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Icarus Descending
      After Magic
Steve Savile
      Bruce Boston, illustrated by Lari Davidson
Enigmatic Press, 78 pages
      Dark Regions Press, 56 pages

Icarus Descending
Enigmatic Press
Len Maynard (born in 1953), and Mick Sims (born in 1952) have been friends since school where they met for the first time in 1964. Len Maynard now lives in Norton, Hertfordshire, and works as a precious stone dealer/lapidary in the jewellery trade in London. Mick Sims is a senior bank manager. They began writing supernatural stories in 1972 and their first published story was in 1974. A recent venture has been publishing chapbooks under the imprints Enigmatic Press and Maynard Sims Productions.

Chapbooks are available from:
Enigmatic Press
117 Birchanger Lane,
Birchanger, Hertfordshire,
CM23 5QF England
with cheques and money orders payable to M. Sims.

Enigmatic Press

Dark Regions Press
Not exclusively a horror market, Dark Regions/Horror devotes an entire segment to articles, reviews, and interviews on horror. They encourage the submission of stories and poems of fantasy, dark fantasy, and SF making it an outlet for all categories of imaginative fiction.

Bruce Boston is a 3-time winner of the Rhysling Award for science fiction poetry. He has also won the Asimov's Reader's Awards and been selected twice as Best Poet of the Year by SPWAO.

Dark Regions Press

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Lisa DuMond

It's been awhile, but it's time for another LD warning. Ready? Icarus Descending has been awarded my NC-17 rating. Sure, there is sex in it, but you know I only give warnings on explicit violence. What two consenting adults do in private is nobody's business... until one of them pounds the %#$*! out of the other one.

Don't make the mistake of thinking the rating is related to quality; Icarus Descending contains some of the most impressive short fiction of the year. Plus, it is a tantalizing opening act to the two Savile novels that are coming out in 2000. You'll want to be ready for The Secret Life of Colours and Laughing Boy's Shadow -- judging by these stories, the novels are going make quite a stir in the genre.

Icarus Descending is an opportunity to soak in the thick, sensuous atmosphere Savile creates with every word. "Remember Me Yesterday" transports the reader to Stockholm, to steep in the smoky, blue existence of time wasted and lives spent on the fringe of society. There is a layer of exhaustion and despair that presses the life from Federico, Caroline, and the other surrealistic characters ghosting through the tale.

The title story is heavy with the air of guilt, despair, and self loathing that ties Sahra, Noah, and Isaac together with barbed-wire knots. This is a tale that keeps the reader on unsteady ground, never quite sure what the reality is. If you are the kind of person who must understand every detail of a narrative, you are going to be in such misery. If you can let that pacifier of certainty go, you will be thrilled and chilled by Savile's work. Even if you think you can't, make the effort; it's worth it.

On a widely divergent note comes After Magic. Forget the dark, bohemian settings and jump back to Victorian England, where a medium, a magician, and a somewhat holy man are about to bump together in an amusing collision that gets a bit wilder with each paragraph. Oh! I forgot to mention that some of the other characters are a dwarf, a monkey, and a Duchess.

Sounds like an exercise to assign to a creative writing class, doesn't it? A quick look at any of the superstore websites will convince you that Boston has long since passed his period of practicing; dozens of novels, chapbooks, and poetry collections testify that he's been "getting it right" for some time now. It also hints that Boston may have been propping up a major share of the indie press market for just as long.

After Magic is a flirty, entertaining escapade powered by the eccentric individuals Boston brings to life. It is a caper, a love story, a farce that makes no attempt at a deeper or disturbing meaning. It's a fun read. (Only slightly slowed by the unpolished illustrations scattered throughout. Allowing unprofessional artwork to represent its publications is something indie press needs to reconsider.)

Frolic in the shallows? Or go straight to the dark water? Either way, you aren't going to be disappointed.

Copyright © 2000 Lisa DuMond

In between reviews and interviews, Lisa DuMond writes science fiction and humour. DARKERS, her latest novel, will be published in early 2000 by Hard Shell Word Factory. She has also written for BOOKPAGE and PUBLISHERS WEEKLY. Her articles and short stories are all over the map. You can check out Lisa and her work at her website hikeeba!.

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