I open my front door in response to the ringing doorbell.
A man in a suit holds up a badge. “I’m Detective-Sergeant Joe Friday. I’d like to ask you a few questions about Phase 2 Magazine.”
“Great, because I have this really elaborate story about how I-”
“Just the facts, sir.”
Smells by David Castlewitz. A guy on a drug trip.
Biomorph, part I by Roy Booth. I picked this issue of Phase 2 because it had the start of a serial. Since the magazine costs only 99 cents, I was willing to follow an interesting story. Unfortunately, neither the character nor the world he inhabits really drew me in. I didn’t care enough to find out who the assassin’s next high-value target would be.
Happy Pills by Talha Ahmad. Future Japan is crime-ridden and extra-crowded with immigrants, so it offers a big cash reward to the families of those who commit suicide to reduce crowding. There’s no explanation for Japan becoming immigrant-friendly, or why it can’t just buy the excess immigrants plane tickets home.
City Terminal by Simon Canter. A guy rides a train, then gets drunk at home.
Drifting in the Dark by David Stegora. A decent story about a space-salvage team getting into trouble, but the lead-in was a bit long.
Dry Lightning & Providence by Shaun Adams. First colonists on Mars.
Will I buy another issue of Phase 2? The 99-cent price is attractive, but I’m putting in time as well as money. The two stories about guys getting stoned/drunk were of no interest to me. The magazine’s last two stories weren’t brand new ideas, but had worthwhile variations. Future Japan overrun by immigrants is an idea worth exploring, but with more explanation than was given here. I won’t rule out a future purchase, but I’m not putting it at the top of my ever-lengthening to-read list.