Edited by Trent Jamieson and Gary Nurrish

Prime / 144 pages / (October 14, 2002)

ISBN: 1894815033

As anyone who has read an issue can tell you, Redsine is a dead cert for quality speculative, fantasy, and horror fiction. A blend of the best of Australia and the rest of the world, the stories deliver amazement, sorrow, and a generous share of unsettling afterimages. Not to mention an in-depth interview conducted by the talented Nick Gevers. The magazine can hold its own with any other fiction periodical in or out of the genre.

Redsine Ten starts off with a melancholy tale of a future where humanity has not so much given up, as been beaten down too many times. James Sallis’ “When Fire Knew My Name” retains just the slimmest chance of hope riding, as it so often does, on the shoulders of a myth, a glimmer of hope with little basis in reality. In “The Random Breakfast Generator,” Paul Hassing presents a wildly different, though no less dispiriting view of life in the offing. Humourous, yes, but depressing nevertheless.

Humour always has its place in Redsine. From a Flashman-like turn with a “Rake At The Gates of Hell,” to the cynicism and bawdiness of Gene O’Neill’s “You Do The Math,” or the pitch black humour of “Is There Life On Mars?” there’s something to appeal to every connoisseur of comedy.

One thing the magazine has never shied away from is a touch of raunchiness in its selections. Well, maybe it’s a right-cross dose in “Grave Desire,” by David Salcido, and just this side of nauseous, but how exactly would one characterise the deadly coupling in “The Dream Queen”? M.J. Murphy unveils the kind of woman you really don’t take home to meet mother… Not if you like your mother, that is.

And then there are the stories that defy easy categorisation. Dean R. Hewish opens up a hidden world that we have missed simply because it’s hiding in plain sight. “The Face In The Crowd” has that feel of reality that makes the tale that much more disquieting. Jack could so easily be any of us, it will make you wonder what you’ve been overlooking. What exactly is just out of sight in “300,000 Moments of Pain” is enough to make a chill pass through you as you read that last paragraph, but that’s Jeffrey Thomas for you. Where, exactly does Simon Kewin’s “The Great Melody” belong? If nowhere else, it belongs solidly in Redsine.

Wrapping up this issue is an interview with Brian Stableford that should come with a caveat: Keep your dictionary handy. Gevers and Stableford appear to be engaging in a linguistic oneupsmanship that comes as close to a pissing contest as you’ll ever see on paper. Interesting, but somewhat numbing after awhile.

Don’t expect that feeling to last for long though, one thing you can always count on with Redsine is a shake-up. Nothing will ever look quite the same to you after you finally pull yourself away after the last story. Just what good fiction should do.