Summary: Greatest Uncommon Denominator, 2008
Greatest Uncommon Denominator (also called GUD) is in its second year, and again published two issues this year. It has the look of a "little" magazine. It features quite a generous amount of stuff each issue -- poems, artwork, nonfiction, and lots of stories. The stories are a mix of just about everything -- mainstream, slipstream, experimental fantasy and SF, and even some fairly (if not terribly) traditional fantasy and SF. I'd say the ratio improved this year, perhaps in part because I became more in tune with what they are trying to do. The editors are Kaolin Fire, Sue Miller, Sal Coraccio, Julia Bernd and Debbie Moorhouse, with Corraccio the "instigator" of the Spring issue, and Moorhouse of the Fall issue.
The two issues featured 6 novelettes and 28 short stories (8 of the latter short-shorts). A total of some 140,000 words of fiction.
Three of the novelettes impressed me particularly. From Spring, Neal Blaikie's "Offworld Friends are Best" tells of a girl and her very strange family as they move to a depressing new planet -- with eventually some shocking revelations about the girl's family resulting. Also, Kirstyn McDermott's "Painlessness", in which a woman intervenes after realizing her neighbor is a prostitute being abused by her clients -- only to learn some heartbreaking about her neighbor's true nature. And from Fall, I liked T. L. Morganfield's "Night Bird Soaring", about an alternate history in which the Aztecs are a leading civilization, and a young man who is chosen to be a sacrifice at an early age, and his life, especially with one of his appointed wives, with whom he falls in love.
Of the short stories, "The Disappearance of Juliana" by John Walker (Spring) is a moving story of a girl escaping her abusive father, eventually into a curious sort of cult. Nick Antosca's "Soon You Will Be Gone and Possibly Eaten" (Fall) is a fine piece about aliens invading and taking (apparently somewhat voluntarily) the most beautiful (by some measure) people, and the agonized response of a man who loses his lover to them.
Other fine work came from Darja Malcolm-Clarke, Idun Cohen, Tina Connolly, and Jason D. Wittman. I am finding this a very interesting and ambitious salad of a magazine.
I count 11 stories by women (32%), and about 11 SF stories (loosely defined), or also 32% of course. These numbers are more or less in line with last year's.