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F&SF Mini-Reviews: 3 Pack

Atalanta Loses at the Interpantheonic Trivia Bee was a cute little romantic comedy with a mythological backdrop by Heather Lindsley. This was a fun story; it got a few smiles from me. Honestly, it would probably have gotten many more if I was a little more versed in myth.

For me, Episode Seven: Last Stand Against the Pack In the Kingdom of the Purple Flowers, by John Langan was worth the purchase of the issue by itself. I would call it post-apocalyptic survival horror, but that evokes too many images of Mad Max. This is more like Night of the Living Dead; something is going horribly wrong. Most everyone is dead, the Pack is hot on the tail of the survivors, and there are many more questions asked than answered. It differs from Night of the Living Dead, however, in the composition of the Pack. The Pack is the survivors’ term for semi-intelligent, man-eating dogs.

I am a sucker for stories that don’t wrap everything up in a neat little package. By the end of the story, I’ve formed, weighed, cast aside, and replaced a few hypotheses that are never confirmed or denied. A very good read — as long as you don’t mind that.

Kevin N. Haw‘s piece Requirements for the Mythology Merit Badge is exactly what it sounds like; not really a story so much as a piece of background information. It reads like a clipping from a scout handbook from a world very different from our own. This was pretty humorous, especially since I do remember reading through and completing checklists very much like this (only much more mundane) in my scouting years.