Magazine: Outposts of Beyond, July 2017

Outposts of Beyond 50Outposts of Beyond, July 2017

(note that the linked item at Amazon has an incorrect cover image)

You may have noticed that my last few magazine reviews did not have intro stories.  I’m trying to wrap up round one of my magazine quest (which, I’ve just realized, began in late 2015) by the end of the year.  So, I’m skipping my intro stories for the rest of December’s reviews.  [The crowd cheers]  However, the intro stories will return in 2018 [The crowd lets out a disappointed “awww”] for round two, when I read additional issues of the top-performing magazines, and decide who the ultimate winner is.

Short Stories

Voracious by AC Spahn.  An apocalypse created mutants that eat books.  When they eat any copy of a particular book, all the other copies of it worldwide become illegible.  The government has locked away single copies of books they want to preserve, and tried to burn all other copies.  One of the mutants, who used to be a literature professor, finds a copy of one of these protected books, but refuses to eat it.

Medicine Man by Tim McDaniel.  Old people are taking so many interacting medications that they are developing superpowers.

Sector 3 by Terrie Relf.  Scientists exploring Europa begin losing team members to suicide, then to alien possession.

Five Little Piggies by David Kopaska-Merkel.  A private eye investigates the case of a missing pig and the big bad wolf.

Urgent Ancient Wisdom.  Greek gods threaten to punish humans for their environmental crimes.

The Prophet of Perim by Lee Zumpe.  Long ago, a coastal town cut a deal with some crab/fish/octopus people that live in the nearby water.  The town’s fishermen can fish without being attacked, but every 100 years, the crab/fish/octopus people get to come ashore and mate with the town’s women.  The town has a muslim-style culture where the women have no rights.

A new ruler has conquered the town, and instead of keeping the deal going, he sends two warriors (one of them female) who kill a bunch of the crab/fish/octopus people and drive the rest off.  Then they act like “OK, that’s solved.”  The author even has the fishing fleet go out the next day, and nothing happens to them.  Wow, problems are easy to solve!

Then, the two warriors grant rights to all the town’s women.  Social problems are just as easy to solve as military and economic ones!


  1. Man, you sure are reading some real “winning” stories with these things!

    1. The worst thing has been the “best of” collections, where some editor chooses the “best” stories from the magazines. I’ll review a couple more of those in 2018.

  2. What did you think of the quality of the stories and the mag as a whole?

    1. Overall will come out when I release the overall rankings, and I’d have to get back to my notes to say for sure on individual stories. Going purely off my memories:

      The premise of Voracious was too ridiculous, and not terribly interesting, to me.

      Medicine Man was intentionally silly, but not a bad idea, maybe worth developing a bit more. I like the idea of cranky old superheroes.

      Sector 3 didn’t make a big impression on me, I don’t have many memories of it beyond what I wrote above.

      I remember Five Little Piggies as being well-written, but again, the premise is just too silly for me.

      Urgent Ancient Wisdom was like being stuck in an elevator with a whiny environmentalist.

      Prophet of Perim had a decent setting and characters, but as I said above, I didn’t care for the “well, that takes care of everything” ending. Reminds me of the “war to end all wars”.

  3. We aren’t getting a lot of opinion on these lately, but they don’t sound too good to me.

    1. I’ve got another half-dozen of these queued up. If I have time tomorrow, maybe I’ll add a bit more commentary to go with the summaries.

      1. Sounds like you have an end of year deadline. I tend to do that too, then remember I set the deadlines.

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