Beneath Ceaseless Skies #94, May 3, 2012
Reviewed by Chuck Rothman
Once again, Beneath Ceaseless Skies features moody and atmospheric stories in their issue #94.
“To Go Home to Leal” is set in a port city where Kaul works at odd jobs just to stay afloat. His father Dagh has had his hand cut off as a thief and longs to go back to his home in Leal, but thieves are not allowed in. Kaul comes up with a plan involving a wizard and a magic spell that will allow them both to return, but things don’t go quite right, and not in the way I may have implied by those words. Susan Forest adds some unexpected and fascinating complications and gives Kaul a heartwrenching dilemma in the end.
Ann Chatham goes for mood in her “A Marble for the Drowning River,” where a boy goes down to the water and finds a drowned girl being brought there by Jolee. The drowned girl is still able to talk and perform magic, and is looking for a witch named Jeannielee, who is also dead but still present. The story is primarily revealing the situation and the moodiness of the setting, but I never really became engaged in it, and at heart it is just another revenge tale. I think it would be better served if the main character were more than just an observer of the action; he doesn’t really have any stake in what’s going on.