Nonlocal Science Fiction, Issue #2 by Daniel J. Dombrowski (ed.)

Nonlocal Science Fiction, Issue #2 by Daniel J. DombrowskiPrioritising stories that are well-written over any particular definition of science-fiction, Dombrowski successfully collects dystopia, noir, post-apocalyptic and space opera in one magazine.

This edition contains seven short stories and the second part of Thad Kanupp’s ‘Deal Gone Bad’.

Unfortunately, ‘A Thin Atmosphere’, the second serial started in the previous issue, is unavailable for reasons beyond the editor’s control.

  • ‘Threshold’ by James Pratt: humanity developed faster-than-light travel and spread to the stars; and each step further from Earth revealed more evidence of an immense – absent – alien civilisation. Many of these xeno-artefacts match humanity’s growing understanding, but one defies explanation. When years of external studies and probes merely indicate that the space within defies the laws of physics, the only option remaining is to mount an expedition.

  • ‘The Pallbearers of the Light’ by Bennen Neithercoat: one by one, the stars faded followed by the planets, leaving the Earth floating alone with only the Moon and Sun for company. Then the Moon faded, too. Two strangers, united by their lack of panic, meet on a dark night.

  • ‘Out of the Void’ by Ian Broderick: a mining ship heads home after a long voyage, the crew more than ready for shore leave. When they emerge from their dimensional rift, navigational systems allege they are near Earth; but the other sensors paint a very different picture. With only a narrow margin of resources remaining, the crew are faced with stark choices.

  • ‘The Texture of Time’ by Dara Marquardt: improvements in genetic engineering have removed imperfection after imperfection from humanity and technology, creating a world of peaceful citizens living in resource-efficient apartment complexes. But this optimisation for all requires limitation for all. At the end of a very long line for a child, Todd Drine struggles with an irony: the system is almost perfect, but might it be better if it had more space for imperfection?

  • ‘Very Little Risk’ by Aaron Katzmarek: among the crowded streets and packed levels of a future city, one man makes his living as a husband-killer-for-hire. When one client becomes too curious about his methods, he must decide whether to make an exception and kill a wife.

  • ‘Madness is a Seed That Sleeps in the Space Between Your Ears’ by Graeme Tennant: Mars has been colonised. By the sole contestant in a reality show. Relentlessly pursued by cameras, social media commentary, and his health-obsessed robot assistant, Irwin desperately wants a moment alone. Instead, he starts seeing and hearing things that aren’t broadcast from Earth. Is the isolation driving him mad, or is there another player in the game?

  • ‘Amber’s Box’ by Kaley Keane: when Amber dies, her children give their father a perfect copy of her mind-state to help him cope with her absence. It knows what she knew and speaks how she spoke, but he refuses to accept it is her. His children claim accepting will help with grief, but it might not be him who most needs to let go of what was.

  • ‘Deal Gone Bad, Chapter 2’ by Thad Kanupp: continuing the serial started in Issue #1, Jack gains a possible ally. But how will he reconcile helping a naïve boy with his rule to not get involved in other people’s problems?

As with the previous issue, there is a broad range of style and hardness: ‘The Pallbearers of Light’ focuses almost entirely on the lives of its two protagonists, whereas ‘The Texture of Time’ verges on a history essay in places. While each story is well-crafted in itself, this does mean readers seeking a particular type of science fiction will find less to interest them than those with more eclectic tastes.

While the second chapter of ‘Deal Gone Bad’ relies on information provided in the previous instalment, Kanupp again delivers a chapter that contains a complete short arc. Readers coming to the serial at this point will therefore not feel cheated.

Overall, Dombrowski has delivered a well-balanced collection of short science fiction.

I enjoyed this magazine. As with the previous issue, I recommend it to readers seeking short fiction or new authors to explore.

I received a free copy from the publisher with no obligation to review.


Find out more at nonlocalscifi.com or obtain your copy from Amazon.

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