Fantasy Magazine, January 2011
“News Right Fresh From Heaven” by Darby Harn
“Lebkuchen” by Priya Sharma
“Ghost Girl” by Lauren Beukes
“As We Report to Gabriel” by Tina Connolly
Reviewed by Dawn McKibbin
When I first went to Fantasy Magazine‘s website, I wasn’t really sure what to make of the tag line on the header. It says “From Modern Mythcraft to Magical Surrealism.” When I read that tag line, I wondered, “Hm, I don’t really know what that means.” Now I do. The four stories for January helped me come to a definition of those terms used in the header. All of the stories except “Lebkuchen” take place in very realistic everyday settings, yet the fantastic and mythical elements are blended into the story in an authentic, introspective, and literary way as opposed to the current wave of Urban Fantasy.
For example, in Tina Connolly‘s story “As We Report to Gabriel,” a fairy is in love with a wealthy socialite who has him locked away for fear of what the neighbors will think. The story, however, is told from the unique perspective of the motes of gold dust that compose the fairy. “As We Report to Gabriel” is a story of the trials and travails of the fairy dust re-uniting with itself and becoming a whole person.
“Ghost Girl” by Lauren Beukes is another story that has familiar elements, but is handled in a striking fashion. Sekwa is an architecture student who takes himself much too seriously. One day, a teenage ghost decides to stalk him from his classes through his messy relationship with an alcoholic girlfriend. In some ways, its hard to tell who learns more, Sekwa, the girlfriend, or the innocent, but trying not to look it, ghost girl.
Priya Sharma‘s “Lebkuchen” is not a familiar story, to me at least. While the name means Bread of Life, it took a trip to Wikipedia to learn more about the real world myths and customs involved. This story is about a young girl whose mother is responsible for regulating the winter season.
“News Right Fresh From Heaven” by Darby Harn is another story that involves food and the supernatural. In this case, a spinster librarian is entrusted with a special babe grown from an apple tree in her back yard, and the child has a message for her delivered in poetry.