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Shoreline of Infinity 6: Winter 2016/17

The New Curiosity Shop

Shoreline of Infinity 6 cover

Noel Chidwick’s Editorial ponders the 2016 US Presidential Election as a Jonbar Point for future fictions. SF Caledoniaa discusses Andrew Blair’s Annals of the Twenty-Ninth Century. Gary Dalkin interviewsb Stephen Palmer. In Noise and Sparksc Ruth E J Booth ruminates on how illness steals time, and the year ending is full of both reflection and hope. In Reviews Chris Heymand looks at The Augur’s Gambit/The King’s Justice by Stephen Donaldson (though the book cover shown has the order of titles reversed,) Chris Kelsoe delights in Thirty Years of Rain the anthology celebrating the anniversary of the Glasgow Science Fiction Writers’ Circle and edited by Neil Williamson, Elaine Gallagher and Cameron Johnston, Ian Hunterf enthuses over James Barclay’s Heart of Granite, Henry Northmore recognises some merit in The Hatching by Ezekiel Boone while acknowledging it’s not high art, Nik Abnett’s Savant is reviewed by Steve Ironsideg who found it unsatisfying and Noel Chidwickh thoroughly welcomes Charles Stross’s Empire Games. Multiversei contains poems by Grahaeme Barrasford Young and J S Watts. Parabolic Puzzlesj has two parts both about variously encumbered musicians crossing a dangerous bridge.

In the fiction, Other Colours1 by Michael F Russell features the intrusion by a strange figure, a kind of interdimensional policeman into the laboratory of an over-dedicated nuclear physicist. It reads a bit like a mash-up between my own Closing Time (Interzone 89,) and Dickens’s A Christmas Carol.
In Shaker Loop2 by Bo Balder a family heirloom makes objects appear and disappear.
A Visit at Saint Nick’s by Gregg Chamberlain sees one of Santa’s elf helpers give comfort to a harassed woman.
In Spaceman3 by Florence Vincent the titular perennially inebriated alien is to be found alone and eyeless in a bar on Christmas Eve after closing time. A doctor comes in to assuage his angst at losing a patient.
Tales of the Beachcomber by Mark Toner is another edition – with a slight Christmas theme and nod to the team bringing us the magazine – of the strip familiar from earlier issues of Shoreline of Infinity, but this time seems more light-hearted than before.
Six4 by Hannah Lackoff is a tale of six successive clones of a girl and a boy and their creator.
In Goodnight New York, New York5 by Victoria Zelvin a suitably biologically enhanced woman goes illegal deep-sea diving in a flooded New York.
The narrator of The Descendant6 by Katy Lennon is a Plaisim 0200, a robot recommended for young families. It accompanies its owner – who calls it his son, only one manifestation of his psychological instability – on a government mandated trip out of Edinburgh beyond the wall into “the Vastus”. The other humans on the bus resent the Plaisim’s presence.
The Worm7 by Russell Jones considers the ramifications of an educational tool ingested by placing it under the tongue.
Annals of the Twenty-Ninth Century8 by Andrew Blair (Chapter XVII. Between Heaven and Earth) is an extract from the named chapter.

Pedant’s corner:- a“The amount of inventions and concepts are staggering.” (The amount is staggering,) “the way history often relayed to us – the ways in which often a country’s national narrative, the stories it tells itself about its own history – are often distorted” (is surely missing “is” between “history” and “often” and that “are” ought to be “is”, the verb’s subject is “history” not “ways”) “with such shaky foundations like this” (as this,) “but for a someone writing” (omit the “a”,) “on the short time he lived” (in the short time,) Coupar-Angus (Coupar Angus isn’t hyphenated,) Strathkinnes (Strathkiness,) enormity = hugeness (I prefer to reserve this word for a great wickedness,) “implications of in space travel” (does that need the “in”?) b“a single isolated baby who had their every physical need cared for” (baby, singular; so, its every need.) c”a difference nuance” (different,) “snuck up” (sneaked up.) d“palette cleanser” (palate,) focussed (focused,) “ne’er do wells” (ne’er-do-wells,) “portend to” (just portend, no “to”.) e“a writers group” (arguably writers’,) a missing full stop after “Phil Raynes” (which is, I believe, spelled Raines,) “the illusive Amanda” (elusive?) f“jammed packed” (jammed, packed, or jam-packed, not jammed packed.) g “puts the whole system gets put at risk” (puts the whole system at risk, or, means the whole system gets put at risk,) “outside of” (x2, just outside, no “of”,) “there are a couple” (a couple is singular.) h“the Clan .. are also building up their power” (is also building up its power – later we had “its host world” and “itself” referring to the Clan,) “as we go” (x2.) ihuman-kind’s (humankind’s.) “The speaker … their” (his or her.) jThe second paragraph is a single quote but its full stop has been placed after the end quote mark.

