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"Fantasy, in its first year of publication, also does some fine-tuning of its appearance with issue No. 4 . . . New creative director Stephen Segal has cleaned up the interior type and artwork so it looks more like a magazine and less like a 'zine. The cover page, which continues to feature some kind of faerie creature . . . is cleaner, more modern. Color is added to the inside cover advertisements. Nothing overly radical, but a much nicer package.

"One of the standouts is "After Midnight," by Alison Campbell-Wise, a brutal riff on the Cinderella fable. I know, I know, this has been done again and again. But not like this. Positively shocking and disturbing, this inversion of the cruel stepsister trope has nothing to with fairy godmothers and happy endings, but the best and worst inclinations of people who are often not what they seem."

"Also of interest is Ben Peek's "Under the Red Sun," which posits a Frankenstein culture in which the dead provide useful resurrection components. Those who, for reasons of faith or lack of it, wish to ensure they or their loved ones donĀ¹t become part of the inventory must arrange for cremation. When the narrator's mother insists on a Christian burial in the dirt for his sister, he and his brother comply, hoping to return shortly after the funeral to retrieve the corpse and protect it from grave robbers. They are too late, however, and in seeking to recover the body of his sister before the "surgeons" begin corporeal renovations, he discovers arrangements made that seem, well, unnatural."

""Irregular Verbs" by Matthew Johnson provides a neat little riff on Bradbury's "The Illustrated Man" in which a bereaved widow of a linguistically inventive tribe epidermally preserves the meaning of the otherwise forgotten words of intimacy."

Click here for more, from Black Gate's review of Fantasy 4.


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December 2015

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