Reviewed by Cyd Athens
In Gemma Files’ “A Feast for Dust,” Sheriff Jenkins is a man on a mission to root out an undead evil and bring it to justice. The evil goes by the name of Sartain Stannard Reese and has sundered enough towns to bring Jenkins to despair. It seems Reese is searching out someone from his past—one Bartram Haugh who is quite alive and in hiding. After spending a night in another town with Sheriff Willicks and his pregnant wife, Jenkins and Willicks take off in search of Haugh. The rest of the story is about what happens when natural and supernatural forces meet. Despite the importance Jenkins assigns his quest, this tale proceeds at a walk rather than a run. And the word “affray” should probably be “afar.”
For “The Adventure of the Pyramid of Bacconyus,” Caleb Wilson gives us three sapient vegetable lifeform cousins—two males, Hickshaw and Fawcett, and a female, Chawkins. Since the sapients have no real use for names, not sure if the consistency of “aw” appearing in these identifiers is supposed to be humorous.
The selfish, wine-obsessed leader of the group, Hickshaw, tortures the secret of a magic cup that never empties of wine out of an unfortunate adventurer. Hickshaw leads his cousins on the titular excursion to find this cup. The cousins proceed with few challenges and little danger. This is an intriguing idea with a disappointing execution.
Cyd Athens indulges a speculative fiction addiction from 45ø 29 30.65 N, 122ø 35 30.91 W.