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Albedo One # 36

01/08/2009. Contributed by Rod MacDonald

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pub: Albedo One, 2 Post Road, Lusk, County Dublin, Ireland. 64 page A4 magazine. ISSN: 0791-8534. Price: 5.95 euros.

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'Albedo One' is a Science Fiction magazine from Ireland. At first glance, it's quite a stylish publication with good artwork on the cover and a professional appearance to the contents inside. In the 64 pages, you get half a dozen stories, an in-depth interview, reviews and articles. It's 25 for four issues within the Irish Republic and 32 elsewhere.

This is a little bit expensive for a magazine of this size but it is worth pointing out that on the website there are special offers which include downloaded versions at a much reduced cost.

Reading the magazine and website, it seems Albedo One pays for accepted submissions. Don't all rush, however, because it's only 3 per thousand words. There are probably easier ways to make money but in the harsh reality of magazine publications where margins are very narrow, this nominal amount is not the worst payment you will find. Of course, many authors welcome publicity and use this as a springboard to future horizons.

The colour cover was quite spectacular. Apparently the artist is a Spanish woman called Enaer and I don't think it's the last time you'll be seeing her work on magazine covers. Issue 36 kicked off with an in-depth interview, slightly unconventional in nature, from the author Paul di Fillipo. Mind you, the unconventional is nothing unusual when considering his work and it was interesting to read some of his views.

'Twinkle, Twinkle', the winner of the 2008 Aeon Award, heads the list of short stories. Written by Colin Henchley it is set on a British bomber returning from Dresden in 1945. Most will know that Dresden was obliterated in a ferocious attack for no other reason than demoralisation of the enemy. On the return to Britain, a demon attacks the aeroplane and crew. I found this somewhat reminiscent of 'The Twilight Zone' but, despite this, it was thoughtful and poignant.

'Rotgut' by DT Neal was a rather frightening story. A man explodes on the train and infects everyone with a strange alien parasite. We know the man in the story is doomed from the start but we follow his progress, analytically from a microbiologist's point of view, to witness the parasite take hold of his body. I've read many stories in the past before about parasites, including 'Invasion Of The Body Snatchers', that have always been from the perspective of an observer. Neal gets right inside the host to realistically let you know what's happening. Chilling to say the least!

Another story that caught my eye was Craig Saunders' 'Grass Can Be Weeds, Too'. Morbid stuff it may have been but it was equally fascinating. Anyone that goes out gardening in the rain is probably a little suspect and it does seem from this story that the housewife also becomes more than a suspect. A short story is all it takes for an entire life to become exposed. A childless marriage is only the start and, as you read, matters become progressively worse. Definitely one to recommend.

There's also very good fiction from three other authors. In fact, all the stories were noteworthy and they were supported by an excellent review section. It's also worth mentioning that the magazine runs a short story competition with a 1000 first prize.

This is a good magazine, maybe slightly pricey, but it's worth the money. The fact that it is now at issue 36 attests to its staying power and I would imagine that it will be here for some time to come.

Rod MacDonald

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