Eugie Foster’s ‘Trixie and the Pandas of Dread’ is a highly comedic tale of gods and, as the title suggests, pandas. Trixie is a god whose job it is to smite the sinners – no matter how trite their crime. Regretfully, when the Dogma Depot asked her what creatures she desired to carry her around, she opted for pandas. Battling various existential quandaries, Trixie meets with Bo-Bae, a colleague, who offers some advice to get her friend back in the game. Beautifully written, and laugh-out-loud funny, this is a great way to start the issue.
By contrast, Lettie Prell’s ‘The Performance Artist’ is a much more serious tale. Anna Pashkin Bearfoot is the titular performance artist. Her newest installation at MoMA is somewhat controversial as she is about to download her conscience into a computer, something unheard of among the healthy. Ignoring the protests taking place beyond the walls of the installation, Anna goes ahead with the project, but it is only the beginning of the spectacle. This is a very thoughtful and provocative piece that asks a lot of questions. Prell’s prose is delightful, and the concept is wholly original and intelligent enough to warrant tracking down further work by its author.
‘The Patrician’ by Tansy Rayner Roberts tells the story of Clea Majora and her decades-spanning relationship with the mysterious monster-hunter known as Julius. Encountering the stranger for the first time as a young girl, she discovers he is more than just a tourist. Lamia, werewolves, gargoyles, they’re all real and at large in Nova Ostia, Australia. It’s Julius’ job to do battle with the creatures until none remain. Part creature-feature, part love-story, Roberts does a terrific job of shifting seamlessly through the years. This is a fun, and at times poignant fantasy that proves that there’s life in the old fairy-tale yet.
The non-fiction piece, ‘All the (Real) Geek Girls’ by Sarah Kuhn is an entertaining look into geek culture from a female perspective. From queuing to watch movies to hiding her Return of the Jedi novelisation in middle-school, Kuhn investigates the mythological “fake geek girls” and disproves the notion that they’re a threat to geekdom and fanboys everywhere. This is essential reading for anyone into the convention and cosplay scene.
The issue finishes, rather aptly, with an in-depth interview with Eugie Foster, whose ‘Trixie and the Pandas of the Dread’ kicked off proceedings. This issue is a very nice way to spend a few hours of your time, with solid fiction and much fun to be had throughout.
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