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SCIFICTION by Ellen Datlow (Ed.)
SciFi Channel Zine  ISBN/ITEM#: SCIFINovDe
Date: Nov/Dec 2005 /

From release/information:

SCIFICTION, Edited by Ellen Datlow at www.scifi.com
Stories Reviewed: The Man Who Would Be Kong by Andrew Fox - 11/30/05 * The King of Where I Go by Howard Waldrop - 12/07/05 * The Emperor by Lucius Shepard - 12/14/05 * Boz by Kristine Kathryn Rusch - 12/21/05 * The Dope Fiend by Lavie Tidhar - 12/28/05

Alas, these are the last stories that will be published on the SCIFICTION site. Scifi.com has decided to do other things that they think is more important than publishing some of the best short fiction of the past five years. I sincerely hope someone will have the sense to hire Ellen Datlow for another gig.

I wish I could say I loved all these stories but I can't. In the case of the first one, "The Man Who Would Be Kong" by Andrew Fox, I fully admit it's a very personal thing. The novelette is about an old man who claims that he was King Kong, a man in a gorilla suit, in the classic 1933 movie. He is of course, a fraud, but the story treats him sympathetically and gives him a measure of redemption. It's a nice enough story and cleverly written but I could not sympathize with such an old fraud. There really was someone like this and I had nothing but contempt for him. The story does give full credit to Willis O'Brien and Marcel Delgado as the real men behind the beast but I could just not enjoy this tale. And don't get me started on that inferior remake. The other story that I found a little disappointing but still pretty good was "The Emperor" by Lucius Shepard. In this novella, The Emperor is a mostly mechanized strip mine in Alaska. Things go wrong and its few human minders must survive. I just found some of the perils that they faced a little unlikely and contrived. It still was a pretty good adventure story, though.

The other three stories I enjoyed a great deal. "Boz" by Kristine Kathryn Rusch was a nice little Christmas story about an introvert named Boz and his Christmas alone on a spaceship with hundreds of other passengers in a deep sleep. It's a clever little twist on a man being improved by visits from spirits. Even the name "Boz" is a reference to Charles Dickens and a clever one.

I also really liked the story that would be the last one published on this site. "The Dope Fiend" by Lavie Tidhar is an atmospheric novelette, set in "between the world wars" England. The lead character is called Tzaddik and is a fallen Immortal who must battle a bad "angel". The story features some real gangsters of the era and was very exciting. Both these stories got a "very good" rating from me.

But my favorite story of the group and one that I will consider for a Hugo nomination is by that master of short fiction, Howard Waldrop. "The King of Where I Go" is a wonderful little novelette that starts in 1954, when a young boy named Franklin's sister is stricken with polio. She survives and winds up doing paranormal experiments at Duke University. Waldrop gives us his usual clever ending in this wonderful story.

So we bid goodbye to SCIFICTION. The stories will still be posted there for a while. Read them while you still have a chance.

(Source: SciFi Channel)

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