Frostfire Worlds edited by Tyree Campbell (book review)

July 19, 2017 | By | Reply More

I’m late with this review of ‘Frostfire World’s as the May 2017 issue is already out but never mind. The magazine is aimed at readers aged 8-17 which is quite a variation. Some of the stories are fairly adult and some are obviously for younger kids. There’s poetry, too, but I’ll focus on the fiction.

First up is ‘Mighty Pirra’ by Anne E. Johnson. Fed up because her mother doesn’t understand her Pirra, an ogre, leaves the home cave and ventures into the green forest. She quickly decides she doesn’t like the forest and asks a terrified raccoon the way to the sea, which he is no doubt glad to point out. Perhaps Pirra belongs there. Nicely told in classic fairy tale style, with some ruffles and flourishes of alliteration, this will entertain the young.

Set in the near future, ‘Printing For Presley’ by K.A. Rochnik is narrated alternatively by Gabi and Presley, two young ladies on the verge of growing up. Gabi is a highly intelligent geek who doesn’t fit in with the in crowd and Presley is her best friend, who does. She’s also heavily into an Internet marketing pyramid scheme. Gabi introduces everyone to her friend, Chip, a foreign exchange student from Greece, she says and then things get complicated. Definitely Science Fiction but also a realistic look at group dynamics among teen-agers which, whatever the technological frills, probably haven’t changed much over the decades.

‘Moth Girl’ by Abigail Putnam is a very odd fantasy about a school child, who is some sort of moth and has ten days to live. She hides out in the library. I’ve been reading a couple of anthologies of adult weird tales lately and this would fit into them. I’ve no idea what the children will make of it.

‘She Fights’ by Jason Lairamore has a first contact with aliens. The Aubade are taller than men, paper white with goggles over their eyes ‘brighter than car headlights on high beam’. They have been on Earth for a month and Suzie Walters attacks one when they visit her school. Her father is a Federal agent and he taught her to fight. A very American piece of Science Fiction.

Next up is ‘Psyche And The Cupid’ by Terrie Leigh Relf, who is editor of Alban Lake’s ‘Trysts Of Fate’ magazine and writes, too. Sander and Amelia were dedicated scientists who didn’t want children but it was part of their contract on Mars colony which is run by a stern Committee. Fertility treatments are given and non-identical triplets Phoebe, Penelope and Psyche are the result with Psyche being the youngest girl. Over the years, it turns out that all the babies born on Mars are girls and triplets are common. At age sixteen, her two elder sisters are put in arranged marriages by the Committee but no match is made for Psyche, which is odd. This goes on. She’s very happy with the situation but her parents find it disturbing. The story changes abruptly when Psyche discovers her true destiny. Too abruptly, perhaps, as there was nothing in the first part to make you expect the second. Even so, it was an original concept of a future Mars colony.

‘I Love You ‘by Ruoqing Liu is one for the younger children. Katie gets a doll and names it Rosie. A few days before Christmas, Katie gets very sick and Rosie goes on a quest to get the ingredients for a magic potion that will make her well. Gnomes, fairies and a Unicorn are involved. Very sweet Christmas story.

‘Soulsplit’ by Jim Lee is a long story of oriental wizards and two ladies with one soul between them. It had some wit and plenty of heart. It would be laborious to tell the plot and even more so to type the exotic names but this was good. I don’t know if there are any more tales with the same setting and characters but I can see how it could easily be done.

‘Dropping In’ by Juliet Kemp is a modern take on fairies. Janine’s a Fae who sleeps with Rowan Anderson, confusingly referred to as ‘they’ in the beginning of the story. The first person narration by their daughter, Maisy, who lands on Dad’s doorstep seventeen years later. He didn’t know he had a daughter but Fae are secretive. Maisy has a problem. Quite a gripping story and I learned that Geckos can walk on ceilings thanks to Van Der Waals forces which I had to look up and so will the kids. Good to have intelligent fiction for the young.

Frostfire Worlds’ is surprising for a magazine aimed at young readers. There’s no bad language but some of the themes are quite adult in the proper sense of the term, namely grown-up, not just sex and violence. The target audience may be too broad because half of it won’t interest older children and the other half will be beyond the young. I suppose it’s a good buy for a family with different age offspring. It has the typos and minor editorial glitches I’ve come to expect from small press publications but the overall quality is fairly good.

Eamonn Murphy

July 2017

(pub: Alban Lake Publishing. 114 page book. Ebook: Price: $ 2.99 electronic format. ASIN: B06ZZZNPN1. Paper: $ 7.00 paper format

check out website: http://store.albanlake.com/product/frost-fire-worlds-february-2017/

Category: Books, Fantasy

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About the Author ()

Eamonn Murphy lives in the west country and grew up reading Asimov, Heinlein, lots of other old SF and Marvel Comics. After many years hard labour he has settled down to a quiet life with a nice lady, two rescue dogs and four ducks. He writes reviews for crowsnest and a few short stories, some of which even get published in obscure magazines. His self-published (Beware!) horror novel 'Arnos Hell' set in a Bristol graveyard is available on Amazon as a kindle book. His YA novelette 'The Brigstowe Dragons' will be published shortly by Alban Lake. He seldom blogs at https://eamonnmurphyblog.wordpress.com/

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