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[Review] GUD, Spring 2008 (issue 2)

 

Today I'm going to share with you another review, this time featuring GUD (Greatest Uncommon Denominator) Spring 2008, Issue 2.  And so, let's begin with what the publisher has to say about their current issue:

 

"Issue 2 celebrates Heaven, Earth, and Space in-between; it is touched by religion, grounded in technology and comfortable with the occult.

 

Including a language-stretching piece triggered by the Talmud from the legendary Hugh Fox, poems by haiku heavy-hitter Jim Kacian, the surprisingly touching “By Zombies; Eaten” from Christopher William Buecheler, and an alien perspective on human spirituality by Tina Connolly in the remarkable “The Salivary Reflex”"

 

Interesting.  Dip beneath the cut and let's get on to the meat and see if it's fresh -- or not.

 

The cover, an illustration titled "Fools & Intellects" by Cameron Gray, does in my opinion suit the theme of the issue.  However, it doesn’t really pass to me any feel of the “grounded in technology” message.  

 

 Click on the image to pull up the full size illustration --> 


Onward to the contents
--

  

Day of the Dead Jamie Dee Galey

(Illustration) Fairly simplistic rendering that captures the magazine's theme fairly well.  For me -- it's a little TOO simplistic.  3 of 5 doodles

  

El Alebrije D. Richard Pearce

(Story) In this tale we have a mildly melancholy story of a modern witch and her unusual familiar.  For me it is somewhat curvy, with the symbolism taking the reader into the life of a woman coming to grips with life.  The blend of cultures ads to the tone, whereas it could easily have overpowered it.  4 of 5 doubloons.

 

Subtlety Lucy A. Snyder

(Poem) Verse for the wordsmith in all of us -- with rebellion.  3.5 of 5 stanzas.

 

Four Torments and a Judgment  Erik Williams

(Story) Herein we find that even demons are subject to clerical errors… Lighter with a bit of wrap-up humor, this one can tweak a funny-bone -- but only to a smile level.  4 of 5 smileys.

 

Hepatocellular Carcinoma, Stage IV  Samantha Henderson

(Poem)  This is a reprint earlier found in ChiZine, and not having read ChiZine, appreciated the opportunity to read it here.  At the poetry level what I like reading is multi-layer meaning in a surreal or traditional package.   I am pretty open to style, and it takes much to turn me off in that regard.  This poem is written in such a way that the imagery takes you to the final realization from within to without.  However, the opening expects leaps that many may not see.  Still, with the deep remaining obscured until the last, this gets 4 of 5 verses from me.

 

Sam—Sharp Walls  newel anderson

(Illustration) This is the first of three newel anderson illustrations in this issue.  I find each able to fit the images of the title given.   This one conveys to me entrapment.  And since these have provoked good imagery I’ll give it -- and the other two as well -- 4 of 5 inkblots.

 

Painlessness Kirstyn McDermott

(Story) In this we have a story of numbness – more than just the lack of feeling physically or emotionally.  We are taken into a revelation and shown a glimpse of both cruelty and forgiveness.  Intense, and with a subtle surprise.  Written in a “safe” style.  4.5 of 5 feathers.  Recommended.

 

Watching the playoffs  Jim Kacian

(Poem) Couldn’t really get into the style of this verse.  3 of 5 verses

 

Dolls Kristine Ong Muslim

(Poem) Good, dark symbolism.  Much easier voice for me to get into than the last, not that someone else might feel the same.  4 of 5 verses

 

The Disappearance of Juliana  John Walters

(Story)  This story is written in a slightly difficult (for me, anyway) experimental style that is somewhat distracting.  However, the style DOES fit the theme of the tale, and one is left wondering at the conclusion, WTF? Am I saying that the story is bad?  Nope.  Am I saying that the reader shouldn’t have to stretch his brain into 30 strings of taffy to see what’s being written?  Yep.  Even so, the story is interesting in itself, and I give it 3.5 reality checks out of 5.

 

Sam newel anderson

(Illustration)  Please see comment on previous anderson illustration.

 

Offworld Friends Are Best  Neal Blaikie

(Story) This story is chock full of dialect and involves a character unsure of her reality.  This one also got me feeling much like how I felt from the John Walters story, but I ended up extending merely 20 strings of cranial mind-taffy to grasp it.  3.5 of 5 reality checks.

 

Monkeyshine Hugh Fox

(Story)  Hugh Fox takes us into a household with high genius bantering – or is it?  Is it even human?  It’s for you to decide….   4 of 5 deep thoughts.

 

Baby Edward  Jeremy C. Shipp

(Story)  Mr. Shipp offers us a well written story about a man dealing with a child, a very different child.  It this child real?  Is it not?  Prose that is inspires coherent visuals.  4.5 of 5 bottles, recommended.

