Aurealis #98, March 2017

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Aurealis #98, March 2017

“When I Tried to Go to England” by Sarah Hart

“Wind Farmers From Outer Space” by Robert Cox
“Hyter and the House That Stands” by Steve Toase

Reviewed by Chuck Rothman

Aurealis has been around quite some time, concentrating on Australian themes and authors.

The latest issue starts out with “When I Tried to Go to England” by Sarah Hart, about a woman flying to England with her sister, but whose plane suddenly diverts and lands in the middle of nowhere, in a strange city that has no name. The protagonist meets a handsome cowboy named John and keeps having vague encounters with various people. Hart says the story came to her out of a dream, and I can believe that, since it has the same sort of free association that dreams usually have. The problem is that it never really coheres; it’s a bunch of images that show up at random, without any real connection behind them.

Robert Cox‘s “Wind Farmers From Outer Space” is a humorous romp about UFOs in the outback. Dick and Barry are a couple of good old Australian boys, drunk in a pickup truck, when they run into a UFO. They are abducted and used for nefarious—and hilarious—purposes. This is a very entertaining tale with a wild sense of humor (including a title that makes you laugh out loud when you understand it) that is a twisted look at the clichés of alien abduction reports.

Hyter discovered a clump of chrome in Steve Toase‘s “Hyter and the House that Stands,” which turns out to be a garrulous and mysterious bird. Their town is home to a silverplating factory, and Hyter lives with her aunt in the “House that Stands,” the one that has never been damaged in the periodic fires that level them all. The bird may offer a way out of the cycle. I found the story unengaging, and the speaking style of the bird goes from clever to tedious about halfway through. It also goes on far too long for the ideas.

Chuck Rothman’s novels Staroamer’s Fate and Syron’s Fate are available from Fantastic Books.