Space & Time, Summer 1998

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"Methane" by Michael Brockington
"The Servitors" by Jeffrey Thomas
"Flowers of Scotland" by William Meikle
"Seasons" by Barbara Malenky
"…Redeem My Soul From the Power of the Grave…" by A.R. Morlan and James B. Johnson
"Stealth" by Betty Nolley
"Remembrance Of Things To Come" by Mario Milosevic

Space and Time has been on market lists ever since I began writing SF seriously over 15 years ago. That's a heck of a long run for a small press magazine, and I was interested in seeing the reasons why.

The issue leads off with "Methane" by Michael Brockington. This is a linked series of vignettes about the events one hot night in an apartment building identified only as 2732, whose inhabitants are more than a little off-base. I found it hard to discern a true story thread. Usually I don't enjoy that sort of approach, but it works here in some inexplicable way. The individual characterizations are the key, and the writing keeps it fresh.

"The Servitors" deals with aliens from a parallel universe — though not the usual kind. Jeffrey Thomas tells about Skrey, feeder at the Twelfth Orifice of the Phantast. It is a lowly job, and Skrey chooses to escape. His story is told in parallel to that of Jean, a human also stuck in a dead end job. The two characters' lives eventually intersect in a very unexpected way. Thomas has created an interesting character in Skrey, and a fascinating environment. The parallel between him and Jean is thought-provoking.

I wasn't particularly impressed by Flower of Scotland. In it, a Scottish lord returns from a quest, with an important symbol to be used for Scottish victory over England. Of course, it doesn't work out as planned. William Meikle's story is a bit long for its idea. Too much time is spent in the buildup, and Meikle makes the mistake of including an 11- paragraph magical incantation that merely slows things down.

Barbara Malenky's "Seasons" is the story of a carnival troupe just settling down in winter quarters, and the addition of a new member. The atmosphere was top notch, but it is primarily a "revelation" story — in which the entire point is to reveal a surprising fact. The setting is the strength of this story.

A.R. Morlan and James B. Johnson team up to produce "… Redeem My Soul From the Power of the Grave…". The awkward title masks the story of Pinebox Pendleton, the gravedigger at a private cemetery run by Boss Sleasar. Pendleton is asked by a displaced Vietnamese to dig up a coffin so that an important item can be retrieved. As a further complication, the coffin holds Boss Sleasar's mother. The story is a nice tale of revenge.

In "Stealth", by Betty Nolley, there's trouble at the abandoned insecticide plant, and Jeff Schnarkin is sent by his bullying father to fix things up. Schnarkin meet Delilah, a mysterious seductress from the swamps outside the plant. The story depends on the grossout, and I guessed Delilah's secret before even realizing it was supposed to be a secret. The twist at the end was clever, but a bit silly overall.

The issue rounds out with "Remembrance of Things to Come". In Mario Milosevic's story, Lee meets Rose while traveling on a train. Rose is older, and shares with him a bit of her life. It's enough to help Lee through his current problems. Rose's secret is given away by the title, but otherwise it's a nice elegiac tale.

There was no story in the issue that really impressed me highly. At the same time, there was no story I actively disliked. There are fine sections in every story, but there are also some weaknesses in most of them. Space and Time's niche seems to be in publishing stories that are well written, but don't necessarily fit into the usual boxes.

Chuck Rothman has appeared in Asimov's, F&SF, Realms of Fantasy, Aboriginal SF, and in the anthologies Vampires and Between the Darkness and the Fire, among other places. He has stories upcoming in Absolute Magnitude and MZB's Fantasy Magazine. He lives in Schenectady with his wife Susan and daughter, Lisa and has a web page at