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Zahir - Spring 2007

  • Subtitle: A Journal of Speculative Fiction
  • Issue Number: Issue 12
  • Published Date: Spring 2007
  • Publication Cycle: Annual

When I was in college, the English majors and science majors just didn't get along. Reading Zahir, I kept wondering what all that tension was about, since so many of this journal's cross-disciplined writers are able to blend their interests in creative writing and science so well. My favorite piece in this issue is Jerry Underwood's “Traveling Companion,” set in a world which is simply a very long train, constantly moving on a Track with no beginning or end in sight, inhabited by robots all named Bob (if male) or Bobbie (female). Not unlike us, the robots study what they can perceive of what exists beyond their world; they work at typical jobs; they have their amusements; and occasionally they hold each other tight against the disturbing thought that “maybe Track is curved [. . .] and we are going in circles.” Another good one is Alexandra Penn's “Second Law,” in which damage to a tense marriage between a condescending physicist and his down-to-earth wife is corrected only when the second law of thermodynamics is broken, i.e. time goes backward. Nicole Grieco's “Julia Perceiving in Binary: A Futuristic Romance” is a provocative look at the memory files of a robot created for, um, pleasure, and her surprising capacity to learn, feel, and express emotions. Julia loves her man, and some of the most interesting passages of the story concern her repudiation of the beliefs of a Dworkin-esque feminist who finds the existence of these sex robots disturbing at best. There are more good stories here, but my space is limited; if you enjoy speculative fiction, you won't regret a subscription to Zahir.

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Review Posted on March 31, 2007

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