Blood, Blade & Thruster, #1, Fall 2006

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"Almost Heroic" by S. J. Pierce
"The Most Selfish Man in All of Stretford" by Gregory Adams
"Princess Lily’s Wedding" by Robert J. Santa
"Some Units Like it Heated" by Blake Hutchins
"Changing for Dinner" by Kathleen Wallace
"Making Up for Lost Time" by James Harris
S. J. Pierce‘s "Almost Heroic" is the story of a messenger boy who gets stabbed by a magical sword.  Wenton had never been the courageous type, and that’s not likely to change, magical sword or not—but he would like to finish delivering his messages.  So, with a sword sticking out of his chest, the messages safely in their pouch, and an eagerness to stay out of trouble, Wenton sets out to get his messages to Darois Trent before he dies.  But trouble seems as eager to avoid Wenton as Wenton is to avoid it; you try arguing with a man who has a sword sticking out of his chest and see how far you get. 
In fact, that’s the point.  With a sword stuck through his chest, cowardly Wenton is already as good as dead—and when you’re as good as dead, you have nothing more to lose.  The message is a good one, and the humorous twist at the end ensures its place in this new magazine of speculative satire, Blood, Blade & Thruster
"The Most Selfish Man in All of Stretford" by Gregory Adams is a horror story.  Or not.  Roger finds the sloth paw at a yard sale and buys it on a whim, of sorts.  The sloth paw contains three wishes, but the spirit of the paw also has three dooms: a doom given for every wish granted.  The spirit of the paw really likes his job; he enjoys driving men insane when they realize that the dooms that come with the wishes are worse than they ever imagined. 
Unfortunately for the spirit, he’s picked the wrong man with Roger.  As far as Roger is concerned, the dooms are no big deal.  Sure, he has a dent in his minivan, but he has the five pence back that he paid for the sloth paw.  Sure, he lost his wife and kids when he wished for a bigger house—but no wife means no wife nagging at him, right?  But the spirit has finally found Roger’s weakness—Manchester United, and particularly Roger’s favorite player, Ruud van Nistelrooy.  This time, the spirit knows he has Roger.  Doesn’t he?  
Adams’s story is testament to the—if one may say it—rabid love that sports fans have for their sport and their player of choice.  And if the sport gets, if one may say, rather ghoulishly violent at times, well, who’s to complain? 
Robert J. Santa‘s "Princess Lily’s Wedding" is a frog prince story unlike any you’ve ever read.  King Frederick’s youngest daughter, Lily, is determined to wed her frog prince, and no amount of arguing on her father’s part is going to change her mind.  The biggest problem, as far as Frederick is concerned, is that his daughter is firmly convinced that it would be highly improper for her to kiss her prince before they’re married—never mind that frogs and frog princes all look the same to her befuddled and horrified father.  Have you ever tried marrying your daughter to a frog?  It’s most unkingly.  But the author manages to pull off a tender and heartwarming story while still keeping you laughing your head off. 
As for the humorous twist ending…well, I wouldn’t want to give anything away.  But let’s just say that one reader, at least, has been cured for good of kissing frogs, princes or not. 
As far as I can tell, Blake Hutchins‘s "Some Units Like it Heated" is about sex.  Or aliens.  Or aliens and sex.  A reader with a better understanding of what’s going on may enjoy this story; I was pretty much confused from the beginning.  
Kathleen Wallace‘s short-short "Changing for Dinner" focuses on the playful marital banter of a couple getting ready to go to a neighbor’s for dinner—but things are not quite what they seem in this hilarious little story.  Well worth the read. 
The humor in "Making Up for Lost Time" by James Harris is more muted than the other stories, although still present.  But the magazine closes its first issue with a story that reminds us of how precious time is and how important it is that we not waste it.  Gottfried Klebs is a watchmaker, the best in Switzerland, and, therefore, the best in the world.  Everyone wants a Kleb timepiece; anyone who has it will pay a hefty amount for it.  But all Gottfried’s skill with clockworks won’t buy him back any of the time he’s lost—will it?