NEMONYMOUS #5

Reviewed by Chris Teague

When you pick up this, the latest issue of Nemonymous, the word 'red' grabs you by the eyeballs and yanks so hard your optical nerve becomes detached from the brain. This normally causes blindness (not too mention pain) but the blindness is gradual, so you are still able to enjoy a veritable feast of short literary fiction. With no names.

Once you turn the page, you see the legend, "a megazanthus for parthenogenetic fiction and late-labelling". No, I don't understand it either but it sounds good and puts you in the right frame of mind: this is special, enjoy it...

Within eighty minimalist pages, you'll find twelve stories - I don't know about you, but I would expect to find at least one dud. Not here. Nemo #5 is, I would say, almost virtually unique in that there is not a single bad story: you may not understand, nor like a particular tale, but to call that piece of fiction 'bad' would be an injustice: each and every one is superbly written.

But, I have a limited amount of time, so I'll only review those that really got me.

Strangely enough, the first one is the first story: The Robot & The Octopus, a very short and quite surreal SF tale of nanotechnology and sentience that, despite its length, is an exercise in how to cram a complex idea into such a small space.

My next favourite is Driving in Circles that features a quarrelsome couple and their car, where the journey seems to go on, and on, and on... reading this, I immediately got the sense of the old Twilight Zone TV show, with the tension and atmosphere gradually building to a subtle and excellent end: one of the best "horror" stories I've read.

George the Baker, the next tale I've singled out, is quite possibly the closest to Eraserhead you could get in the short form, a tale of how - as you'd expect - a man called George, who's the local baker, discovers a strange creature at the back of his kitchen.

Huntin' Season is, without doubt, one of the sickest tales I have read (rivals Graham

Masterton's Eric the Pie for depravity). This wouldn't have looked out of place within the pages of Nasty Piece of Work, and even though you will need a very strong constitution, it was a very good story.

Correcting a misbehaving child is a very emotive subject, which the next story, Well Tempered, handles superbly well - the subtlety in the tale hides a quite disturbing end.

The Scariest Story I Know rivals the above tale for subtlety, but also adds ambiguity to the mix; a story of three members of the same family, though neither the reader - nor the protagonists themselves - know who has died, and who is living. Or maybe they've all died? This is wonderful piece of fiction, but it is annoying since I want to congratulate the author by name...

So, there you have it: my favourite six stories - but Nemo #5 is still uniformly superb: like I stated earlier, every one of the twelve tales is excellent, but the above six are the ones that stood out in my mind - and quite possibly, when (yes, when - not if!) you receive this issue yourself, no doubt your favourites will differ from my own.

So, without further ado, just pop along to www.nemonymous.com and order it - you will, and I guarantee this, not regret it.

I'm just looking forward to Nemo #6 to find out who wrote The Scariest Story and Driving in Circles.

For purchasing details, visit the Nemonymous website at www.nemonymous.com


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