August 16th, 2009

Realms of Fantasy: December 2005 (Issue 68)

Part sixty-eight in my ongoing retrospective as I read the fiction in the back issues of Realms of Fantasy and offer my thoughts, right up to the present.  This time I around I'll be dissecting the December 2005 issue.

The cover to this one is an illustration by Joel Spector.  It features a Harry Potter potter illustration, along with other characters from the books.  Having only read the first book, I'm afraid I can't tell which other characters are depicted, sorry.

A rundown of this issues nonfiction is as follows:

For the Movie/TV column, Resa Nelson covers the movie version of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire; in Folkroots, Ari Berk writes about milk, honey, and bread in myth and legend; in Adult Books, Gahan Wilson reviews Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling, Looking for Jake, a short story collection by China Mieville, and The Year's Best Fantasy & Horror, 18th Annual Collection, edited by Ellen Datlow, Kelly Link, and Gavin Grant, while Paul Witcover reviews Od Magic by Patricia McKillip, Dreadmaster, Book One of the Storm of Wings Trilogy by Chris Bunch, and The Hidden Family, Book Two of the Merchant Princes, by Charles Stross; in the Artist Gallery, Ari Berk covers Brom and the art of the Plucker; and in the Gaming Column, Eric T. Baker covers Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire for the PC, Xbox, PS2, and Gamecube, the RPG Serenity, based on the movie, which was spawned from the TV show, Firefly, and also D.I.C.E: DNA Integrated Cybernetic Enterprises, a science fiction game for the PS2, Shadow of the Colossus for the PS2, Sega's Spartan: Total Warrior, Painkiller: Hell Wars for the Xbox, and Rachet: Deadlocked for the PS2.

On to the fiction ...

The lead story is "En Forest Noire" by Tanith Lee, which marks her thirteenth appearance in the magazine.  It also the 400th work of fiction to be published in the magazine.  In this story dark fantasy story, we are plunged into medieval France, where a rich tradesman's son is engaged to the daughter of an aristocratic family that has fallen on hard times.  It seems like a good match, except the the bride-to-be's brother has taken a distinct disliking toward this commoner that would marry his sister.  Things progress to the point where he and his henchman drag off the groom-to-be in a haunted forest to leave him to die, but the ultimate results are somewhat unexpected ...for everyone.  Art to this one was provided by Thomas Kidd.

Next up we have "Empty Places" by Richard Parks, which marks his 18th appearance in the magazine.  In this high fantasy tale, a skilled thief is coerced into taking a job by an even more skilled and dangerous magician named Tymon the Black, who has a rather dark reputation that precedes him.  Our good thief finds himself forced to break into a royal castle to carry out the magician's will, and he mistrusts the magician each and every step of the way.  But as you might expect, all is not quite as it seems with this mission.  This story was reprinted in Fantasy: Best of the Year 2006, edited by Rich Horton.  It's also worth noting that Richard went on to publish a novel with Five Star Press called The Long Look, which featured the character of Tymon the Black.  Art to this one was provided by MIchael Komarck, which marks his second illustration  in the magazine.

Then we have "Mortegarde" by Liz Williams, which marks her ninth appearance in the magazine.  Art to this one is provided by Dave Leri.  In this story of Norse mythology,  a physician's quest to find Mortegarde in the World Tree leads to a confrontation with religious fantatics of another race as science, medicine, religion, and faith collide.  Yet despite their many differences, the good doctor learns to his horror that his people and theirs are not so different as he first believed.  I should add that this story ended up being reprinted in Year's Best Fantasy 6, edited by David Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer.  Art to this one was provided by Dave Leri, which marks his fifth illustration in the magazine.

Following this we have "A Knot of Toads" by Jane Yolen, which marks her sixth appearance in the magazine.  In this tale of dark fantasy, a learned woman comes back to her small island home after her father's passing and must confront the dark truth of his arcane dabblings with witchery that led to his death.  Art to this one is provided by Eric Dinyer, which marks his seventh illustration in the magazine. 

And finally we have "Lavender's Blue, Lavender's Green" by Patrick Samphire, which marks his fourth appearance in the magazine.  In this YA fantasy, a man and his daugther go searching for his missing wife, someone he has believed all these years is the Queen of the Fairies.  Only his daughter believes otherwise, thinking Dad is gullible.  Ultimately, poor old Dad is forced to confront a rather bitter truth, and almost as soon as he does, that bitterness turns into a surprise that turns his entire world inside out.  It's also worth noting that this is the first story to be published in Realms that was submitted to the magazine while I was Assistant Editor.  Art to this one was provided by Melissa Ferreira, which marks her fifth illustration in the magazine.

So that wraps up this issue, as well as 2005.  And my favorite story?  "Lavender's Blue, Lavender's Green" by Patrick Samphire.  And my favorite artwork?  Thomas Kidd's illustration to "En Foret Noire" by Tanith Lee.  Next time around I'll kick off the 2006 publishing year when I discuss the February 2006 issue.  Until then ...