Review: IGMS #12
I’m going to experiment with writing reviews of the magazines I read. I’m currently subscribed to two: Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show and Clarkesworld. I find it very easy to read a magazine full of short stories and promptly forget what the stories were or which ones are worth remembering. In an effort to combat that kind of short attention span, I’m going to force myself to pay attention to what I’m reading.
I hope my experiment interests you and maybe, just maybe, you’ll be interested enough to subscribe too.
I’m still catching up on the back archives of IGMS, so I’ll start off with
Issue #12 of Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show
Over There by Tim Pratt
When I was eighteen, I went on a quest to win back my true love. I trekked a thousand leagues across a strange world, helped by a ragtag band that grew into a mighty army, and in the end I faced down the nameless emperor who'd stolen my Gwen. I defeated him in single combat, swept Gwen into my arms, and brought her back to our world to become my wife.
That was twenty-two years ago. For the past ten months, I've been cheating on my true love with one of my graduate students.
This was a great take on the genre of heroic fantasy. What happens after you complete the quest, save the kingdom, win the princess and return home in triumph? As it turns out, nothing good. 4 stars, because I really enjoyed this and I like the way it subverts the genre.
The Multiplicity Has Arrived by Matthew S. Rotundo
A good story, based on the abstract of a paper, in an obscure journal.
Given current trends, one may conceive of a moment in the near future when the Internet completely supplants memory, and by extension, history. From that moment on, that which is not on the Internet is not remembered, and may as well have never existed. Thus the Internet may begin to literally change the past as well as influence the present. Such a phenomenon would make the distinction between historical revisionism and actual events meaningless. What we call reality may be more malleable than we ever suspected.
One may argue that our global society is already advancing inexorably toward this point, which may be called the Multiplicity.
How might an unscrupulous campaign consultant (but I repeat myself) take advantage of such a thing? And what might it do to him in the end? 4 stars.
Somewhere My Love by Stephen Mark Rainey
At night, no light ever shone in any of the windows. But sometimes after dark, I would hear her voice echoing out of that old house, singing songs that seemed to me unearthly.
Her name was Jeanne Weiler, and she was my music teacher when I was in elementary school.
Of course, she was a witch.
The power of music to change and affect people? The bond created between a mentor and a mentee? I’ll admit that I’m not quite sure what this story was about. It wasn’t bad but it wasn’t great either. I’ll give it 3 stars.
The End-of-the-World Pool by Scott M. Roberts
This was another story that I thought was largely forgettable. Without rereading it, I still have trouble remembering what it was about. 3 stars.
Hologram Bride, Part 1 by Jackie Gamber
Between 1908 and 1924, over 20,000 Asian women immigrated to Hawaii to marry Japanese sugar plantation workers. Strong restrictions in immigration laws forced workers to arrange marriages on photographs only. The U.S. Immigration act of 1924 abruptly stopped these arrangements, but by 1930 picture bride unions birthed over 100,000 offspring--a powerful presence in what would become the 50th state of the union.
I loved the way this story started out. It takes the experience of mail order brides and translates it to an alien world. In the process, it makes the whole experience vividly real to the modern reader. Especially to this reader who has never experienced the wrenching dislocation that would come from being sent to a strange, alien, culture. Easily 4 stars.
WEST by Orson Scott Card
This is one of Card’s previously published short stories. A lone drifter, battling his own memories and demons, finds redemption by helping a naive band of outcasts, becoming a part of their “family” in the process. This being Card, it should surprise no one to find that the outcasts are Mormons and that the drifter eventually finds a home in the Mormon church. 4 stars.
The Crack by David Lubar
The first time Kevin noticed the crack, he was down in the basement looking for an old board game his father had stored away. At least it wasn't dark, yet. During the day, with the sun coming through the small, dirty window at the top of the wall, the basement was bad, but not awful. The air always had that wet, dark-green smell whether it was midnight or noon, but shadows didn't seem as deep during the day.
A very short story with an overly abrupt ending. It seemed to be reaching higher than its grasp. 2 stars.
Interview With Joe Haldeman by Darrell Schweitzer
I didn’t feel like I really learned much new about Haldeman or his books, through this interview. A missed opportunity, good for 2 stars.
Essay: American Idol by Kathleen Dalton-Woodbury
Dalton-Woodbury compares the early season experience of American Idol to what an editor experiences going through a slush pile of submissions.
Writers tend to think about submitting stories as a kind of luck-of-the-draw experience, but when editors look at the piles of manuscripts they have to get through, they pray that maybe there'll be just one in all of those piles that they can use.
If you haven't watched American Idol before, I would like to recommend that you find a way to watch at least one episode of the early-season auditions, just to get an idea of what reading a slush pile might be for an editor.
The similarities just boggle my mind, and I expect that as the show progresses and the contestants try to win the votes of the American public, the similarities will continue.
Well written and compelling, what an editorial should be. 4 stars.
Overall, this was a good issue. There were several stories that I really enjoyed, which more than made up for the ones I didn’t.