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Shoreline of Infinity 7: Spring 2017

 Shoreline of Infinity 7 cover

Starting with the fiction:-
In The Walls of Tithonia Chasma1 by Tim Major machines imbued via imprints of “human brain patterns” with artificial intelligences and whom a local Reverend asserts may have souls are sculpting Valles Marineris on Mars.
An Infinite Number of Me2 by Dan Grace is narrated by the daughter of a physicist whose work involved the interactions between the many different worlds where they touch each other.
Another take on different realities, or, rather, a possible different future is Brother’s Keeper3 by Shannon Connor Windward.
Message in a Bottle by Davyne DeSye is couched as a series of unreplied-to messages from an artist who seems to have been left totally alone in the world. (Annoyingly, its approach and the style in which it is written reminded me of an unpublished story of my own.)
In Anyone Can Ask About Enhancement4 by Terry Jackman a ”normal” working man tries for Enhancement in order to impress/keep his girlfriend. This story can go in one of two ways. And it does.
3.8 Missions5 by Katie Gray tells of a medtech whose job it is to reach disabled iSoldiers in the field and get them back working again. 3.8 is the average number of such missions completed. Our narrator is on his fifth.
Quantum Flush6 by Daniel Soule is a light-hearted piece about a time travel jaunt to find out the cause of the Alexandria Library fire.
Another light-hearted piece, Something Fishy7 by David L Clements, has an explorer on an alien planet encounter a human-sized fish which is singing arias.
Mark Toner’s The Beachcomber8 continues its graphic story-telling with an account of how Martians have adapted over the years to the many different human ways of viewing them.
In SF Caledonia9 Monica Burns considers That Very Mab10 by May Kendall and Andrew Lang, the first in the series written by two authors and the first to feature a woman. The extract, as might be expected from is 1885 publication date, is very Victorian in nature.

The non-fiction contains an interview with Jane Yolena four of whose poems make up Russell Jones’s MultiVerse section. Ruth E J Boothb’s Noise and Sparks 4: The Work of the Heart discusses the role of the artist in troubled times. Reviews features Iain Maloneyc on Ken Macleod’s The Corporation Wars: Insurgence, Pippa Goldschmidt looks at the collection Thought X: Fictions and Hypotheticals edited by Dr Rob Appleby and Ra Page, Chris Kelsod welcomes the reminder from Iraq + 100: Stories from Another Iraq edited by Hassam Blasim of Britain’s responsibility for the chaos in that country and finds the stories are well written and “beautifully executed,” Chris Heymane likes Luke Rhinehart’s Invasion, Steve Ironsidef sees flaws in T J Zareski’s The Cygnus Virus but looks forward to part two, Katie Gray had a good time reading the clockworkpunk of Stephen Palmer’s The Girl with Two Souls even if the central character(s) remained undeveloped, Thom Dayg liked Hold Back the Stars by Katie Khan overall [but his review indicated it would not be my thing,] and Iain Maloney gives a warm thumbs up to Chris Beckett’s Daughter of Eden.

Pedant’s corner:- 1“there are now only a handful of the team” (there is a handful,) “the congregation accept the sculptures as” (the congregation accepts.) 2“down though muscle and bone” (down through.) 3Written in USian. 4“less hours” (fewer.) “Super nova flared” (Supernovae,) “did he need it” (‘had he needed it’ is a more natural formulation.) “They bid him welcome” (bade.) In the author info: “five4 star” (well: was it five or 4?) 5“the dust-cloud than enveloped him” (that.) In the author info: “a master’s in creative writing” (a Master’s.) 6Archimedes’ (Archimedes’s,) “the libraries destruction” (library’s,) and did the Nazi high command really have quilted toilet tissue? 7corps’ (corps is singular, so corps’s; since the word is pronounced “core” it certainly must have the “s” after the apostrophe in its possessive,) “while amino acids, in various configurations, were the building blocks of protein analogues” (but amino acids are the building blocks of protein; so these “analogues” would be molecules of protein,) hanger (hangar,) “after a few moments further thought” (moments’.) “Its voice rose to a crescendo” (no. The crescendo is the rise, not its climax.) In the author info: “other then Earth (than.) 8disasterous (disastrous.) 9“Parliament are debating” (Parliament is debating,) Weslyan (Wesleyan.) 10In the extract printed unwarranted paragraph breaks occur mid-sentence on pages 100, 101 and 105, there is an unfortunate inset which means a semi-colon appears on the next line rather than immediately after a word on page 101, “opinionthe” (opinion the,) fetich (now spelled fetish.)
aThis is a transliteration of an email exchange so perhaps typos can be excused. Nevertheless: “fireflies mating rituals” (fireflies’,) Margulis’ (Margulis’s,) Yeats’ (Yeats’s,) all the times (time,) “I – like many others – are extremely trying” (I … am extremely trying,) selchies (selkies,) “have being accepted” (been,) “head, attorney” (head attorney,) publishers schedules (publishers’.) b“sympathy with her reader allows a storyteller to speak to them” (readers.) c“the freebot known as Baser who is … until its peace is shattered” (either “which” for “who” or “his” for “its”.) dIraqi+ 100 (Iraq + 100,) “that resonates events closer to home” (resonates with,) Bagdad (Baghdad,) Iraqi’s (Iraqis.) e“As the activities amps up” (amp up.) fCygnus’ (Cygnus’s.) gMills & Boone (Mills & Boon,) “there’s plenty of futuristic elements” (there are plenty … elements,) we are told twice each that the characters have 90 minutes of air left and North America and the Middle East have been devastated by nukes.

