The Fifth Dimension June 2016 edited by J. Allen Irwine (e-mag review).

September 11, 2016 | By | 1 Reply More

‘The Fifth Dimension’ was one of the magazines published by samsdotpublishing in days of yore and, when that organisation passed away, it moved to Nomadic Delirium Press but is still under the editorship of J. Allen Irwine. It contains Science Fiction and fantasy short stories like the following.

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‘Election Returns, Live’ by Tim McDaniel has live coverage of a U.S. Presidential election campaign of the future. It starts off with the Republican candidate, well-funded Governor Moose Howery of Nebraska who has an armoured exo-skeleton, machine pistols mounted on his shoulders and a rocket launcher. The campaign takes place on an island where the candidates fight to the death. The Democrats are pretty well financed, too, so they have quality combat gear but the Communist Party and the Greens struggle. Very timely in this election year and entertaining. The biographical notes state that the author is a teacher and writes humorous SF on the side.

Robert Phipps has no use for robots, which are an abomination to the Lord, and steal everybody’s jobs so most people are on welfare, though he‘s quite well off and has some investments. When the local store sends a robot delivery man, he sends it back. But when the salesman from Reliable Robots informs him that the UK Parliament is giving a year off taxes to anyone who leases an artificial humanoid, he is tempted. ‘Chimera’ by Chris Dean is the best sort of comedy, one that makes a point. Hugely entertaining and I’m sorry there was no bio for the author.

Next up is ‘Open For Business’ by Rik Hunik. Berk is a Certified Magician with a talent for finding lost objects. When Mrs. Albina Petronius comes to him because a family heirloom has gone missing, an emerald brooch, he is keen to take the case as he’s just starting out in business. Narrated in the first person hard-boiled detective manner, this is an enjoyable tale of low life fences, gangsters and bad husbands.

‘The Forgotten War (A Programmed Reboot)’ by Robert N. Stephenson starts with Unix Sheenan on the way home to Earth with his fleet of twenty ships, who have spent the last thousand years fighting a war so that the galaxy can be left in peace. The ships have been repaired often, sometimes with alien technology. The Earth has changed after a thousand years and is not what they were expecting. The background was well-wrought, the details were interesting and the characters sympathetic but somehow this lacked impact. I suppose the main weakness was the general surprise at things changing after a thousand years. What else would you expect? I think it was written a while ago as the all-powerful corporation it mentions has now been replaced by others.

Last, but not least, is ‘Callback’ by Fred Obermeyer. Martin Dallerick’s doorbell rings and he finds a strange case in the hall outside his apartment. It contains a phone, a gun, a floor plan and a key. The phone rings and it’s his son, Broderick Cazenbach, calling from fifty years in the future. He’s told he fathered the lad on a one-night stand of a few weeks previously. His son tells him that the Temporal Security Agency are sending people to kill Martin and his mother so that he will never be born. They got the dates wrong and are unaware that he’s already been conceived. This story gets off to a cracking start and, while one is inevitably reminded of ‘The Terminator’, it goes in a different direction and there are some surprising twists at the end. It’s a fine addition to the great SF tradition of time travel stories.

‘The Fifth Dimension’ is one of those little magazines that pays ‘less than 1 cent a word’ according to the listings on ‘Duotrope’ and ‘The Submission Grinder’, where we struggling writers go to find markets for our poor efforts. As with so many such magazines, the quality of stories doesn’t reflect the price paid for them. Many high paying magazines seem to concentrate on shock, darkness, dystopias, ‘diversity’ and experimental fiction that’s hard to read and leaves you with a feeling of pessimism and general malaise, albeit with a worthy glow at having supported ‘art’. These small press magazines tend to publish traditional, vulgar, populist stories of the kind that people actually enjoy reading. There’s still a place for that and, at $1.99 per electronic issue, it‘s certainly a bargain.

Eamonn Murphy

September 2016

(pub: Nomadic Delirium Press. Price: $ 1.99-$ 7.00 (US))

check out website: http://nomadicdeliriumpress.com/blog/product/the-fifth-di-june-2016/

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Category: Magazines, Scifi

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Eamonn Murphy is a science fiction, fantasy, horror and graphic novel reviewer who lives in the south west of England. He's written a few stories too.

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