Magazine: Phase 2, Issue 3

phase-2-magazinePhase 2 Magazine

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.”

Short Stories

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.


  1. LOL, it sounds like you’ve got about the same doorbell manner as I do. I know exactly the expression they guy who brought you the magazine must’ve pulled. Priceless!

  2. Sounds like a glorious collection of stories

  3. Those are some nice books

  4. I feel like a lot of sff is written by people that hate sff. Like damn creative writing rejects that realized they can actually sell sff so they take a story and toss on a sff costume in order to make the sale.

    1. Yes, the magazines which I dislike tend to accept a ton of that stuff, while the magazines I enjoy throw it away. There’s a funny bit on the submissions page of one mag or website, which says something like ‘two women at a coffee shop spend the entire story complaining about their relationships, then a unicorn runs by the window. That’s not fantasy.’

  5. Ha! I actually have a couple of stories published by Phase 2… just not in the issue you reviewed.

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