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Survival By Storytelling Issue 1 Paperback – November 12, 2009
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The fiction section starts off strong with Chrysalis by Josh Roberts, which explores the loss of ones first love well. It is still a bit depressing, but an honest look. Honor Roll Bound by Dru Ervine stands out as the most memorable to me. It involved a young woman struggling through school with the demands and stresses she goes through. She meets someone who could be the love of her life and an angel. The ending was very depressing, but it stays with you as she left it all behind for something different. Dried Flowers by Adrienne Copeland is a world where plants are virtually unknown. This is the story out of the whole collection that could be expanded upon the most and is also the closest to Sci-Fi. I'd certainly welcome more from Copeland as it feels like she has more stories to tell about this strange future. I was certainly surprised Copeland was one of the youngest contributors at 17 so we can only hope she continues on this path.
Survival by Storytelling is definitely worth checking out if you are a short story fan. Themes of the dark side of love, loss, and stress are all in attendance throughout, which is something you expect from those under 25. I would check out a second issue if it happens, but I do think a bridge idea that all the writers aim for would be good. For a first effort this comes off better than most lit magazines I've read in recent years.
I'll get into the meat of it now.
Economies of Scale. Title doesn't fit the piece, but a good essay on SF/F short story markets if you're not up on it. If you are, you've heard it before. Number 3 was a really good, thought-provoking answer about mags figuring out what type of stories their readers want (even though it'd lead to ruts).
A Cure for Sap. Another horrible title. Good article. Love a good love story, avoided this one for the same reasons. Mildly offended at the shot at SF, but what're you going to do. Completely understand book withdrawal. Had it when Harry Potter was over and the first time I read Hitchhikers Guide or Ender's Game.
Six Ideas. Like EoS, if you're new to the scene, this article is great. Really useful information. If you've been puttering around for a bit, it's all familiar.
For an upstart, this had more than the average amount of really good stories. Here are a few of the stand-outs.
Chrysalis. Interesting style, with the teacher foreshadowing the entire progression of this young relationship. You know exactly what's going to happen from the tone, but keep reading. Not redundant, a good clip. You really feel for Amy, but know she's being purposefully naive. Everyone knows a Dominick too. It ended much too abruptly. I would have liked the alarm bell to ring to snap the teacher out of his daydream and begin class. It would have wrapped it up nicely and put it back in it's proper place, the teacher's skull, instead of making it seem more real than it is. I would have also liked to see more of the butterfly metaphor that was heavy in the beginning of the story, but petered out a bit. I have the same problems when I'm trying to write a story long symbol/metaphor/etc. If I write it in more than a sitting, I completely space what I was trying to do with the piece. Good length, good pacing. The ending mars it a bit, but a decent read nonetheless. 3.5 out of 5.
The Birth of Sweet Fish. Strange, strange story about perseverance. I can't really say more. 4/5
Waffle. Strange, strange story about knitting. I can't really say more. 4/5.
I'm not going to review the poetry because I am not familiar with those particular forms. I'm good with classical poetry, but this seems like modernist, post-modernist...okay I'm making this up. It didn't really sit well with me anyway
The bottom line is this magazine is one of the better upstarts I've read as of recently, and it has a good mission statement. There aren't many magazines for younger writers. The varied content could be a blessing or a curse. I think the first issue was almost a love-story-based issue. If they use a different theme each issue, and plan out like four issues in advance what the themes would be, start publicizing each issue earlier, then they might have sales that vary a lot depending on issue, but probably will be higher overall than if they just put in stories they like. Younger writers usually have unique takes on common or rising tropes. I dunno, just one fan's opinion.
Check it out.