Reviewed By Gareth D Jones
Since switching from print to on-line publication, Hub has presented a new story, along with reviews and articles, every Friday. June also saw the first ‘Special Issue’, so along with issues 9 to 13 there were six stories to read during the month.
First off The Boy at the Gate by Barry J House is the creepy tale of a man plagued by the dream of a boy who wants to be followed somewhere. It’s a mystery that goes back to the traumatic events of childhood, and the unsettling air is maintained throughout to make a compelling story.
Mur Lafferty does an excellent job of avoiding paradoxes and the confusion that is all to common when writing a time-travel story. In Looking Forward to Remembering You a time travelling escort agency guarantees to provide just the experience you missed out on when you were younger. It’s written with great feeling and is convincing enough that there’s no need to worry about the mechanics of time travel. Very enjoyable.
The Blue Parallel is a cleverly inventive story by Jessica Reissman that explores a world where reality is not solid and precautions are necessary against the chaotic work of ‘patterners’. It’s one of those stories that could be SF or fantasy, but it doesn’t actually matter as you are caught up in her marvellously crafted world.
I’m afraid I didn’t enjoy Jeff Cook’s Man for a Moment. Not that it wasn’t competently written, but the subject matter was rather too brutal to make it enjoyable. Evisceration, bestiality, babies being killed – all the things submission guidelines usually tell you to avoid are there if you like that kind of thing.
Special issue 1 is a reprint of Alasdair Stuart’s Connected to mark it’s nomination for a BFS award. It’s a creepy tale of how modern technology can be more trouble than it’s worth. It’s very short, but very effective.
Finally January Mortimer gives us More than a Butterfly. It’s a story of genetic manipulation, fashion, butterflies and one woman’s passion for her work. There are some nice touches that help to flesh out the main character, showing her to be a complex person while hinting at the complexity of the subject without getting bogged down in technicalities. It came across with great feeling.
Altogether the magazine is maintaining a high standard of fiction and a consistency of publication that is every magazine’s dream. With news that it is now receiving Arts Council funding (and that one of my stories will be appearing in November!) it looks to have a secure future.