Ideomancer, January 2003

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"Nobody's Car" by Robert Hood
"Bioplastic Blues" by Daniel Goss
"Snow Day" by Bill Gauthier
"The Grey Wolf" by George MacDonald

Originally posted at IdeomancerIdeomancer in January, 2003.

Ideomancer is an online magazine which is published as a PDF file. I'm still not convinced this is ideal for online publication – PDF is a way of transmitting print format, not for reading onscreen, though Ideomancer's format is readable enough. (Editor's note: Ideomancer is also available as direct .html files, though their linking system directs readers to the PDF file.) Their policy is to print three new stories in different F/SF/H subgenres as well as a 'classic' reprint; although the pigeonholing sometimes works sometimes it doesn't.

For example, the lead story in January 2003's Ideomancer is Robert Hood's "Nobody's Car," which is listed as 'Horror' though this suggests a very different outcome to the story; the image of a mysterious car in a Horror story suggests it is going to turn carnivore (excuse the pun) and while this does happen in a very indirect sense, "Nobody's Car" is more of a psychological story of mutual stalking. Hood says it's 'about paranoia… among other things.'

Daniel Goss's "Bioplastic Blues" is labelled as science fiction and rightly so though it's the kind of just-round-the-corner SF that could be happening on the news channels most people don't watch; if CNN doesn't cover it other stations get the story and, in this story, jazz it up a little so a debate on climate change could, as Goss despairs, be 'zany'. Dana Delgado is an unethical news reporter who is covering a story about protests at a bioengineering plant. Almost all the story, however, is about Dana herself, her being the kind of person who would like it that way.

"Snow Day" by Bill Gauthier merits more than the Hood story the 'horror' tag, bearing out the old saw that a missing baby in the first act should turn up in the last.

The issue is completed with a classic story by Scots author George Macdonald. "The Grey Wolf," first published in 1871, is a fantasy set in the Shetland Islands, which are remote even now and in the mid-19th century would have been a culture truly apart, a world where weird things might easily happen, as Macdonald describes so well here. To have his protagonist English rather than Scots sets him even more away from the island society he has come to.

Chris Amies is currently studying Graphic Design as well as doing a day job in London, UK. He recently completed a sequel to his 2001 novel Dead Ground. His website is at