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.)

Shoreline of Infinity 5

The New Curiosity Shop, 2016, 132 p.

 Shoreline of Infinity 5 cover

Mark Toner’s Editorial discusses Shoreline’s artwork. SF Caledonia by Monica Burns1 considers Phantastes by George MacDonald who influenced, Lewis Carroll, Charles Kingsley and C S Lewis. I reviewed it here. There is an interview2 with Simon Morden and Noise and Sparks 2: You Have to Live by Ruth E J Booth considers the work-writing-life balance.
In Reviews Ian Hunter3 looks favourably on Ian Watson’s collection The 1000 Year Reich, Iain Maloney has a 90%+ approval for Hannu Rajaniemi’s Invisible Planets: collected Fiction, Thom Day finds some flaws in R J Tomlin’s The Transition, Benjamin Thomas4 appreciates Behind the Throne by K B Wagers despite its sometimes YA feel, Noel Chidwick5 enthuses about Nod by Adrian Barnes. Multiverse6, the poetry section, features work by Andrew Blair and Ruth Aylett. Parabolic Puzzles7 features asymmetrical dice.
As to the fiction, Iain Maloney’s The Revolution Will be Catereda posits a society where everyday needs are taken care of by AIs as there are no holidays from work. The AIs go on strike.
In Nemeb by Jack Schouten the world has been taken over by an extremely restricted language. When it arrived some people were deliberately deafened to avoid its effects.
What Goes Upc by Stuart Beel is firstly two pages of a comic strip story, subtitled A Tale of Alien Abduction? and is “to be continued”. Which it is, 30 pages later. And again, in another 32 pages where it ends. It also contains a nice Talking Heads pun.
In the melancholic and effective Possible Side Effectsd by Adam Connors a successful business man with terminal cancer is easily persuaded to take a time dilation trip in space to wait for the possible treatment to be developed. His family, though, stays behind.
Nothing to Fear by Nat Newman is a very short piece set in a time when the calendar has been radically altered.
In Perennialse by Daniel Rosen asteroids “hit the Earth” a while ago. Now, at intervals, things called Vectors take over some people’s personalities before receding again.
Unusually but refreshingly set in the Scottish Borders Incomingf by Thomas Clark features a robot that keeps Hawick awake at night while keeping vigil. Complete with Scots dialogue. Delightful.
Another very short story is Overkill by Rob Butler wherein an astronaut sent out to confront a supposed alien invasion tells the sorry tale.
Craig Thomson’s When There is no Sung starts as a chase of hide-and-seek in a Brown Dwarf’s system before morphing into a tale of quantum entanglement.
Chapter 4 from Phantastesh by George MacDonald is the featured SF Caledonia reprint.

