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Fictitious Force, by Various Authors Book Review | SFReader.com
Fictitious Force, by Various Authors Genre: Magazine Publisher: Fictitious Force Published: 2006 Review Posted: 1/13/2006 Reviewer Rating:
Reader Rating: 10 out of 10
Fictitious Force, by Various Authors
Book Review by David A. Olson
Have you read this book?
In physics, a fictitious force is one that doesn't exist but seems to because the observer is in a noninertial frame of reference. According to Michele Barasso and Jonathon Laden, the editors of the Fictitious Force Magazine, an observer from within the world of fiction can be moved with as much emotional force--if not more--than in real life.
So how do the individual stories match up to this goal of creating emotional force? "The Harp of the Titans" by Sharon E. Woods, "Horse Years" by Will McIntosh, "Elegy of the Square Deal Towns" by Toiya Kristen Finley, "Walking West" by Joel Best, and "Watercolors in the Rain" by Beth Bernobich are all stories about how people are affected emotionally by the world around them. These do an excellent job of making the reader experience the characters' points of view. The other short stories don't seem to be so much about emotions, and instead concentrate on the speculative elements. All of the flash fiction (very short stories) fail to meet this goal because they are far too short to tug on the emotions greatly. It will be interesting to see if in later issues of this magazine, when the editors have more stories available to them, whether they choose more stories that tug on the emotions. In this issue, it is about a third of the stories.
It is worth noting that for "The Harp of the Titans" and "Elegy of the Square Deal Towns" that the speculative elements felt tacked. In both cases, I thought the stories would have worked better as straight mainstream stories. That said, these are still strong stories; it's just that the speculative elements felt unnecessary.
There is one oddball piece entitled "Spec(i)fic Retrospective" by Sean Melican which is an essay about a magazine that never existed. It's pretty funny, but I don't see how it fits into the goals of this magazine.
A unique feature of this magazine is that the authors comments on what inspired the story. It's interesting to see what inspired them and what they were thinking. It gives the reader some insight into how the creative mind works.
This is a strong premiere issue of a speculative fiction magazine which I would recommend to readers who appreciates the more literary end of the speculative fiction spectrum. The price of the magazine is only $16 for 4 issues, an excellent price for the quality of stories and the length (about 64 pages.)
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