Future Science Fiction Digest #11 (emag review).

Here’s another issue of ‘Future Science Fiction Digest’, the magazine of international SF. This one features stories from China, Russia, Belgium, the USA and Germany. Until a UFO lands and aliens write some stories, this is as wide a range as you can get.

‘Knights Of The Phantom Realm’ by Wenxiang Fengnian, translated by Nathan Faries, features cats. At the beginning, a cat is put in a room and tricked with holograms. Not ill-treated exactly but confused. Then the scene switches to Little Gebu, a child living in a city in a post-apocalyptic world who ends up going on a quest with a cat. All in all, an unusual tale and I wasn’t quite sure what to make of it.

Kalinka seems to be downloaded into the Socium in ‘The Jellyfish’ by K.A. Teryna, translated by Alex Shvartsman. Here she lives in a kind of Hell, trying to get enough likes to become a popular user or maybe even a professional! ‘Users generated and processed content, numbers milled the byproducts into flour on enormous grindstones.’ The story nicely highlighted one of today’s serious mental health issues but the jellyfish of the title was confusing to me, especially at the end. However, there are a lot of Kalinkas out there. (If you like this review, please retweet it. Please, please, please. Oh, go on.)

In ‘Artificial Zen At The End Of The World’ by Gunnar de Winter, robot self-awareness is finally achieved but humanity has gone. ‘A perfect storm of calamities had erased them from the universe at the height of their complacency.’ So the aware robot, a hermit by necessity, ‘the final monk of the order of extinction’, wanders the hellscape left behind. Impossible to summarise this. A wonderful piece of work that needs to be read.

‘Unredacted Reports From 1546’ by Leah Cypess is about a female time traveller and academic who goes back to 1546 to prove that ‘The Journey Of Giacomo’ was written by Lucia, the daughter of Gonzaga, and not by a man writing as if he were a woman. The story takes the form of the researcher’s report back to her Professor, an older man she rather likes. An engaging read that highlights the condition of women back then but not my cup of tea. My googling failed to find a real poem of that name written by Lucia, but I didn’t try all that hard.

Overall, this ‘Future Science Fiction Digest’ issue is more likely to induce a puzzled frown than a whoop of delight. An interesting mix that makes you think: about cats, social media, zen and love. Thinking is to be encouraged, as are small, intelligent magazines. Buy it.

Eamonn Murphy

June 2021

(pub: UFO Publishing, 2021. 80 page ebook 1622kB. Price: £ 2.99 (UK), $ 4.22 (US))

check out website: https://future-sf.com/


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