Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine # 60 (magazine review).

The guys on this starliner must be feeling a little old because they’ve reached their Diamond Jubilee! Will they qualify for the state pension yet? I would keep them chained to the grindstone because, by all accounts, they are still doing very well in looking after the passengers on the ship, even grumpy ones like myself.


With a total of 17 stories on offer, the guests are being upgraded to 1st class. The striking feature of the ‘Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine’ was the cover, astronomical art by Eleanor Clarke, which referred to the first story, ‘Calista’s Delight’ by C Stuart Hardwick. Terraforming the planet Mars was the subject but it is treated from a human viewpoint because, after all, that’s why the job was being done. There may have been unique scientific projects taking place in the terraforming procedure but their sole purpose ultimately was to provide a habitat for billions of humans for the future. The experiment was to insert a sizeable moon into orbit to provide stabilisation and make an equitable climate for the future. Calista, a young girl, was more interested in pointing to the sky and thinking about her father.

Stephanie Herman’s ‘First Strike’ was an interesting story about our planet in conflict, as it is today, but with aliens called the Chen paying a social visit. Everything was going very well with their introductory visit, no expense spared with ceremonies, until we started to play classical music. The vibrations caused a devastating effect on the aliens, promoting them to declare war. Earth wasn’t finished, however, and the plans for revenge were formulated. The idea about sonic vibrations having a fatal effect on aliens isn’t new and my ex-wife, who wasn’t far short of being alien, could shatter eardrums from 100 yards but Stephanie’s story was very well written with good characterisation and intriguing concepts. It was one of my favourites from the magazine.

Chris Bailey’s story, ‘The Wrong Sort Of Neurons’, discusses the situation of life after death. Some people think that they are being farmed but by whom? In this story, there’s a guy called the Reaper who is a servant of the Eminence and they have been harvesting souls for generations for a specific purpose, that being to provide a super-computer to run the galaxy. With the plan all set to run, would anything go wrong?

‘Separation Distress’ by Caspian Gray took us to vampire hunters on a mission to wipe out as many as they could but it wasn’t an easy task. They could have a hypnotic and mesmerising effect on humans and it was imperative to dispatch them quickly. Disobeying this rule would cause problems, as the hunters soon experienced. Making things more difficult, the vampire had fragments of itself in other people and, at Ohio State University, there was danger lurking in the underground. A good story with plenty of tension and even black humour.

With 175 pages in the magazine, there’s something for everyone’s taste. Some of the stories are quite substantial, 20 pages or more, which allow good development and strong characters, in particular ‘Hidden Folders’ by Jacob Drud and also ‘The Test Audience’ by Sara Kate Ellis. However, there are lots of other equally enjoyable shorter stories. There are also book reviews on offer giving information on recent publications including Edwina Harvey’s ‘The Back Of The Back Of Beyond’. Having read the same book, a smile immediately came to my face. Another book reviewed was ‘Crandolin’ by Anna Tambour about which the review said, ‘it would take a flock of pigeons to pigeonhole this book!’ Only by reading such reviews do you get a flavour of publications you wouldn’t normally encounter. This one registered as one to read for the future.

ASIM is an excellent magazine, one which has its own particular identity and is a pleasure to read every time it comes out. I hope the team manage to keep on going for a few years yet and make a century. Congratulations on their Diamond Jubilee in the meantime!

Rod MacDonald

November 2014

(pub: Andromeda Spaceways. 168 page quarterly A5 magazine. $ 4.95 (AUS) PDF copy online, hardcopy: $12.95 (AUS). Subscription six issues $ 27.00 (AUS))

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