‘The Fifth Di…’ is a small press magazine with three dots in the title that features a mixture of Science Fiction and fantasy short stories with a bit of poetry thrown in for good measure. It was published for many years by Nomadic Delirium Press and has now been taken over by Hiraeth Publishing.
The first story is ‘The Daughter Of Doubt’ by AD Ross. The Scorpion, master of the underworld in The Suspicious City, has a great treasure. Dee, a magician and martial artist is determined to steal it, aided by our hero Yarvil. He was almost killed by one of the Scorpions underlings when he tried to make a deal with the villain but survived and is back helping Dee. This is a complex tale of skulduggery set in a fascinating fantasy world. Very well-written with good plot twists. I really liked it.
‘Grocery Purgatory’ by Mark R Hunter is a fun tale of disappearing chicken gumbo soup in a small town store. Galen Palmer ends up working in the shop with musclebound bully Bill Harrison and cute blonde Marissa, both from his old school. It’s like he never left. The ending satisfied while defeating expectations.
‘Fireweed’ by Debby Feo is a pleasant fable about dragons that fly between planets and even stars. There are certain ancient families and Fireweed belongs to the Solfatara line. This was a gentle coming of age story with lots of nice details, suitable for children.
Cherish Adonia is a dark tormented soul on board a 13,600 ton icebreaker beneath the Amundsen Sea in ‘The Sun Beneath The Glaciers’ by Erica Ciko Campbell. It’s set in a future where mankind has discovered immortality but has the dilemma of insufficient memory to cope. Old memories must be erased to make way for new experiences and Cherish has led a rich full life even before this adventure. The dense, dark narrative style carries you along but I wasn’t sure what to make of this one.
‘A Hero Reborn’ by David Samuels is a tale of ancient Greece with a modern, feminist twist. Twelve year-old Delia of Atokos (buck teeth, acne) is the daughter of Telemachus and a Princess of Ithaka. She’s in Thebes on a mission to get trained in archery by Atalanta so that she can save her homeland but Atalanta has become a downtrodden housewife. An adventure tale with talking animals suitable for children that adults can enjoy too. I did.
‘The Fifth Di… March 2020’ contains a mixed bag of moderately entertaining stories. Nothing terrible and nothing that’s going to win a Hugo so about par for a small press magazine of its type. I found the bag a bit too mixed in that ‘Fireweed’ and ‘A Hero Reborn’ are fables suitable for children while ‘The Daughter Of Doubt’ and ‘The Sun Beneath The Glaciers’ are rather dark. However, it’s early days with the new publisher and maybe they’re still finding a path.
Overall, not bad and the usual kudos are due to Hiraeth and other small presses for keeping short fiction alive and encouraging new talent. There’s no eBook version and distribution is spotty but you can get it straight from the publisher in the USA. To save postage costs, I got mine from The Book Depository in England, a subsidiary of Amazon.
(pub: Hiraeth Publishing, 2020. 98 page paperback. Price: £10.00 (UK), $10.00 (US). ISBN: 978-1-08787-026-7