ecbatan (ecbatan) wrote,

Summary: Shimmer, 2009

Summary: Shimmer, 2009

Shimmer is a very nicely presented magazine, generally fantasy-oriented, though this year I saw a number of stories I called SF (some of them a bit ambiguously so, as part of a special issue subtitled "The Clockwork Jungle Book" and consisting of fable-like stories about clockwork animals). For the past three years there have been two issues each. Thus, in 2009, a total of 32 stories (all short, eleven short-shorts), for some 75,000 words of fiction. The word count was higher than in the past couple of years because the special issue was about twice as long as usual. The magazine also features lots of quite nice artwork, and occasional interviews.. The Editor-in-Chief is Beth Wodzinski, and E. Catherine Tobler is the Editor. George Mann served a guest editor for at least part of the special "clockwork jungle book" issue.

If I had a complaint about the magazine it would be the excessive tropism towards quite short stories -- the longest this year was just over 4000 words, and eleven short-shorts is quite a lot, though some were very good, and the "fable" form called for by the special issue's theme will tend to lead to short-shorts. Still, I'd like to see some longer work.

My favorite story in 2009 was a short-short by Nir Yaniv, "A Painter, a Sheep, and a Boa Constrictor" (#10), one of those stories that seems simple then opens up surprisingly, as a six-year-old boy in a space port asks an older man for a sheep. Other strong stories included "The Mechanical Aviary of Emperor Jalal-Ud-Din Muhammad Akbar" by Shweta Narayan (#11), which tells the story behind the building of a spectacular collection of mechanical birds for a great Shah. Also, Susannah Mandel's "The Monkey and the Butterfly" (#11), about a monkey that falls in love with a cat -- ah, but cats are fickle creatures. Other good work came from Narayan again (in #10),  and from Jessica Paige Wick, Richard S. Crawford, Vincent Pendergast, Lou Anders, and Rajan Khanna.

Statistics: 18 of 32 stories were by women, I think (56%), same proportion as last year, and as I mentioned, perhaps 11 SF stories, 34%, rather higher than usual, though as mentioned that's driven in part by the "clockwork" special issue.
Tags: 2009, magazines, yearly summaries

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