Issue #5 goes on sale on March 1.
Here's a little taste of what's you'll miss if you don't get a copy:
Table of Contents
Zap Zachary Returns by Stoney M. Setzer
Gold by Arthur Mackeown
Ray Guns by Doug Hilton
Othan, Debtor by Kurt Magnus
The Horrors of War by Chris Silva
Mindforms by Dal Jeanis
Jeffrey’s Story by Guy Belleranti
Final Score by Brad Sinor
Riding to Hounds by Thomas Canfield
Copper-bottom’s Downfall by Arthur Mackeown
The Last True Gunslinger by Y.B. Cats
The Empty Chair by Malcolm Laughton
‘ware the power by Jack Mulcahy
Call of the Northern Seas by Norman A. Rubin
Across the Plains by Lou Antonelli
Hobocop by Kevin Bennett
The Grave of Armond Balosteros by E.W. Bonadio
The Last Saguaro by Doug Hilton
Odds Are by Kevin Brown
Grief, father dead, bathroom adrift with manta rays of green towels by Harry Calhoun 33
Black Bird by Thom Olausson 2009
Searching for my Dream by John William Rice
Proudly Stupid by Christopher D. York.
Night Walk Demise by Carl Scharwath
Dimuendo’s by Thom Olausson
Android Attack coloring pagey by Richard H. Fay
Interview with Poet and author, Alex Ness
The Man-Thing by Eric S Brown
Fantasy Artist Johnney Perkins
Nexus Point Recipes by Jalea Clegg
Artists in this issue
Cover Art -Zap Zacary Returns by Richard Svensson
T. A. Markitan
Copper Bottoms Downfall
Riding to Hounds
Deep into the Core
The Horrors of War
Now here are a few excerpts:
Zap Zachary Returns
By Stoney M. Setzer
Clint Adamson wanted to throw the cell phone across the room. “You can’t drop me!”
“Look, I’ve tried everything,” Phil Jeffers countered. “Movies, TV, reality shows, even commercials, but nobody’s interested. I warned you that you’d get typecast!”
“But you’re my agent! You get paid to find me work!”
“I get a ten percent commission, but only if I find you work. Last time I was in a math class, ten percent of nothing equals nothing. I hate doing this to you, but the standards of my profession dictate that I have to devote my time to clients who can actually make money. I’ve got bills to pay!”
Clint nervously ran his hand through his hair. “But I’ve got bills, too! What am I supposed to do now?”
Phil released a deep sigh on the other end. “Man, I don’t know what to tell you. I just wish you would have listened to me and not done Zap Zachary for five seasons.”
“I kept telling you, that was the role I was born to play!” Clint looked at the décor of the studio apartment, which consisted almost entirely of Zap Zachary memorabilia, from posters and photos to toys and models. He had been a huge fan of the comics as a kid, and once he had been cast to play him on television, the fervor was rekindled anew.
At least, he thought he had been a fan of the comics. He was slightly unsettled to find his childhood recollections were suddenly a bit hazy.
“Even if you had only branched out a little, taken a movie role here or there, we’d both be much better off right now. Look at your old co-stars!”
Ouch. During the show’s five years, the entire cast had taken other acting jobs on the side, and all of them were still working now. At the time, Clint had thought that all of them were disloyal to the roles that were bringing them fame, almost as if they were cheating on their characters. Hindsight being twenty-twenty, he could see Phil’s point only too clearly.
The Last True Gunslinger
By Y.B. Cats
Gunslinger Red Bandana stepped into the street, accompanied by the ting-ting from his spurs and a dry desert wind. Sunset orange tinted the town’s storefronts and softened their boxy angles; in this hue the town could deny its bloodlust and dress up in romantic lore, if it wanted. Alas, Rio de Roja did not favor romance, only blood, gore, and glory. No respectable townsperson would admit it, but they lived for a chance to see gunslingers felled by each other’s bullets. Even now, “good” townsfolk hid behind cover that allowed a glimpse into the street.
“I’m gonna make sure everyone sees yer ugly face, Red! I bet under that bandana, you’re so ugly even yer mama won’t stand fer it!” Gummy McGee cawed like a carrion-eater from street’s end. He twirled his pistols – slick, flashy silvers – and dropped them back into their holsters. Red pictured Gummy’s tombstone – Here lies Gummy: who picked a fight with Red Bandana, because he was a dummy. Rio de Roja’s undertaker fancied himself a poet.
The only problem was, Red couldn’t see. Gummy made sure he took the street end where he could stand with his back to the sun. The big orange ball glared as it slipped behind the western horizon, and a squint didn’t help. Here lies Red Bandana: done in because he couldn’t see, the fool before him, Gummy McGee.
“Red,” a water barrel in Red’s peripheral vision tried to get his attention. It wasn’t the water barrel, but someone cowered behind it. “Before you git mad, I just want you to know, I have ’em right here.”
“The bullets,” Justus replied. “The bullets I forgot to put back in yer gun after I cleaned it, like Susanna told me.” Red Bandana didn’t sweat at gunfights. Icy rivers coursed through his veins. He didn’t taunt, he didn’t gloat, he pulled his pistol faster than any man in the west, and everyone knew it. At his brother’s confession, though, a hot itch tickled his armpits.
by Dal Jeanis
1. Arrival at Zard
Since they believe they’re all the same, I approach the first Zard I see, a big and squishy lump resting under a volcanic rock formation. His flock scatters at my approach, mostly fat little greenfish and striped zoupies, but then they drift back to hover around us. He extends an eyestalk in my general direction and emits a typically slouchy query.
“Thalen, as Ambassador,” I answer crisply, but I allow the sense of my long journey, curiosity about my predecessor, and my interest in the Ancient ruins to enter the water as well. ‘Ambassador’ is the agreed-upon translation, since these soft cousins wouldn’t understand the scientific term for what I do. The gentle current blows our thoughts downstream to our left, and I see another slug begin to react to the conversation.
The herder’s flaccid posture is difficult to read, but the scent of his amused curiosity washes across me. Apparently he wonders why I am punished this way. He wouldn’t possibly believe I volunteered, unless I told him in full memory. His disbelief heightens my awareness of the supplies and mind pods strapped across my back and between my rear legs, my last links to the sanity of my prior life. I plant all six legs, wide and relaxed, and open my vents to breathe deeply.
“If my presence would be disruptive, I could return later?” I add the obvious sense that the disruptions could be mutual.
“You smell smarter than that, crab. Proceed.” He produces a courier sack from under his body and contorts it into place on the vent between his limp first and second legs. The sack inflates with his memory of the conversation, which he hands to me. “Give it to anyone who asks. He’ll replace it.”
The drag of the sack comforts me as I climb over the formation, picking my way through edible anemones, and approach the oldest buildings in the world.
They loom many bodies high, an artificial ravine in the amazing stiff and square construction that I and my colleagues have not been able to reproduce. The tops fairly glow from the daylight filtering through several meters of clear water, but the bases have a more comfortable level of illumination.
According to the claim of the slugs, their ancestors created this cubic grotto. I can neither accept nor refute the idea. The ancients lived in close proximity to one another, hundreds of individuals, just like the slugs now weeding away plant sprouts and feathery animals from the smooth skin of the buildings.
The constant low smell of slug thoughts lies like silt over the scene. But Zard remembers nothing of methods or means, sciences or symbols. The contradiction will not resolve.
I savor the moment, clarify it, condense it, and put it into a pod for later analysis.