hardy, Katie Hart, Ryan Heart, Bruce Hennigan, Jason Joyner, Carol Keen, Shannon McDermott, Rebecca LuElla Miller, Lyn Perry, Sarah Sawyer, Jessica Thomas, Steve Trower, Fred Warren, Phyllis Wheeler
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