Reviewbr> Issue 46 of Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine (ASIM) takes a decided turn away from the space port and down a dark overgrown path in the decaying end of town. So don't expect too many shining space suits as a touch of the chills is more the order of day. The magazine contains a substantial ten stores by various Authors of ill repute, a couple of poems, enough features to sink a Borg cube, and about a gallery full or artwork. You can't ask for a whole lot more, oh and it's got zombies. Editor Mark Farrugia decided to hit the dark genre for the Issue hence our interests, let's fire up the warp drive and go where no ScaryMinds review has gone before.
A couple of points before we kick off here. Our apologises to the ASIM team, we got sent the magazine to review, almost immediately had a computer crash, and completely lost touch with what was on our review queue. There's been the odd issue or three since this release, oops, better late than never. Also can we say that layout designer Juliet Bathory has like the best surname in speculative literature Downunder ever! Oh do a google people, do I have to spell out everything.
As ever, since this is a review of a magazine Sminds hasn't dived into before, I simply look at contents and what you get for the 20c you left on the fridge. Sorry therefor if this review doesn't light the fires, we have another issue of ASIM in the queue and will do a much better jon on that one. Or not depending on how much your reckon our reviews suck.
Next few paragraphs could be boring folks as I take a magical mystery tour through the prose line up, will try and make that a fast tour yo.
So lets have a look at the fiction on offer, Mark Farrugia better hope he's not wasting our time here, we know dead people, a lot of dead people who are hungry! John Dixon & Adam Browne kick off with their excellent Sci-Fi outing The Laughing Girl of Bora Fanong: a Tale of Colonial Venus, which besides hitting limb lobbing notes, also has something to say about colonial misconceptions and going native. I was actually rocking along to this nominal dark genre yarn in a sort of Sci-Fi Somerset Maugham Rangoon fashion. Christopher Green continues to build his reputation with Linger, that asks whether or not hanging on to someone's memory is worth the price of your own life. Of course whether or not taking that decision away from another person would have also been of interest.
Of course one of the highlights of this issue is Jason Fischer's at times nasty The School Bus, in this yarn even the Roos have gone zombie and are apt to take a good bite out of the unwary. Of course it's not only the fauna you have to worry about in a “who will pay the piper” twist that really makes you wonder if you would want to survive in this post apocalyptic world. Simply excellent stuff that builds on the Romero notion of “the undead aren't the only ones you have to worry about”. This story is worth the price of admission alone.
Amanda J. Spedding adds the necessary ghost story, including sins of the past, in the haunting Nightmare's Craddle. Spedding hits the quintessential Aussie beat with this tale. And then Patty Jensen hits the Chinese mythology in Metal Dragon. Naturally Simon Petrie couldn't leave the decaying flesh alone with Must've have been while you were kissing me booking a date with the Reader. Hey normally I would say horror and comedy don't mix, but Petrie shines a light on what a paranormalromantic zombie tale might read like.
A second highlight of ASIM 46 is Sminds favourite Felicity Dowker and her awesome anatomically correct Charlie. Where the gal gets her warped ideas from is a mystery, but once again she lines up the goalposts and kicks a major. It's like a Cinderella yarn, except without the handsome Prince, and with a lot more gruesome ideas beyond chopping feet to fit glass slippers. Regular ASIM readers must be wondering if Mark Farrugia is one step away from the airlock by about now.
Speaking of faery tales, Anna Tambour delivers a morality play with the weirdly titled How Galligaskins Sloughed the Scourge, entertaining read right there. Pete Kempshall goes off page brutal with Brave Face, that one doesn't let up on the vivid imagination front. And finally Paul Haines takes time out of urban nightmares to hit a fantasy opus with A Tale Of The Interferers: A Hunger For Forbidden Flesh. Notably Haines joins Dowker in traveling avenues that aren't generally traversed in his prose.
Deep breath, phew that's the prose line up kids. Got to say at $8.95, that's great value already without the rest of the content.
Okay not going to talk about the two poems in the magazine, sorry as explained elsewhere not my thing, I wouldn't know good poetry if it started to gnaw on my leg. The Jezabels are about my speed on the lyrical front friends and neighbours. We do however get an interview with the entirely evil Chuck MacKenzie. Notice that the magazine is going to increase in size. A preview of the ASIM best of horror Volume 2, yes I know I was humping the magazine's leg as well, okay bad mental image there. And a bunch of reviews, though cinema reviews seem strangely lacking considering the Sci-Fi folk love them some movies almost as much as dark genre fans.
A bonus for Readers with this issue is Andrew J.McKiernan doing all the art work, hell yeah! Big bad Andrew has six pieces reproduced in the magazine including the cover artwork, Zombieroo, inspired by Jason Fischer's devolution into the zombie outback.
I should point out ASIM does take advertising, contact Edwina Harvey at ASIM for details, but it's not intrusive and wont involve cutting out vouchers or any of that other shite mainstream magazines delight in pissing around with.
Must say I was surprised by ASIM 46, I had pretty much put the magazine aside as a Sci-Fi Geek publication never to see the light of day, but they do get down and dirty in the dark genre trenches and are not afraid to lock and load on some pretty nasty concepts. Okay this issue did have dark leanings, but ASIM do regularly publish horror content apparently. If you have never read ASIM before then a good place to start is with Issue 46, then you might just want to check out some of the other Issues. Full recommendation, a surprisingly solid read for horror fans, Editor Mark Farrugia knows how to put a excellent magazine together.
Current, and some past issues, of ASIM are available online via the official ASIM site. Didn't note the best of horror as an option, but have sent a query in to see if I may be missing something. Set your controls for the heart of the sun and check the magazine out.