Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Ideomancer, Vol. 9, Issue 4

Per publisher Leah Bobet’s editorial note, the December 2010 issue of Ideomancer is a celebration of the solstice. As she explains, this issue contains “stories about, and for, the end of the year, and the end – and beginning – of the world.” Good stuff.


“When the Light Left” by Becca de la Rosa – At one point the narration states: “All this dark would confuse anyone.” And this is truth. Very little light is shed onto the reality of this story. It is a jumble of well-written images and scenes hinting at a larger story. Mythic references add universal themes and work as understated signposts to point the way towards meaning. And there is a story here – I read it as a sad and universal story – but it is almost too obscure to feel.

“Lucky You” by Nadia Bulkin – An imaginative and poetic vision of a slow apocalypse. Or maybe it’s just a gradual evolution? Immortality becomes a curse once your world and your time no longer exist. My favorite story of this issue.

“What I Wrote for Andronicus” by Stephen Case – A nice story concerning death and rebirth in the afterlife. A significant tree ((Yggdrasil?) dies in a world populated by the gods and the dead. A scientific mind writes out the story of the tree as he knew it, relates the extinction of this tree to the extinction of various cottonwood species in the world of the living, and expresses how little he understands about this strange afterlife. The narrator – whose job it is to write out the story of the tree and serves as an unreliable narrator in that he only writes what he understands which leaves lots of room open for interpretation – explains how the tree died, but does he fully understand why? Author Stephen Case has this to say about his story: “Trees have for me a significance I’ve never quite been able to put my finger on. They know something we don’t.” I wonder how a tree might interpret this story? There’s a nice subtle revelation at the end that ties all the threads together and hammers home the meaning.

Poetry – The poetry selection this month is absolutely amazing. Poetry editor Jaime Lee Moyer deserves recognition for having a great eye and a great ear.

“My Bones’ Cracked Abacus” by Kelly Rose Pflug-Back – I really enjoy the format and language of this mysterious piece. An absolutely beautiful representation of how powerful speculative poetry can be when done right. My favorite poem of this issue, but only by a hair. An excerpt: "this is where they cut me, i told you./ this is where the flesh-tone doll’s parts were grafted;/ blank ugly sutures, a torturer’s braille./ this is the cartography of the blind."

“No Child of Daedalus” by W.C. Roberts – Contrasts the myths surrounding the ancient Greek artisan of the title and his son Icarus with the reality of Leonardo Da Vinci. A celebration of inspiration and engineering.

“Pinion” by Liz Bourke – In keeping with the theme of this issue, this is a poem about the end of the world. At least, it is a reflection on how the world ends for all of us. A poetic examination of the endless “dust to dust” cycle we all must endure.

No comments:

Post a Comment