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TaleBones, Fall 2000
TaleBones, Fall 2000
Talebones is the quarterly in-house magazine of Fairwood Press, featuring dark science fiction and dark fantasy from established and up-and-coming writers. It is fiction with a dark slant, stories and poems with punch -- sometimes experimental or psychological, sometimes laced with black humour.

TaleBones Website

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Rich Horton

With the Fall 2000 issue Talebones reaches a milestone: 20 issues, well worth celebrating for a small press publication. This is an attractive, digest-sized, perfect bound, publication, with pretty nice artwork, both on the cover and in the interior. They publish a good range of stories: perhaps there is a slight bias towards "dark fantasy," but they do straight SF as well. They also publish poetry and quite a number of book reviews by various writers, as well as a music review column, interviews, cartoons, and more.

There are seven stories included herein, but they are all fairly short. One could wish for the occasional novelette. I thought the best piece here was "Blood Culture", by Eric Del Carlo, about a future in which the US, at least, has been conquered, with the remaining residents sequestered in "American Reservations." A member of the dominant culture has been called to the Rez to help solve a murder mystery. It's no surprise that the mystery (not that there is much of one) turns on the nature of the dominant culture -- that nature isn't really a surprise either, though I won't reveal it here. But the story nicely avoids taking sides or coming to easy answers.

Also interesting were Carrie Vaughan's "A Riddle in Nine Syllables," an interplanetary adventure about a xeno-ecologist who encounters an alien lifeform a bit too closely, and M. Christian's quiet "Some Assembly Required," about the odd legacy left to a woman by an old boyfriend after his death. The other stories are fairly minor, suffering in some cases from too much implausibility, and in most cases from a sense of being unfinished: I felt that with many of the stories the author had a nice starting idea, but didn't really come up with enough of a plot or sufficiently involving characters to really develop the idea into a story.

The poetry is mostly decent stuff, but not terribly memorable. By and large, the non-fiction features are solid. The book reviews certainly offer a wide variety of viewpoints and formats. And as I have said, the artwork is pretty nice.

All in all this is a fine small press magazine. It's not as interesting as the last small press zine I reviewed in these phosphors (Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet), but it's very nicely presented, and if the stories in this issue aren't knockouts they are competent and worth trying.

Copyright © 2001 Rich Horton

Rich Horton is an eclectic reader in and out of the SF and fantasy genres. He's been reading SF since before the Golden Age (that is, since before he was 13). Born in Naperville, IL, he lives and works (as a Software Engineer for the proverbial Major Aerospace Company) in St. Louis area and is a regular contributor to Tangent. Stop by his website at

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