Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A Look at Heroic Fantasy Quarterly Issue 14

Heroic Fantasy Quarterly #14

It's been a while since I looked at an issue of Heroic Fantasy Quarterly (here and here), so we need to rectify that.

The current issue went live last month.  I'm a little behind on my magazine reading, but I'm catching up.  The problem is that there's so much quality short fiction being published online.

HFQ is no exception. Here's what the current issue holds.

"Days End at the Three Eels" by Al Onia is a tavern story of a different sort.   A tired mercenary spends a night carousing and ends up at the Three Eels, where he meets a slave girl who'd been left for dead in the desert after having been injured, now working as a serving wench, and an old wizard.  Before he leaves he will have impacted their lives in a way neither expect.  There was a nice twist at the end I should have seen coming.  All the clues were there.

S. Boyd Taylor's "A Song for the New King" was more of a vignette than a story, but it's a nice meditation on the creative process.

We see the return of Khraen, the undead general, in Michael R. Fletcher's "Death and Dignity".  Khraen first appeared in Issue 10's "Death at the Pass", where we saw his resurrection by the hand of the necromancer Leben.  In this story, Khraen is pursued by a wizard and his slave sorcerer across the frozen north.  Khraen is very much cut from the mold of the brooding antihero.  There's a great deal of meditation on freedom and choices in between the combat in both of these tales.  I'm looking forward to the next installment.

Two poems round out this issue.  First "The Swordswoman" by Jessica Amanda Salmonson, a bleak poem in which no good deed, if not unpunished, at least goes unacknowledged.  The second poem is a more hopeful selection, Barry King's "Shadakar".  I thought these poems were better than average.

On the whole, a solid issue.  Heroic Fantasy Quarterly continues to publish solid, adventure oriented fiction.  Many of the authors are new comers, and I have a feeling in a few more years, if these authors continue to write and make names for themselves, HFQ will become known as the place to find the new up and comers in the fields of sword and sorcery and heroic fantasy.  If you've not read this publication, all of the issues are online for free, so check them out. 

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