Kzine Issue 29 Kindle Edition (emag review).

Kzine’ is a little British magazine that publishes quality short fiction in several genres. The latest issue is up to its usual high standards. Out of the eight stories featured, all pretty good, here are some I particularly enjoyed.

‘Daughter Of Deep Silence’ by Wes Blalock is a conventional adventure story rather than SF or fantasy. Disgraced former Park Ranger Birdie McLaren, a lady of Native American ancestry, starts a new job in the kitchens at the El Sur Grande Resort in the Ventana National Park, a dangerous place because a rapist and murderer is on the loose. Unfortunately, the authorities are keeping a lid on the story. I liked the realistic depiction of working life in a kitchen. Pretty sure I’ve read other Birdie McLaren stories somewhere, maybe in ‘Kzine’.

‘Written In Stone’ is another beautiful secondary world fantasy by Lindsey Duncan. The first person narrator is Ruse Ihl, a Truthseer with a gift of thought sensing so strong that she takes Sharraleaf to block it. She’s rescued from Meritgaven Prison by Arsvalen, a shapeshifter hero of the Sunsword Empire. Arsvalen wants Ruse to read a set of Heartstones, unique gems that focus the magical energy of a sorcerer, to get information on how to conduct the empire’s war against the People of the Four Quarters. Duncan gets all this background into an engaging short story, proving that not every great fantasy has to run to three thick volumes.

Kzine’ regular Edward Ahern contributes ‘The Shapes We’re In’ to this issue. Ahern’s stories are quirky with a sense of humour. George and Janice use programmable plastic synced with muscles and tendons to turn their bodies into those of old movie stars and make sex more enjoyable. Their regular choices are Carl Weathers and Margot Robbie. Janice worries that their reshaped sex ‘is like masturbation, there’s no real emotional component’. Then they get mugged. A rather sweet relationship story.

‘Mirror’ by Filip Wiltgren is strangely gripping though a flat description wouldn’t convey why. Maybe it’s because the first-person narrator is so likeable. Jarod is a trust fund man who lives a quiet life. His sister Suzanna is a snob whose primary concern is looking good in society. They don’t get on. When Mom dies, his sister gets the house and Jarod gets an ugly old mirror that his mother loved. Then she appears in it and tells Jarod she wants Suzanna and him to be friends. No great thrills or surprises here but a lovely tale, all in all.

Kzine’ may be increasing in popularity with writers as editor Graeme Hurry has been closed to submissions for a while now due to a deluge. Hopefully, it’s catching on with readers, too. Several great stories for less than the price of a pint! You can’t go wrong. Recommended.

Eamonn Murphy

June 2021

(pub: Kimota Publishing, 202. 95 page emag. File size: 4223kb. Price: £ 2.15 (UK), $ 3.03 (US). ASIN: B08XBFWMD5)

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