We’re back with an issue dedicated to escape and utopias.
Our first tale, from Rachel Swirsky, tells of secret help hens receive as they flee the coop. It’s entitled “Exodus.” George Walker’s story, “Zorroid,” follows a woman’s perilous journey as she crosses a border, while A.C. Wise’s “Cloth from Flesh, Flesh from Bone” relates the results of searches by two very different women.
Our poets this month are G.O. Clark, Marsheila Rockwell, David Kopaska-Merkel, and J.C. Runolfson, with their respective poems, “Incandescent Lady,” “The Diamond Throne,” “Designation and Succession Among the Gods,” and “What You Never Knew About the Princess.” Enjoy!
This is my last issue as publisher of Ideomancer, as I return to my own writing. But I leave the magazine in the very capable hands of Leah Bobet, who’s been my second for the last year and longer. We hope you’ll continue to follow Ideomancer as it grows and changes, and I won’t disappear completely—I enjoy being a part of Ideomancer far too much.
We’ve thrown caution to the four winds and chosen to run an issue without a theme safety net—unless you prefer to call this one “and the kitchen sink, too.”
Nevertheless, our stories seem to revolve around families. Steve Nagy’s “Mother of Exiles” presents a man’s consciousness wrested from Alzheimer’s grip, but who must then face his personal history and save himself. In “Papa Was a Gypsy” by Shannon Celebi, a young woman discovers the truth behind family secrets, while Erika L. Satifka’s “Sea Changes” reflects upon another woman’s attempt to deal with society’s response to her unorthodox upbringing.
Our poets this month—Robert Borski, Liz Bourke, and Adam Bales— consider the Morlocks and the gods, in their respective poems, “Love Among the Morlocks,” “Mananna,” and “Father of Songs.”
I do hope you enjoy this issue.
This month, our theme seems to be dead people. Or if not quite dead, not quite your typical zombie, either.
In “The Altruist and the Dead Man” by Edward Cowan, we learn about the company you keep and life on the ledge. Darja Malcolm-Clarke presents a lyrical tale of an oceanside city on Great Nizea’s Eve, while Catherine Cheek gives us a glimpse of a woman back from the dead, along with insight to problems the newly dead face. Read it here first: it’ll also appear in John Joseph Adams’ zombie anthology, The Living Dead in September, 2008.
Jennifer Crow, Ed Gavin, and Marcie Lynn Tentchoff, our poets for this issue continue the theme. Be sure to read “Fire Begets Water,” “Palmetto Ridge,” and “Princess.”
Iin search of a good book? I share one of my latest favorites with you.
Finally, our usual .pdf version will be late, since our technical staff person is on the move. Check back soon!
I hope you enjoy this issue.
West, Michelle. The House War: The Hidden City. DAW : 2008. ISBN: 978-0756404703
I read a lot, but mostly at night tucked in bed, just before I fall asleep. Any book that shuts down my internal editor is quite good. If I find one keeps me awake longer than an hour, it’s excellent. If I must force myself to close the book’s covers and turn out the light, it’s a delight.
It had been a while since I found a book that kept me reading into the wee hours of the morning, but then I discovered Michelle West (aka Michelle Sagara) had a new book coming out, and I snagged a copy.
The House War: The Hidden City kept me up several nights and I had to sacrifice several hours on a Saturday to free myself of its grip. Even then it didn’t let go. I started a reread a week later, which speaks clearly to the love I have for this novel, and eventual series.
Rath, a nobleman who has relinquished ties to his family and chosen to live in the slums of Averalaan, is solitary and prefers it that way. He first encounters Jewel, a ten-year old orphan, when she steals his satchel, and caught by a sense of her regret and shame, follows her to the bridge she calls home. Discovering she is ill and unable to abandon this child to her obvious fate, he brings her home.
Rath and Jewel begin an uneasy relationship. Rath questions his original decision to rescue Jay, as she is called by friends, the more so when she rescues other orphans and creates a family of her own. At the same time, he cares about the child and trains her in the use of a dagger. From him, she learns the byways of the underground city, which is where Rath finds relics to sell.
Jay’s own secret—her unreliable ability to see the future—is not easily shared, even as it allows her to save abandoned and mistreated children like herself. When she finally confesses this skill, Rath understands that she has talent few possess. Reluctantly, he helps her rescue the children she finds, only to be caught in a plot that is deeper than simple cruelty and depravity. This is not an easy world: demons walk disguised as humans and must not only be confronted, but defeated.
While Rath’s and Jay’s growing relationship is the backbone of this tale, Michelle West creates a very real world, more than the average fantasy provides and grittier. Life is not pretty on the streets of Averalaan; children are bought and sold into brothels and trust is not easily won—even among those whom you label friends. The ultimate betrayal slices at that trust.
But a sense of history permeates this novel, particularly with the addition of the ruins of the ancient city beneath the squalor. Unknown mages, a more advanced culture the present inhabitants have mostly forgotten, and a bridge that separates the Order of Knowledge and the Houses of the powerful from the lowly suggests even more lies hidden.
While Rath slips between them all, and Jay sees what others would prefer to remain unseen.
It’s a long book—over six hundred pages—with three other volumes to follow. But treat yourself and read this one, especially if you think fantasy has nothing new to offer. I haven’t been this entranced by a series since I discovered Lois McMaster Bujold and Miles Vorkosigan.
For half of the world, this is the darkest time of the year. We have fiction and poetry to match that darkness in this issue.
Jon Hansen gives us drawing lessons with his flash, “How to Draw the Dark Lord”, while Sam Minier returns with a horrific tale of young boys and a not-so-absent father in “Behind the Walls.” Meanwhile, John Parke Davis shares a tale of the preyed upon who draw a line in the sand. Our poets, Sonya Taaffe, Liz Bourke, and Marcie Lynn Tentchoff, continue the theme with their offerings, “If Fallen Angels Dream of Flight”, “He always knew he’d drown”, and “The Dance of Seven Veils.”
Intrepid Sean Melican completes this issue with his reviews and an interview with Vandana Singh.
Enjoy our latest offerings!