Transfinite #2, February 2005

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"Empires Rise, Empires Fall" by James Targett
"By Virture of Our Humanity" by Corey Kellgren
"Counting the Cost" by George Brereton

ImageTransfinite #2 comes to us with three works of fiction this month.

The first is James Targett's "Empires Rise, Empires Fall," a story of combat with a nanotech monster. While the idea of the monster is somewhat interesting, this story is a mess of infodump scenes, poor plotting, and scenes that have no relationship to the rest of the story. This story feels like it was a novellette or novella shoe-horned into a long short story.

"By Virtue of Our Humanity" by Corey Kellgren details human aggression getting us in trouble with a supernaturally powerful race that has a strong sense of justice. Corey Kellgren handles the story well. I did think the communication method was a bit awkward, but I get the sense that this might be intentional. Overall, "By Virtue of Our Humanity" is an acceptable read.

The issue ends with the second part of George Brereton's serial that started with "Counting Sheep."  "Counting the Cost" continues with Brereton's brisk style and crisp characterizations, while raising the suspense from the first installment. I would recommend reading "Counting Sheep" before the second part of this serial, however. And I wish editor R. E. B. Tongue had warned us this was going to be a serial, rather than a story of two parts, back in issue #1.