 

Jamie Hawkins’ Muse Vanessa Gebbie

(Story) Sometimes the muse that inspires an artistic soul can be found in an unlikely place… 4 of 5 scalpels.

 

Freight Joseph Love

(Story) This is a nicely written story, but the only way I’ll remember it will be as ‘What?”  It reads well, and I’m sure there’s a point, but by the time I reached the end, I was still looking for it.  I’ll have to read it again…I’m sure it’s there.  Somewhere.  3.5 out of 5 railcars.

 

Untitled Collaborative Mike Capp, Justin Hillgrove, and Shana Marcoullier

(Illustration) Unfortunately, while the whole is cohesive, this one doesn’t really do much for me.  3 of 5 paint dabs.

 

Under the Flowers a Carcass Waits Rusty Barnes

(Poem) Fine little piece about loss.  4 of 5 flower petals.

 

Worldly Divine Cameron Gray

(Illustration)  This glimpse into the mythic realm is from the cover artist, and when viewing give me an urge to jot down a bit of Mythos prose.  Good imagery.  4 of 5 inkblots.

 

The Salivary Reflex Tina Connolly

(Story) Tina Connolly offers a gourmet treatment of finding religion.  Not what one would expect, this is a tight read that takes you into a different sort of inter-species contact.  However, the climax can be a groaner to some readers.  4 out of 5 licks.

 

Nan Scott Christian Carr

(Story) An uplift style of story.  Interestingly written, but could use a twist of plot to weave in more emotion.  3.5 out of 5 books.

 

By Zombies; Eaten Christopher Buecheler

(Story) This is my first Zombie story, so I don’t have a lot to compare it to.  However, as such I read it looking to find things to turn me off.  That didn’t work, so I have to recommend for you read it.  You’ll see what is found when a new weapon to battle the undead is discovered…  4 out of 5 shotguns.

 

Rise newel anderson

(Illustration)  Please see comment on the first anderson illustration.

 

The Festival of Colour Paul Haines

(Story) I was taken through this one and say that it is twisty, taking you through thoughts of what?... is the character alive, dead, a person or a demon or something else?  It is a good read and closes in a manner that isn’t too psychotic … perhaps.  4 out of 5 past lives.  

 

THOU SHALT  Hugh Fox

(Poem) Modern mysticism, as commandments.  3.5 of 5 tablets.

 

closer in my heart to thee Jeff Somers

(Story) How does one deal with an impending loss?  4 out of 5 wails.


Over all, this is a sweet issue, offering many stories that stand out including a couple I can recommend.  If you wish to check out their publications, GUD has every issue still available; issues 0, 1, & 2 can be purchased either in print or in pdf formats through their website.  Check them out.


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Comments

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
lyngperry
Jun. 1st, 2008 10:08 pm (UTC)
Nice short reviews. I like your style and insights. Where else do you post your reviews? Or is this just a personal project? :-)
will_couvillier
Jun. 1st, 2008 10:42 pm (UTC)
2nd ever review. Kaolinfire from my flist is webmaster/ed there. After I posted the F&SF review, he asked if I would give GUD a shot. Here it is.

And like the F&SF review, over time I'll touch this up. I think I already see a few rough lines. I am not a professional critiquer, so my reviews are from a working reader's viewpoint. And my "star" grade system come from things that reflect something in the story graded (just started that with this issue).

I can give honest opinions on a work. So far out of the two magazines I reviewed nothing really stunk, but there were a few things hard to get into. And things I'd recommend.


kaolinfire
Jun. 2nd, 2008 04:12 am (UTC)
Many thanks for both the read and the review. I'd say you did a great job of it (and the x of y z's were fun).
will_couvillier
Jun. 2nd, 2008 02:29 pm (UTC)
I planned to include the B&W internal version of the cover illo, but I still have things to learn about posting thing in LJ, such as images. And how to tuck things under a cut as to not flood a friends friend page with one post...
kaolinfire
Jun. 2nd, 2008 05:22 pm (UTC)
Presuming the image is hosted somewhere:

<img src="http://somewhere.com/image.jpg" >

<lj-cut text="The clickable bit that lets you see more">

...

</lj-cut>

:)
will_couvillier
Jun. 2nd, 2008 05:42 pm (UTC)
Thanks!

Got the cut part figured out, but now I have to see about a place to host images...
kaolinfire
Jun. 2nd, 2008 05:43 pm (UTC)
photobucket is sort of the de facto; but livejournal has "scrapbook" built into it, too, I think. Or flickr. Or picasa :heh:

:)
will_couvillier
Jun. 2nd, 2008 06:09 pm (UTC)
Ah, good -- and updated with!

Once I converted to jpg scrapbook worked fine.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )