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Electric Velocipede #9

Electric Velocipede #9
Electric Velocipede
Electric Velocipede is available by subscription ($10US -- USA, $15US -- Canada, $20US -- elsewhere) or by single issue ($3US -- USA, $4.50US -- Canada, $6US -- elsewhere). Send you order to and make money orders/cheques payable to:
John Klima
c/o Electric Velocipede
PO Box 663
Franklin Park, NJ 08823

Electric Velocipede

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Charlene Brusso

Electric Velocipede is a 'zine with a quiet reputation for printing some of the best short fiction from the odder corners of SF and fantasy, and this issue continues to uphold that reputation. The craftsmanship of most of the work here is enviable. More remarkably (or maybe just plain odd), nearly all the titles in this issue define their stories' main characters.

Hal Duncan's "The Chiaroscurist" gives us the tale of an artist, a fresco painter hired to paint the interior of a church on an alternate Earth -- an Earth you'll think you've figured out, until another small detail turns your old idea around and sets it up at a new, fresh angle. The fact that this happens again, and again, adds layers of meaning and creates a resonance which makes the story much more than the seemingly simple sum of its parts. "Even the simplest of spaces may contain the subtlest tricks of light latent in the slant of sunbeams through windows sidling round from dusk till dawn," Duncan's artist explains as he painstakingly observes the shifting rhythms of light and shadow in the room he is to paint. "There is no such thing as a blank page."

"Another Day" by Mark Rich and "Hard Time" by Mark W. Tiedemann deal with changing views of reality. Rich gives us a man who is clearly insane -- the question is, just how insane is he? Tiedemann's story, more carefully crafted, introduces the reader to an actor hired to play the role of a convicted child molester and murderer whose life in solitary confinement is broadcast "live" as the ultimate reality TV deterrent to crime. The questions raised here about responsibility and roles are chilling in their implications.

Jay Caselberg's "A Taste For Flowers" is likewise effectively creepy, following Tiedemann nicely with its depiction of a sexual predator allowed to live in a space colony in order to provide necessary "population controls." Although the setting raises logistical questions -- in this colony where spouses are assigned by the bureaucracy, wouldn't birth control make more sense as a population control than outright murder, for one -- the writing effectively sets gets the reader into its narrator's nasty mind.

Pride and stupidity go hand in hand in the unsettling "Braids of Grass" by Jonathan Laden, when an ambassador's narrow-mindedness insures the mutual assured destruction of both sides. Jason Erik Lundberg's "Solipsister" is a "Twilight Zone"-ish vignette about a man trapped inside some back corner of his girlfriend's mind, doomed to remain because of her peculiar ability to control her own reality. More interesting is "Strange Incidents in Foreign Parts" by Anna Tambour, a slippery tale of karmic justice, and vegetables, and ruined childhoods redeemed.

"The Euonymist", by Neil Williamson, is Calum, a human with a tightrope-walk of a job: choosing appropriate names for newly discovered worlds. This isn't the freewheeling and creative job it sounds, for more important than the name is the need to be "fair" in your selection, so that no one space-faring culture's language has an unfair advantage over another.

This issue of Electric Velocipede is well worth reading, if you can manage to run down a copy of this gem of the small print run.

Copyright © 2005 Charlene Brusso

Charlene's sixth grade teacher told her she would burn her eyes out before she was 30 if she kept reading and writing so much. Fortunately he was wrong. Her work has also appeared in Aboriginal SF, Amazing Stories, Dark Regions, MZB's Fantasy Magazine, and other genre magazines.

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