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on March 09, 2012 :
I first reviewed this edition on my website.
Issue #48 is the latest edition of the Aurealis magazine, a quick monthly read showcasing some excellent Australian speculative fiction. It's nice to get a monthly magazine that is short enough to not give me a sense of dread and guilt when I add it to my reading list.
There were three stories in this edition. The first, The Descent of Traag by Matt Bissett-Johnson, was a graphic story which was something a bit different, although interestingly it followed very closely my reading of the Sprawl anthology which did something similar in the middle of the book. I enjoyed the artwork, which showed up nicely on my iPad.
Thirty Minutes for New Hell by Rick Kennett was a well executed story about an Earth based mission to covertly observe the Dhooj, an alien race making their first manned space mission to another world in their solar system. It was an interesting premise to the story and well executed, with a fairly standard intervene/don't intervene scenario but a nice little twist at the end. I enjoyed this one. A minor quibble - there were points in the story where I couldn't immediately tell who was speaking and got pulled out of the story momentarily where I tried to work it out from context. It only happened a handful of times though and only slightly detracted from an otherwise very enjoyable story.
An excellent protagonist with an interesting savant ability to read people's expressions in such minute detail he can tell what they are thinking and to represent that in art is the solid core of Eyes of Fire in my Waking Dreams by Greg Mellor. James Glazebrook is a very interesting character and his ability allows Mr Mellor to describe the world around him in a very interesting way. I loved the concept of a speech interpreting device that sounded like Bruce Wayne. The ending was a little disturbing and made me concerned for Glazebrook's ongoing mental health. A good read.
As always Carissa's Weblog providing a round up of some of the more interesting articles around on the web in the area of Australian speculative fiction. This month's edition also contained a very interesting piece by Crisetta MacLeod reviewing In Other Worlds by Margaret Atwood. I'm going to have to read this book, I've heard such a wide range of disparate feedback on it. Episode 71 of the Coode St podcast discussed the book at length with none other than Ursula le Guin herself, whose work is apparently explored in detail in the book. Their conclusion was that the book was flawed in many ways, with only a fairly narrow range of the field explored. They also contend that the book is somewhat negative about the genre. Other reviews, like Ms MacLeod's, are extremely positive about the book and its take on the science fiction field. I love that the book has generated this kind of widely divergent reaction. After hearing the early negative reviews I was planning to steer clear of In Other Worlds, but this review has made me rethink that strategy - I've added the book to my ever growing to be read pile.
This month's editorial focused on the decision by the Aurealis editorial team to publish in an eBook format rather than going purely online. I thought the arguments were well made and I tend to agree - making the magazine into an e-book format does make it feel more self contained and like a thing you can own. I always enjoy insight into the editing and publishing process.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)