The Fifth Di… , December 2017 (e-mag review)

‘The Fifth Di…’ is an SF and Fantasy short story magazine put out quarterly by Nomadic Delirium Press, a small outfit in Colorado and edited by J Alan Erwine who does his best to produce a good read on a tight budget and often succeeds.

The first story is ‘Twilit Memories’ by Chris Dean. Sara Jones of Psicorps is called to 226 Maple, Boston at 3am to help catch a killer when two children and their parents are murdered in a nice suburban home. Sara resigned from police work a year earlier burnt-out but there’s no one else available. She can recover some memories from the deceased but it’s a traumatic and disturbing experience every time. From the little girl, she gets an image of the killer. The plot complicates nicely and the first person narration gives you deeper insight into Sara’s roller coaster emotional state. This could easily be a series and this one, with a bit more plot to stretch it, could make a pretty good movie. These serial killer films are popular.

Rahain Cockleburr wins the lottery in ‘Chosen’ by Karen Heslop but it’s not necessarily a good thing. Every two summers, names are pulled from a hat and some lucky child in the village, aged between ten and fourteen, is sent to the temple. The concept was interesting but Rahain went along as planned and did what was expected of her. It might have been more interesting had she strayed from the path. It was okay but more a description of a situation than a story with crises.

There’s a Mars colony with a difference in ‘Across The Depths Of Space’ by Kate Runnels, a Mars colony with a Singularity Matter Transmitter which some zealots disapprove of on theological grounds and want to destroy. It takes a while to find this out as we follow Kith Korvo, the heroine, meeting new apprentices and mounting a rescue after an explosion in the complex they’re building. The final scene was very far out Science Fiction but perhaps didn’t fit so well with the more mundane Mars colony scenario we’re given at the start. On the other hand, that baby’s a big stretch from the spaceship scenario in ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’, so what do I know? The characters were decent folks and it was a bit of fun. Jack Kirby should have drawn it in his spectacular cosmic style but he’s gone, alas.

We end on an amusing note with ‘Joseph Farnum, Title Cards, 1928’ by G.W. Thomas. We sympathise with Troy Brigman who has had jobs on classified ads in a newspaper, then in a video store, a bookshop and a travel agency. All these have succumbed to the power of the Internet and he hates it. The title refers to someone else whose career was ruined by technology. Troy’s chance for success comes unexpectedly at the Unemployment Office.

This issue is worth buying just for the first story and the other three are a nice bonus. You also get the heart-warming, unselfish glow that comes from supporting the small press and poor struggling writers. Worth a look and available at several good ebook retailers as well as the publisher’s own website. You can even get it on paper in USA land.

Eamonn Murphy

January 2018

(pub: Nomadic Delirium Press, 2017. 68 page ebook. File Size: 675kB. Price: $ 1.99 (US), £ 1.49 (UK ). ISBN: 978-1-97982-553-X\0)

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Eamonn Murphy

Eamonn Murphy reviews books for sfcrowsnest and writes short stories now and then. Website:

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