“The Reluctant Zombie” by Walt Trizna
“Azieran: Kaibur The Rotund” by Christopher Heath
“From a Vampire Film Review” by Kris Ashton
“Sexo” by J. R. Cain
Okay, I just have to say the cover of issue #2 of Blood, Blade, & Thruster freaks me out. Talk about a mug you wouldn’t want to meet in a dark alley! It’s enough to make you wonder what type of weirdness you’ll find in here. Well, let’s find out:
David M. Fitzpatrick gives aggressive Scrabble playing a whole new meaning in “War of Cosmic Insignificance.” An alien race from another planet fails to escape their star system in time before their sun goes supernova. Bizarre radiation rips their souls out of their cooked bodies and transports them to Earth where they end up inhabiting the playing pieces on a Scrabble board. Has this advanced alien race learned from their past mistakes, or are they destined to obliterate themselves in a foolish war on a game board? A humorous story with a serious meaning, and this one’s just the first.
“The Reluctant Zombie” by Walt Trizna is a dark and funny zombie tale that’ll make you laugh at the ironies in it. Of course, after reading so many zombie stories in the past year, I had to resist the urge to mumble, “Brains…”, with every paragraph. Fortunately, it’s a humorous take that takes the Haitian Voodoo route instead of the usual “Toxic waste? Radiation? Eh, it’s just a mystery,” route found in so many others. There’s even a moral to it: don’t anger old witches. Fine, I’ll admit there’s some cliché to “The Reluctant Zombie,” but it pokes fun at the clichés.
“Azieran: Kaibur The Rotund” is one that readers of Christopher Heath’s “Azieran” tales will find to be a bit different than the usual serious fare. Written in the POV of Kaibur’s shieldman, Geoffery, they’re hired to rescue a virgin princess but get a lot more than they bargained for. I’m not going to risk any spoilers by saying why, but I felt bad for poor Geoffery. A funny piece of heroic fantasy from start to finish, but don’t expect much meaning to it other than sometimes there’s a reason why some women are still virgins.
“From a Vampire Film Review” by Kris Ashton is listed as fiction in the Table of Contents but reads like a film review for a vampire movie—a review written by a vampire bemoaning the degeneracy of modern-day vampire culture. I couldn’t help but think “Goth stereotype” as I read it, but that was mainly the point of the story. A worthwhile read, and the shortest one inside. I give it three out of five “fangs.”
“Sexo” by J. R. Cain takes the classic superhero spoof and gives it a serious, disturbing twist and follows it up with a moral lesson. No goody-two-shoes in this tale. Each superhero is pretty much out for himself (even the hot heroine Sexo), yet Cain also reveals a little humanity in each. Perhaps the best and certainly the most moving tale in this magazine as far as the story goes. But what’s up with superhero stories always being comedic or even slapstick? Haven’t these people ever read comic books or graphic novels? Maybe I’m just too sensitive on the subject. Fortunately, Cain doesn’t take it to the extremes I’ve seen in other stories, and that’s why I recommend it.
Blood, Blade, & Thruster: The Magazine of Speculative Fiction and Satire is chock-full of spec-humor goodness. And good quality humor at that. If the editors keep the quality up, I foresee BBT having a long life.