|Universe:||Space Above and Beyond|
Reviewed by Kathryn A on 2001-12-24 (1)
Clear plastic & cardboard covers, approx 80 A4 pages, small print, comb bound.
Unlike the previous issues of Enarrare', this one is a collection of stories by one author in one fandom. This time around, Annie Hamilton takes off her editor's hat and plunges in to the beginning of a saga for which all fans of S:AAB should rejoice: The Parameters of Peace series. (and this review is long long overdue)
My copy is from the first run, a contributor's copy (I contributed some illos). The cover changed slightly in later editions (the picture was made smaller, I think). The cover-picture is striking: a photo of McQueen, seen through a hole burned in beige-coloured hand-made paper. At the top left is the symbol of Earth's forces, connected by parallel lines to, on the right, a diagram of a lens, focusing. Down the left side is a squiggle of caligraphy, maybe meant to be Chig writing. At the bottom right are two white feathers. At the very bottom is "Enarrare 10" in calligraphy. Don't worry, it all means something.
Another tidbit that means something is the page facing the Author's Notes On the Parameters of Peace. If I recall correctly, this arose out of a particular discussion Annie and I had about the episode "Eyes". The reader sees a circle, a picture of McQueen, and around it, the border is four questions, and their answers; questions and answers which pertain to episode perfectly. The disturbing thing is that they apply equally well to Dianne Hayden as to McQueen.
A good little poem about the episode of the same name.
Inside, Outside (prologue to The Parameters of Peace)
This draws you in, and gets you interested. Hawkes is in the brig, and McQueen is trying to find out why. This turns into a fascinating look at the in-vitro psyche, at McQueen and at Hawkes, and their relationship with the 58th.
An Inauspicious Beginning (Parameters of Peace part 1)
This is the story which starts off the saga, but one doesn't realize the significance of a number of things until later on in the series. We are introduced briefly to two new supporting characters, Paul "Arkie" Arkell, and Sophie Sallander, who have an important part to play later on. But this one is mostly from Vansen's point of view, as the unexpected happens on the mission to Stonebrow, and certain people's attitudes are changed for the better.
Angel Chained (poem)
Another good poem (this one about The Angriest Angel), with an interesting structure.
265 Different Kinds of Cheese (Parameters of Peace part 2)
This is the story which makes up the bulk of this zine. And here we get a multi-layered story which holds up just as well on the second or third reading as it did on the first. But the first reading is a unique experience, because this story is just full of surprises. Or maybe there's only a couple of surprises, but the questions just niggle all the way through. We open with McQueen suffering from Aerotech torture, and elsewhere, the Wild Cards are looking for the missing Colonel, asking questions... in an in-vitro ghetto.
One of the cool things about this story is the way that people keep on asking questions, get told the absolute truth, and don't believe a word. Truth is indeed stranger than fiction, and it's such fun (except of course in the parts of the story where people's lives are at stake) to see the assumptions and misunderstandings that go on. The characters are well-painted, and we get a few insights into in-vitro life, as well as the motivations of certain, shall we say, highly placed persons. And we are introduced to the unusual Armand. I shall say no more.
Reviewed by Kathryn A on 2001-12-24 (2)
Clear plastic & cardboard covers, approx 120 A4 pages, small print, comb bound.
Icarus Walking (Parameters of Peace part 3) Annie Hamilton
This story is basically the entire zine. McQueen is temporarily seconded to the Nevada, to train a new squadron made up of the remnants of survivors of Ixion. And in the meantime, Arkie makes a disturbing discovery, and the Wildcards have to deal with the questions of a "human interest" reporter. I think it is probably my favourite in the series, because there are just so many delightful things in it -- a chat-group session where the participants are describing a war movie; conversations where one party is completely baffled as to the significance of things said, or misunderstands things completely, due to their own agendas or their limited information; and a section with some AIs which is both hilarious and surreal. (Yes, I can assure you as an Australian that everything Arkie said about ANZAC day is true, except for one.) But this isn't a comedy, either. Very serious things are said about Politics, and the battle plan, McQueen's insights, and the evil that Aerotech has done, and hints at further things which become clearer later on. Not to mention some about-face surprises, and multi-layered symbolism. And it's also good to watch McQueen interacting with the squadron on the Nevada, and turning around people's opinions of him, while simply trying to do the best job he can. I love this story.
(Aside: I'm thanked in the acknowledgements section for prodding Annie with the statement "It's a pity carbon isn't the sixth element" and I have to say in my own defence, I'm not as ignorant of chemistry as that implies; I was just having a bad day...)