What exactly is “spiritually infused speculative fiction”? For one thing, it’s the specialty of ResAliens Press, which publishes a quarterly magazine available in print or PDF format.
I suppose I’m old school, but I definitely prefer to read paper copies of books or magazines, but I won’t deny the benefits of convenience and lower price with electronic copies. (That’s why I read e-books as well as paper.) I worked with print publications for many years and I know how expensive printing costs can be for magazines. It’s inevitable that cost be passed on to consumers (although I didn’t think the print copy of ResAliens to be excessive at $8 per copy). I think it’s pretty cool that now one can order an e-copy of a serial publication online. ResAliens’ e-copy is only $2.
Moving on. I was given the chance to review the latest copy of ResAliens (Issue 5) in PDF. Regarding its claim to print “spiritually infused” stories, editor and publisher Lyn Perry writes:
What does “spiritually infused” mean exactly? Well, it doesn’t necessarily mean that each story is “spiritual” (what some might call, “religious”) or has a certain moral to it. Not that there isn’t a place for specifically religious material. You’ll read what some would term “Christian” fiction within the pages and web pages of ResAliens. But for me, it is a mindset with which I approach almost every song, film, or book. I embrace the arts — and literature in particular — from a spiritual perspective. That is, I come to the story ready to engage the transcendent or eternal message or theme within that work of art.
The ResAliens issue I reviewed (Issue 5) contains seven stories. Here’s a brief run-down and my take on them:
- Where the Sun Don’t Shine by Jeff Parish
I never would’ve thought that a story about “butt pirates” could make me laugh. In fact, the story reminded me of Jimmy Newtron humor. It was very unique, imaginative, and funny, but gross all the same. In terms of craft, it was very well written.
- Not Your Kind of Heathen by Erin M. Kinch
I’m not a huge fan of the whole vampire craze. I admit I haven’t even read an entire vampire novel so I feel less than qualified to compare one vampire story to another. That said, I can appreciate action and emotional conflict — both of which are present in this story. In addition, I found the spiritual takeaway thought-provoking.
- The Noble Experiment by Pat. R. Steiner
This story has a very poetic style of writing with beautiful descriptions. It does a good job of keeping the reader guessing, clear up to the end. It uses an interesting technique of alternating past and present, but it works, nonetheless.
- Rockets Over Éireann by Kristen Lee Knapp
I’m not a huge fan of this story but I will say that the author has a creative imagination. Most importantly, the moral takeaway shows me how much we as a people need God.
- A Heroine’s Death by Billy Wong
A unique blend of heroic fantasy and the undead, I found this story to be an interesting commentary regarding the staying power of the human spirit. In contrast to Rockets Over Éireann (immediately above), A Heroine’s Death provides a reminder that as humans, we can often accomplish more than we think we can.
- Azieran: Lokxenthuul by Christopher Heath
This elves and dwarves story is built on an intriguing concept and contains extremely descriptive prose. This is a dark fairy tale with an ending moral: the soul is strong and the flesh is weak. How true.
- Protein by Gustavo Bondoni
I’m not quite sure what to think about this story. I did a little research to find out more about the main character, named Moccus, a Celtic god equated with Mercury and possibly associated with hunting. “Moccus” is a Gaulish word for “pig” or “boar” and the god may have been seen as the protector of boar hunters. That little bit of trivia helped me understand the story a tiny bit. The story’s summary can be found in this quote: “…pigs will eat anything. They are the true omnivores. Humans are a pale comparison.”
The issue also contained an interesting interview with this issue’s cover artist, Jason Zampol.
For all my readers who write short stories, ResAliens is currently taking unpublished submissions. Each quarterly issue comprises about 100 pages containing ten to twelve original stories. The schedule for 2011 is:
1st Quarter, March 2011: SteamPunk/Alternate History
2nd Quarter, June 2011: Sword and Sorcery/Sword and Planet
3rd Quarter, September 2011: SuperHuman/SuperHero
4th Quarter, December 2011: Cyperpunk/Dystopia
If you’d like to check out the first five issues of ResAliens, you can find them at:
http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/resaliens It’s worth a look.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”