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redsine seven
edited by Trent Jamieson and Garry Nurrish
Prime, 136 pages

redsine seven
From its web site:
"redsine is seeking dark fantasy stories up to 5000 words in length. We ask for first serial rights, with the rights to return to the author once the story has been published.

The kind of writing we are looking for is moody, dark and vivid.

Dark fables, fairy tales, out and out horror, all are acceptable. We're not going to turn back science fiction either, but it has a better chance if it's more Who Goes There? than Foundation (or Alien rather than Star Wars).

Some of the authors we like are Fritz Leiber, Geoffrey Maloney, D.F.Lewis, Jeff Vandermeer, Poppy Z. Brite, Michael Shea and Neil Gaiman."

redsine Website

Past Feature Reviews
A review by David Soyka

After a stint as an online "e-zine," the Australian magazine Redsine returns to print format with issue seven, featuring -- to borrow a term Nick Givers uses to describe Elizabeth Hand in an interesting interview in these same pages -- "prose poets of the fantastic." While including "Down Under" authors such as Deborah Biancotti, Cat Sparks, and Paul Hassing who might not be familiar to us North Americans, editors Trent Jamieson and Garry Nurrish have also selected works from Jeff Vandermeer, Stepan Chapman, Brian Stableford, and Jeffrey Thomas. All of which adds up to a very nice package of dark fantasy in the tradition of John Collier and Angela Carter that we non-Aussies can easily order either through either the Redsine website or Amazon.

The magazine has a decidedly literary feel, in format and design, not to mention content. Even when some of the tales are predictable (Thomas's "Mrs. Weekes" in which a nursing home patient's delusion about a threatening presence actually isn't) or don't develop much beyond their premise ("A Message to Medicare" by Nathan Burrage about a man whose voice kills people and Brian Stableford's dark vignette of personal responsibility, or the lack therof, in "Nobody Else to Blame"), the writing itself is of sufficient interest.

Lead story by Jeff Vandermeer (and the one reprint among the original stories), "Detectives and Cadavers" sets the tone of the surreal in a tale of reverse social bio-engineering. In a similar vein, Chapman's "The Silent People" investigates the unintended consequences of a sociology experiment. Kirstyn McDermott's "Louisa" presents a case of child abuse in which the victim is not who you might at first think. Although you can anticipate the outcome of Keith Brooke's "What She Wanted," the tale of how a man cures his melancholia thanks to an all-too understanding girlfriend still provides a chilling punchline. At first, I wasn't quite sure what the point of Hassing's "Bride Snapping" was, but in light of recent world events, the human predilection for witless conflict and destruction is aptly allegorized, as it also is in "The Sacrifice of the Pig" by Simon Logan. In "Fuchsia Spins by Moonight," Sparks presents a dance academy you wouldn't want your kid to attend.

Two stories that build upon present day trends in vanity -- though from decidedly different perspectives -- are "Mesh of Veins" by Brendan Connell and Bianconti's "Silicon Cast." The former notes how such body "alterations" as tattooing and piercing lead to a perhaps unexpected personal transformation, while in the latter the price to be paid for perpetual beauty may be even higher for those who support the fašade.

It is perhaps not by happenstance that this issue contains thirteen stories. This is a fine baker's dozen that raises unsettling issues, providing little in the way of simple, "feel-good" resolutions. Perhaps Scott Thomas puts it best in his story, "The Tale of Wolf Storm Hill":

"Life is a place of mist and questions and only sleep and the pale round moon hold the answers."

Copyright © 2002 David Soyka

David Soyka is a former journalist and college teacher who writes the occasional short story and freelance article. He makes a living writing corporate marketing communications, which is a kind of fiction without the art.

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