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Summary: On Spec, 2007 - The Elephant Forgets
ecbatan
Summary: On Spec, 2007

 Summary: On Spec, 2007

On Spec put out four issues this year, starting with Winter 2006. (They date the Winter issues the year Winter started, but they don't appear until well into the next year, close to the end of winter.) These issues included 30 stories, 2 novelettes and 28 shorts (two short-shorts). The total word count was just over 140000.

I think 2007 was a pretty strong year for the magazine. I particularly like Will McIntosh's "Perfect Violet" (Summer), one of a few recent stories dealing with the idea of selling and buying memories, in this case telling of an impoverished woman who has had to sell some of her best memories, including ones concerning a lover her father had forbidden her to see. From Winter I thought Matthew Johnson's "Lifebuoy" quite intriguing, with a really nice basic idea: cops get a "lifebuoy" which allows them to back time up a few minutes when a raid or something starts to go bad. But the heroine wonders why the time limit when her partner dies after a lifebuoy expires ... and that questions leads to some queasy realizations. Both those stories are SF -- from Fall I liked three fairly traditional fantasy stories (traditional but in each case original too). Leah Bobet’s "The Sorceress’Assistant" is about a man who comes to work for a hermitlike sorceress, yet who realizes he can do some magic himself -- why? and how?. Marie Brennan's "Nine Sketches in Charcoal and Blood" is the story of the auction of a dead man's effects, and the curious group of people who gather to bid on them -- they know each other, they knew the dead man: what was the connection? Wesley Herbert "The Blood of a Virgin is Hard to Come By Legitimately" is a bit of a romp, and not wholly successful, but fun: a witch has cursed the heroine's father, and she must gather the ingredients for a counterspell.

Other nice stories this year came from Robert Weston, Kay Weathersby Garrett, Kevin Cockle, Jerome Stueart, Catherine MacLeod, James Moran, and Trevor Morrison.

I counted 10 SF stories out of 30. Also, 12 of 30 stories were by women: 40%. In 2006, ratio was very similar: 14 of 37, or about 38%.

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