Heroic Fantasy Quarterly #28, May 2016

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Heroic Fantasy Quarterly #28, May 2016

Crazy Snake and the Tribute for Pachacamac – Part Two” by Eric Atkisson

Curse of Beauty” by Marlena Frank
Brotherhood of the Book” by M. R. Timson
The Siege, The Gums, and the Blue – Part Two” by Adrian Simmons

Reviewed by Robert L Turner III

Crazy Snake and the Tribute for Pachacamac – Part Two” by Eric Atkisson is the second half of the continuing adventures of the Comanche Crazy Snake in an alternate 19th century Central America. In it, our hero is captured by the evil demi-god Pachacamac and must overcome him with the help of some friends, a female deity and his love for his horse, yes that’s right, love for his horse. The piece is pulp in the worst sense, no character development, internal logic or any other redeeming feature. I found myself checking the scroll bar repeatedly to see how much more I had to suffer through. Were I not reviewing the story I would have quit early. Unless you have a strong love for Comanche stereotypes this is a can miss.

Marlena Frank takes on the concept of a siren in the woods in “Curse of Beauty.” Catherine has lived alone since her mother disappeared when she was a child. One day while hunting, she accidentally injures Telis, a kind man enthralled by her voice. In him she discovers joy and the chance at love until all goes awry. I wanted to like the story. There are a number of interesting elements and the Siren’s point of view was a nice change. However, there are multiple problems with the effort. The title and first paragraph emphasize beauty, but it is Catherine’s voice that is her attraction and while the author tries to draw out the idea of internal beauty, it doesn’t work. Additionally, the ending doesn’t fit the rest of the story. While not as bad as the first entry in this issue, this isn’t a winner either.

M. R. Timson’s “Brotherhood of the Book” is formed from the diary of Andreas, a junior scribe for the Brotherhood of the Book, a monkish order. After his skill is noticed, he is given an important job, but a fellow scribe warns him that all is not as it seems. This entertaining story is clever and refreshing. While the final twist is fairly obvious, the writing is of high quality and the system of dates is ingenious and fits the story perfectly. Overall, while not ground breaking, this story is well worth the read.

The Siege, The Gums, and the Blue – Part Two” by Adrian Simmons is the second half of the story of Izdor and his role in defending the city Oskzeyn from Kimar besiegers. As things move from bad to worse, both sides have to make difficult choices. Simmons presents the reader with a well written, yet incredibly dark tale of siege. Not for the faint of heart, this story is still engrossing.

Robert Turner is a professor and longtime SF/F fan.