Monday, June 30, 2008

Darwin's Evolutions, June 2008 (online magazine)

Cover image of online speculative fiction magazine Darwins Evolutions, June 2008This debut issue of the magazine contains 3 stories - one marginally science fictional, another straight fantasy. None awesome, none totally crap - a very average issue. In my rating system, I would call each of them B.

There is also stuff other than fiction that I didn't bother with. I don't plan to make individual posts of these stories - links on titles below download the stories.

Best of the lot is Gustavo Bondoni's "Defending Fjordland". It's is about a conservation project - saving Kakapo, a non-flying parrot native to New Zealand, that is close to extinction. I found it odd that those running a project of this nature find nothing wrong in simply killing a lot of other animals they think are coming in the way! Science fictional part is a remote controlled "hunter-killer machine" that throws poisoned darts at trespassers - to kill (rather than render unconscious for manual removal later). There are also some rather preposterous villains. Ending is somewhat similar to A Bertram Chandler's "Giant Killer": it's mutant rats that kill humans in both stories, though they're less dangerous in this story than in Chandler's.

Mike Rimar's "Avarice" is an urban ghetto story where two gods are fighting, using humans as pawns. I didn't dislike it as much as I normally do stories of this kind because the evil god behaves somewhat like RBI (India's central bank) has been behaving during the last couple of years.

I've already forgotten most of Dirk Flinthart's "The Once and Future King". Something about a kid guitarist in a society where innovation is looked down upon meets someone who encourages him to innovate & not feel guilty about it. I have a feeling Western readers might like it more than me; my musical tastes are rather local.