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Not One of Us, #33

Not One of Us, #33
Not One of Us
"Not One of Us is about people (or things) out of place in their surroundings, outsiders, social misfits, aliens in the SF sense -- anyone excluded from society for whatever the reason. We'd like Not One of Us to consider the problem of "otherness" from every possible fictional angle. We crave characters (human or otherwise) who are different and who act the way they do out of plausible (if occasionally insane) motives. We need not like a character, but we want to understand her/him/it."

Copies are $5.50US each or $13.50US for 3
They can be ordered from:
John Benson,
12 Curtis Road,
Natick, MA
01760, USA.

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Rich Horton

The 33rd issue of this fine small press publication is similar in tone and quality to the other issue I've seen. Not One of Us, as its title promises, often features stories and poems about people on the edge of society, out of the way sorts -- or, as editor John Benson mentions with regard to this issue, people who have "disappeared." As before, the prose is generally fine, sometimes excellent.

Sonya Taaffe leads off with "Little Fix of Friction," about a gay man whose relationship with his lover is rather unfairly stressed by his mild interest in a spooky girl he encounters several times on the train. As ever with Taaffe, who is probably better known as a poet, the prose is absorbing -- but the story doesn't quite come into focus. Still, it's worth reading -- and it's only one of three of her stories I've seen in just the past month or so, the other two being even better.

Jennifer Rachel Baumer's "Stone, and Brass" closes things in the fiction department. It's perhaps the best story here, about a woman working in a modest joint in a quiet town. She's trying to keep out of sight of her abusive husband, and refusing to contact her grown children. But then she learns the true nature of this particular town... The story comes to a nicely pointed truth about the main character, emphasized just spookily enough by the fantastical element.

The other stories include "The Monoxide Age," by Julian Todd, a curious piece of SF set among the few survivors inside a decaying dome on a hostile planet; Kate Riedel's "Trying to Be Kind," about a single mother moving into a new house, with a scary room in the basement; Terry Black's "Cold Fever," about a couple and their strange child, and an accident on the way to the hospital; and Geoffrey H. Godwin's "The Sea of Oblivion," a sad story about a troubled man and his pregnant girlfriend and what might be an encounter with a wizard.

Not One of Us also features a good quantity of poetry, generally a bit better than the run of speculative poetry. It's difficult to say much specific about the poems -- I liked the ones by Sonya Taaffe and Holly Day in particular. Other contributors are Kevin Donihe, Nancy Bennett, David Kopaska-Merkel, K.S. Hardy, Marc Adin, John Grey and Karen R. Porter.

In sum, a decent but not spectacular outing from a magazine that on my brief acquaintance seems one of the nicer small press efforts. Both the poetry and the prose are above average for the field as to line by line quality.

Copyright © 2005 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

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