Pedant’s corner:- 1”the paths … are well trod” (trodden,) “one of the fathers the modern fantasy genre” (of the modern,) “when he first read Phantastes He .. “ (full stop missing,) Anodos’ (x4, Anodos’s,) “in student’s room” (in the student’s room,) “by a man from my town, and alumni of the University” (and alumnus, or an alumnus; both are possible, “and alumni” isn’t.) 2”they’ve found their audience and they know how to please them” (to please it. [Though audiences would also do,]) “it’s going to be different story” (a different story,) “the only clues I had were was” (take out was,) Walter John Williams’ (Williams’s.)Expressions of …was part of” (expressions were part of.) Wells’ (Wells’s,) Ian Whaite’s (Ian Whates’s.) 3The 1000 Year Reich containing 18 stories… and starts with ..” (contains 18 stories,) practises (practices,) crivens (usually crivvens.) 4”in favour for characteristics more suitable for” (in favour of characteristics more suitable to,) 5focussed (focused.) 6in the introduction; focussed – and focussing (focused, focusing.) In the poems; til (‘til, or, till.)”There are a surprisingly large number” (there is a surprisingly large number.) 7dice (a single one of these is a die. Five mentions of “dice” should have been “die”.)
adepositaries (= storerooms is usually spelled depositories,) airplanes (aeroplanes, please.) bSet in London yet it has termites, “fear sunk cold and heavy” (sank,) four lines are mysteriously centred on the page whereas all the other are aligned normally, “the Government have operatives” (the Government has.) clightening (lightning.) “I thinks I saw that” (think.) dIn the author information afterword; Comma Press’ (Comma Press’s.) eWritten in USian. “after the asteroid hit” (previously it was asteroids,) “‘I’m pretty fucked, David.’ she says.” (ought to have a comma after David, not a full stop.) fsunk (sank,) “‘As if it’s no bad enough UHRRR’” (is missing punctuation after UHRRR? Full stop or ellipsis.) gvocal chords (cords,) “cooled to within an atom’s breadth of the ambient chill of space” (atomic width isn’t a measure of temperature,) a paragraph appears to end with a colon rather than a full stop but it precedes a description and the indentation may be the erroneous feature, “‘…than a thousand clicks across.’ said Melano” (comma instead of full stop before end quotation mark,) ditto “‘The resonance is getting stronger.’ I said.” Ditto “‘Subtle.’ said Melano.” Ditto “‘Original.’ remarked Melano;” Ditto “Go on.’ The other Melano urged.” Ditto “‘The resonances build with every duplication.’ my double explained.” Ditto “‘….twenty, fifty, a thousand of us.’ she-I-looked.” Ditto “‘Sorry.’ Melano cut in,” “its graphite mantel” (mantle,) “carbon monoxide atmosphere” responsible for “the photochemical synthesis of long-chain hydrocarbons” (so where do the necessary hydrogen atoms come from, then?) Auriela (elsewhere Aurelia.) ““Wh-what exactly are you saying?’.” (has a double quote mark at start and single at end plus an extraneous full stop.) h“turned my eyes toward the moon Good heavens!” (is missing a full stop after moon,) “fell from off them” (fell from them, or, fell off them.)

