Future Science Fiction Digest #14 (e-mag review).

May 5, 2022 | By | Reply More

Future Science Fiction Digest #14 features stories from the United States, the United Kingdom, Sweden, China and Cuba. Quite how united those first two are is a moot point but, never mind, let’s focus on the fiction.

‘A Friend On The Inside’ by Will McIntosh is set in a dystopian future where poor girl Candace Fernandez Astario attends Yonkers High School and often has no lunch money. In a bid to get some, she tries to hack into the Axonet at her school and finds herself chatting to one Izzy Malfouz. Further investigation reveals that Izzy is a dead man and needs her help. This turns into an adventure and Candace is such a feisty character that you want her to beat the system.

There’s a different future in ‘Four Letter Word’ by Alexy Dumenigo (translated by Toshiya Kamei). In this one, you can get your mind right at calibration clinics where men in white coats will adjust it to suit your needs. Poor people can be conditioned not to want material goods. Our heroine Lucy has had enough of the unhappiness caused by love and wants to do without it in her life. An interesting idea but I’m not sure if it was resolved. That great yearning romantic love with ‘The One’ that our society conditions unfortunate youths to seek is certainly a source of both joy and pain. You get over it.

The emperor of an interstellar civilisation has such a refined palette that there’s a whole corps of people searching far-flung planets for new delicacies he might enjoy. Ding Jie is one of them, a Royal Cai Wei Procurement Officer and he’s after the tastiest treat in the galaxy on Planet Yan. ‘Rat’s Tongue’ by Xing Fan (translated by Judith Huang) invokes that old sense of wonder with an exotic alien civilisation. I won’t give away the central conceit but it’s certainly something different.

Nugget arrives at Lagrange Five Station, ‘somewhere in the confluence of Earth and its moon’s gravitational field’. He was last there twenty years ago, full of ambition as he set out to make his fortune in space. He goes to a bar. I was quite enjoying it and wondering what happened next when, suddenly, nothing did. ‘Vagrants’ by Lavie Tidhar is one of those slice of life things, mood rather than plot but with a few nice touches. It’s okay.

‘The Sweetness Of Berries And Wine’ by Jo Miles is the kind of women’s magazine story that had James Blish gnashing his teeth back in the 1950s. A woman can’t get the ingredients to celebrate Passover properly because she’s on a remote posting in the Kepler Star Nursery. She could have been in Mongolia and had the same problem so, however sweet and lovely and well-written the story may be, it’s not Science Fiction.

‘Paean For A Branch Ghost’ by Filip Wiltgren has an extraction team from the distant future going back to Sobibor concentration camp to rescue a family. The rationale for how this won’t affect history is well described and the lead heroine, who isn’t the narrator, is a formidable character. Does the world need reminding about this terrible episode in history again? Yes. Always and forever and especially at the moment.

Future Science Fiction Digest’ is available at all the usual eBook retailers or direct from their own website. Worth a look.

Eamonn Murphy

May 2022

(pub: UFO Publishing, 2022. 111 page e-magazine. Price: £ 2.99 (UK), $ 3.99 (US). ISBN: 12300-0547-533-9)

check out website: http://future-sf.com/issues/issue-14/


Category: Magazines, Scifi

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