Residential Aliens, a webzine and small press run by editor Lyn Perry. The magazine's description on Duotrope reads: "ResAliens Press (short for Residential Aliens) is a publisher of spiritually infused speculative fiction. Submissions need not be religious in nature. However, we are looking for engaging stories that are truthful to the human experience while offering the reader something of the eternal." Hats off to Mr. Perry for a very accurate description. The stories range from science fiction through fantasy, deadly serious to humorous. In addition to the webzine, Perry also publishes themed collections under the ResAliens Press label. If your an aspiring writer, Mr. Perry is a great editor to work with. He provides timely responses and feedback for stories that are declined.
Over the next few days, I will highlight some of the stories from the magazine. My selection is somewhat random and informed by my personal taste which tends toward fantasy. "The Master and the Miller’s Daughter," published as two parts in the September and October 2010 issues is a must read but I won't review it for obvious reasons.
Here are a few reviews (published previously) to get us started.
"This Is My Blood," by Kristen Davis
If done very, very well, flash fiction can be a small gem, amazing in its minute perfection. If done poorly, it comes across as a story skeleton that needs some more flesh and bone. Davis gets it right in "This Is My Blood," an interesting take on contrite vampires and transubstantiation. Father Marell returns to the rectory one night to find a man named Annik with his wrists bound by a rosary. He claims to be a vampire and requests that the priest hear his confession then kill him. The priest hears the confession but refuses to carry out the execution. They debate alternative sources of blood, such as animals, but Annik claims that only human blood quells his lust. Father Marell suggests the blood of Christ and Annik agrees, believing something so holy would certainly kill him. Father Marell's beliefs about the Eucharist are tested and the results are unexpected. The healing power of Christ appears to know no bounds. Davis tells this story from Marell's point of view. The dialogue is succinct, giving us just enough details from the vampire's story to understand how out of control and dangerous he is. As for Marell, Davis provides enough psychological detail to highlight his doubts and fears. In a longer treatment, Davis might have provided more details to highlight the creepiness of the setting, two lone figures at night in a darkened chapel sharing communion.
"Angels of Stone," by Kelly Dillon
"Angels of Stone" is a strange story, haunting and beautiful in its simplicity. Much lies beneath the surface. After multiple readings I'm still puzzled but in a good way. The story is narrated by an angel who resides in a cathedral with only the stone gargoyles for companionship. The angel remarks on the past glories of creation and hints at the horrors of Lucifer's treachery and humanity's misunderstanding of angels. Each year, God visits the angel in human form, asking that the angel return with him to heaven, but each year the angel refuses, answering God's entreaties with "'I need more time yet.'" Many years later, the angel makes a decision. The ramifications are not clear but the result brings tears to God's eyes. In the comments to the story, Dillon states that "this short story is based in part on a novel that I’m looking to publish which deals with the Fall of Lucifer, the creation of the Nephilim, and many other misunderstood aspects of angelic mythology."
"In Hot Water: A Dragonson Vignette," by Walter G. Esselman
"In Hot Water" is a quirky tale with a serious side. The Lords of Bon Su Pear have asked two water nymphs--Regent and Brianna--to retrieve a mysterious box from a sunken ship. The Lords insist the box contains a bottle of cognac. Brianna brings along her playful spell otter, named SOS, whose fur glows blue. They retrieve the box with little trouble, but as they're leaving the ship, an adolescent sea monster--part bull, mostly fish--swallows SOS. Brianna wants to chase down the massive animal but Regent convinces her they need reinforcements. Brianna creates a diversion in the water, allowing Regent and Brianna to avoid their otter's fate but barely. The monster, properly called a Camahueto, isn't done yet. (They never are.) It lunges out of the water to attack the water nymphs and Lords. Regent manages to wound the beast but Brianna takes her revenge with some watergolems who hack it to a bloody, gooey mess. An argument over the box's contents ensues and the Lords reluctantly admit it contains a cure for Wailing Flu. According to tradition, the Lords must anonymously do something to help the people of the city each year, thus the secrecy about the box. Esselman mixes the strange, mundane, and dangerous for comic effect. The nymphs nearly die retrieving what they think is a bottle of booze. High officials asking others to risk their necks to further the interests of the officials is nothing new, and the innocent otter suffers more than anyone but not as much as you think. You'll have to read the story to find out what really happened to that furry, blue critter.
To learn more about editor Lyn Perry, visit his blogs at http://residentialaliens.blogspot.com/
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