Shoreline of Infinity 4: Summer 2016

The New Curiosity Shop

Shoreline of Infinity 4 cover

In this issue there are interviewsa with Ken Macleod and Tricia Sullivan by Gary Dalkinb. Duncan Lunan reviews Ken Macleod’s The Corporation Wars: Dissidence mainly by way of discussing other works; Iain Maloney mystifyingly likes Yoon Ha Lee’s Ninefox Gambit and praises publisher Unsung Signals for taking a punt on Dan Grace’s long short (or short long) piece of fiction, Winter, not to mention the work itself. Elsa Bouetc likes Lavie Tidhar’s Central Station, Benjamin Thomasd eulogises Guy Gavriel Kay’s Children of Earth and Sky despite its tendency towards info-dumping, Ian Huntere is less generous to Ian Boffard’s Tracer. Ruth EJ Booth’s first column discusses the effect of winning a first award on a writer. Russell Jones’s introductionf to Multiverse (the poetry section) manages to tell us what the poems are about before we read them.
As to the fiction:-
Well Enough Alone1 by Holly Schofield depicts the cognitive decline of an elderly woman. Keen to get rid of her electronic minder by damaging it, she persuades the repair technician to download its programming into her smartcane while awaiting a replacement. The smartcane has programming of its own.
In Senseless2 by Gary Gibson a future National Unity totalitarian government perverts a medical breakthrough by using a device to remove senses from the prisoners it detains. A blind inmate who has developed compensation mechanisms and concocted an escape plan is suspicious of a new cellmate.
Andrew J Wilson’s The Stilt-Men of the Lunar Swamps3 is a typically exuberant piece of Wilsoniana, a Vernian/Wellsian pastiche in which our intrepid adventurers travel into a cavern in the Moon to meet the titular stilt-men and their even more alien controllers. There’s also a character named MacGuffin.
Model Organisms4 by Caroline Grebell relates the last yearnings of a dying life-form.
In Note to Self5 by Michael Stroh a wannabe Science Fiction writer busily piling up the rejection slips receives a package in the post: his first novel, sent to him by his future self.
Robert Neilson’s From the Closet is the somewhat predictable story of a man who tailors himself – literally – to the profile required by his internet dating partner.
The G4.A of geefourdotalpha6 by Clive Tern is a fighting robot which achieves consciousness when brought down in its final battle, surviving hundreds of years before being unearthed by a human anxious to preserve her hunting grounds.
Beachcomber by Mark Toner is a continuation of the graphic/comic strip series introduced in Shoreline of Infinity 3. This episode manages to combine 1950s UFOlogy with the Broons!
Gay Hunter by James Leslie Mitchell (Lewis Grassic Gibbon) is an extract from that author’s novel of the same title, the latest to be considered under Monica Burns’s7 SF Caledonia umbrella.

Pedant’s corner:- aIn the introduction “Ken Macleod and Tricia Sullivan have both have contributed” (remove a “have”.) b“as an writer of the left” (a writer,) “advances are being made bio-engineering” (made in bio-engineering,) “this conservative tenancy” (tendency.) c“the benefits and drawback” (drawbacks make more sense.) dhonorable (honourable, please.) e”the very imposing, nay, ruthless figure, who” (has its second comma misplaced; it ought to be after “ruthless”.) fDodds’ (Dodds’s.) gIn an appeal for subscribers; super nova (supernova.) 1Written in USian, “an sensible-looking brush” (a sensible-looking.) 2”The guard led pushed Bill into a chair” (led, or pushed? Or led/pushed?) plus a missing comma at the end of a piece of direct speech. 3”is audience were in for” (his audience was in for,) there was an unwarranted change in font size part way through, “hoisted by our own petard” (hoist by our own petard.) “There was ghastly, flatulent bang” (a ghastly flatulent bang.) 4”I have laid immersed” (lain immersed,) kilometers (kilometres,) “spermatozoa multiplies in my ovaries” (spermatozoa is plural; so, multiply. Plus spermatozoa are male sex cells, they would multiply in testes, not ovaries.) 5Written in USian. 6Written in USian, “ – hat’s how the file translated” (that’s.) “At the start of its final battle started G4.A controlled the sector” (As its final battle started G4.a; or, At the start of its final battle G4.A,) “advantage point” (it’s vantage point, no “ad”.) 7”The list of his best loved authors ….include (includes,) “the unique SF canon … go virtually ignored” (goes.)

Shoreline of Infinity 1: Summer 2015

Science Fiction Magazine from Scotland, The New Curiosity Shop, 104 p.

Shoreline of Infinity 1 cover

Apart from the fiction, in this first issue of a new venture there is an interview with Charles Stross; Steve Green’s column Border Crossings1 discusses two SF films made mostly in Glasgow over twenty years apart, Bertrand Tavernier’s Death Watch adapted from D G Compton’s The Continuous Katherine Mortenhoe and Jonathan Glazer’s adaptation of Michel Faber’s Under the Skin; in SF Caledonia – John Buchan SF writer,2 Paul Cockburn examines that writer’s SF credentials. Reviews3 discusses five books.

