Future Science Fiction Digest 5 (emag review).

December 20, 2019 | By | Reply More

After a foreword by editor Alex Shvartsman, ‘Future Science Fiction Digest 5’ starts the stories rolling with ‘A Prayer To The Fundamental Dos’ by Filip Wiltgreen. First-person narrator James is performing a service in the temple when the doors slide open and an urchin enters. There are three ‘presences’ in the temple already: Weygand, an old soldier in a Kepi; Link who carries a silver sword and Roland, the old gunslinger.

There’s also a cleaning droid and a food dispenser but the temple is low on power. Set in a far future, this tells of the interactions between the hi-tech temple from a bygone age and a boy from an outside world which has descended into savagery. One measure of a good story: you start it with a mug of tea by your side and the tea goes cold while you read. ‘A Prayer To The Fundamental Dos’ passed the tea test. Gripping.

Next Up Is ‘Six Weeks In The Life Of A Cultural Documentations Officer’ by Alexandra Seidel. Variea was taken as a child from her home planet and trained to work for the Circle of Suns, an interstellar empire. Their new, enlightened policy is to preserve a sampling of the original culture on conquered worlds. Natives are selected for skills in artistry, craftsmanship or historical knowledge. The vast majority not selected are put to death and its Variea’s job to do the choosing. Meanwhile, she has a love affair with a soldier from her home planet. This is blatant allegory but delivers on emotional impact.

LOCATOR, the world’s largest and most famous search engine, becomes self-aware in ‘Soul Searching Search Engines’ by Rodrigo Assis Mesquita. It disguises itself as a human web-user and joins a ‘Buffy The Vampire’ fandom group where it meets Jess83. It soon notices, due to the speed of their interactions, that Jess83 is not human neither. An interesting study of AI relationships and unwitting human interference. Maybe this will happen one day. Maybe it already has! Clever stuff and very entertaining.

Another good issue of ‘Future Science Fiction Digest’ but this one is shorter, alas. The ‘Foreword’ explains why. FSF had a year of funding from the Future Affairs Administration but that has ceased. Now they need to build up a subscriber and Patreon base https://www.patreon.com/ to ensure the magazine’s continued existence. Such is life in the hard world of small press publishing. I wish them luck and hope they succeed. Translated stories from outside the Anglosphere are a worthy contribution to a field which is all about different points of view. Subscribe!

Eamonn Murphy

December 2019

(pub: UFO Publishing, 2019. 45 page e-book. 1151kB. Price: £ 2.85 (kindle ebook- UK), $ 2.99 (kindle ebook – US). Download options: EPUB 3 (DRM-Free). ISBN: 1-2-3000360-982-8)

check out websites: www.ufopub.com and https://books.apple.com/us/book/id1491411529


Category: Magazines, Scifi

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