igdrasil

ISF # 1 Review by Sara Farinha (Portuguese Author)

In News on November 23, 2012 at 7:50 pm

ISF – Fiction

‘Metal Can Lanterns’ by Joyce Chng

Using the imagery of the Mid-Autumn Festival also known as Lantern, Mooncake or Children’s Festival, Joyce Chng presents us with a short beautiful and inspirational tale. A story full of inspiring descriptions, sweet and thoughtful characters brought back from a dystopian world. In this tale children acknowledge and adapt traditions, pursue the understanding of personal meaning, and lead the way to retrieve a few lost rituals. But they do so even when they seem to have very few knowledge left. And it’s obvious that they resent the void of lost communion rituals. And to me this posed a conflict. Considering the children’s age maybe it was a little farfetched to give them such care for historical references and traditions if apparently there were very few adults able and willing to reminisce in the old ways.

Nevertheless, loved the theme and imagery and considered this short tale an inspiring piece of work that evokes the power of a simple and single act and its reach throughout mankind. Definitely what we need these days…

‘59 Beads’ by Rochita Loenen-Ruiz

A great short story full of pain and relief, sorrow and hope, disappoint and beliefs. Pyn’s self-sacrifice captivated me from the beginning. The idea of losing everything about ourselves in order to save someone’s life, specially a children’s life, is something that speaks to me in a particular way. Love the ending. Pyn keeps sacrificing everything for Sienna right to the end even when it wasn’t planned and the results are far more grave than expected.

‘Hunt beneath the Moon’ by Marian Truta

It’s an ingenious story but I felt trapped between the ornamental and the fundamentals. Where to start? For one that was created to save the world’s kindness and purity, revenge and mayhem seems a little out of place. Not to mention sex and killing innocent villagers… I guess this one didn’t do it for me. Am I mixing up my mythology or Succubus, Hinds and some great Book of Knowledge, Life, Death, or something, are throwing me off track?

Non Fiction:

‘Philip K. Dick: A Visionary Among the Charlatans’ by Stanislaw Lem

“Literature is another matter: it is created by a process of natural selection of values, which takes place in society and which does not necessarily relegate works to obscurity if they are also entertainment, but which consigns them to oblivion if they are only entertainment.”

Originaly dated from 1975, this is a republished article which its original has more years than I have. It’s very interesting to see that thirty years later we keep circling back to the same difference of opinions. In this particularly text intended to analyze and justify the different views of Pilip K. Dick work, Stanislaw Lem focuses on a few well known and over debatable opinions. Here are a few themes that resonated within…

How can a non popular book live through the years, even if it never achieves the popularity of other volumes?

 The stagnation of intellectual production when people write isolated from the world and from what was already written.

Ratings aren’t based on merit but on a commercial basis.

Using scientific knowledge in today’s literature is seen as a waste of one’s efforts because they are merely intended as entertainment.

The work of Philip K. Dick is a proper picture of the world’s inability to find all the answers and solve all things.

About the idea that some critcs have that SF should be able to justify all things used in order to achieve the acceptance of critics.

Literary conventions and author creativity shouldn’t be the same thing. Evaluations of one’s merit by to refusing in keep the conventions.

Absolute purity of genres is an anachronism.

Stories that don’t pursue other views are condemned to repeat the same plots and the same predictable outcomes. Imagination and profound knowledge and ability to combine both is the key to new and better stories, freed of literary boundaries and aiming for pushing through the fog of habit.

‘Ought to’ shouldn’t be part of genre vocabulary, even though it could and will put author’s in a bad spot.

A very good article based in Philip K. Dick concepts and work. A must read for all literary curious and well versed SF critics.

International Speculative Fiction Nº1

It’s obvious that ISF team solved the issues brought to attention in the first issue. They opted by the constant art theme throughout the entire length of the e-zine which is a plus. And I have to highlight the following: Simply love the cover art.

With a notable quality in short-stories and article, cleaner look and a great front cover, ISF represents quality, innovation and commitment to literature.

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