Black Cat Mystery Magazine No. 1

Black Cat Mystery Magazine No. 1An excerpt from my review of BCMM No. 1 from The Digest Enthusiast No. 7:

Editors John Gregory Betancourt and Carla Coupe welcome their readers to the first edition
of BCMM from their “The Cat’s Perch” introduction. “We won’t shy away from intense, dark fiction that makes the hair on the back of your neck stand on end. Just as we won’t turn down the next amateur detective in the finest Agatha Christie tradition. Storytelling matters most.”

Black Cat Mystery Magazine’s debut includes an impressive list of contributors, many that will be familiar to readers of those bimonthly digests from Penny Publications.

Telzey Amberdon

Telzey Amberdon and Tick-tock by Joe Wehrle, Jr.Excerpt from Joe Wehrle, Jr.’s article on “The Telzey Amberdon Stories of James H. Schmitz” in The Digest Enthusiast No. 7:

James H. Schmitz wrote a number of stories about a future world where many things are possible, and particularly, over a period of ten years wrote a series concerning one Telzey Amberdon, an emerging telepath, “fifteen years old, genius level, brown as a berry and not at all bad looking in her sunbriefs.”

Jim Schmitz was born October 15, 1911, and lived until April 18, 1981. You may not be too familiar with his work as he wasn’t as prolific as many of his contemporaries, but he wrote dozens of exceptional stories and a handful of memorable novels.

Introducing D&O: The Magazine

Down & Out: The Magazine No. 1Excerpt from the review of Down & Out: The Magazine No. 1 in The Digest Enthusiast No. 7.

Editor Rick Ollerman introduces his new magazine with the assertion, “Digest magazines aren’t what they used to be.” There are few crime fiction magazines on newsstands today. Even the influx of new titles, since the advent of Print on Demand, are often infrequent or published erratically. The Magazine intends to shake things up. How? The backing of a publisher like Down & Out Books should help. But The Magazine’s big idea is to leverage a character from a novel series in a brand new short story. In the debut edition, that’s Reed Farrel Coleman’s ex-cop, ex-PI, ex-retiree, Moe Prager.

In fact, every story in issue No. 1 features a series character, making it an ideal venue to reach new readers or delight series’ fans with short, between-novels, adventures. There’s nonfiction too. J. Kingston Pierce, who manages The Rap Sheet website, provides crime fiction news and reviews, and Ollerman introduces the issue’s only reprint in a column called, “A Few Cents a Word.”

William Ledbetter’s In a Wide Sky, Hidden

Fantasy & Science Fiction Jul/Aug 2017Stories from Fantasy & Science Fiction Jul/Aug 2017:

In deep space exploration, the journey is most definitely not the destination. I’ve seen the countless hours crossing vast distances dealt with in stasis, but William Ledbetter has a better idea. “In a Wide Sky, Hidden” deep space exploration is assigned to robots. That is until a strong-willed young astronaut launches a missing persons search across the galaxy. Regina, the explorer’s older sister is an artist of cosmic scale, whose final statement to the universe: “I have found a world of my own. It will be my masterpiece.” Ledbetter adds several futuristic inventions to enliven this bittersweet internal/external rescue mission.

Brenda Carre’s Gret

Pulp Literature No. 15 Summer 2017Stories from Pulp Literature No. 15 Summer 2017:

“Gret” by Brenda Carre sets the issue’s opening bar high. It’s the first chapter of a forthcoming novel of the same name, so beautifully written it overshadows any hesitation of reading an excerpt, so don’t miss out. Gret’s world is harsh and dangerous, filled with magic and intrigue. Carre’s skill with dialect in narration and dialogue transports you to Gret’s world at once. “I grabbed Isk’s meat knife and a bannock or two for my tattered pockets and I was out that windee and into the shore mist faster than a clam can fart.” A three-page interview with Carre follows her novel’s chapter.

Renee Asher Pickup’s Salsa Verde

Switchblade issue twoStories from Switchblade issue two, edited by Scotch Rutherford:

“Salsa Verde” by Renee Asher Pickup gives a first person account of a robbery in-progress for the spoils of an earlier heist by the narrator and her partner. Good idea, good action, and good dialogue—that’s an anaphora, the repetition of a word or phrase that begins every clause. Unfortunately, there’s one in “Salsa” too. “It’s my job to do this,” “It’s his job to do that,” recurring often enough to call attention to itself; which for me, broke the story’s otherwise natural flow.

