The June 2003 issue of the Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction is a tribute to SF great Barry M. Malzberg, and so it's appropriate that Audible's May/June composite audio issue is bracketed by Malzbergiana, opening with Barry's own "A Short Religious Novel," a seeker tale reminiscent of the best of both Franz Kafka and Arthur C. Clarke, and ending with John Kessel's "Of New Arrivals, Old Encounters, and the Music of the Spheres," chronicling Barry's first night in Writer's Heaven. "The Retriever" by Harvey Jacobs is a noirish-toned piece of fantasy, depicting the ultimate gumshoe, who retrieves much more than the usual lost objects of desire.The ingredients for "Basement Magic" are available in every home, but this powerful story of a trod-upon stepchild, written by Ellen Klages, is anything but mundane.
In "The Refuge Elsewhere," Robert Sheckley takes us inside the FBI's witness protection program and beyond - from upstate New York to a world we've mostly all heard of, but few have visited.
Jack Cady's "The Twenty-Pound Canary" is a romp through a carnival of science experiments set in an idyllic Midwestern town.
"The Tale of the Golden Eagle" by David D. Levine is a miniature epic space opera in the grand tradition, while Paulo Bacigalupi's "The Fluted Girl" is an equally classic evocation of a complex future society, complete with its own unique class structures, social mores, and political intrigues. Both these stories benefit from highly individualized characterizations and art forms far beyond most of our wildest dreams.
And finally, give up all pretense of knowing what's real and what's not on television by dialing "555." This Hollywood story by Robert Reed takes us inside an alternative world where soap opera is played for keeps.
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a mixed bag and an adequate production
- Grace C.
One story makes this worth it...