Shimmer, Number 12. Edited by Beth Wodzinski
Published by Shimmerzine at http://www.shimmerzine.com/
This slim collection of short stories proved to be an excellent find. It is one issue of a magazine published quarterly. Every story is well written, often quirky and always enjoyable.
Normally, I start with a summary of the opening chapters of a book, but as this magazine consists entirely of short stories, I shall provide a quick summary of each, including my overall opinion:
• The Mike and Carly Story, Without the Gossip by Peter M. Ball. A tale of teenage love made even more complicated by the story teller being a werewolf. It is well written as it builds the tension towards the obvious conclusion. The enjoyment is in the telling of the story rather than in the ending.
• Seek Him i’th’Other Place by Josh Storey. A wholesale rewriting of Odysseus’ journey into Hell to rescue Eurydice. It is interesting and very different from the myth but perhaps a bit too obscure in places.
• Near the Flame by Erin Cashier. A story told in the style of an African legend. Wonderfully well told. Once more, the style of telling is more important than the plot.
• Red and Grandma Inside the Wolf by Carmen Lau. The story of Red Riding Hood but not as you will have ever known it. This is an amazingly clever rewrite that refreshes the story and somehow just barely keeps within the bounds of credibility. It is one of the best in the collection and probably the quirkiest.
• An Organization Man in the Time Long After Legends by Jen Volant. A man is hunting a supernatural monster whilst confronting his own failures in life. It really brings out the frustrations of an unsuccessful career but it is only “good” in this outstanding collection.
• Crepuscular by Ben Francisco. A woman forms a relationship with an animated snowman. A story full of well written subtext with an interesting premise. The ending is quite good.
• You Had Me at Rarrrgg by Nicky Drayden. Of all things, a zombie love-story. A fun and welcome relief from the usual zombie stories and the ending was good.
• No Place Like Home, or Building the Yellow Brick Road by Krista Hoeppner Leahy. Another well known story inverted to a completely different point of view. It challenged my expectations and kept my interest to the end. I liked it.
• Five Letters from New Laverne by Monica Byrne. A government official makes a formal visit to a moon colony where the residents bleed through open wounds. This was a very very well written story with an unexpected and particularly moving ending – arguably the best in a strong collection.
Every story in this collection is at the very least good with a few really outstanding contributions. All of the stories offer something different to the usual. They are all well written and well presented but I especially liked the well known stories presented from a completely different point of view with a unique ending and a wonderfully quirky angle.
It would be interesting to see whether all the editions of the magazine are as good.
At this point in my reviews I usually give out awards to send up the best and worst features of what I’ve been reading, but I don’t feel it’s appropriate for short stories. Also, whatever I write could not be as fun as the stories themselves.
To summarise, this edition of this magazine is excellent. I recommend it to everyone who wants their expectations and viewpoints challenged and I would encourage everyone to look at other issues to see if they are as good.