A fearless faith in fiction — Employing a Kantian or Jungian sensibility and an ‘intentional fallacy’ consciousness — Various passions of the reading moment — Walter de la Mare, ELizabeth BOWen, Robert Aickman and many others old and new — Please click my name below for this site’s navigation and my backstory as intermittent photographer, writer, editor, publisher & reviewer.
THE BACKSTITCHED HEART OF KATHARINE WRIGHT
by Alison Wilgus
“It strikes me, at times. How close you’re skating to a hole in the ice.”
At times, indeed. Except if you are a transchronological aviator like Katharine (call her Kitty?), buoyed up by retrocausal laminar thermals, each a backstitch in time… an embroiderily homely and storgically poignant account of the Wright family, Orville and Wilbur, the famous inventors, and their sister Katharine who grows older before our eyes, their sister who eventually optimises the exhaustive strictures of her healing (if close-ended) powers of time travel by eventually becoming Kitty Hawk herself in name and mode?
THE FUKINAGA SPECIAL CHIP JOB by Tim Chawaga
“No stock, but the smell of Potsy’s stogies filled the hold…”
A hilariously hyper-imaginative story of forking paths on the cusp of suspended disbelief, amid floating cities and other cities, including subsurface communities, and instead of the previous story’s storgic propellers, we here have SF-Borgesian quests by wide boys with Wright-family-like nicknames amid these cities, quests for the eponymous holy-grail of snacks. I can taste it now. And time travel equivalent to surrogate deaths in parallel cities is evoked as a sense of human death as when the taste vanishes….not an anti-climax or bathos but a satisfying climax that depends on its anti-climactic or bathetic nature, I guess.
THIS BUDDHAFIELD IS NOT YOUR BUDDHAFIELD by William Squirrell
“The mansion hangs suspended between the uppermost layers of the Uranian atmosphere and rotates slowly. Each of the nine floors is a hexagonal platform. They are arranged in a staggered spiral.”
Here, intriguingly, a maid is hired to clean up after herself, an endless spiral of self upward or downward? It also reminds me of the layered Borgesian cities earlier and their subsurface lower life. And of Katharine’s storgic duties when sending the money she earns to her family. And a gradual fabrication of propellers and flight? Meanwhile I see the ‘Buddhafield’ as my own gestalt, so there! A masterstroke on my part, or the author’s? Some beautifully expressed conceits in this work.
FOR THE WICKED, ONLY WEEDS WILL GROW
“Nothing else shocks quite like one’s mortality.”
A very moving, swaddling story, that moved and swaddled me in particular, I guess. Probably, a landmark read for most people, I predict. A place where an empathic meshing occurs between various space races of living entities with the healing, hawling race, mind and body, ‘patients’ arriving by eventually precarious gondola. The whole process struck me as transcendent and although the story’s words described such transcendence and eventual descendance, further words by me are insufficient to convey it at this remove of gestalt review. We see it through the mind of the source meshing creature and how it views the patient, an old tetchy man from Earth, a rare sort of patient for this healing and cathartic, purging death-burial process of seeded empathy. A garden of words. Suffice to say I am that tetchy old man, by dint of my bodily features, if not of the backstory and gestalt personality in my mind. This actual story itself as healer and hawler meshed with me in the way its plot describes the old man’s meshing within it. “, too tired for malice.”
Cf the Buddhafield and Katharine Wright’s hawling. And the bathetic death in the snack story.
Above artwork by Richard Wagner.
SEVEN STOPS ALONG THE GRAFFITI ROAD
by David Cleden
“Most of all, he hated those inevitably pointless conversations. No one had answers.”
I genuinely believe that this story – perhaps as the previous one does, but in a different way – presents us with a brand new haunting archetype of the human spirit as seen from the times wherein we live. Here the eponymous road is evoked beautifully simply as well as with complex innuendo, a road we see through the eyes of Ry who leaves his own signature mark upon that road and then encounters them again identically along its route, who also encounters other people, that are characterised perfectly in our minds, including a small girl who provides some hope, I infer, by the end. A road where ‘boons’ and messages of encouragement are left for others, sometimes a road of surreal transformation or Möbius strip qualities, chalk arrows, unwritten rules, groups each settling for a different bespoke comfortable pace…
(The sometimes storgic boons and messages left from different times also seem to fit the Gestalt of this magazine’s set of fiction, so far.).
My previous review of this author: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2016/11/16/interzone-267/#comment-8566
My photo above.
TERMINALIA by Sean McMullen
“Death is a process, not a person. You cannot meet a process.”
“We are all bundles of processes, Doctor Lascal.”
Lascal is the narrator, an academic versed in near-death or actual-death processes, and possible return to life. A very neat co-reading for me with my very recent experience of Reggie Oliver’s classic story ‘The Final Stage’ reviewed here a day or so ago. Also a ‘mad scientist’ swash-buckling steampunk adventure when duelling was common and a King reigned in Buckingham Palace, complete with a sexual ‘naughty helmet’ for the reader to wear. And metallic immortals, to boot, in a duel between Mankind and Death. A work that makes a lightsome coda to this book, a Gestalt where spinning propellers can appear to go backwards…or at least back and forth.
“Doctor Lascal, would you say this to the American brothers who fly in oversized kites powered by unreliable petroleum engines?”
My previous reviews of this author: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/tag/sean-mcmullen/
Some mighty new archetypes of imagination made effectively or virtually real in this magazine, in which there are also book reviews and articles about SF, and fine artwork.
A Gestalt of bathetic or pathetic Death?
This review now cross-referenced with ‘Endless Life’ here: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2019/01/04/she-said-destroy-nadia-bulkin/#comment-14627