Every Monday, I'll be doing spoiler-free, bite-sized book/magazine reviews.
When I first heard about Postscripts #18, which is the new writers special issue, I couldn't help but approve of PS Publishing's audaciousness. Sure, devoting an entire issue to not-so-high-profile writers is certainly a risk, but readers are treated to a publication's that's possibly memorable and refreshing. And given PS Publishing's track record, there's a good chance of that. Not surprisingly, they deliver the goods.
There are ten stories here, each one featuring a unique style from an author you probably haven't heard of (the only one I initially recognized was Livia Llewellyn). As expected from PS Publishing, there's more than a touch of horror in these stories which fit just right with the other issues of Postscripts. My honest reaction to the included stories is that they're entertaining and different, perhaps not outstanding home-runs but definitely of a quality that's good enough to catch my attention.
For example, the first story, "In the Porches of My Ears" by Norman Prentiss, is easily the perfect intro to the magazine. It follows a fairly conventional formula, starting out from a personal but mundane experience that slowly mutates into something larger. It's all there: the foreshadowing, the build-up, and the revelation at the end. Yet even in this predictable structure, the author's skill is that he convinces us: the rhythm is perfect and the tone immediately hooks you. I wouldn't call the plot or the premise too fantastical or eye-opening, but it works in the story's context and provides a delightful read.
The other highlight for me is the titular story, "This is the Summer of Love" by Rio Youers. The author successfully conjures this cinema atmosphere that's apropos, one part fairy tale and one part tragic modern story. Youer's handle on the protagonist is great, enough for readers to make us root for her at the same time making us believe that she won't necessarily make the right decision. The escalation for me is handled competently, as is the inclusion of the speculative fiction element. This is the type of story that appeals to the romantic in me but it wouldn't have worked if it lacked that emotional resonance which readers will cling to.
Postscripts #18 is worth a look, either it's because you want a publication that's either uniquely different or to catch a glimpse of what could be tomorrow's talented writers.