SQ Mag #26, May/June 2016

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SQ Mag #26, May/June 2016

A Nightingale’s View of Autumn” by Joseph S. Pulver, Snr

“Selfie by Lee Murray
Clockwork Hearts” by J.B. Rockwell
Outbreak” by Adam Kotlarczyk
Against the Grain by S.L. Dixon
Astralgaloi by A.L. Lorentz
Given Shape by Moonlight” by Suzanne J. Willis
Risk Analysis” by Tom Dullemond

Reviewed by Jody Dorsett

Note: the theme this issue is symbiosis.

A Nightingale’s View of Autumn” by Joseph S. Pulver, Snr

I’m sure everyone has seen Ghostbusters where Gozer the Gozerian needs the KeyMaster and the Gatekeeper to provide his portal. That sort of unknown mythology worked well there and allowed exposition. Imagine an entire story filled with lines like that. That would be this one.

Selfie” by Lee Murray

Symbiosis is supposed to be a mutually gainful existence, like the lichen in a tree where algae and fungus create a new creature. What if that mutuality was not gainful nor consented to? The author does a good job of presenting a frightening occurrence believable, and the desire to survive the unsurvivable.

Clockwork Hearts” by J.B. Rockwell

Over the last decade or so Steampunk has become a vehicle to present MilSF in an AltHist environment using the Steampunk scenario. I lament for the origination where mystical science allowed writers to explore the human condition through a different lens. This writer does that as he explores a crippled child who has lost his mother, and his discovery of the gift she left him.

“Against the Grain” by S.L. Dixon

The author explores the symbiosis inherent in one form of mental illness. When there are two different people living in your head and they struggle to understand various impulses, and the restraint needed with some of them, problems occur. This story presents this scenario clearly and will make you feel uncomfortable. Which, sometimes, fiction needs to do.

Astralagoloi” by A.L. Lorentz

This story tells of a trip to Venus by two who are to prepare the way for the following expeditions. Expeditions that never come. When doing your job also means your survival things take on a different tone.

“Given Shape by Moonlight” by Suzanne J. Willis

I once dove off the western end of Flinders Island, a very new area promising something amazing and new and special. The author captures that feeling here. In this story Devon does find something amazing in the water as she dives, and discovers a symbiosis that is not natural nor helpful yet is still magical.

Risk Analysis” by Tom Dullemond

A spaceship, going through proscribed areas to save money, hits a mine that converts the passengers into bio-hybrids, much like Moya in Farscape. This is not acceptable and Corporate Marines are dispatched. They fail, as we see happens often and a specialist is called in to dispatch the ship as it transmogrifies into a being. This time the symbiosis is not what you think.