Albedo One # 44 (magazine review).

February 20, 2014 | By | 1 Reply More

I haven’t read ‘Albedo One’ for some time and having looked at the Kindle version of number 44, I was once again able to enjoy the good fiction this publication has to offer. Coming from Ireland, the stories do possess a certain poetic charm that you can only find from this location. You have to think of Joyce and Yates to get the drift of my meaning and, while we are not talking of these exotic heights, we are still moving in the same direction.


A piece by Ian Wild entitled ‘The Truffle Hounds Of Romantic Passion And Desire’, which was actually the Aeon Award Winner for 2012, was hilarious from start to finish. In fact, the story was like a chaotic frantic chase all the way through! An unfortunate fellow was looking for the love of his life but had no idea of her identity. Hugo, his unscrupulous friend, had solved the problem by purchasing a pack of five huge hounds which could sniff out anything and anybody. Having gained his scent, they were then sent on a chase which would eventually take them to Paris. Sufficient to say the love of his life was encountered. Every nuance, turn and twitch of character is presented with skill of delivery. Once you get into the story, you have no choice but to follow the chase through all its misadventures. You won’t be able to stop laughing. It’s a great tale and a worthy winner of the prize.

In a complete contrast, Dave Siddall’s dark story, ‘The Other One’, had no laughs at all. I thought it was expertly written and undoubtedly a tragic account of human life, where a man’s life seems to be disintegrating about him. In a downward spiral, a marriage is going on the rocks and the only thing left of any relevance is his young daughter who seems to shine above all the rest. On an afternoon outing, she falls into a river and he automatically dives in to save her. Ostensibly, the outcome is successful but, after a long stay in hospital, he finds that life is diametrically opposite from what it used to be. As time passes, he becomes more perplexed at the change in character of all the people involved in his life.

‘A Fine Red With A Hint Of Nuts’ by James Carney was both tragic and funny which is often quite difficult to portray in a story. We are now 100 years from The Great War and, in this future, we are fighting a war of attrition in trenches situated in Antarctica. The enemy is jelly. Why Antarctica? It seems this is the only place the jelly had not conquered. It originated from space and evolved in the oceans and then the land, adapting as it progressed. Using features of copied species it assimilated everything in its path, killing and absorbing into one large mass. Using flamethrowers, the soldiers try to keep it back but it is very clever and sneaky.

One of the soldiers was lucky and his reward was a bottle of wine. Everything changes when a new officer comes to the front but he is a shifty person, obviously up to something diabolical. With the soldiers declining in number, would they be able to stop him before it was too late?

‘Operation Stack’ by Alexandra Fleetwood was basically a series of conversations which seemed to be ordinary enough in nature but as events progressed you begin to realise that something is not quite right. It was a story which crept up on you and delivered a punch.

‘Purgatory Central’ by Steve Billings, was the runner-up in the Aeon 2012 competition. As the name suggests, it’s an afterlife story and a train is involved. A couple of characters engaged in a conversation reflect on some of the aspects of their lives and acknowledge the other passengers. A rather strange tale, it had an ending which was probably predictable but the journey towards the end is quite readable.

The final story in the collection, ‘For Your Entertainment’ by Eric M Witchey, third place in the Aeon Award, was about war which was more of a TV show that anything else. Satirical and witty, a good story with plenty of things going on! Good writing!

That’s the fiction. There’s lots of other stuff as well. Apart from the excellent artwork on the front cover there is a good interview, book reviews and an article. Overall, this is a particularly interesting magazine with a definitive character of its own. The writing is literary in style, refreshing and challenging, definitely a good read.

Rod MacDonald

February 2014

(pub:Albedo One, 2 Post Road, Lusk, County Dublin, Ireland. 100 page A4 magazine. ISSN: 0791-8534. Price: 5.95 euros)

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Category: Magazines, Scifi

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