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A Review of Alfa Eridiani  Nº 16

by Raimundo Echegaray

translated by Adriana Alarco

[Editor’s note: the editor of Alfa Eridiani, Sr José Joaquín Ramos, has kindly forwarded us translations of stories we have been happy to include in our pages. As a gesture of collegial esteem, we are pleased to be able to bring you a review of issue 16 of Alfa Eridiani. The translator, Adriana Alarco, is also notable for her story “The Blue Balloons,” which appeared in issue 112.]

The first impression we get when opening Alfa Eridiani is that it is a home-made magazine created with affection by its editors and contributors. And we appreciate this while reading in its contents and observing its excellent editiorial standards.

What can we say about the title pages? They fascinate me, and not only because of their quality but also because they anticipate the contents of the e-zine. In this case, the issue is dedicated to horror stories. It doesn't surprise us to discover that the cover has been taken from a story in another issue with regular narrative contents.

In this issue, the title page pays homage to the story “The Strange Case of the Forgotten Manuscript” by José Carlos Canalda, a fantastic story which repeats the classic mythology of the mermaid or — sea nymph as the author — names it, who attracts a seaman in order to cause his destruction. The cover illustration recreates the environment of horror and fascination caused by such being on the seaman, eager to feel strong emotions.

“The Strange Case of Victor Guerra” by David Escudero Mateo is, no doubt, the best story in this issue of Alfa Eridiani. Chilling. While reading it one hesitates as whether to place it in the horror genre or in frightening science fiction. Knowing the story forms part of a science fiction web magazine makes the choice more difficult. Because of this and of the fact that at the end of the story a small monster with prominent eyes appears, makes you doubt. In any case, read it.

“The Last Sea” by Omar Vega is a proper science fiction story, which has the taste of old stories written in the early twentieth century where an anonymous character becomes a famous hero. The illustrations, which accompany the story, deserve a note apart, the sober one by Crystal Kamprubí and the more appealing by Marina Muñoz.

“Anchored at Sea” by José Manuel Sala Díaz is an irregular story with a good beginning and excellent descriptions but towards the end, the scenes become dreamy and less descriptive. While reading it, one gets the impression that the author loses interest in the story or doesn't know how to finish it. Even though, the story is interesting since we know the author is only 17 years old and we can foresee that in the long run he will become an excellent writer. The illustration for this story is very impressive and has a finishing touch, which others would like to imitate. Possibly, this story touched the illustrator's sensibility.

With “The Great Game and other Stories” by Antonio Mora, Alfa Eridiani delights us again with a poem of great beauty, superior to whatever Mr. Morena has published before. As for the articles, we can read a review of Clifford D. Simak’s All Meat is Weed, written by Isaac Robles, where he deeply analyzes the novel and its characters.

In “Dreaming the Future,” Omar Vega gives us an idea as to how science fiction is seen in Latin America, enabling us to have hope for a better world. It seems the author believes that we have a pessimistic attitude towards life and that it should be changed through science fiction.

The news in this issue of Alfa Eridiani is no less interesting even if not so new, as it refers to different Spanish magazines with odd views.

Stories of sinister fantasy in The Andromeda Book, Lovecraftian horror in the Venezuelan magazine Necronomicón, proper science fiction in Alfa Eridiani for the future volumes dedicated to Galactic Empires and another one to Thinking Machines. It also announces the return of the Argentinian magazine Sanizdat.

On the whole, I must say that this e-zine has given me a very good impression.

Author’s bio sketch

Raimundo Echegaray is a young philology student born in Madrid whose maximum aspiration is to become a famous writer. Even though, he is conscious that he has a long road ahead and possibly will become a Language and Literature teacher in his country.

Copyright © 2005 by Raimundo Echegaray

[Alfa Eridiani is accessible from our page of Recommended Links.]

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