Galaxy’s Edge #7, March/April 2014

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Galaxy’s Edge #7, March/April 2014

“Holland: 1944” by Steve Cameron
“Pallbearers” by Martin L. Shoemaker
“The Tour Guide” by Lou J. Berger
“The Nechronomator” by Brad R. Torgersen
“In a Green Dress, Surrounded by Exploding Clowns” by Robert T. Jeschonek

Reviewed by Chuck Rothman

March’s issue of Galaxy’s Edge has, as usual, a mix of new stories and reprints.

“Holland: 1944” starts it out, a story about an alien invasion during World War II. UK retired Brigider Arthur Holbrook describes his adventures during the war in a letter to the Defence Ministry, recounting how he was captured by a German patrol and then set free by a group of alien invaders. Steve Cameron‘s story is a lighthearted romp dealing with a Colonel Blimp figure who isn’t as dull as he may appear.

We continue with war stories with Martin Shoemaker‘s “Pallbearers,” set in the far future when men fight in armored suits. Alex Fitzsimmons is the victim of an attack that kills most of his squad, but the suit’s still function. The problem is that they have turned into pallbearer mode, designed just to retrieve the bodies of the dead. Alex is one of the few left alive, but he is also badly injured and the suit classifies him as disabled, preventing him from controlling it. It’s an interesting situation, made more difficult by the fact the attackers are still out there, but I found the solution too easy and too miraculous to make the story work.

“The Tour Guide” by Lou J. Berger is flash fiction about a guide who shows a time traveling tourist around the first century Jerusalem. The story is a Big Reveal as the identity of the guide is the entire reason for it. It’s an interesting conceit, but far less meaningful than it hopes to be.

We’re back with time travel in “The Nechronomator,” a God-like zombie who sends other living dead into the past to warn their younger selves to avoid what ended up killing them. He was also Matt’s friend Chris. Matt is in a wheelchair after a long-ago camping accident, and Chris tempts him with the idea of going back to warn himself — but he has sent back no living person before. Brad R. Torgersen deals with the concept of the afterlife grafted onto a story about second chances.

Robert T. Jeschonek contributes a story where social media reaches its logical conclusion. Cage Grice is the man “In a Green Dress, Surrounded by Exploding Clowns,” a member of Crowdlife Outcomes Enforcement whose job is to make sure that people obey the dictates of Crowdlife, a Facebook analog where people vote on what they want you to do. But something is going wrong and it looks like there are hackers waiting to manipulate the vote count. The story is bizarre in a good way.

The stories here are all well done, but nothing really stands out as a must read.

Chuck Rothman‘s novels Staroamer’s Fate and Syron’s Fate were recently republished by Fantastic Books.