Edited by David Kernot

Andromeda Spaceways Cooperative (2010)

Reviewed by Joanne Kasper, June 2010

The Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine always represents good value for money. Full of stories, mostly good, some quirky and at times just downright weird. But that’s good too! Issue 43 contains the following:

“Thief of Tears”by Jason Crowe – When a woman wants to exact revenge on a cheating lover, or simply give him a timely reminder, someone needs to collect the essential ingredients for the appropriate spell. Not a nice job, but it has to be done – and it isn’t always tears that are required. An old story of how far we can fall from an innocuous beginning, but given a twist of fantasy.

“Instructions for Lighting Candles” by Martin A. Reed – Set in a futuristic London swallowed up by water, a small group of dedicated obsessives keep memories alive. Using the digital detritus of those long gone, pictures and video is broadcast to maintain a link with the past. A poignant little story.

“From Little Things” by Felicity Dowker- Joe has been viciously dumped by his ex-fiancée and forced to live with his sister and her hateful husband. Making friends with the dragon in the pantry was the best thing he could have done. A revenge fantasy taken to an extreme level, but satisfying nonetheless.

“Star” by Aimee Smith – When it comes right down to it, whether human or star, grief over the loss of a loved one cuts deeply. A short, sad, memorable story.

“Emergency Rebuild” by  David Conyers – The victim of an accident on Mars suffers massive injuries and is progressively ‘fixed’ as parts of him fail. An old school style science fiction story that shows compassion and humanity don’t require a biological body.

“Relative to Elsa” by Martin A. Reed – More of that old style science fiction involving Einstein’s Theory of Relativity and long distance relationships. Predictable if you’ve ever read Arthur C. Clarke, but enjoyable even still.

“My Naked Hand” (Poem) by Helen Patrice – Getting up close and personal with Mars, but all I kept thinking of was germs!

“By the Banks of the Nabarra” by Daniel I. Russell – A downtrodden wife takes necessary action to rid herself and her family of an abusive partner. Disposing of his body brings about a whole new set of problems. This is your typical big beastie horror story, with a small twist at the end but given a truly Australian feel. You’ll never look at a peaceful billabong the same way again.

“The Prize” by Carine Heidmann – Perspective is everything, and one person’s prize may be another’s nightmare. Another beastie story which suffers a little from being placed directly after the last one.

“The Painted City” by David Tallerman – A planet is found that is both the most beautiful and the most terrifying place in the galaxy. Naturally humanity turns it into a theme park. Good characterisation for such a short story.

“Fairy Gothic” by Tracie McBride – A cautionary tale on the dangers of fairy costumes. Lovely and reminiscent.

“Scars that Let the Light Shine Through” by Victorya – My favourite story in the whole magazine. Where there’s life there’s hope and sometimes it takes a damaged soul to help the healing process. A tale that has been told before, but this is beautifully written with a slightly different protagonist.

“Higg’s Boson” (Poem) by Don Webb – A love poem for the physicist in all of us.

The following books are reviewed in ASIM 43:

Worldshaker by Richard Harland
The Broken Well Trilogy: Prophecy’s Ruin by Sam Bowring
The Whorl and the Pallin by Ian Nichols
Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch
Oceanic by Greg Egan

Overall, a well paced group of stories, although I personally would have separated some of the hard science stories and kept the two horror stories apart as well (they don’t always play well together). Heidmann’s “The Prize” loses much of it’s impact by being placed directly after the much longer “By the Banks of the Nabarra” and would have been better served elsewhere in the collection.

An eminently readable collection, well-balanced with long and short stories, fantasy and science fiction and horror, so something for everyone.