Thursday, December 6, 2012

Issue #10 of Swords and Sorcery Magazine On Line

   Perhaps due to the low remuneration and its recent arrival on the scene, the story quality of "Swords and Sorcery Magazine" has never been quite as high as "Beneath Ceaseless Skies" or "Heroic Fantasy Quarterly".  I think there's only a single issue I totally disliked, but still, more often than not, the stories it's carried have been closer to adequate than excellent.  In the latest issue I felt a real positive improvement vibe going on.  I'd love it if it's a harbinger of things to come. 
   Issue #10's first story is "The Open Pouch" by Rebecca L. Brown, an alumnus of Issue #8.  It's a coming-of-age story and in no way a swords & sorcery story.  What it is is well told story of a young man maturing in Crosshawks Valley trying to find his own footing in his world.  It's one where all young men are given their "manhood" by a woman named Jennika whose societal function is to do just that.  She also serves as the town prostitute which only increases the dislike of the town's women for her.  There's no adventure or swordplay.  What there is is a well told tale in an intriguing world.
   In "Moon Over the Mountains" by Belle DiMonté the peaceful retirement of Kael the Silent is disturbed by the appearance of a great wolf that is clearly no plain, simple beast.  To be honest, very little happens in "Moon Over the Mountains" and it reads like a first chapter not a contained story.  Still, it works.  Enough is revealed about Kael, intimations of his past achievements, hints of his power and his importance as a historical figure, to leave the reader curious.  The wolf's entrance and subsequent events only increased my desire to know more about Kael and DiMonté's world.  
   So good going, "Swords and Sorcery".  It's never been a chore to read the mag but this month was a positive joy.  

PS - Belle DiMonté is the editor of "Into the Willows".  It's submissions pages says it's looking for stories of no more than 2,000 words, poems, reviews and music.  I haven't read anything in it yet but my cursory look made me add it to the magazine links.  Maybe it's another zine I need to start reviewing.

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