This issue of the magazine has a lot to offer when it comes to the fiction stuff. The non-fiction wasn’t all that interesting to me personally. But they’re quick, mostly fun reads, too – so I definitely didn’t regret reading them. Still, the short stories are the real winners here.
Read more about each of the stories and the non-fiction pieces after the jump.
The Sandal-Bride (Genevieve Valentine)
Unaccompanied women can’t travel, so when an unmarried woman – like the one asking him to take her South – needs to go, the only option is to get married for the road.
The Sandal-Bride immediately read as Arabic/Middle-Eastern inspired fantasy to me (though I couldn’t tell you why), which I thought was interesting and probably also intended. I enjoyed it and was fascinated by the moral of the story – searching iself is found, turning the old “the journey is the destination” into an art form.
Three Real Historical Figures Who Embarked Upon the Hero’s Journey (Graeme McMillan)
Short biographical episodes on Ibn Battuta, Alexandra David-Néel and Marco Polo and their journeys.
I knew neither Ibn Battuta nor Alexandra David Néel, and as a first primer into their lives, I thought it was interesting. But I did feel like we should probably talk about the definition of “hero’s journey” as proposed by this piece.
The Dog King (Holly Black)
Every winter the wolves come from the mountains, driven by hunger to desperate measures. But these wolves are not regular wolves – and the people in the area hunt them relentlessly.
I absolutely loved this story – it was really great. Creepy, totally immersive and horribly dark, I really didn’t want it to end. I’m absolutely taken with it. Fantastic.
Five Fantasy Worlds That You Wouldn’t Want to Visit (Te Jefferson, J. Corveau)
Fantasy worlds are often brought together with escapism – but here are some reasons why they may not actually be that great.
The title of this piece is a little misleading: this isn’t actually a list of worlds you wouldn’t want to visit, but a list of reasons why some fantasy worlds aren’t all that great. They try a little too hard to be funny with those reasons and didn’t really jive with me – I think more could have been made of that idea.
The God Orkrem (Tanith Lee)
A warrior on a quest to find the God Orkrem.
The God Orkrem was a good read that takes on some interesting philosophical concepts. But at the same time, those concepts are rather well-known and I didn’t find it to be all that insightful. Still, it’s a good read.
The Lonely Songs of Laren Dorr (George R. R. Martin)
Sharra stumbles into Laren Dorr’s life in the middle of her story. He has been expecting her for a long time, though.
This story is also really excellent. It creates an evocative atmopshere and I liked both Laren (what a sad character!) and Sharra. And it’s a beautiful idea to tell of an epic quest in the way it is done here. Really wonderful.
From Story to Screen (LaShawn M. Wanak)
Looking at 6 adaptations, this piece analyzes the relationship between the original material and the film.
Adaptations are a bit of a specialty of mine, therefore the article – that is short and covers a lot of ground – was bound to remain a little shallow for me and not very significant, although the analyses themselves weren’t bad.
Summarizing: Worth it for the short fiction.