- File Size: 13659 KB
- Print Length: 221 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: SciFanTM Entertainment (February 25, 2017)
- Publication Date: February 25, 2017
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B06WD3L6DJ
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #684,552 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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SciFan™ Magazine Issue 3: Beyond Science Fiction & Fantasy Kindle Edition
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Top customer reviews
I’m still finding it a bit difficult to pin down exactly what science fantasy is, and how it differs from what one would consider more conventional science fiction or fantasy. A lot of the difficulty likely stems from the fact that science-fantasy occupies a liminal state between the two genres, and the stories in this volume tend to veer more towards one side or the other. Overall, though, I’m enjoying watching this magazine slowly gain its legs as it figures out its place in the speculative fiction universe.
Here’s a run-down of the stories featured in this issue.
by Stephen Clements
Sterick is an immortal supernatural being-- though his exact nature is never revealed. Is he a vampire? A demon? A fallen angel? Something else? Whatever Sterick is, he has done terrible things. Things that have forced him to flee into the darkness because anyone who knew the truth would want to destroy him. Even the name “Sterick” is just the pseudonym he uses when talking to the dead through the arcane machinery he has created, for if the ghosts knew his true name, even they would turn on him.
In this tale Sterick comes to the aid of one such ghost who needs him to investigate the sudden appearance of terrifying new beings into the underworld. The rather jarring ending of the story will certainly be polarizing depending on the reader’s moral opinions on particular contemporary issues. It also makes unfortunate reference to a recent controversy in the news that has been debunked on multiple occasions.
Aside from this awkward ending, though, this is a delightfully eerie piece of gothic horror. I hope Mr. Clements will show us more of Sterick’s world.
by DC Diamondopolous
Two young women search the wastes of what appears to be an After-the-End California for their lost sister, and for a mysterious, haunted place known as Crow Barn. Once they find the titular building, the post-apocalyptic narrative descends into a strange fantasy world reminiscent of the works of Richard Lupoff or the more dream-like stories of Clark Ashton Smith.
The SciFan Universe: A Scientific Creationist Story
Episode III: The Creation
by Richard M. Mulder
The majority of this short-short story is a summary of the Biblical creation of Earth, the Fall of Lucifer and the birth of the Nephilim reinterpreted through a science-fiction lens. An intriguing premise, though there is not much actual plot to speak of in the story. This is obviously part of a much larger work, so I look forward to reading the full breadth of this technological war in Heaven.
by CB Droege
This story is a brief vignette in the life of a future traveler by the name of Johnny who spreads not apple seeds in his wake, but internet connections. A most useful commodity in a world devastated by a mysterious disaster that apparently wiped out electronic communications across the planet.
by Gilbert Prowler
Something’s approaching Earth. A ship. A sign of life from deep space. But is it friend? Enemy? Is it even aware of humanity? Owen Frederick doesn’t know, but he’s not taking any chances.
by Jared Fleming
A story in the LitRPG genre- a tale told from inside an immersive MMORPG world. This feels like the introduction to a larger, more epic story. But not a bad start.
by Jeff C. Stevenson
Max’s mother Vivian has recently died, and one of her last requests was for her sister Jackie to receive a mysterious wooden box that she’d kept in her possession until the end. When Max arrives at his aunt’s home, things immediately feel off, though he can’t say precisely what is wrong. Entering the ominous building with a curious neighbor, Max is disturbed to see how bad his aunt’s hoarding habit has gotten. It’s almost impossible to move through the stacks and piles of old newspapers, clothes and other trash.
The ending feels a bit rushed and too ambiguous, but otherwise, this is a great slow-burn horror story.
The Other Inheritance
by Rebecca Jaycox
This is the first few chapters in the tale of Reggie Lang, a seventeen year old girl who is quickly discovering that she is more than just an ordinary human and that the strange powers she’s been manifesting lately tie her to an Other Realm parallel to our own world. It’s a set-up familiar to readers of YA fantasy, but Reggie and her friends and family are intriguing enough to keep the reader hooked. I was particularly interested in the dynamic between her and her neglectful and somewhat immature mother.