Nathalie Charles-Henneberg’s Ysolde

International Science Fiction No. 2 pages 114 & 115From International Science Fiction No. 2 (June 1968):

ISF closes its second issue on a high note with a story from France. “Ysolde,” by the series’ only female author, Nathalie Charles-Henneberg, is translated by Damon Knight. A bittersweet story rich with unexpected twists and bents as it unravels.

“Ah, Nyx! That’s something else again. Everything is real there, but time flows backward. Is it an effect of the planet’s rotation, or of its sun, Spica?”

Perhaps this mysterious world, long ago effaced from the astrogational maps, holds the key to freeing Iza, a blind, deaf child with white-golden hair, imprisoned in her own body.

Nathalie Henneberg (1910–1977) began her writing career collaborating with her husband Charles Henneberg on his novels. After his death in 1959, Nathalie continued writing, initially as Nathalie Charles-Henneberg, and later as simply Nathalie Henneberg. Her solo stories were more fantasy than science fiction.

Romain Yarov’s Civilization

International Science Fiction No. 2 page 108From International Science Fiction No. 2 (June 1968):

ISF2’s final tale from the U.S.S.R., “The Founding of Civilization” by Romain Yarov begins with the concept of time travel as a sporting event.

A nineteen-year-old racer named Jorgen Jorgenson traveled through twenty- four centuries in three hours, eighteen minutes, forty-eight and three-tenth seconds.

This record-breaking performance sparks the public’s interest and the real race begins. The sport is accepted into the Spartacus Games and the world’s champions compete, including the favorites Vassily Fedoseyeyv and Konstantin Paramonov.

The race begins. Tension is high. Fedoseyeyv is expected to win, but not only does Paramonov triumph instead, but every other participant returns before the famed Soviet. Finally, as hope to avert a disaster is nearly gone, Fedoseyeyv returns. He had stopped. A technical glitch had forced his hand. An error that disqualifies him from the race and the sport for several months. Where did he stop? The 33rd century BC. The primitive people there helped him and in return he left them a gift that turned out to have some rather long-term significance.

Two collections of Soviet SF stories that include some overlap of the stories/authors from ISF were published in English editions. Yarov’s “The Founding of Civilization” was reprinted in Other Worlds, Other Seas (Random House 1970) and his story “Goodby, Martian!” was included in The Molecular Cafe (Mir 1968).

Rish Outfield’s Trick

Weirdbook No. 34 page 179From Weirdbook No. 34:

In “Trick” by Rish Outfield, a self-absorbed dad gets a handful on Halloween when he takes his daughter trick or treating.

I imagine poetry is even more challenging to write and sell than fiction. Weirdbook provides six poems in this issue, the short ones used to fill out the last page of a story, and the longer ones to provide a break between the fiction. This issue includes verses by Steve Dilks (2), Darrell Schweitzer, Ashley Dioses (2), and Lucy A. Snyder.

Editor Doug Draa has done excellent work curating a diverse mix of weird fiction and poetry
for Weirdbook No. 34. Highly recommended for fans of fantasy, horror, supernatural, and science fiction. Every story was entertaining and worth reading. My favorites were those by Adrian Cole and Sean Patrick Hazlett. And I’d rate James D. Mabe’s “Touched” as the best of the book by a shake—a tremble actually.

Brian Aldiss’ Hothouse No. 5

F&SF Dec. 1961The fifth and final episode of Brian Aldiss’ Hothouse saga appeared in Fantasy and Science Fiction (Dec. 1961).

Claude Veillot “The First Days of May” Translated from the French by Damon Knight (“Les Premiers Jours de Mai”, Fiction May ’60).
Herbert Gold “The Mirror and Mr. Sneeves” Story #3, ed. Whit & Hallie Burnett, A.A. Wyn 1953
Anne Walker “The Oversight of Dirty-Jets Ryan”
Will Stanton “You Are with It!”
John Anthony West “The Fiesta at Managuay” Call Out the Malicia, Heinemann 1961
Grendel Briarton “Through Time and Space with Ferdinand Feghoot: XLVI”
Isaac Asimov’s Science: The Trojan Hearse
Hal Draper “Ms Fnd in a Lbry or The Day Civilization Collapsed”
Brian W. Aldiss “Evergreen” (Hothouse No. 5)
Index to Volume 21

Cover by Ed Emshwiller

Contents from Galactic Central

An excerpt from Joe Wehrle, Jr.’s review of the Hothouse series, from The Digest Enthusiast book six:

[In “Evergreen”] Yattmur and Gren have a child. Gren has become more and more distant and inhuman under the influence of the morel. The morel is soon to sporulate, and it wants to transfer itself to the young, strong child, which can carry it back to the sunlit world for seeding.