1”there’s no klaxon, no flashing lights” (I can’t help feeling there ought to be a plural verb in there somewhere,) “clatteringglassshattering” (this was intended, though,) “tailor you response” (your,) “Homo Sapiens do not evolve” (Homo Sapiens is a single species; ‘does not evolve’,) “…broken into with this,” he gestures at the frozen on-screen display,” crude attempt” (misplaced quote mark [… on-screen display, “crude attempt].) “This place is a great death. The song of life had been muted to stillness here. Silence had condensed to a singularity..” (The rest of the passage is in present tense; so, ‘has been muted’, ‘has condensed’.) 2Written in USian (the author is Dutch,) “When the last uncle had left, back to their normal lives” (‘uncle’ is singular, ‘their’ isn’t.) In the author info ‘The Wan”’ (I’ve no idea why that end quotation mark is there.) sup>3species’ (it was species singular; so, species’s.) 4lays (lies,) lay (x2, lie,) but despite these instances we had “lying”, not “laying”,) elasticy (elasticky??) “there is whole fridge” (a whole fridge.) 5Written in USian, “her myoglobin in her muscle tissue” (the myoglobin in her muscle tissue is a more natural construction,) “the kayak taken paddled out from the larger boat” (the kayak taken from; or, the kayak paddled out from. Not both,) VHF’s (an inverted comma signals missing letters, there are none here; VHFs,) “as few drowning deaths as could be possible” (as few drowning deaths as possible.) “She walked on the girder out to the window and hopped out the window” (‘on the girder to the window and hopped out’ would far more elegant phraseology.) “They scarce looked real” (scarcely,) “a spot she>d had picked out for herself” (possibly ‘a spot she’d had picked out for her’, more likely given what follows, ‘a spot she’d picked out for herself’; or, a spot she had picked out for herself’,) “freezing waist deep water” (waist-deep,) “discovered upon investigation that a family of crabs that had moved inside” (either ‘that a family of crabs had moved inside’ or ‘a family of crabs that had moved inside’,) “she smiled see this shark” (smiled to see this,) “she doubted the photo of would live up to” (the photo of it,) ambiance (ambience,) laying (I know USians use “lay” this way but it’s still totally wrong, the correct usage is lying,) didn>t (didn’t.) In the author blurb; program (it’s a perfectly reasonable decision to have all the authors’ stories in their original form and that Zelvin will have provided this information herself, but this is really an editorial segment, hence, programme.) 6IRREPERABLE HARM (IRREPAIRABLE or IRREPARABLE,) “off of” (just off; no “of”,) unrea-formaldehyde (urea-formaldehyde,) “Johm’s clothing and skin was covered in blood” (that “and requires a plural verb; so, “were”.) 7“They probably know more than me now, having had the worm their whole life” (lives,) woops (whoops makes more sense,) “Doctor Sabre leans my door” (leans on my door,) “‘MediGov have vital new information’” (MediGov has,) a missing start quote before “Please vacate. Biohazard.” Another missing before “Stick to the path…” 8 “thousands of trans-atmospheric apparatus” (“apparatuses” is the more usual plural in English but the Latin one is “apparatus” with a longer sounded “us”, Blair probably knew that,) “spoke with an inspiration which have endowed his words into the classics” (an inspiration which has endowed,) the piece has day and night in space (there would be perpetual daylight if not in a planet’s or moon’s shadow.)

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