The Temple of Gix’Thian
by Drew Cordell
Perhpas one of the purest examples in this issue of what one probably imagines when they think of “science-fantasy”. A tale of space flight and sorcery.
Garis and Sturi, his Dustmancer companion, are planning to raid the titular temple when they’re approached by Orlonomer, a necromancer who wants to access the temple for his own reasons. But things quickly go South when the secrets hidden in the temple aren’t what they expect.
by Chris Nardone
“The Public Library is murdering people.” That’s the first line to this story. Really, I can’t do much better than that.
A fun pastiche of noir and Weird fiction.
Excerpt from “Planet Woman”
by Judith Rook
There’s definitely an intriguing story here. A living planet named Circe has made contact with the inhabitants of other, non-living planets via a mortal woman who is her avatar/mouthpiece.
Unfortunately, this excerpt comes from near the end of the story, and there are way way WAY too many names flying at the reader all at once to figure out what’s going on, let alone tease out their relationships to one another. Still, like I said, it’s an intriguing premise, but I’d recommend actually picking up the book itself to figure out what’s going on.
Stormguard Part III: The Invisible War
by Tom Fallwell
Angels Uriel and Zachariel are racing to stop the coming invasion of the Fallen. Their quest takes them to the Darvaza Crater in Turkmenistan- a cavern of burning natural gas that has been colloquially dubbed “The Gates of Hell”. Plunging through the portal, they cross through several strange realms as they try to put down the armies of Hell.
Rites of Heirdron
by Newland Moon
An excerpt from Moon’s science-fantasy romance.
Zrahnz is prince of a world devastated by a toxic miasma that has killed off all life except for the few who managed to seek shelter in a great domed city. There is great anger within Zrahnz, directed towards the deceitful rulers of the neighboring planet of Kaylohr who are responsible for poisoning his planet. But there are others watching from space who have bigger plans for Zrahnz and the powerful energies contained within him.
Though the story is gripping, it does become somewhat hard to follow near the end when a bathtub-full of exotic alien words are dumped on the reader with little explanation as to their meanings. Hopefully the full novel goes into more depth because there is some good world-building here.
The Secret King: First Contact
by Dawn Chapman
Another excerpt from Chapman’s epic science fantasy novel about King Kendro and his quest to defend his planet. The majority of this story involves the opening of diplomatic relations with Earth, as well as a lengthy surgery scene as doctor’s try to save the life of the soldier Octav. The story also ruminates o the deep bond between Octav and the man and woman he loves.
The third SciFan magazine follows the format of the first two. The content is mostly short fiction, with some reviews, sneak previews, and ads for related material.
There were some outstanding stories in this one. I'm not sure that I want to list them all and give reviews for each, but I'll mention my favorites:
Planting Seeds by CB Droege - a unique twist on an old tale. Won't spoil the reveal.
Casus Belli by Jared Flemming - this is THE first LitRPG story I have ever read, and I can see the appeal. Looking forward to the next issue of SciFan which promises more of this genre.
The Hoarder by Jeff Stevenson - a really neat take on the problem of Hoarders, told by a niece delivering a bequeathment to her shut it aunt. Weird horror ensues
My favourite was The Other Inheritance by Rebecca Jaycox. YA (bordering adult) chosen girl discovers innate necromancy, but this opens a hidden world and deadly problems. Opening chapters of a novel. Follows the expected tropes of the genre but with enough freshness and grit that I want more. Definitely buying the book.
I've read the first two volumes and I must say, this one has been my favorite. The quality of the stories is much better and there are fewer novel excerpts.
"Crow Barn" by D.C. Diamondopolous and "Planting Seeds" by CB Droege were two stand out stories for me.
As they continue the magazine, I feel the editors are doing a much better job presenting SciFan as a genre. I look forward to reading more of what they have to offer.
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