Metaphorosis describes itself as an online speculative fiction magazine which publishes an original story every week, plus book reviews and other content related to the topic.
It has been going for two years now, and has published ‘Best of’ collections for both of those, plus other books and collections available in print format, too.
Metaphorosis: Best of 2017 contains a Baker’s Dozen (that is to say 13) stories selected by the magazine’s editor, B. Morris Allen, plus a group of volunteer ‘trusted readers’. These cover, as you would expect, a substantial range of approaches, topics, and writing styles. I felt that there was a bias (and no, not in a problematic way at all) towards societal, human-centred, non-technology, ‘feely’ stories. “Sad” seems to be the most frequent adjective I took down when taking notes from the stories – not in a bad, or tear-jerking way, but just in the outlook of a number of stories.
A good number are classic SF tropes, others are Fantasy, or in some cases rather Myths, new or re-imagined ones (and yes, this boundary if very fluid, both into SF and Fantasy).
Below I will provide capsule reviews of the individual entries, which by its very nature will spoil some of the content – if this is a problem for you then stop here, with my recommendation that this is a great, varied, and fascinating collection, which you should seek out and enjoy yourself!
Oh, the name of the magazine, Metaphorosis, is a clever mis-spelling of Metamorphosis (the Kafka kind) – and whilst I had actually been hoping for something even clever-er I think that it’s cool and evocative as it is.
T. R. North – Snow Queen
Reflections of a woman, in love with the Snow Queen, on how they met (the Queen took the boy she fancied), and how she went through an adventurous (very, it seems) quest to rescue him. Fascinating, with many things remaining unsaid, just like the narrator: she implies, but then turns her thoughts away…
David Hammond – Making the List
A man, an accountant, is found not to be genetically Homo Sapiens, but a Neanderthal instead. Declared non-human, and an endangered species to boot, he is thus the duty of the US Fish & Wildlife Service.
Somehow depressingly believable in its consequences, and slightly long I felt.
Suzanne J. Willis – A Nightingale’s Map of the City
A strange and poetical story about a Giant, and the city he built for his love. Who left him, and the city, for? Because?
Sad, and enchanting.
Jason Baltazar – The Questioning Bell
A scary, sad, compelling story of a city in the inescapable grip of an inexplicable illness. And of the power of love. Great writing, even if I’m torn if I actually like the story…
Damien Krsteski – Lake Oreyd
A winding tale, written mostly in the form of transcripts of investigative interviews tapes; focusing on science and belief/religion, and how preconception clouds judgment, on both sides. All of which set in a fascinating world I’d love to hear more about/from. It brought to mind Stephenson’s Anathem from the scope that is hinted at. Wow.
Molly Etta – The Illuminator Leaves
The magical tale of the gift of losing one’s voice, and the curse of re-gaining it. Of stories, art, myths. The kind that could be part of Gaiman’s Sandman stories, maybe.
Timothy Mudie – Sundown on the Hill
What a memory of an alien abduction does to you, your life, your relationship. Executed with feeling, sensitive, believable, human. Nice.
Patrick Doerksen – Notes Towards a New Fairy-Tale
A Canadian girl spends her 14th summer on a forest farm in Germany, and has an encounter with a Wichtel – “a folk-entity distinct from the Fairy of the Irish-English tradition”.
Or, rather, one of their underlings, “monsters”, guarding a tree of forbidden fruit. This is interspersed with notes from a book, a treatise, that her grandfather is working towards, thus the title!
Fascinating, inevitable in parts, and sad in its conclusion. Grand work.
Laura E. Price – The Lost Language of Exiles
A love story – about a girls who crews on an Inter-world spaceship, which is lost and then re-appears after 5 years. And about the man she fell in love with just before she left on that fateful journey, and to whom she promised to come back to in 6 months.
Enthralling, sweet, and believable in the personal details, the feels.
God, let this be the beginning, the first chapter, of a novel please!
Charlotte H. Lee – HOPper
A house AI notices unexplained activity at night – and encounters Brownies. Sweet, if slightly unbelievable in the consequences of said encounter.
Mariah Montoya – The Wive of Fabian Vitalik
“He thought his wife was most beautiful when she was human”. Loving a shape-shifter is never easy, all the more so if she feel trapped in the form you love the most…
Lovely, sad, tragic. But lovely.
Angie Lathrop – Radical Abundance
A distorted, (even more) broken Earth, riven with (even more) war. And with Angels, modified beings, prophets and delivery-mechanisms of a post-scarcity world.
Giving people wha they need, want, at no price at all. And further destabilising the world as they change it – for the better?
Another fascinatitng world I would love to hear more of/from. A wonderful slice of life, with no real past, and very little future.
Sean R. Robinson – The Snow Queen’s Daughter.
Not related to the first story, except in topic …
This is a love story – of how the Snow Queen’s Daughter went out into the world (which believes the lies Hans Christian Andersen told about her mother) to study, become a scientist, and how she fell in love with a human.
A great collection, so this is both a recommendation for the book, but also for the online magazine, which you can find at http://magazine.metaphorosis.com/
Title: Metaphorosis: Best of 2017
Editor: B. Morris Allen
Series: Metaphorisis – Best Of
Series Number: 2
Reviewer URL: http://thierstein.net
Publisher: Metaphorosis Publishing
Publisher URL: http://books.metaphorosis.com
Publication Date: February 2017
Review Date: 180401
Topic: Speculative Fiction
Topic: Short Stories
Thanks to the publisher for the review copy.
Markus Thierstein is a former professional skater and editor for Diversebooks. These days he pretends to work for a living, and only do sport for fun. He blogs, mainly in review form, on thierstein.net.