I received my copy of this in the mail awhile back, and it shames me deeply that I'm only now getting around to blogging about it.
The first story was "Fullbrim's Finding," by Matthew Hughes. It's one of two novelets, and it seems to take an awfully long time to say, essentially, that life and creation have no meaning and anyone seeking "enlightenment" will have their hopes cruelly dashed--and go insane. Which is...kind of a downer. And not congruent with my own philosophy. So, yeah. Maybe I'm missing something, but I really can't be arsed to go back and re-read it to find out.
The next story was "Reader's Guide," by Lisa Goldstein. This was hilariously brilliant. It starts out asking questions, high-school style, about a (presumably fictional) book. The beginning questions are pretty standard fare, but then it veers sharply off with "6. How would the story be different if the characters were lemurs?" and goes from there. And there is actual story here as well, told from the POV of an acolyte of the Lord of Story. I thoroughly enjoyed this one.
After this was the cover novella, "The Roberts," by Michael Blumlein. The cover doesn't actually seem to have much to do with the story, but it's pretty, so I forgive it. It's okay, but I didn't love it, and it was interesting to see how the main character fell into old patterns of doing things and screwing up in precisely the same way as he did before. This is very much human nature.
Next up is "Enfant Terrible," by Scott Dalrymple. It's told in second person present tense, which makes it interesting and unusual, because most stories told this way kind of suck. This one doesn't, however, and the last line really makes it. I wish I could end all my stories on a note like that.
"Poison Victory," by Albert E. Cowdrey, is next, an alternate "what if the Nazis won WWII" history told in diary form. I really like this one. The things we do for love...
Finally, we have "The Dinosaur Train," by James L. Cambias. Dinosaur circus! Count me in! OMG. Why, yes, I'm a sucker for dino stories. Stop looking at me that way.
So, we have half the stories in this issue told in non-traditional formats. Interesting.
Also, funny classified ad is funny and refers to not only a story in the magazine, but also a cartoon. Good stuff. I'm fascinated by the fact that my initial impression of this issue was kind of "meh," but on re-reading it, there's a lot to like here. I'm glad I'm subscribing.