Forgotten Worlds #8
Reviewed By Gareth D. Jones
This is the latest issue of Forgotten Worlds, and the last of the magazine to be issued monthly. They have now switched to quarterly, which I’m hoping isn’t a euphemism for ‘indefinite hiatus’ as it has been with many other small press and web ‘zines.
The first story this time is Heather Jensen’s Reciprocity, which needs some practice to pronounce correctly, and is a clever tale of life forms adapted to live under a dying sun. They survive by spreading themselves to single-cell thickness and absorbing energy wherever it can be found. The description of how this works is intriguing, and the story develops to a satisfying conclusion.
Little Runner Girl is a whimsical tale from Bruce K Derksen, the story of an old woman who is transported back to her youth by an enigmatic artist. It’s an engaging piece and whether or not you find the ending disappointing really depends on how whimsical you are.
Teenage angst takes on another dimension in Joshua Babcock’s Angst and the Armageddon, in which a mysterious boy plans to bring about the end of the world as the ultimate revenge. It has a pleasantly unusual style of dialogue, and an overall fairytale quality that make it stick in the mind.
Another Day on the Job is the sequel to last issue’s All in a Day’s Work by Chris Silva, both brief accounts of a figure who steals the essence of people’s lives (or something equally mysterious). Again it’s quite atmospheric and enigmatic.
The Mud Men of Tower Tunnel is Paul Marlowe’s Victorian tale of a creature that emerges from the mud while a tunnel is being excavated under the Thames. The Sherlock Holmes type speech and manners are captured well and make for an entertaining and thoughtful story.
A world perpetually grey and cloudy is the setting for Color Dance by Jessica E Kaiser. The story is set in a world of magic and fantasy where man has with nature without understanding the consequences. It’s a nice twist on a modern ecological disaster.
What would you do if you came home to find a dinosaur in your flat? Lane Adamson’s story Free to Good Home provides a light hearted answer as an alcoholic decides it’s a good way to make some money. It’s an enjoyable story and does a good job of suspending disbelief.
Empathy by Jill Knowles is not an easy read. An empath is called in by the police to help track a murderous paedophile. The tortured emotions that assail the empath are written so well that you can almost feel them yourself. The subject matter means it’s not my favourite story, but it’s certainly the most accomplished.
In Journal Krishnan Coupland gives us much emotion and atmosphere as a young recruit awaits the final exam to enter a mysterious agency. The writing itself is excellent, but ends rather precipitously. If you like suspended endings it’s great; if you don’t then it’s just good.