The fiction is varied in scope. Each story has its own one-page art work and a title page to itself. Internal illustrations accompany some others.
More fantasy than SF, The Three Stages of Atsushi4 by Larry Ivkovich is set in Japan in 1531. A woman whose son, Omasu, was swept away in a flood the year before petitions the God Amaterasu to bring him back to life. A strange man in odd armour appears with an entourage of samurai and helps her (in stages,) for Omasu has a destiny.
In Alex Barr’s very well written The Spiral Moon5 a woman astronaut whose mission has suffered a catastrophic failure sets out to circumnavigate the small planetoid she is on, eventually hallucinating as she succumbs to oxygen starvation.
Symbiosis6 by Colleen Anderson has another member of a doomed space mission, on a planet this time, trying to survive by going native. The story’s ending is fantastical rather than SF.
The protagonist of See You Later7 by M Luke McDonnell gets herself a set of AR lenses to match the ones her husband needed for work and finds the settings he uses for his something of a surprise.
In what is intended to be a humorous piece, but is far too over the top to be so, David Perlmutter’s The Brat and the Burly Qs8 gives us an alien superhero, who is part mechanical, flying to Mars to apprehend a wrongdoer whom it has sent to jail once already.
Approaching 43,000 Candles9 by Guy T Martland. Controlled by the Moon, time is switched off once a year, and British Lighthouses travel to attend a conference. At one of these, Voth, from the Isles of Scilly, overhears the Bishop Rock and two other Cornish Lighthouses planning a shut down so that the Bishop’s much needed maintenance will be expedited.
In Broken Glass by Joseph L Kellogg, Slide Stations allow travel between five parallel worlds. RedBrian envies the other Brians who all have their Pats as lifetime companions.
In TimeMachineStory10 by Richmond A Clements a man goes back (and forward) in time but the effects aren’t what he expected.
The extremely short, almost throwaway, Cleanup on Deck 7 by Claire Simpson features a new female crew member on a spaceship under attack seeking refuge in a cupboard with only solvents and bleach available to her as weapons.
Space11 by John Buchan is one of Buchan’s Leithen stories where that gentleman relates to a companion on a deer shoot the tale of his acquaintance Hollond, who forms a theory that so-called empty space is full of “mathematical pandemonium” with “halls and alleys in Space shifting .. according to inexorable laws” and there are Presences within it.

Pedant’s corner:- 1Good Friday isn’t – and never has been – a public holiday in Scotland, PBS’ (PBS’s,) embue (imbue,) 2Given in the contents as page 82, it’s actually page 80. 3Stross’ (Stross’s,) “for an entertaining a ‘management team for dummies’” (one indefinite article is enough,) “their alien mind set giving homo sapien the chance” (either homo sapiens or homo sapien) 4Written in USian, a missing start quote at the beginning of a paragraph, thusly (thusly??? What sort of a word is that?) 5CO2 (it’s CO2.) 6While their normal prey is referred to as herbivores the planet’s top predators are described as cats. However they appear they would not be cats. They are alien. Ditto the so-called trees. “The night painted the blood a sinister substance” (substance? Colour surely?) “Keela tramped determinably” (?? Determinedly, I think.) 7Written in USian. 8Written in USian; on their own free will (of their own free will,) synthetic water (????) embarrasing (embarrassing,) said my peace (my piece that would be,) sat (seated; or sitting,) liquid mercury (even piping hot at normal atmospheric pressure it has no other option but to be liquid, it doesn’t boil till 357 oC) jail-after (jail after.) 9And anyways (a Scot – even if a lighthouse – would say anyway, not anyways,) “couldn’t see more that a few yards” (more than.) 10“there’ll be cure in the end” (a cure,) one sentence had two full stops at its end, Arch Duke Ferdinand (Archduke.) 11caldron (cauldron,) “as keen is a keen sword” (as keen as; or, as keen as is,) Prescences (Presences,) Holland (always Hollond elsewhere,) a missing start quote when a piece of dialogue continues after a narrative interpolation, plus a missing end quote at its end, and another at the end of a paragraph where the next was not a continuation of speech.

Satellite 5 and New Books

 Secret Language cover
 Pelquin's Comet cover

At the weekend I was away again, this time in Glasgow for the Satellite 5 Science Fiction Convention.

I met up with a few old friends from the Scottish SF scene, was a member of a panel on the subject of Writing Space – How do SF writers an­d artist­s make their fu­tur­istic tech­nology be­liev­able? And does it really mat­ter i­f they don’t? (I don’t think I made an idiot of myself.)

I was also introduced briefly to the editor of Shoreline of Infinity, a new SF magazine/ezine and a potential home for stories.

Not to mention buying a copy of Neil Williamson’s latest story collection Secret Language published by NewCon Press, so hot off the presses it hasn’t been officially released yet.

And that nice man Ian Whates, publisher at NewCon, gave me a copy of his Pelquin’s Comet as his thank you for doing the proof-reading on it.

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