Kassa's Reviews > Icarus volume 6: The Magazine of Gay Speculative Fiction

Icarus volume 6 by Steve Berman
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really liked it

This gem got lost in my email and to my delight I discovered it while cleaning out my inbox. I immediately stopped what I was doing to peruse the issue thoroughly. I reviewed the inaugural issue and seeing the changes and growth the magazine has made is very nice. Especially nice to see the ads include books from other publishers such as Bold Strokes Books and not just Lethe Press, which broadens the range of readers. Many of the same themes persist producing an enjoyable and consistent product. Once again I reviewed the electronic copy so the colors and placements didn’t always translate well but the well crafted ads and eye catching colors are likely to be gorgeous in the physical magazine.

This fall 2010 issue is appropriately dedicated to Halloween. From the funny welcome complete with the requisite stiff jokes to the final display for ghost themed stories, this creepy issue really delivers. Fans of speculative fiction, especially Halloween orientated stories will not want to miss this offering. The beginning even offers some great suggestions for not to be missed vampire stories. Who doesn’t love a great vampire story and this ad is one of the better ones in reminding readers of those beloved classics – Anne Rice, Poppy Z Brite. I’m definitely curious which ones readers would suggest in such company.

Included are six fiction pieces as well as an interview and a guide. The first fiction offering is a literary look at a set of five pictures and how the subjects evolve in the order of the paintings. This clever bite is a quick glimpse into Fuchs’ writing and intrigues as much as it speculates. Once your mind is warmed up Jeff Mann takes you on a sensual, sexual thrill with his ode to bears in his included poem. The fetish and eroticism is on display but perhaps the most powerful theme is that of the defamation of two men together somehow necessitating one be a woman. The thrill of two men together is what excites the author and the poem leaves no doubt that both men are strong, virile, powerful, exciting men. This whets the appetite and makes me want to read more of Mann’s work.

In the middle of the magazine are the three longer novella offerings, the first from Viet Dinh. This delightful look at horror movies, especially the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise, shows how these movies shape and effect two brothers and their relationship. This is an amusing, but partly sad tale which ends on a hopeful laugh. The writing is very engaging and Dinh pulls readers in with his analysis of horror movies while at the same time acknowledging “the films are crap.” Yet the reasons this particular group of films meant something to these brothers is the most interesting part of the novella. This is followed by Troy Carlyle’s story “Stranger in Panama.” The longest story I found this novella to be interesting but not quite my taste. The first person narrator describes his decent into drugs in a philosophical treatise with death, lust, glamour, and horrific actions.

The interview with Robert Dunbar is intriguing and definitely will have me searching for his books while the short story by Kelly McQuain is compelling. One of my favorite aspects of the magazine is the Network’d column and it doesn’t disappoint with some information about keeping a group exciting and interesting. Overall the entire magazine is colorful, eye catching and filled with content that is sure to please fans. Yet another successful volume and easily recommended.

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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
February 10, 2011 – Shelved

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