E-Magazine Review: Blindspot: Testing Reality, Issue 1

3 of 5 stars.

In an effort to promote French sci-fi and to bridge the American and French sci-fi communities, Angle Mort was founded in 2010. That team has now launched this magazine, edited by Julien Wacquez, in its mission to translate French science fiction into English.

The first issue of Blindspot contains four short stories, which I’ve previously reviewed, and interviews with all four contributing authors and a contributing artist. The interviews are a great touch to really delve into the author’s mindset.

Judging by these four stories, French and American sci-fi are distant cousins separated more than by mere language. This is not a bad thing. It’s akin to watching French and American film. Most American films feel Hollywood for better or for worse. English-language sci-fi tends toward fantasy–building elaborate apocalyptic scenarios or layered off-planet societies etc. These four French tales are veered toward the existential in a way less embraced by American writing which usually stops at depicting psychological benders if not straight forward tales.

The included tales are:
Dunyach, Jean-Claude–“Landscape with Intruders”–3 stars
D’Asciano, Jean-Luc Andre–“The First Tree in the Forest”–4 stars
Hotait, Darine–“I Come From Future”–2 stars
Charrasse, Fanny–“Record of a Growth”–3 stars

I look forward to future issues as the tales broaden the definition of science fiction and the interviews provide invaluable insight. I received my copy of this issue directly from one of the editors through bookreviewdirectory.wordpress.com.
[Check out my other reviews here.]

Review: Tales from Atelinor by Dakota Lopez

4 of 5 stars.

Normally I review books and short stories. But in a complete change, I’m reviewing a blog, Tales from Atelinor, and a rather new one at that. Not that I’m apologizing or shifting my focus, the writing on this blog is worth checking out. The author has not quite realized fully fledged short stories, nor does he claim to have. His supposed purpose was to post some of his writings based on writing prompts. Admittedly, this is not a very promising premise. However, the results are at times stunning in that each prompt is used to explore a fantastic world that will hopefully later set the scene and history for a novel series. The world building and character development are well above average. The first short story I read on the site [and the second one posted] was “The Dry Season.” The following is my initial review of “The Dry Season” with some editing:

This is beautiful writing [4 star, as I’m a little stingy with stars so as to not run out]. The contemplative nothingness that is happening is reminiscent of Rothfuss’ Slow Regard for Silent Things. . . .Jary [the narrator] is a distracted writer with writer’s block who is trying to notice everything in order to write, but notices every distraction instead. It’s a lovely set-up. The pacing and world-building is appropriate giving a bit of social structure [in thinking about a conversation with a lordling] and history [in thinking about dubious scientific claims on lifespans] and culture [in thinking about musicians and troubadours]. Kudos.

That said–WTF?! One cannot end a story in the unresolved manor that this is left. Scott Lynch [author of The Lies of Locke Lamora] absolutely would end a chapter abruptly only to launch into a chapter that takes place 2-20 years earlier. Then in the scene following would dive right back into the shocking scenario. It’s an anxious and frustrating way to hear a story, but it pays off amply in that we know he will get back to the scene in some pages. This story just ends [though the author promises to revisit and resolve this story]. The world of Atelinor also resembles Lynch’s in the Gentlemen Bastards series in that it seems a middle ages society on the remnants of a great, unknown prior society.

I know this was only based on a prompt, but one cannot throw a wrench through a window and say The End.

The other short story posted, “The Akarian Calendar,” is also not a finished story, however it is a complete scene and an enjoyable one at that. The promising beauty is in “The Dry Season” even without being finished. If it were the snippet on the inside flap of a book cover, one would buy this book. It’s that intriguing, and well-voiced. The wait for a full story could end up being a long one since the author is so early in the process, but I enjoy feeling like I am viewing his writing process.
[Check out my other reviews here.]