Ideomancer, Volume 4, Issue 2, June 2005

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"All the Gold is Grass" by Angela Boord
"Inversions" by Tom Doyle

"Heart of a Warrior" by Roger B. Bagwell

The June 2005 issue of Ideomancer is stylistically disjointed.  The Flash story is poetic, the science fiction piece examines an alien culture, and the fantasy offering studies the symbiosis between two adversaries. The common thread is each author’s successful weaving of a textured and unique civilization.
"All the Gold is Grass" by Angela Boord sings with lyrical and touching prose.  Boord gives a first person account of the ugliness and hopelessness of war, following the protagonist who fights "for the glory of Itarra" and vainly protects women and children from the "thieving Enhalla."  While the protagonist is not named, I sympathize with him (her?), sharing the anguish of his crumbling world.  Boord trickles an undercurrent of mystery throughout the piece.  Itarra is a compelling world, and I hope to visit it again.
Tom Doyle ambitiously examines a culture of Floaters, a race of aliens who live their lives in an inverted position, in his story, "Inversions."  Their rank is connected to their height from the surface, with the main character "Cloud Flyer" who is dishonored by his lofty name.  Two humans, Angela (translated as "Highest Sky") and Carol (translated as "Song") fly upside down on the Floating World and interact with a group of alien politicians to design a treaty for the newly discovered system.  When one of the dirigibles fails, Angela learns why it is so dangerous for humans to tread on the planet’s surface right-side-up.  As the incident balloons into a spark for war, Angela breaks the rules to set the Floaters and humans on a safe course to peace.  The story is jumpy, switching often between alien and human points of view.  At times Doyle resorts to telling rather than showing, though the scope of his alien culture is impressive.  Overall, the ending falls flat, as most of the excitement happens closer to the middle of the piece.  The occasional dark comedic line gives the reader a break from the erratic narrative flow.  My favorite is, "Sex death! They whined in uncontrollable ecstasy."

In the author’s notes for "Heart of a Warrior," Roger B. Bagwell states that he was "inspired by the desire to have two characters, one who is in control of the other."  The premise is powerful and Bagwell executes it with passion and intelligence.  The Wolf, a female warrior, leads her captured prisoner, Bertran, towards a tortuous fate.  They stop so that Bertran may tend to a dead child, and the two discuss their opposing beliefs and ideals.  The Wolf exposes her troubled past and Bagwell draws the threads of the story together to a moving and intense conclusion.  I love the symbolism in this piece.  For his first professional publication, Bagwell makes his mark with elegance. 

Overall, the issue has something for everyone, from science fiction to fantasy, and from flash to poetry, reviews and an interview.