Douglas Cohen (douglascohen) wrote,
Douglas Cohen
douglascohen

Realms of Fantasy: December 1994 (Issue 2)

Part four in my ongoing retrospective as I read the fiction to the back issues of Realms of Fantasy and offer my thoughts, right up to the latest issue.  Again, we're going a bit of out of order here, because it took me a little while to track down issue # 2 in my mission to assemble a complete set.  Here we go.

The cover to this issue is by Don Maitz.  It features a warrior in Asian(esque) armor, with electricity running up and down his sword.

A rundown of this issue's nonfiction is as follows:

In adult book reviews, Gahan Wilson covers Curfew by Phil Rickman, The Winter Prince by Elizabeth E. Wein, Black Thorn, White Rose, edited by Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling, and The H.P. Lovecraft Dream Book, edited by S.T. Joshi, Will Murray & David E. Schultz.  Also, newcomer Dan Silver covers The Forest House by Marion Zimmer Bradly.  I must admit, John Palencar's illustration to this book's cover has always freaked me out.  Something about the woman's hands is just plain ...wrong.  In the movie column, newcomer Dan Persons reviews the adaptation to Anne Rice's Interview with a Vampire.  In the Folkroots column, Terri Windling covers the music of Faery, and how fantasy literature and folks music have thier roots in Celtic ballads.  Author Charles de Lint handles the artist gallery this issue, and discusses the DreamWeavers traveling exhibition.  In the games column, M.C. Sumner covers the computer game, Companions of Xanth, which incorporates elements of Piers Anthony's latest Xanth book (at the time), with the latest book, Demons Don't Dream, incorporating elements of the book.  Also covered in this column are a pair of RPGs: White Wolf's Vampire & TSR's Ravenloft.

On to the fiction ...

This issue's fiction had a distinctly different feel from issue # 1, which probably did a lot to establish Realms as a market for all fantasy stories back in these early phases.  The lead story in this issue is "The Rusty Smith and Faer Linden" by Nancy Varian Berberick.  Art is by Mary O'Keefe Young, which marks her second illustration in the magazine.  While the fey made an appearance for the second issue in a row, this time they did so in a more traditional role, as this story seems to draw heavily on Celtic mythology as a less-than-stunning blacksmith pursues a beautiful fey who cannot escape the call of fate.

Next up is "A Rush of Wings" by Richard Rowand.  Art is by Laurie Harden.  This one featured our first piece of magic realism, and also the first appearance of an angel (at least that's what I assumed the creature to be).  In this one, a man recounts stumbling upon a dead creature washed up on the beach, and buries the creature, much the way his father wished him to bury his dreams.

Following this we have "The Lazarus Chronicle" by Amy Wolf, with art by Tom Simonton.  There also a small note beside the illustration stating the following: "Translated from the Arabic by Phillip D. Monroe, Cambridge, 1977."  This was our first piece of historical fantasy as it's set in the Crusades, and it's also our first story featuring an anti-hero as the protagonist.  In this one, an unrepentent nobleman by the name of Roger of York is shipped off to Palenstine, where he is afflicted with leprosy and proceeds to recount the deeds of his wicked life.

Then we have "Beyond Munchen Town" by Paula May, with art by David Beck, which marks his second illustration in the magazine.  This tale is our first dark fantasy.  It is a literary stew, as band of gypies clash with some German soldiers, all in the framework of a fairy tale twisted inside out as they unleash an ancient curse and cause all hell to break loose.

After this we have "The Other Land" by Andrea Schlect, with art by Ken Graning.  This story felt very much like high fantasy, but it was set in this world, with references to countries we've all heard of.  But there was also a certain fairy tale quality to this, especially the way a dark and secret land seems to beckon with all the charms of a Pied Piper.  Of course, it beckons to an old man instead of a child, but still.

Finally we have "A Little Moonshine" by Connie Willis, with art by Charles Demorat.  This one is a reprint, the second to appear in the magazine.  This one is a quirky blend of fairy tale, mythology, astrology, and astronomy.

So that wraps up this issue.  And my favorite story?  "Beyond Munchen Town" by Paula May.  And my favorite artwork?  I'll go with Don Maitz's cover artwork, featuring his badass warrior.  I've already offered my thoughts on issues 3 & 5, so next time I'll be doing issue 4, and after that issue 6, which will hopefully lead to a semblance of chronological going forward.

Until then ...
Tags: rof retrospectives
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