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Litzine, various contributors, issue 28, Small Beer Press,  150 Pleasant St. Easthampton, MA 01027,  USA, smalbeerpress.com/lcrw, $5 (US)

The latest issue of  LCRW is packed  with the short speculative fiction  that this long-running title does best.  Included are eight stories, one short  poem, and a culinary column from  Nicole Kimberling, the delightfully  wry “Feeding Strays.” Kimberling is  going to make you beans and rice, and  you’re going to like it. “Should the diner  respond with a statement such as, ‘the  only thing I really hate is Beans & Rice,’  feel free to invite them to get a job,  make some money and use it to dine  elsewhere.” I think every story in this issue is  genuinely good, but the standouts  include Krista Hoeppner Leahy’s  “Killing Curses, a Caught-Heart Quest”  and Erica Hilderbrand’s “Akashiyaki  (Octopus Dumplings, serves two).”  The former is an incredible other- dimensional tale of an orphaned “curse  killer” whose metallic jaws are the key  to salvation from all kinds of dreaded  blights. With a tree for a bride and a  new baby daughter, everything seems  beautiful until the curse killing duties  get in the way. This was a gripping  story, despite the fact that I couldn’t  confidently visualize such strange  characters. Hilderbrand’s “Akashiyaki” is my  favourite of the bunch. Why? A boy befriends an octopus. They play skeeball. That’s not all, but that was enough  for me. (Joshua Barton)

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