Tuesday, May 22, 2007

CSFF Blog Tour: Speculative fiction

Given the option, I would have just brought up a list of all the science fiction at The Sword Review, and pointed out a few stories that appealed to me. That way, though, I would have missed the fact that, as well as Fantasy and Science fiction, there is a third sub-genre at TSR: the slightly woolly-sounding 'Speculative' fiction.

Instead, I opted for the 'pick a back issue at random and see what it gives me' approach. Not that it was that random; Issue 14 just seemed to be nicely in the middle of the run. Not much science fiction in that ish, mind; although that should make it a bit easier for even a slacker like me to read it and post a brief comment on the stories. There was, though, that other word: Speculative, attached to a story called The Short Bus. Which I read first, intrigued by the Speculative tag.

And true enough, it's not really fantasy. It's certainly not science fiction. It is... well, it's a slice of life - the life of a schoolboy with Downs Syndrome - straight out of the Twilight Zone.

There are two sci-fi stories in Issue 14: Of Protectors by C Michale, and The Ponce de Leon Project by George Duncan. Judged purely on the opening few paras provided by TSR before opening the whole story, I thought Of Protectors seemed a bit serious for my current mood, and read the George Duncan story, which started off with a car called Agnes kidnapping the protag and taking him to some automatic punching machines. Well, that ticks enough boxes for me.

In The Ponce de Leon Project, Clint Devlin, along with Agnes, is looking for a missing person, and leads us through an action filled tale that ends up finding the latest quest for eternal life, and the quite disturbing experiments that are being carried out to find it. An engaging and thought-provoking story, bundling cloning and genetic engineering with plenty of guns and gadgets. Maybe not the most original combination, but the Christian faith is a thread that runs through the story, adding a refreshing twist to the many Hollywood variations on the theme.

Oh dear, I think I may need to visit TSR regularly to make sure I don't miss anything else like that...

Incidentally, before you all jump in and try to educate me, I have since figured out how to bring up all the science fiction!

Don't forget to visit some of the other blogs on the tour, listed in yesterdays post.

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