Review

DreamForge Issue #2

Scot Noel is the owner and editor-in-chief of DreamForge Magazine. He is an established author, publisher and a digital marketer. He’s also passionate about creating computer games. Science Fiction and Fantasy are his favourite genres in the fiction world, and he’s a great optimist. The world is slowly drowning in an ocean of darkness. People like to think of future as a dystopian society. Scot wants to change this view. He believes in hope. His publication house, DreamForge Magazine, is a direct manifestation of this belief.

Check this out before you read the review of his magazine?

I’m very excited to review DreamForge magazine. I wanted to this as soon as the second issue came out, but I’ve a couple of books coming out every month from August (yes, I suck at making plans) and with the constant deadlines time just flew. Anyway, let’s get straight to the review. First I’ll review every work individually and conclude with my thoughts on the entire issue.

Table Of Contents:

  • “Home” by Alyssa Eckles
  • “Are We To Be Saved” by Scot Noel
  • “Sid” by Andrew Jensen
  • “Loitering with Mathematical Intent” by Marie Vibbert
  • “Tea With Gibbons” by Tyler Tork
  • “Luna’s First Eclipse” by L.P. Melling
  • “I See Punk Elephants” by Blake Jessop
  • “Sudan” by G.M. Pereira
  • “Hysterical” by Gregory L. Norris
  • “Snow, 2562” by Michael McCormick
  • “We Are Cherished” by Adam Fout
  • “Pioneer” by Mark Gallacher
  • “Being Me” by Lif Strand
  • “Sapiens” by Davide Mana
  • “Arcology” by Deborah L. Davitt
  • “Haunting the Present” by Lucy Stone
  • “Wrath of a Lightweight” by Emily Mah
  • “The Weight of Mountains” by L. Deni Colter
  • “A Certain Talent” by David Weber
DreamForge Core Team

The magazine starts with The Home. A young girl is troubled by her mother, who is a chicken-legged two storey building, because her unusual appearance drives her friends away. Later she meets a person who isn’t bothered by it. This brings a change in the way she looks at things. I didn’t like the story much. The premise was perhaps just too weird for my liking, and the ending lacked strength (her views change very easily).

Are We To Be Saved? is a good articleThe title is based on a quote by Asimov. The article captures the essence of this magazine: the indomitable spirit. The writer mentions all problems and dangers the society is going through and paints a picture of hope by explaining how we are strong enough to turn the tide.

Sid is an amazing story of friendship between a human and a troll. The writer follows their journey right from childhood till they are adults. It highlights how trolls, a hideous species of fantasy, can actually be kinder than humans, who in the story are doing terrible things like pollution. It emphasizes on creating new things from broken things.

I enjoyed Loitering With Mathematical Intent. The first half was great. Some of the dialogues were really well-written. I liked the world-building. It looked fresh and hopeful and the concept of police-bots was fun (I first saw something similar in Psycho Pass anime and totally fell in love. Lol). The best part was the mathematics. It gave a fresh touch to the story, with intelligent references that seemed true to the character (aspiring mathematician) and made her feel more authentic. However, lack of knowledge of these terms kept me from truly immersing into the story. The ending felt easy. That said, it was definitely a good read.

Tea With Gibbons is a wonderful speculative flash fiction story about two dead humans alive as gibbons. After an interesting discussion on after-death body types, the gibbons commence their journey of exploring what “death” has to offer. I liked the story but I’m not convinced about the word play between life and death. Here the meaning of death is life itself, which could be the point of the story, but because the opposite meaning is lost, it doesn’t work for me. But death means many things to many people so I’ll let it slip. All in all, an enjoyable story.

I enjoyed how Luna’s First Eclipse started. Vivid description of the eclipse and then relating it with the love life of the main characters. I’m a fan of dark and tragic stories. However, the ending was too sudden for my liking.

I See Punk Elephants is definitely a good read. It starts with a very imaginative scene. A girl experimenting on a zoo elephant who apparently loves punk rock. At first, I thought it was a light-hearted humour story. But something very interesting is going on. The story gives a dark message about drug companies, but the twist at the end makes it DF material.

Authors And Artists Who Contributed For This Issue

Sudan really got me. A well-written story about the last male northern white rhino. It is difficult to think of the world from an animal’s perspective. Some even believe animals lack sentience. Sudan is powerful enough to make them rewrite their beliefs.

Hysterical is an only-dialogue story. I’m not a big fan of such challenges. However, the story did entertain me. It’s about a woman following strange commands from her ‘baby.’

