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The 3rd Alternative #40
Review by Sam Tomaino
Date: / Pub Info / Table of Contents /

The 3rd Alternative #40
Storyteller By Vincent Chong
Guest Editorial By Nicholas Royle
We Must An Anguish Pay By Steve Mohn
Electric Darkness By Stephen Volk
Black Static By Paul Meloy
Clive Barker Interviewed By Sandy Auden
Breaking Glass By David J. Schwartz
Japan's Dark Lanterns By John Paul Catton
Sugar Cream Pie By Darren Speegle
Case Notes By Peter Tennant
The Cajun Knot By Melanie Fazi
Bryan Talbot Interviewed By Andrew Hedgecock
Thirst By Vandana Singh
The Dodo Has Landed By Allen Ashley
Running On Two Legs By Eugie Foster
The 3rd Alternative - Issue 40 - Winter 2004/5 - ISSN 1352-3783

I have never read an issue of The 3rd Alternative until now and did not know what to expect. I made the mistake of starting with the first story, "We Must An Anguish Pay" by Steve Mohn. This was exactly the kind of story I hate. It involved drugs, kinky sex and people I hated. Nonetheless, I pressed on and read the next story, which was a bit better. "Back Static" by Paul Meloy starts telling us two stories whose characters do come together in a surprising way. The end was a bit too alternative for me but this was a vast improvement over the first story.

The next story, "Breaking Glass" by David Schwartz was one I actively liked. The lead character, after the break-up of his marriage, becomes more and more interested in going around breaking windows to free himself from his unsatisfactory life. Things get wilder and wilder and the climax is especially chilling. "Sugar Cream Pie" by Darren Speegle is, again, a little more alternative, and again deals with a man whose relationship with a woman has ended. This goes in a different direction from the previous story and does not quite succeed as well.

"The Cajun Knot" by Melanie Fazi is a story translated from French by Brian Stableford. It is one of the two really excellent stories in this magazine. A pregnant woman named Cora Ellis stays in her home and her husband and son start exhibiting odd behavior. A friend of the family goes to investigate and is horrified by what he finds. The story takes place in Alabama and is very atmospheric. How Fazi, who apparently does not live there, pulls this off is amazing. "Thirst" by Vandana Singh is a story set in India about a woman who is attracted to the water. Why this is so makes for an interesting tale and a look into a culture that we would know little about. The other excellent story in the issue is "Running on Two Legs" by Eugie Foster. When a woman gets cancer, she finds she can talk to the animals. This is a delightful positive tale and could not be any more different than the first one I read.

If you prefer your stories more conventional, then his magazine is not for you. But, if you want something truly different, then give this a try. Just don't give up too soon.

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