Thursday, April 12, 2012

Issue #92 Beneath Ceaseless Skies - Review

  Graced with a beautiful cover work called "Remember" by artist Zsófia Tuska, Issue #92 of Beneath Ceaseless Skies is now online.  It's got two new stories and a podcast of "A Place to Stand" by Grace Seybold from Issue #89 of February 23 of this year.
  The first story,  "Bearslayer and the Black Knight" by Tom Crosshill, is described by the author as "a tale of heroes, war and love and very loosely inspired by the Latvian national epic "Bearslayer".  Every other section is written as epic poetry bolstering the mythic quality the story's striving for as it tells of the struggle between Bearslayer, Champion of the Latts and the Black Knight of the Greni.  The non-poetic sections tell us what truly transpired between the two heroes and the poetic provide us the myth created when the battle is done.  The myth does not reflect reality, instead, only what two warring tribes desire.  In the midst of war two champions, both created by monstrous means, sense a shared pain and come to love each other through mutual empathy.  It's all a little too vague and limp for me.
   "Sinking Among Lilies" by Cory Skerry is another matter.  This brutal examination of exploitation and the obligation to become involved in the muck of life and cherish the scars that that can cause is one of the better stories I've come across lately.  Imuri Bane is an ex-member of the Order of the Divine Lady.  In his travels he appears to make a living fighting off various anathema, the generic name for supernatural creatures.  We meet Imuri as he enters the coastal town of Keyward and from the non-human skulls at its entrance to the protective iron bars, a substance inimical to anathema, across all windows, he can see that it's a town where he can earn some money.
   Of course things are rarely what they seem to be in stories and they aren't in "Sinking Among the Lilies".  I like the world Skerry limns and the evocative magical terms he employs, like "Sinking Among the Lilies" and "Watching-as-the-Owl".  I also appreciate that alienness of the anathema encountered and their appropriate inhumanity.
  There you have.  Check it out.

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