In Snow, 2562, a futuristic world is shown which is dealing with the adverse effects of climate change. The ending inverts that view. This story did not work for me, but that might be because of my own strong views about climate change. Sure those with optimistic views will like it.

We Are Cherished is a story about a person guiding a woman about the process of translation: leaving the human body and becoming digital. It depicts a world in ruins, and promises that we will be cherished. I really liked this story because of the creepy yet beautiful setting.

Those of us who dream the Martian Dream will definitely enjoy Pioneer. It’s written in the form of log entries that give us glimpses into the life of the protagonist, his family history, his dreams and ambitions. It’s also quite vividly written.

Being Me is another story about abandoning our biology and carrying our consciousness into artificial medium. Here the pov is of a whale’s, and the story perfectly handles its hesitation to try out this transformation. It argues that the body is as important as its mind and to abandon it would mean to abandon a part of itself. A thought-provoking story.

Sapiens is a fast-paced flash on time travel and climate change. While I do not like the protagonist’s casual speech “Millions will die, but we will survive,” it was a good story.

Arcology is an amazing poem! We generally believe building something requires an irreversible cost: mainly land or forest. The writer argues this doesn’t have to be the case. Building structures that serve the purpose of architecture and also supports ecology is totally possible. Such innovative ideas are the need of the hour. They hold the potential to erase many of our modern age problems, and it can help transform the landscape of the planet. Loved this one.

Haunting The Present revolves around Jocatta, a troubled warrior in search of answers that would help her heal mentally. Her biggest problem is that she has started to feel invisible like a ghost. Her friends trick her into visiting the Empress. This is the start of her healing journey. A well-written story that inspires hope.

In Wrath of a Lightweight (love the title btw), a bunch of Martian human kids revolt against authorities who are planning to send them to Earth, and fail. The protagonist won’t accept defeat so easily. She has a competitive spirit. She realizes there is another way they could revolt, and convinces her friends to join her. I liked that the writer spent time fleshing out the protagonist and also her relationships with some of her friends. The sports aspect is also something many will enjoy.

A Certain Talent revolves around a thief about to break into a highly secure vault to steal a precious object. He ends up being recruited for a special mission. Again a very well-written story. Especially enjoyed the use of ‘mortal’ with a number of words, forming a fun pattern.

Some Illustrations From This Issue

And now

DRUMROLL!

My favourite story is

The Weight Of The Mountains.

Frankly when I started the magazine, looking at the number of sci-fi stories, I was pretty sure my favourite would be one of them. But it is this strange fantasy story that absolutely stole my heart. The premise itself is so interesting. The protagonist needs to tie his land to the core before it is lost in the void, like countless lands before. His family is blessed (or cursed) with this responsibility, and both his brother and father failed. Those who cross the boundary can never return. Naturally his mother doesn’t want him to wander off into the other side of the world. But he is stubborn, and she ends up accompanying him. On the way they face many difficulties, and it becomes clear that even a happy ending wouldn’t be a very positive one. Don’t get me wrong. It is indeed a happy ending but…well, it’s hard to explain. If you’re a DF subscriber, you have to read this story. It’s not just my DF favourite, but also one of the best short stories I’ve read this year.

DreamForge is definitely one of the best magazines for sci-fi and fantasy. While I didn’t enjoy every story, I did like many. In fact, there was at least one element I loved about majority of the works. The second issue of DF magazine celebrated the indomitable spirit of men. I understand that the theme was perhaps loose, as some stories did not follow it very faithfully. But I don’t give a shit about that. In the end what matters is if the story worked, and for me, most of them did.

The review will be incomplete without saying a few words about the artwork appearing alongside every work. One look at the illustrations and you’ll know DF is very serious about quality. The illustrations are amazing. They portray a scene or an element of the story and are a pleasure to look at. They definitely made my experience of reading better.

Favourites:

  • Sid
  • Arcology
  • The Weight Of Mountains
 

 Honourable Mentions:

  • Loitering With Mathematical Intent
  • Being Me
  • We Are Cherished
 
And now time for the Verdict!

 

I highly recommend DreamForge magazine. If you’re a fan of hopepunk (hope-inspiring fiction), this is the magazine for you. Even if you just hopelessly love the world of despair and darkness (like me), and want to read some quality fiction, try DreamForge. The subscriptions are cheap and totally worth it.

Thanks for reading! Next blog is going to be extra special! My poetry book “Opium Hearts” is coming out on August 1st. I’ll talk about all things poetry and the book. I’ll also include some free poems in the blog. So stay tuned!

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