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Summary: Not One Of Us, 2009 - The Elephant Forgets
ecbatan
Summary: Not One Of Us, 2009
Summary: Not One Of Us, 2009

Not One of Us is a small 'zine in traditional 'zine form -- 8.5 by 11 inch paper folded in half and saddle-stitched. It is a consistently nicely-written publication, with a mix of stories (with a bias towards darkish fantasy, but not an insistence on it), artwork (black and white), and poetry (some of the latter quite a bit to my taste). It has been around a long while -- 42 issues to date. Of late there have been two issues per year. The editor is John Benson.

This year they published ten stories, one of them a very short novelette, the others shorts, with one short-short, about 43,000 words total, very consistent with the magazine's history. There was also a chapbook called (Going, Going) GONE, which read a lot like another (if shorter) issue of the magazine, with a similar mix of fiction, art, and poetry. (Benson has been putting out these special publications for a few years now.) This featured 4 stories, totalling about 15,000 words, one a short-short. There was an additional chapbook this year, a long novella (about 32000 words) from Not One of Us regular Patricia Russo, "Hearts Starve".

My favorite story this year was from #42, Eugene Mirabelli's "Love in Another Language", a sweet story about Shozo Sakurado, a Pacific islander trying to teach his almost vanished language to people in the US, eventually including Sally Raven, a Native American social worker (and Tlingit speaker) ... the story turns on Sakurado's real story, and Sally's reaction. #42 in general was a good issue -- I also liked Marissa K. Lingen's "Five Ways to Ruin a First Date", in which a radio astronomer has her promising first date interrupted by news of a potential "interesting" radio signal. And the first SF story I've seen from RJ Astruc, "Faceless in Halukan", in which people wear "holos" in what seem to be virtual cities ... obviously this story turns on the nature of identity, pretty effectively. Patricia Russo shows well also, with an exotic dark fantasy, "Palava". On the whole I was less impressed with #41, liking Erik Amundsen's "Just One Hand, Held Up High", a rather desperately offhand half-funny half-tragic story of a father and his young son and --, ah, read it. (Going, Going) GONE had little that thrilled me, Russo's "Claude's Ghost Story" probably the best piece. Patricia Russo's novella chapbook, "Hearts Starve" is strongly characterized, perhaps a bit weaker as to plot, about a woman coping with her partner's distance as her partner's father dies, and about another woman, newly jobless, dealing with that difficult situation, and some strange lost street people ... including an angel or demon or two (or some sort of creatures, not really angels or demons perhaps).

Statistics: To the best of my ability to determine, 8 of 10 stories in Not One of Us this year were by women, 80% -- in past years, the average has ranged from about half to 2/3 stories by women. As for (Going, Going) GONE, 1 of the 4 stories are by women. 4 of 10 stories in Not One of Us are SF (more or less), and I don't think any of the chapbook stories are SF.

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asakiyume From: asakiyume Date: November 17th, 2009 12:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
amysisson pointed me toward your entry here, and I couldn't agree with you more! I think "Love in Another Language" is a wonderful story, but as the author's daughter I'm biased--so I'm pleased to see my opinion backed up by others.

I was especially pleased that you liked Erik Amundsen's "Just One Hand, Held Up High"--I thought the *way* that story was told was very effective--humorous and desperate in equal parts, as you noted.

What would you consider SF? I'd call "Five Ways to Ruin A First Date," "Faceless in Halukan," and "Just One Hand, Held Up High" all SF, but can that mean I read all three science fiction stories in Not One of Us this year?
From: ecbatan Date: November 18th, 2009 04:50 am (UTC) (Link)
Bad counting by me ... probably, now I check, 4 of 10 stories were SF -- the three you mention, plus "Infectious" by Lilah Wild (from #41). I'll edit the original post! (I should note that the sort of SF Not One of Us usually publishes is often somewhat ambiguously SFnal.)

I'm delighted to hear from Gene Mirabelli's daughter! He's just a wonderful writer -- I've loved almost every story from him I've seen over the past several years (including another story this year, "Catalog", in F&SF), and I also read his novel THE LANGUAGE NOBODY SPEAKS with considerable enjoyment.
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