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Aurealis, #38/39

Aurealis
Aurealis, Australian Fantasy & Science Fiction, is an Australian semiprozine, edited by Stephen Higgins and Dirk Strasser. It has published a number of stories by the new stars of Australian science fiction such as: Greg Egan, Sean McMullen, Terry Dowling, and Stephen Dedman. Issues are very Australian, including Australian-related SF news, reviews of Australian SF, as well as guidelines in helping Australian writers crack the foreign markets. A 4-issue subscription is $38.50 (Australian), with a surcharge for overseas orders.
Chimaera Publications
PO Box 2164
Waverley VIC 3149, Australia

Aurealis

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Rich Horton

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Aurealis, #38/39 The long-running Australian magazine Aurealis soldiers on with a thick double issue, this time edited by Stephen Higgins and Stuart Mayne. It features an editorial by Mayne, a science article by Patricia O'Neill speculating on why SETI hasn't discovered any alien races (suggested answer: they are social beings like bees), interviews with Elizabeth Moon, Alan Lee, and the entire Aurealis Team, a number of book reviews (including Bill Congreve's final column), and a generous fifteen stories.

Aurealis as ever features a mix of fantasy and SF. I thought this issue fairly strong as to the fiction contents. I'll mention a few highlights. Tony Plank's "Oomphalie's Songs" is told by a psychiatrist trying to treat a bitter, legless, war veteran, who instead opts for a fantastical escape offered by the title being. "Champagne and Ice" by Cat Sparks has a middle-aged woman meeting once again a fortunate beauty she knew as a youth. The other woman is rich and successful -- and at first the story seems predictable, as we learn that in reality she is sick of her existence. But there's a neat, dark, twist. Tansy Rayner Roberts's "The Scent of Milk" is also familiar in shape -- a woman determined to rescue her child, kidnapped by fairies -- but it's quite well executed. Greg Guerin's "Monochrome Red" is bitter near future SF, in which a desperate woman has been trapped into a life of prostitution -- made worse by implants that force her reactions to whatever the client wishes. She is offered a chance to escape and takes a surprising route. "Water Runs Uphill" by Leigh Blackmore is a quiet and moving look at a man mourning his dead wife. And Geoffrey Maloney's "Insecta in Camera" is a creepy, mordantly amusing story of a wildly unethical method of psychological data gathering -- spy cameras in fake insects. In itself that idea is minor, but the story follows a nebbishy academic spying on a family's sex life, with a couple of twists.

On balance, it is a decent issue of Aurealis. Perhaps the stories aren't quite as ambitious as those in the previous issue but, by and large, they are enjoyable.

Copyright © 2008 Rich Horton

Rich Horton is an eclectic reader in and out of the SF and fantasy genres. He's been reading SF since before the Golden Age (that is, since before he was 13). Born in Naperville, IL, he lives and works (as a Software Engineer for the proverbial Major Aerospace Company) in St. Louis area and is a regular contributor to Tangent. Stop by his website at http://www.sff.net/people/richard.horton.


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