1/01/2010. Contributed by Rod MacDonald
pub: Andromeda Spaceways. 100 page A5 magazine. $ 4.95 (AUS) PDF copy online. Subscription six issues $ 27.00 AUS.
check out website: www.andromedaspaceways.com/index.htm
This IS a really good Science Fiction magazine from Australia. In a world where magazines come and go with the frequency of meteors, the fact that it is now on issue 42 attests to its durability and staying power. You can buy this either in hard copy or PDF and it's the latter which I am reviewing here.
My first impression is that it is an exciting and forward-looking magazine. The enthusiasm of editor Edwina Harvey and her team, which is evident in the editorial and also in the on-line material, seems to be transferred to the pages. Fresh and exciting, it is actually a pleasure to read.
There are over 100 pages containing 12 short stories, reviews, poetry, artwork and special features. As the editorial suggests, # 42 had to have something about Douglas Adams, hence the tribute on page 42. Those of you who will remember 'The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy' will be aware of the significance of this number. The article by J W Schnarr, 'Parasitic Worms Of The Living Dead', which suggests that cats are responsible for infecting half the population of the planet with a zombie flesh-eating condition may seem to be a little fanciful, nevertheless on reflection, Tiddles has been giving me odd looks recently.
The short stories were interesting and varied. Something to suit everyone! 'Love Among The Lobelias' by Rob Shearman told of The Devil's venture into writing romantic novels though I would definitely not wish to read any of his works (The Devil, not Shearman) because of the unfortunate result of doing so, disembowelment being the least painful.
'Soldiers' by Dave Luckett explored the almost robotic responses from professional military men. This is fine until one of them expresses the obvious course of action. Anna Kashina took us within a hive of activity in 'The Hatchling'. Not exactly bees, more humans acting as bees, we are taken through the strange behaviour of the various castes within the hive. The question is: does this story have a sting in its tail?
My favourite story of the dozen was 'The Name Thieves' by Laura Goodin. Ever wonder what happens after a zombie apocalypse when the zombies have eaten everything and only zombies remain? What goes on in their heads? An interesting idea which is explored in this story suggests that they evolve a religion. It's all got to do with personal identity and the possession of a name. This story also reflects on human behaviour as well as the living dead because sometimes the distinction between the two isn't all that obvious.
All in all, a very interesting selection of stories plus book reviews on publications from all over the world. 'Andromeda Spaceways' is published in Australia and the writers come from that country plus the United States, Canada, Russia, the United Kingdom and more besides thus making it a truly international affair. The magazine has style and character all of its own and can definitely be recommended.
I can remember the day not so long ago when push-button phones were a novelty, calculators were rudimentary, the Internet was unheard of and there were no home computers or mobile phones. Science Fiction of that era has now become a reality, making the world a much smaller place and making it possible to receive a publication from 12,000 miles away in an instant over a broadband communication. Receiving a magazine by PDF involves no transport costs, no greenhouse gases and no trees. This is progress of a good kind.
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