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Science Fiction Trails #6

Science Fiction Trails #6
Science Fiction Trails
Science Fiction Trails can also be ordered from Barnes & [] and The publisher can be contacted at:
David B. Riley
PO Box 8191
Avon CO 81620

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Past Feature Reviews
A review by Sandra Scholes

Still a rarity in fiction writing, science fiction meets the Wild West results in a wealth of time travel and steampunk adventures. In this issue of the magazine, we find nine tales in this rather well-presented glossy magazine that is really a book by the looks of it. It features works by C.J. Killmer, Laura Givens, David Lee Summers, Raymond Broadbeard and Lee Clark Zumpe.

"Diabolo Dodd's Dirigible," by C.J. Killmer is the name of an aircraft, Diabolo Dodd is the bad guy in this story, and there is someone looking for him, one Lefty Bolingbroke who remembers what he did in the past, the terror he caused and the brutal slaying he fashioned across the plains. Killmer's piece is consuming and draws the reader into the plot right from the start. The ending, of course is a good one, but not for a certain person.

"Pete's Last Ride," by Laura Givens, is written as a last letter to someone close to her, and he tells her what has happened since he last took a journey in a time machine -- now though, they are stuck in a particular time period, and the time machine needs repairing. They might be stuck there for a long time, but he managed to make ends meet. Givens can tell a rather enjoyable and heart felt story well.

"The Pirates of Baya," by David Lee Summers has Ramon, a former wanted man taken on for an assignment to protect the port of Los Angeles. A group of pirates has been seen causing trouble, and stealing the cargo, but with one unusual trait, they don't kill innocents, and so far, the robberies have gone on, but not one person has ever been killed. Ramon isn't the only one who finds this unusual. His girlfriend has plenty to say about it, but if Ramon doesn't take the job, he will never know what the future holds for him. Summers has the ability to hold the reader right until the last page with his peculiar Wild West tale.

"Brass and Steel," by James R. Strickland has a Marshall in town who is investigating several strange happenings, and in a world where the Wild West is abound, and technology is rife, those who might look human might not be -- they might be an early form of android. The problem is no one can tell unless they are looking for it. Strickland's story is a cautionary tale of androids and their development. There is a kind of Blade Runner feel to it that readers will be able to identify with as it is quite subtle. There is a twist to the tale too -- read it and find out how good it is.

"One Riot," by David P. Riley has Texan Ranger Grumpy Gaines going out to work, but what he finds when he gets to Garden City could chill the blood -- unless you're Grumpy, and aren't afraid of vampires. It isn't as strange as aliens, but it is a change from the usual, and Grumpy is one hell of a quiet man in this story, which is the best in the entire magazine. The way he handles the vampires is funny enough, but readers will really feel for his wife when he gets home.

"True Count: A Story of Enumeration & Numbers," by Raymond Broadbeard gets readers back to the realm of technology. This one is special, but for a reason the readers can't know for now as it would give away too much of the twist ending later. All that can be said is Will Sinclair is in for a shock once his conspiracy is uncovered. Broadbeard prepares the reader for the story, and the shock of the twist ending -- genius writing.

"Sinister Skies," by Lee Clark Zumpe, is a time-travel story where aliens try to hide in secrecy but test out vehicles in the past where, they hope no one will be in that location -- in that case, they are wrong, as others being there affects the lives of the 69ers who work and live there, and a certain father's little daughter. It is quite touching in places, but the ending is touching for both the aliens and the humans.

In "The Legend of Wrong Way Ferguson," by John Howard, Rodney has made many mistakes in his flying career, but against the Germans in the First World War, the good guys have an experimental device that could revolutionize the war effort, and could in theory help them win. The only snag, is they need a volunteer, and the result of this has a pilot sent right back to the wild west, and this time he does something right for once. Rodney is the sort of character many would cheer for as he is an unlikely hero in this story, and it is a read not forgotten either.

"Ahead of His Time," by Don D'Ammana concerns Darby Lane, who has a letter offering him a job, and old friend Alex Condon wants him to come to New Mexico, and when he does, he finds that he wants Darby to watch him test out his new invention for instantaneous transportation, something exciting in an era of horses and steam trains. The tale is a little gem, and acts as the last in the magazine.

Science Fiction Trails #6, is a must read for steampunk and cowboy enthusiasts who like their fiction to read different from the norm.

Copyright © 2011 Sandra Scholes

Sandra is now on her third vampire romantic story that concerns a couple, one who's morbid, the other constantly depressed, and he can't possibly love her 'cause he's a vampire and she's not -- oh, right, it's already been done! Quail Bell magazine, Love Romance Passion, and Fantasy Book Review are the places where others can take a sneak peek at her reviews.

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