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Shoreline Of Infinity #19 (magazine review).

December 16, 2020 | By | Reply More

Shoreline Of Infinity’ is a professional SF and fantasy magazine published in Edinburgh, Scotland that features short stories, articles and book reviews. For this pandemic winter issue, the editors have endeavoured to assemble cheery stories and generally succeeded. Here’s some content I liked.

‘The Silent Woods’ by Tony Ballantyne and Chris Beckett is set in a town next to a forest where everybody has to wear masks. Very current. The forest is fenced off because there’s a new species there called Mindworms, simple tree-climbing spreaders of a spore with deadly results. Peter is a doctor serving the local community, ever on guard for the signs of Mindworm infection. I liked the insight into how front line public services deal with difficult people and, while the narration is low key here, the threat is terrifying. Brilliant start but not, it has to be said, a cheerful one.

Droll wit, there is, though, in ‘Singularity’ by Davide Mana. In the East Wexford Library, the East Wexford Knitting And Crocheting Society are assembled when a wormhole opens. Only a small one but it’s enough to cause chaos. Fortunately, a library is the right place to be because a particular large tome by a respected right-wing American author can solve the problem. Amusing.

So is ‘Stay Conscience’ by Gregory A. Austin, which consists of an internal CPU talking to Strategic War Android Tech 5HC-612 as they prepare to drop into battle. There are surprises in store for the soldier, his chip and the reader. This was good fun.

The lighter tone was maintained with ‘Blank Slates’ by Huw Steer. Here a hard-up young lady pulls off a major bank heist aided by experts. With Slate technology, the real thieves, a locksmith, a computer expert, a professor and the gang leader, can project mind-states into the body of Heather Wei, the only one whose body is actually on the job. The story has mounting tension, clever tricks, legal manoeuvres that ring true and a neat ending.

Written in the form of a diary, ‘Cyclops’ by Teika Marija Smits is the tale of an unfortunate doctor whose contact with a meteorite leaves her a victim of alien nanobots that proceed to alter her body. She grows a new eye, a wondrous thing but not what she wanted. A lot of focus on the emotional reaction to being a guinea pig for gangs of fascinated scientists. Nano-technology was the nightmare future a while back, set to reduce the world to grey sludge, I believe, but it seems to have taken a back seat lately.

This issue features the three winners of the Shoreline Of Infinity 2020 Flash Fiction Competition and one extra that didn’t quite make the grade but was so good the editor felt bound to include it and he was right. I’m not a huge fan of flash fiction but it’s the right vehicle for succinct humour and all these stories work. The tail end of the magazine is mostly book reviews and non-fiction articles.

Shoreline Of Infinity’ had a decent quantity of traditional tales to suit my taste. The ones that I didn’t enjoy so much tended to be more literary, poetic and experimental. I don’t regret reading the other sort at all but they’re hard to describe. No doubt, some readers will love them. Don’t expect pulp fiction here. The overall tone of ‘Shoreline Of Infinity’ is literary, academic and, for this issue at least, cheerful. With over 160 printed pages of intelligent writing, it’s good value for money. ‘Shoreline Of Infinity’ is available from their own website and that’s the best place to get it. Buy British! Pretty soon, you may have no choice.

Eamonn Murphy

December 2020

(pub: Shoreline Of Infinity, 2020. 160 page paperback/ebook. price: paperback: £ 7.95 (UK). eBook: £ 3.95 (UK))

check out website: https://www.shorelineofinfinity.com/product/shoreline-of-infinity-19/

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Category: Magazines, Scifi

About the Author ()

Eamonn Murphy is a science fiction, fantasy, horror and graphic novel reviewer who writes a bit too. See https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/bigfootmurf

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