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Sunday, July 12, 2009

Spotlight on Alternative Coordinates 2 (by Liviu Suciu)



Edited by Jeff Cochran, the new online sff zine Alternative Coordinates has just published its second issue available online for a very modest fee. There is a pdf downloadable issue too which is well done, you can read the magazine online or you can copy/paste the stories to your favorite text editor for reading on a device like the iTouch, the Sony Reader or the Kindle, where pdf does not work so well.

I have reviewed the debut issue HERE and I have to say that the second issue was even better with all six stories working for me, from good to superb. If there is one theme of this issue that is "disaster, deadly danger, destruction" but the stories range from dark to humorous, with one being only half of a larger novella with the second part to come in AC 3 in Fall 09.

As usual the first story Tomb is free and gives a taste of what's to come, while the rest of the stories have generous free excerpts. I have actually read that story in a superb small press anthology "Desolate Places" and if you like it, you may try the excellent "Ruins" anthology series from Hadley-Rille of which the above mentioned one is a part.

In order of apparition and with the small blurb provided we have:

Tomb by Z. S. Adani

"The ruins had laid untouched for several hundred millennia; but was the plague that devastated Tomb really dead, or just waiting?"

*****+

Highlight of the magazine and it's free to read! Archaeologists study a planet with mysterious remains of aliens dead some hundreds of thousands ago. The slow unfolding horror of the fate of the inhabitants intertwines with the fate of the expedition. Dark, moody and excellent!


The London Incident by Jennifer R. Povey

"Clarissa had always had lofty ambitions for her career, but destroying the planet wasn’t one of them."

*****

Genius physicist Clarissa Johns is one tiny step away from providing humanity with cheap limitless energy that may open the stars too; but that tiny step and a small hardware defect may spell doom for Earth; a race against time with an unexpected superb denouement. Fast paced, dramatic and a page turner.


The Heart Of The Dragon by Brian Dolton

"The wisdom of the Dragon is the only thing that can save Wei Tzu’s son, but will his heart allow him?"

**** 1/2

A moody piece that is set more as a meditation on fate and choices in an oriental fantasy setting, the story slowly develops towards a truly stunning ending.


The Alien Embrace - part 1 by Frances Pauli

"The Warblers are quickly becoming endangered of extinction, unless a musician from Earth could find a way to communicate with them."

****

The most conventional of the stories with heartless corporations and strange alien beings, it truly should await its conclusion for a final verdict; so far it is a good one but nothing unusual.


A Hissing Sound by Neil James Hudson

"Working with aliens can be very trying; but as an effective employer, it may be a good idea to listen to the hissing sound."

****

A humorous take on calling centers and associated scams - this time an interstellar example (!) - the story is funny with some excellent moments but some dragging ones too. Quite good overall and a very good ending too.


"Atlantic in Shadow" by Benjamin Farthing

"First contact with an alien species can be one way to get your name in the history books; but some species are better off left alone."

*****

Another superb atmospheric story about a father-daughter explorer crew and first contact. A stunning ending makes this one the second strongest story of the collection, almost on par with Tomb.


After two excellent issues with core-sf stories that read fast, well and are very entertaining, Alternative Coordinates 3 became an asap issue.

2 comments:

Joe said...

cool, i bought the first two issues

Liviu said...

The other two sff magazines that I love are Escape Velocity (first 3 issues are free now in pdf), also core-sf and GUD (Greatest Uncommon Drnominator) which is more weird and fantasy geared though it has sf too, but it's great though quirky...

GUD is also available electronically at good prices directly or through Fictionwise

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