- File Size: 417 KB
- Print Length: 81 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: Wyrm Publishing (February 28, 2015)
- Publication Date: February 28, 2015
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00U5185XI
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,496,993 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
Forever Magazine Issue 1 Kindle Edition
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The first issue opens extremely well, with a novelette by Ken Liu, “The Regular,” about a serial killer who targets high-end prostitutes. Ruth is a freelance detective who is hired by the mother of one of the killer’s victims. The story is alternatively told from her viewpoint and that of the killer, which allows us to understand the killer’s motive and keeps us one step ahead of Ruth in figuring out how to catch this vicious man. Liu also addresses racial issues in his story, as is characteristic of his work. These issues do not necessarily power the story, but do add flavor and complexity to Ruth’s character. The traditional mystery structure to the story blends well with the futuristic technology that powers the plot for both viewpoint characters. The story makes me eager to get to Liu’s new novel, The Grace of Kings.
Of all the stories I read for this review, “The Fate of Mice” by Susan Palwick is my favorite. It is narrated by Rodney, a laboratory mouse whose intelligence has been artificially boosted by Dr. Krantor. Rodney not only has intelligence, but also electronic vocal cords so that he can communicate with the man who regularly makes him run mazes. Rodney has memories of a different kind of running, galloping with wind in his mane and the road against his hooves; that is, Rodney has memories of being a horse. Dr. Krantor tells him this is impossible, dismissing Rodney’s questions about reincarnation. It takes Dr. Krantor’s young daughter, Pippa, to realize that Rodney is remembering being one of Cinderella’s horses. And Rodney starts to have other memories: he remembers frightening an elephant, gnawing the ropes holding a lion to a stone table, being blind and running with two blind companions. And then one day Rodney has another memory: being a mouse named Algernon. What happened to Algernon, he wonders? He asks Pippa to find out. The story is very much one that only science fiction fans will really understand, harkening back as it does to Daniel Keyes’s marvelous “Flowers for Algernon,” which became the movie “Charly.” Palwick doesn’t go for the easy and obvious end for this story, but takes it somewhere else altogether, making this story more than an homage to Keyes and into a new tale in its own right. It’s excellent.
The final story in the first issue is “Firebrand” by Peter Watts. It opens with a startling sentence: “It had taken a while, but the voters were finally getting used to the idea of spontaneous human combustion.” What is making people go up in flames? The alcohol-industrial complex is working to make sure no one ever figures out the answer to that question. It employs a number of people whose only job is to come up with plausible reasons for the deaths, reasons that have nothing to do with the biofuel industry. But the truth will out, and then the question is: what will the population do about it? The answer isn’t as easily arrived at as you might expect. It’s a cynical story with a solid basis in history.