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All Possible Worlds #1, edited by Jason Champion cover image
Zeta Centauri
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All Possible Worlds #1, edited by Jason Champion

Book Review by Howard von Darkmoor

Have you read this book?

Another fine addition to the small press magazine market, Jason Champion's All Possible Worlds hits the streets running on (al)most all cylinders. For the spectacular price of $20.00 per year, subscribers will receive 4 issues of 100+ pages in a 5 1/2" X 8 1/2" glossy covered, glue-bound format. An appealing appearance and - at least for Issue #1 - filled from cover to cover with nothing but the stories and information on the authors, the artists, and the editors.

Readers are immediately caught by the great product presentation and good introductions to the editor and the cover artist. Acknowledged on the last page are the two interior artists and the one author who provided his own works of art for his story. Taking nothing away from the other artists and conceding that he may have had a more biased approach to his art than they, John N. Baker's artwork for "Nithhad: The Lonely Valley" was by far the best in the book.

On to the stories themselves. I shall be brief, as possible, since there are ten of them.

"Save a Dance for the Plowman"(SF) - Justin Stanchfield: The protagonist of this tale never grew on me, so I never cared for him or his concerns, resulting in a rather boring read for me. This was actually a worrisome beginning to the magazine.

"Sleep Magic"(F) - Daniel Ausema: Ausema creates a concept both unique and interesting, yet ultimately delivers a resolution lacking in power. Stronger than the first tale, but still continuing the rather underwhelming opening to APW.

"Nithhad: The Lonely Valley"(F) - John N. Baker: The first good tale in the magazine (my 3rd favorite), it was also, unbeknownst to me, the last of the fantasy tales. A good, intriguing beginning and terrifically appropriate artwork set a strong tone that carried the story far, past an overwhelming dependence upon adverbs and some rather illogical leaps in continuity, but not far enough - eventually succumbing to an extremely disappointing resolution that did not seem to mesh with the rest of the tale.

"High Concept"(SF) - John B. Rosenman {Insert Personal Disclaimer: I don't read much Science Fiction and short story Sci-Fi even less than novel length}: This is a great - and fun - story of comeuppance. One of the better ones I've ever read. This is my 2nd favorite story in the magazine.

"A Snowball's Chance"(SF) - Kurt Kirchmeier {Repeat above disclaimer}: My personal favorite, this is a great story with a very cool opening that had me hooked from the get-go. I loved it! These back-to-back great SF stories were almost enough to convince me I should be reading more of them. APW has redeemed itself by this point.

"Iron Man"(SF) - Greg Jenkins: This is what I imagine rednecked hillbilly Sci-Fi would be like. An interesting slice-of-life piece that eventually poses far more questions than it answers, leaving the reader slightly befuddled as to what - and why - he'd just read.

"Penny Royalty for the Pound Mob"(SF) - Gene Stewart: A rather surreal tale basically about a bar fight. The music-centric first person works but is not endearing. In fact, it becomes slightly grating, making the story memorable only for this sensation.

"Prizes"(SF) - Edward Muller: A rather ho-hum story, this is the one tale in the whole magazine I can never remember what it is about. It is no where near the caliber story Howard Andrew Jones chose for the 4th issue of Flashing Swords.

"The Apocryphist"(SF or F) - Bruce Golden: This is one of those tales that could take place in any world, reached by means either fantastical or scientific: setting matters not. I found it to be a very interesting tale about who establishes both the history and the future of a people and how this is done. Written in an okay first person, its fault lies in its ending - a sort of "Here-I-am" type meander. Still earns an Honorable Mention from me.

"Whitening"(SF) - Michael A. Pignatella: I liked the story idea and the new start in life resolution, but not the telling of the tale. Delivered in a disconcerting juxtaposition of third person past and present tenses in all their glories of simple, perfect, and progressive, I found it a rather jarring read.

So there you have it, the ten opening stories in a new speculative fiction magazine. While content in this issue scored less than .500, I'm happy with the product, the price, and the proposed direction of future issues. Only time will tell if I am right.
All Possible Worlds #1, edited by Jason Champion on Amazon

All Possible Worlds #1, edited by Jason Champion on Amazon

All Possible Worlds #1, edited by Jason Champion cover pic
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