Friday, August 31, 2007

Chiaroscuro: Issue 33

Issue 33
was a good one for Chiaroscuro Magazine. Chizine publishes darker, occasionally twisted stories (Fluff and Buttons on the Teddy Bear Range, or The Man Who Eats Angels anyone?), but over the last two issues I have been impressed with the overall quality of the fiction. There were four stories in Issue 33.

Waiting Period, by Sunil Sadanand
Ladders, by David Sakmyster
The Vine that Ate the South, by Bill Kte'pi
The Mayor Will Make a Brief Statement and Then Take Questions, by David Nickle

Ladders features an entrepreneur in some strange, dingy, grimy city who retrieves people who have climbed up their ladders to get closer to the fresh air above the city and do not wish to come down. He does the job because it pays well and because it keeps some people from falling to their death. Interesting story concept, well executed and well told. I wished the story was longer to get more into this world of city and ladders and people trying to escape.

The Mayor Will Make a Brief Statement... takes the form of a press conference with the Mayor speaking about a boy who was killed in a hit and run accident and about the community's grief. And then Nickle twists the whole thing. Short, but it works for what it is.

The Vine That Ate the South did not really connect with me too much. Apparently there is some time travel, a girl who has had odd experiences with men who seem strangely familiar, and...yeah. Nothing remarkable here.

Waiting Period opens with these two sentences which built up my interest real quick:
"I didn't tell him I was leaving." This is what the dead girl in the yellow dress tells me when I ask her if she's seen my daughter.
There is something about stories where dead people are characters that just works for me. I guess that makes them zombies, but that’s not quite it. A dead man is looking for his dead daughter. It works. I thought that Ladders would be my favorite from this issue, but I think Waiting Period is. It's the walking, talking dead thing. Maybe this is a new sub-genre of fiction that needs to be explored in greater depth.

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